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Squat Alternatives For Lower Body Exercises

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By bulksupplementsdirect

When you are working on any of your major muscles, you will naturally start moving towards doing squats to help build your muscles. However, you may soon learn that squats are not only hard to do when you’re alone, but you may find yourself looking for alternatives that will help you train easier.

 

The best alternatives for squatting are step-ups, hip hinges, lateral walks, and bridges, each of which can be done with or without weights. While deadlifting, leg press machines and lunges are all done with weights to increase their challenge and ensure you are always building muscle.

 

Understanding how to do these exercises properly is important; we always recommend knowing which techniques will easily help you stay at the top of your form. Further, there are several reasons why you should not always focus on doing squats when strength training.

 

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Seven squat alternatives that you should try

Knowing that squats are not good for you does not mean that you will know how to do everything perfectly, with a few of the alternatives being challenges for beginners. We have gone through the seven best alternatives and how to execute them perfectly.

 

These exercises will target the same muscles as a normal squat will, without overstressing muscles that may already be hurt. These exercises will strengthen your body to do more squats once you are allowed to or when you need to prove just how much you can lift.

 

#1 - Bridge

The bridge is a simple exercise that focuses on your cores and a little bit on your shoulders and peck muscles, helping to strengthen muscles throughout your body. Further, it helps your calves, the back, and the hamstrings, using these to balance and support most of the weight of your body.

 

With your back flat on the ground, but both of your arms with your palms flat on the ground, pull your legs in to make a 45-degree angle. Slowly lift your pelvis into the air while keeping your head, shoulders, and arms flat on the ground, rising until your body is straight in the air, then slowly go back down.

 

#2 - Deadlift

The deadlift is a weight training exercise that focuses on your back muscles, shoulder muscles, and core. Usually called the Romanian deadlift, it has become a basic part of all strength training routines to help your muscles quickly grow in strength while helping you go slower on your joints.

 

With your dumbbells, barbells, or nothing, stand straight with your hands on your side, keeping your upper body as straight as possible bend forward. Without bending your knees, go down as low as you can, bowing forwards, holding the weights in both arms, and then standing back up.

 

#3 - Lateral Walk

The lateral walk is an exercise that focuses on your legs, core, and arms all at once while staying as low impact as possible. With or without weights, it will help to increase your balance while encouraging muscle growth throughout your body, giving better results.

 

With or without weights, you should stand with your knees slightly bent next to each other, with your arms by your side. Move one leg out, and then as you move, have your other foot move to it, then move back to your starting position; this is one rep, repeat 10 to 20 times per set.

 

#4 - Hip Hinge

The hip hinge is similar to the deadlift but is usually done without any added weights, allowing you to focus more on balance and overall core training. Usually, this is aimed at someone who has had a lower or upper back injury and needs to rebuild the muscle strength to help with future training.

 

Standing straight with your feet together, have your back straight, put your hand on the small of your back and bend your knees slightly. While in this position, bend forward while keeping your body as straight as possible, keeping your hands on the small of your back, keep this position, then straighten back up slowly.

 

#5 - Step-ups

Step-ups are one of the most basic exercises that you can do to replace squats, with many people preferring to still incorporate this into their exercises when doing squats. Step-ups will train your entire body without putting any excessive strain on your joints.

 

Find a step or put some steps down that goes at least to just underneath your knees, with your arms straight to your side and a straight back go up the step. Once on, take a step back down, making sure not to fall, but moving slowly; if you need more of a challenge, use weights in both arms.

 

#6 - Leg Press Machine

The leg press machine is one of the scariest machines to use in any gym if you have never tried it, preferably you should have someone help you the first few times. However, when used properly, you will have your core and leg muscles pushed to their maximum, allowing full growth.

 

Choose a weight you are comfortable with, as you will have to do multiple reps instead of just doing the most. Get in the machine and position your back to be flat against the bed of the machine; with your feet flat on the pad, lift a little and release the stop, then do a leg press, making sure never to lock your knees.

 

#7 - Lunge

Lunges are the most effective way to train almost every muscle in your body, as it requires balancing and strength in parts that you may not know about. Lunges, when done properly, will help your muscles grow stronger without putting too much strain on weak joints or muscles.

 

While keeping your back straight, take a step forward and lowering your other knee to the ground, keeping your entire body as straight as possible. You can either keep going forward, repeating this movement, or you can stand back up and repeat the movement with your other leg.

 

Can you run instead of squats?

No, you cannot run instead of doing squats as the type of training done by running is cardio and endurance training, which can cause you to lose some strength. Squatting focuses on strengthening leg and back muscles, causing them to grow much larger.

 

It can be confusing when you are just starting to train, as understanding how muscles grow and work is sometimes one of the most complicated parts of exercising. If you are purely looking to make the strongest, most active muscles, you will need to find a balance of strength and endurance training.

