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  1. #1
    Registered User Rob334's Avatar
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    Can't do back squats - what to substitute

    Due to an injury and arthritis, my doctor has recommended that I do not do back squats - he's cleared me to work out and lift, but no back squats. I loved doing the 5x5 by squats are key with that program. Any suggestions on what I should do?
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  2. #2
    H = T + V mslman71's Avatar
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    What injury and what sort of arthritis?
    2 + 2 = 5 (for extremely large values of 2)

    Try SCE to AUX
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  3. #3
    Registered User erinlee01's Avatar
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    Without knowing the answer to ^^^, what about front squats, or even Zercher squats? I can't do back squats due to injury and am currently doing Zerchers on the 5/3/1. Whatever you do, I'd run it by your doctor first.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Rob334's Avatar
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    it was a lower back muscle injury and arthritis in mid/lower back somewhat limiting flexibility
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  5. #5
    Canis Belli Whiskeyjack's Avatar
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    Can you do leg presses and/or hack squats? I have pretty significant spinal compression and every time I squat it hurts so I'll do these others, plus leg extensions and leg curls.
    "An infraction is better than an infarction."
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    Do NOT, do leg presses if you have back problems, it will just get worse. You can do hack squats, or single leg squats. Look up Bret Contraras, he's the "glute guy" and try some of his stuff
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    Originally Posted by Rob334 View Post
    Due to an injury and arthritis, my doctor has recommended that I do not do back squats - he's cleared me to work out and lift, but no back squats. I loved doing the 5x5 by squats are key with that program. Any suggestions on what I should do?
    Yes. Ask the same doctor who told you not to Squat exactly what you can do. Have him be specific in his recommendation.
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  8. #8
    Canis Belli Whiskeyjack's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by azstrengthcoach View Post
    Do NOT, do leg presses if you have back problems, it will just get worse. You can do hack squats, or single leg squats. Look up Bret Contraras, he's the "glute guy" and try some of his stuff
    Actually, I have spinal compression and it hurts when I squat, but no problem at all with leg presses - and I do the reps strictly. But then of course it could be a different issue with the OP.
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  9. #9
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    Front Squats, BB Hack Squats, Bulgarian Split Squats, Lunges, Step Ups, Jefferson Squats, Sumo DLs....lots of options...
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  10. #10
    Da1UnV bodyhard's Avatar
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    Get a second opinion from a sports doctor. Every doctor I go to tells me not to squat nor deadlift.
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  11. #11
    Registered User miamibodybuilder's Avatar
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    well theres plenty of substitutes for back squats i think. hacks are great, front squats, step ups are awesome and also mongolian squats are a killer. basically you can set a small barbell or hold db's, whichever is easiest for you, probably db's so it doesnt hurt your back. set a bench behind you and place your toe on the bench behind you, make sure your front foot is a bit in front of your body. now just lower like a lunge, but go deep. you'll feel these everywhere the next day. give it a try.
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  12. #12
    Registered User sargeek1975's Avatar
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    My L4/5 is toast......and I love doing the leg press, no problem whatsoever......and I of course can't/won't do squats of any kind.


    Everyone is different, so take it for what it's worth.
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by azstrengthcoach View Post
    Do NOT, do leg presses if you have back problems, it will just get worse. You can do hack squats, or single leg squats. Look up Bret Contraras, he's the "glute guy" and try some of his stuff
    I agree.. ^^

    OP: Go to a doctor who specializes in sports injury rehab. He may tell you differently.
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  14. #14
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    you must follow the doctor instructions. Because it is given by specialist.
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    Originally Posted by Vytis View Post
    Front Squats, BB Hack Squats, Bulgarian Split Squats, Lunges, Step Ups, Jefferson Squats, Sumo DLs....lots of options...
    ^^These. If you've never done Bulgarian Split squats try them. They will have you walking sideways out of the gym. If it's a spinal compression issue then getting the weight off of your shoulders and into your hands would be key.
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    Originally Posted by Whiskeyjack View Post
    Actually, I have spinal compression and it hurts when I squat, but no problem at all with leg presses - and I do the reps strictly. But then of course it could be a different issue with the OP.
    Me too from a compresson fracture. Leg press is fine for me as well as zercher squats
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  17. #17
    Do what u love whatevergirl's Avatar
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    I second the front squats mention. I have a neck disk herniation, and back squats aggravate it...so, front squats are a good alternative for me.
    Hack squats machine too, although, not a fan.

    Hope you get to feeling better, OP.
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  18. #18
    Registered User MichaelCJ's Avatar
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    Would belt squats be any good?
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    FWIW

    I have periodic issues with back and get the same advice to avoid the compression in squats

    Discovered the dumbbell squats and can manage them with no back pain at all

    Recommended..

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=154678393

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    Easy..if a guy's working harder than me - doing more than me - he fking well deserves to beat me.

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  20. #20
    No longer in denial Nikonguy's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bodyhard View Post
    Get a second opinion from a sports doctor. Every doctor I go to tells me not to squat nor deadlift.
    Best answer so far. I'd never trust a MD on lifting advice unless he at least looked like he lifted, even a specialist. A 2nd opinion is reasonable.
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  21. #21
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    you might try trap bar deads as well.
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  22. #22
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    i think hack squats or one-legged squats could be a good substitue; even though one-legged squats are still considered "back squats", it puts a lot less stress on your lower back from doing a lighter weight while still being able to train your legs like-wise

    this guy got pretty good gains doing one-legged squats
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    There are several substitutes for back squats. However, it is important that you get clearance from your doctor before you adopt any of the possible alternatives to the back squat. There are several leg exercises which can help you achieve optimal results even while you no longer do the back squats. Specifically, you can do weighted step-ups, lunges and dead lifts. You may also consider airplane or pistols squats and as mentioned in these thread, front squats.
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    Op,sometimes doctors don't understand/comprehend what lifting is.My neurosurgeon told me to never lift anything over 20kg,(for a surgically repaired disc),but my 5yr old girl weighs more than that.

    I have found backsquats and deadlifting the best for managing my pain levels and increasing my strength.Start light, work slowly,and try and have reasonably good form and you will make progress.

    Ask your doc what he thinks would be a safe amount to lift with and start there.Even if you increase the weight by 2lb a month,that is 2lb more than you lifted last month.

    Just my opinion.
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