We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
The barbell squat is a fundamental strength-training exercise and a functional movement. The ability to squat with a loaded barbell transfers to activities in your daily life, such as picking up a heavy box. However, performing squats with a barbell across your upper back can be dangerous and uncomfortable. To replace the barbell squat in your workout routine, choose compound exercises that not only target your lower body, but also offer strength and functional benefits.
Squats Without a Barbell
Use alternative forms of resistance to reap the functional and strength benefits of the barbell squat without the discomfort of holding a loaded bar across your upper back. Dumbbells, resistance bands and kettlebells offer a wide range of resistance options appropriate for all fitness levels. Olympic barbells weigh 45 pounds without any plates, but kettlebells and dumbbells are available in smaller weights, starting as low as 5 pounds. Hold the dumbbells or kettlebells at your sides or up by your shoulders.
Lunges and Step-Ups
A lunge is a single-leg squat in which you use the nonworking leg to balance yourself. A step-up is a functional alternative to a barbell squat, and it targets the same muscle groups. Because lunges and step-ups work each leg individually, you do not need to use as much weight to challenge the muscles as you do with a squat. Lunges have dozens of variations, including the forward lunge, reverse lunge, double lunge and weighted lunge. You can also advance to a true single-leg squat, also called a pistol squat. Hold one leg extended in front of you and squat with the other leg. For step-ups, gradually increase the height of the step to make the movement more challenging. You can also hold dumbbells in your hands for added resistance during either exercise.
The leg press exercise works the same muscles as a squat, but in a seated position with back support. It is a safer alternative to the barbell squat if you do not have a spotter or a power rack. Position your feet in the middle of the leg press platform and focus on pushing through your heels, not the balls of your feet. Because you have back support and you do not have to balance the weight of a barbell, you will likely be able to push considerably more weight during the leg press than you do during a barbell squat.
The dead lift works the same basic musculature as a squat, and it even mimics the squatting motion, but the barbell sits in front of your thighs instead of across your back; this eliminates the stress on your upper spine. Keep your back straight and initiate the movement by pushing through your legs, not pulling with your upper body. Because the dead lift works the largest muscle groups in the body, you can use significantly heavy weights. Seek out a qualified professional to learn proper dead-lifting form and reduce your risk of injury.