 

As you become more set in the ways of exercise that your like, you will naturally learn which exercises are best for the body type you want. Those who like to run focusing more on endurance training, while those who want to be bulky focusing on strength training.

 

Six reasons to stop squatting

If you are still on the fence about whether to squat or not, there are several well-known reasons to stop squatting. Most people will always swear by squatting, saying that there is no reason to ever stop; however, these are the same people that would train while having several muscle injuries.

 

Usually, there are six reasons that you should stop squatting, each one with its own challenges that will require you to do more work in some other way. We always recommend that you consider everything before changing your training routine as most of the time you will have to compensate in some way.

 

#1 - Back Injury

Despite what many believe, doing a squat, even perfectly, does put a strain on the muscles of your back, with weighted squats putting even more pressure than normal. As such, you cannot do squats when your back has been injured in any way, whether it is the lower or upper back.

 

You will have to focus on doing exercises that do not use back muscles to an extreme degree, which is why we included several exercises that focuses on arms, core, and legs. If your back is already injured and you start doing squat exercises, you will only prolong your recovery.

 

#2 - Weak Knees

The body part that takes the most strain during any squat is the knees, as they are the main pivoting point of the entire movement. When done properly, a squat will use all the muscle in your body, but your knees may take momentary pressure that far exceeds some other joints.

 

 If your knees have been damaged or are just weak from age or past injuries squatting is quite literally the last type of exercise you should be doing. As your knees will be hurt each time you bend down, causing further injury or, in some rare cases becoming completely damaged beyond reasonable repair.

 

#3 - Efficiency

For full-body strength training, there are few things as efficient as squatting as every muscle will be pushed to the extreme. However, if you are focusing on specific body parts, then squatting may be too slow to see growth in these areas, especially as some parts may experience less strain than others.

 

If you need your glutes, your pecks, or your calves to drastically increase in strength or size, you may want to do fewer squats during your routines and focus on exercises that train these. This will help your muscles to continue to grow stronger and ensure that everything is strained to the limit.

 

#4 - Alternatives

When you are training at home, the alternatives to squatting is very limited; however, as you move to a larger gym with more equipment, squatting becomes almost pointless. As the equipment available to you becomes more varied, you may find yourself not needing to do squats at all.

 

We have seen many bodybuilders that prefer never to do squats specifically because there are other machines and ways of exercising that help greater growth. We always recommend that you look at what alternatives you may have available as you move to new locations.

 

#5 - Training Alone

Squatting normally, with no weight, is easy and relatively safe to do; however, if you are strength training, you will most likely be squatting with the heaviest weights you can manage. You should never do these squats alone, as you most likely will get injured when you are approaching your limit.


We have all seen videos of people that have overloaded themselves while doing squats, losing balance, or simply unable to get up from under the weight. If you are alone, there will be no one that can help you lift the weights off yourself, leaving you in a very dangerous or deadly position.

 

#6 - Endurance Goals

Squats are fantastic if you want to build the strongest, largest muscles in your group of friends; however, when you want endurance, they can be a detriment. Squats can build some endurance, but the muscles built using the technique will usually be for burst strength rather than endurance.

 

If you need muscles and strength that lasts longer, you may be shocked to learn that you need leaner muscles. These are not as large or showy as the muscles bodybuilders have but will be able to do much more, allowing you to run for hours or to lift larger weights for much longer.

 

Can you build legs without squats?

Yes, you can build muscle strength in your legs without relying on squats instead of focusing on lunges, step-ups, or even stiff leg deadlifts. These all focus entirely on increasing the size and strength of the muscles in your legs without putting your body through the pressures of squats.

 

A lot of the equipment you can find at gyms will also be focused on increasing leg muscles and strength without having to put a strain on the rest of your body. Squats are just the best way to do a more complete lower body exercise than a machine where you are sitting or leaning.

 

We always recommend having a complete balance of all of these exercises when you are training, as it is better to have variety than focused exercises. Someone that spends each day of the week exercising different parts of their body may grow slower, but they will always have more universal results.

 

Leg Training : FAQ's

Is squat a lower body exercise?

The squat, when done properly, is both a lower body exercise and a core muscles exercise that will greatly increase the strength throughout the body. As the body moves through the motions, each muscle group is strained, with slow movement being key to getting the best results.

Is leg press better than squats?

For a full-body workout, a leg press will not be able to compete with squats; however, if you have an injury on your back or in your core, then leg presses will work better. Leg presses put much less stress on the upper body and help to increase the strength and balance in the legs greatly.

Do you need to balance with squats?

Yes, the biggest reason many people prefer not to do squats is that you need to have a good balance between doing them properly. Usually, when you are just starting your exercises, you will be encouraged to do other techniques long before you need to start doing regular squats.

Final Thoughts

The best alternatives for squatting are a combination of leg presses, deadlifts, step-ups, hip hinges, and bridges to get the best overall results. If you are unsure about your technique or you have recently injured yourself, squats should not be included in your routine at all.

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