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  1. #1
    Registered User jg8181's Avatar
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    Looking for a squat substitution in home program

    Hi everyone. I am currently doing a PPLPPLr home exercise program using dumbbells only, as gyms remain closed in my area. I am seeking help with my leg day, which currently looks like this:

    Goblet squats 3x20+ (1-2 RIR)
    RDL's 3x20 (1-2 RIR)
    Bulgarian split squats 3x12-15 (1-2 RIR)
    Single leg calf raises 4x15-20 (1-2 RIR)

    The issue I'm having is that my dumbbells only go up to 80 lbs. and I cannot stand doing goblet squats in the 20+ rep range. Working in such high rep ranges with a squat movement really takes the wind out of me and is also quite hard on my lower back. I am therefore looking for a substitution for the goblet squats. If I were to substitute them with them with dumbbell lunges, would this be appropriate or considered redundant when combined with the Buglarian split squats? If dumbbell lunges aren't an ideal option, which other exercises would you recommended in combination with the Bulgarian split squats to ensure optimal leg training? Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    If you spread out the load through the week, you wouldn't need so many exercises.

    You could just use split squat as the main quad exercise and RDL as the main posterior chain exercise. Do them both twice a week and accessorise with sissy squats (for quad isolation), hip thrusters (which completement RDLs by offering peak tension at maximum extension).

    Go to 1 legged RDLs if necessary.
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  3. #3
    Registered User jg8181's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    If you spread out the load through the week, you wouldn't need so many exercises.

    You could just use split squat as the main quad exercise and RDL as the main posterior chain exercise. Do them both twice a week and accessorise with sissy squats (for quad isolation), hip thrusters (which completement RDLs by offering peak tension at maximum extension).

    Go to 1 legged RDLs if necessary.
    Thank you very much for your advice. Any additional suggestions from others?
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    feminine and fast-twitch etet1919's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jg8181 View Post
    Thank you very much for your advice. Any additional suggestions from others?
    You can TRY pistol squats with a light kettle bell or dumbell. Not everyone can do them with good form and full range of motion (it takes good balancing skills, besides strength). But if you CAN do good solid reps within the 6-12 rep range, try doing a few sets of these while holding a weight, either at hip level or up by your chin (kettle bell). Just WATCH your FORM (they should be executed smoothly without wobbling knees)!

    Pistols could probably be considered the king of unilateral lower body resistance training. They build good quad and glute strength, and with enough added weight, lean hard muscle mass. Single-leg weighted RDLs would be "king" for hamstrings (besides hamstring curls).


    Edit: Your foot should stay completely flat on the floor throughout the full range of motion. And you should be pushing off from the heel (that's where the power to get back comes from).
    Last edited by etet1919; 06-27-2020 at 05:40 AM.
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    Registered User jg8181's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by etet1919 View Post
    You can TRY pistol squats with a light kettle bell or dumbell. Not everyone can do them with good form and full range of motion (it takes good balancing skills, besides strength). But if you CAN do good solid reps within the 6-12 rep range, try doing a few sets of these while holding a weight, either at hip level or up by your chin (kettle bell). Just WATCH your FORM (they should be executed smoothly without wobbling knees)!

    Pistols could probably be considered the king of unilateral lower body resistance training. They build good quad and glute strength, and with enough added weight, lean hard muscle mass. Single-leg weighted RDLs would be "king" for hamstrings (besides hamstring curls).


    Edit: Your foot should stay completely flat on the floor throughout the full range of motion. And you should be pushing off from the heel (that's where the power to get back comes from).
    Great advice. Much appreciated.
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    temporary illusion supramax's Avatar
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    jg8181,

    Hold your 80's at your sides and do a 5 second eccentric with a 5 second hold in the hole while breathing. Then explode up and repeat.
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    feminine and fast-twitch etet1919's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    jg8181,

    Hold your 80's at your sides and do a 5 second eccentric with a 5 second hold in the hole while breathing. Then explode up and repeat.
    Don't you think that's irresponsible to tell someone (most likely a beginner) to hold 2 80 lb. DBs while TRYING pistols???? If you did them (or had done them- you're age 70ish), then you would know that using 2 80 lb. DBs are a rare occurrence- something only an athlete like a Division 1 football player, rugby player, elite gymnast, pro wrestler or pro soccer player might do. That's an extreme amount of weight starting out!!
    Fact: My first-generation uncle was a boxer who fought Sugar Ray Robinson! He also fought in the war, sacrificing the career he deeply loved, so people could have the right to freedom.

