Could you live without squats?
- 05-17-2006, 07:23 AM
Could you live without squats?
I've been toying with the idea of getting away from squats for a period, or indefinitely.
My reason would be knee stress, just can't shake the sore knee - Cissus has done a little but it's still there.
The question is what do you guys think of developing leg size without squats?
Personally I find the leg press to be a superior exercise for feeling the quad and hammies pump and work.
- 05-17-2006, 07:30 AM
I do both squats and the leg press on leg day... but I think you could get away from squats althogether as I know some guys who have done such a thing and still see strength increases and nice development
- 05-17-2006, 08:18 AM
That of course is the secondary concer, development, I want healthy knees but also big quads would be nice.
05-17-2006, 08:26 AM
have you tried knee wraps? squats used to do quite a number on my knees when i got above 4 plates with no wraps. nowadays, with a tight wrap, knees feel slightly used the next day but after that, they're 100%. and that's with a lot more than 4 plates, they're a necessity IMO.
05-17-2006, 08:29 AM
I think you'll be fine. Health comes first not a big squat. You can build your legs plenty without them bro.
05-17-2006, 08:45 AM
Depends on your training goals IMO. Beelz can't live without em, I don't need em. (I do them anyway however but nothing real heavy, slow and steady) I am not a powerlifter or body builder, I train for Martial Arts, health and asthetics. If I have to wrap my knee to lift it, probably beyond the range of functional strength I will need to hold my stances and throw a powerful kick. That being said, even the light squats do wonders for my core strength, which helps tremendously with kicks and stability. FWIW
05-17-2006, 08:55 AM
Yeah got myself a nice pair of wraps and they are awesome. My only hesitation is that I can feel the knee at 3 plates sometimes and I just can't wrap that early, don't want to weaken the knee any.Originally Posted by Beelzebub
Guess I will try just a few weeks away and see what happens. I'm just not overly confident with my leg size, but Jminis is right that health is the priority.
05-17-2006, 08:56 AM
bp has a point, depends on what you're going for. i like to lift heavy sh!t, so i do.
05-17-2006, 08:59 AM
some guys recommend wrapping as early as 2 plates, to ensure longevity of the knee joint. i personally don't use them until my last set because i don't want to rely on them too much but i don't want to risk knee injuries either.Originally Posted by flytrapcan
05-17-2006, 09:08 AM
how deep are you going with your squats? .. i've found now that i go deep below parallel the pressure shifts to the hips and my knees hurt a lot less
otherwise i'd say just use the wraps earlier .. if you aren't competing in PLing then who cares? wear the wraps, go deep, save your knees, and continue doing the best exercise for leg mass period
05-17-2006, 09:09 AM
Definitely some differing opinions htere for sure. I like squatting with wraps, no pain and very solid feel. I'm just thinking if i keep doing that will the knee weaken as a result.
05-17-2006, 09:11 AM
One problem with a really deep squat is the ham and calf meeting and causing the knee to stretch - at least I've read as much. I like to break parallel with my squat.
You're right I'm not a powerlifter but trying to be a BBuilder.
05-17-2006, 10:02 AM
are you sitting back far enough? perhaps the problem lies within your form.
05-17-2006, 10:05 AM
Could be, I'll have to keep an eye on that, it's so easy for a non powerlifter to let the form waver with heavier weights.
05-17-2006, 10:06 AM
get a vid of it if you can. that'd be the best bet.
05-17-2006, 12:13 PM
Originally Posted by Beelzebub
beelze sums it up right here, i like to lift heavy sh!t too
and most likely it's your form, get a vid and wear your wraps, saves the knee big time
05-17-2006, 12:23 PM
If your joints and low back can handle it, squatting has got to be the best thing going for strengthening your legs, and developing "core" strength and balance. Of course I guess your specific goals have a lot to do with it. For me, I am a skier, and I train for general strength and conditioning, and if I can put on some quality mass, then I am happy (after all, heavier things go downhill faster). I am not doing the over the top weights some of you here are probably doing. 315 for 6 is a personal best for me, and I have never tried to get beyond that.
A buddy of mine at the gym is an older powerlifter, who turned me on the the benefits of the squat. He is at the point where he does not want to get any bigger, and feels that he really can't at this stage anyway, so he has given up squatting, at least for a while, and does extra sets of leg presses, and hack squats, along with the the rest of his routing to make up for it. From the look of him, and what he is still lifting, I would be willing to say losing the squats has so far not cost him anything.
Originally Posted by flytrapcan
05-17-2006, 07:22 PM
break with your butt first (always) sitting back
not with your knees,
try to keep the weight on your knees.
drag a sled forward and backwards in addition to your leg work.
05-18-2006, 06:46 AM
So for you masters of form, should I have the feeling that my chest is coming to my knees, well i guess my shoulders really.
05-18-2006, 08:36 AM
nah, that kinda sounds like you're leaning over too far if you're considering chest -> knees. how wide is your stance? best way i heard it described is it's like sitting back into a chair. unrack the weight, get in position, focus on keeping a tight arch in your back, begin to sit back (knees should not come forward of toes), bending your knees should be the last thing to happen from the top position. it's kinda hard to explain with words and not action. i'll see if i can find some good vids on MMI.