    Let's show RESPECT for the POLICE and ALL FIRST RESPONDERS by helping to keep THEM SAFE AND SOUND, and thereby able to PROTECT US!
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  8. #8
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    Originally Posted by etet1919 View Post
    Don't you think that's irresponsible to tell someone (most likely a beginner) to hold 2 80 lb. DBs while TRYING pistols???? If you did them (or had done them- you're age 70ish), then you would know that using 2 80 lb. DBs are a rare occurrence- something only an athlete like a Division 1 football player, rugby player, elite gymnast, pro wrestler or pro soccer player might do. That's an extreme amount of weight starting out!!
    I didn't say or imply pistol squats. To clarify, though, it's this type of squat: https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a...umbbell-squat/
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

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    Some ideas:

    - Dumbbell hack squats. Elevate heels, keep back vertical through the whole movement, squat below parallel. Quad killer. I'd start with 25s or 30s.
    - Clean the dumbbells and hold them at your shoulders while squatting. I haven't tried this but I imagine it could be done with 80s.
    - Hold them at your sides and squat normally, or breathing pause squats as supramax mentioned. Those were a fun addition when I did them with a barbell.
    - Hold them in front in sumo/wide stance and squat.
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    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    Some ideas:

    - Dumbbell hack squats. Elevate heels, keep back vertical through the whole movement, squat below parallel. Quad killer. I'd start with 25s or 30s.
    - Clean the dumbbells and hold them at your shoulders while squatting. I haven't tried this but I imagine it could be done with 80s.
    - Hold them at your sides and squat normally, or breathing pause squats as supramax mentioned. Those were a fun addition when I did them with a barbell.
    - Hold them in front in sumo/wide stance and squat.
    Of course, dumbbell front squats can be done with 80s if you can power clean them into position. The (dumbbells at sides) hang squat also requires an upright torso, but you can use A LOT MORE weight. If you go heavy enough, it's the only true replacement for deadlifts.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

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  11. #11
    Registered User VTLifts's Avatar
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    I do weighted step-ups and love them. Not sure your strength, but holding 80s on the side for several sets of proper step-ups would be very challenging.

    Step-up onto something solid. A wooden box (plyo box) would be ideal. I think using your bench is a bad idea for weighted step-ups. The soft pad of the bench adds instability. Plus you could rip your bench pad in the process.

    Play around with various heights. The higher you go, you're more likely to recruit more glute and some hamstring while lower heights far more quad dominant. Alternate days of high vs low box height.

    Don't cheat by pushing off from the floor. Focus on crushing the box with your front foot.

    I think this tutorial addressing step-ups (and legs in general) is very good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ew0bdJMZvA&t=934s
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    Originally Posted by VTLifts View Post
    Play around with various heights. The higher you go, you're more likely to recruit more glute and some hamstring while lower heights far more quad dominant. Alternate days of high vs low box height.
    To emphasize quads, use lateral placement of the box.

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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    To emphasize quads, use lateral placement of the box.

    Interesting. Never considered those. Feel like balance might be tricky with heavy dumbbells so probably have to use lighter weights. You do them?
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    Originally Posted by VTLifts View Post
    Interesting. Never considered those. Feel like balance might be tricky with heavy dumbbells so probably have to use lighter weights. You do them?
    I do. I find that the lean forward with the box-in-front, while necessary to maintain balance, provides momentum and assists the lift in a way I don't want to happen.
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