05-18-2006, 12:09 PM
just think like you are sitting back on the crapper, same thing.
and here's actually one of the best pictures i've ever seen of squats, form is dead on. i got it from midwest barbell
05-18-2006, 12:22 PM
I'm having to give up deads indefinitely so I hear your concerns. My sacrum is too crooked and deads put my low back in a world of hurt. It's a shame, I was getting really strong on trap bar deads but the underlying sacrum/lumbar problem blew out when I was pulling up around 550. 7 months of discomfort was not worth it and every time I try to ease back into it..it gets aggrevated.
You can get away without squats ..or just do front squats which really seem to keep me more upright. I am of the opinion that you need to go ATG on squats to save your knees. Sounds counter-intuitive but some kinesiologists point out the knee tendons are less actuated on a paralell squat than they are ATG.
With the proper form, and decent size on your hammies, I never seem to feel any kind of brutal stretch on the knee tendons. I'd say you actually want them to stay stretch and lengthy warm ups followed by deep PWO stretching are highly recommended.
Definitely stay as upright as you can though. Focus heavily on not locking out the knees at the top of the stance. To mentally help achieve this, picture lifting with your toes pointing up as if you are going to rock onto to your heels. As you near the top of the lift, tighten the glute/hips/lower abs..and this may sound wierd but I slouch my upper back ever so slightly while tightening my abs..it seems to transfer most of the weight to my core. All of this seems to keep excess pressure off of my knees, but then again I don't squat above 300.
TUT on the leg press will definitely keep some size on your legs though.
05-18-2006, 12:35 PM
Does anyone else find it kinda funny that he is squating with Chuck Taylor's on??Originally Posted by guyfromkop2
05-18-2006, 12:40 PM
actually those are the prefered squatting shoes of 90% of powerlifters out there.Originally Posted by Rodja
05-18-2006, 12:41 PM
Learn something new everyday...Originally Posted by guyfromkop2
05-18-2006, 12:49 PM
like guy said. it's commonplace. i wear em too. for squatting, the flatter - the better.Originally Posted by Rodja
05-18-2006, 12:50 PM
Originally Posted by Beelzebub
i always squatted in wrestling shoes(my deadlift shoes) and switched over to chucks a couple months ago, makes a HUGE difference
05-18-2006, 12:51 PM
yup, i used cross-training reebok's. not surprisingly, i had all of my knee issues with those.Originally Posted by guyfromkop2
05-18-2006, 12:54 PM
You know I do squat in a some Nike Air version, I'll have to try those ugly shoes and see if they make my squat and knee love each other again.
05-18-2006, 12:54 PM
I've never used wraps and never had trouble with my knees. I always use a little wider stance with toes pointed out just a little. I also always go down parallel. If you haven't tried that, give it a whirl at light weights and work up gradually. Your knees should strengthen up if you never tore anything.
05-18-2006, 12:57 PM
that could be your problem right there, plus chucks are only like 30-40 bucksOriginally Posted by flytrapcan
05-18-2006, 12:58 PM
how heavy do you go peterson?
05-18-2006, 01:52 PM
I've gotten up to 350 or so with no belt or wraps for reps at 180lbs at 5'10". I don't have the biggest frame in the world.
05-18-2006, 01:53 PM
wasn't challenging ya, just curious. personally, i didn't even invest in wraps until i hit 5 plates then i figured if i planned to go higher that safety should be implemented. all the little knee twangs i had soon disappeared afterwards.
05-18-2006, 01:58 PM
Originally Posted by peterson24
I gotta say though that some guys take such pride is not using any safety equipment, which only good until something goes wrong.
But hey look at me with the bad knee, right.
I always go at least parrallel. My training partner likes box squats, but I think they impede the movement.
Lately I've been varying my stance, very close to hit outer quad and back again after a few weeks. I usually stay in the 405 to 455 range and keep my reps up. For TUT I didn't go above 315.
05-18-2006, 02:03 PM
oh, i know you weren't challenging me, it was a valid question. I think anything over 3's is heavy enough to mess with joints at my size but for some reason I never even had the slightest discomfort with my knees. I started to lean forward slightly at that weight though so now I am working with box squats and bands to relearn my form and strengthen my hips and hams more before I try to go higher. I think a lot of people get in trouble with lack of form. I was taught right from a power lifter from the start, so maybe thats why I have been so lucky.Originally Posted by Beelzebub
05-18-2006, 02:06 PM
Originally Posted by flytrapcan
i try not to rely on belts and wraps but as soon as my form breaks just a little bit, I back off right away. thats why i'm on box squats now. I injured my lower back in college (got upended in a hockey game, nothing to do with lifting) and it stopped me from squatting heavy for years. Once I stopped using my belt and progressed up slowly, the back pain has gotten a lot better. It is very minimal these days.
05-18-2006, 02:07 PM
Have you looked into what is actually causing the knee issues?
Just a thought from outside the box....
I also have some funky knee issues and read to try doing leg extensions with toes point inward. I do 3 sets of 20 of light weight after my normal working exercises.
I think it's helped.
05-18-2006, 02:08 PM
box squats are great, just have to set it about 1-2"s below parallel and make sure you sit back, try them out one time, you wont be able to walk for a couple days. guys over at westside swear by themOriginally Posted by flytrapcan
and you'll always hear drama about gear vs. non gear. what i have to say to that is try getting in gear and lifting. everything you've learned about raw lifting takes a whole new twist. form takes over BIG TIME. you can miss an equipped lift so fast if your form breaks. no more muscling a rep out
05-18-2006, 02:10 PM
nothing wrong with using a belt and wraps my man. train raw and with equipment. all the big time plers train bothOriginally Posted by peterson24
and for hips try the good girl/bad girl machines, they work wonders
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