Squats and squat options have all the time been thought-about to be some of the useful compound actions that you are able to do. Nonetheless, with all the advantages that comes with squats, there may also be some drawbacks—specifically that it’s a difficult train to do for many who might have knee or hip points.
When you’ve got knee or hip joint points stopping you from hitting the squat rack, then there are squat options you may attempt. These 9 workouts will hit your hamstrings, glutes and quads however with out the additional pressure in your physique. Put a couple of of those collectively to make an efficient decrease physique exercise.
To present you these 9 squat options so as to add to your leg day exercise, we spoke to on-line private coach Mark Jones and ACE health specialist Tasha Ingram about why they make nice squatting choices and the right approach to carry out them.
Wall squats are an amazing squat different for many who can’t do a barbell squat as a consequence of joint or ligament ache. It is because not like different squat options, the steadiness ball and wall act as leverage so that you can squat down and provides assist to your knees and hips with out placing added stress in your joints.
Just be sure you select the fitting ball dimension for optimum outcomes, making certain that the ball comes round halfway between your knees and hips from the ground. If you’ve chosen the ball dimension best for you, place it between the small of your again and the wall along with your torso upright, ft hip-width aside. You’ll be able to loosen up your arms by your facet or clasp them in entrance of you along with your knees barely bent.
If you’re prepared, have interaction your core and bend on the knees, squatting down in a sluggish and managed motion. As you accomplish that, the ball ought to roll with you as you descend. “When working with people who’ve knee ache, hip ache or any restricted vary of motion…my teaching cues could be squat a bit at a time such a beginning with 1 / 4 squat, progressing to a half squat, and many others,” says Jones, “So long as it’s inside a pain-free vary of movement.” From there, “[take] slight pause on the backside of the motion earlier than pushing ‘via the ground’ to the beginning place,” including that as you accomplish that, “push into the ball for extra stability.”
Regardless of being considered one of our lesser identified squat options, the Spanish squat is a should attempt. It’s a very nice modification to the barbell squat that also works your decrease physique, with out worsening your knee or joint points because it doesn’t overload the knees.
For this train, you have to a resistance band and a sturdy vertical pole, rack or desk leg. Step into the resistance band with each legs, additionally wrapping it across the pole. Make sure that the band is sitting behind your knees and preserve your torso straight. Descend right into a squat till your thighs are at a parallel stage to the bottom earlier than coming again up.
Reverse lunges are an amazing different to squats, particularly when you have knee or hip joint ache. They’re additionally efficient in working your whole physique however notably your decrease physique. And the very best half is, as Ingram states, they place “restricted stress on the knees or hip joints.”
Stand straight, along with your ft hip-width aside along with your arms on hips. “Subsequent, take a big step backwards with the left foot ensuring the other knee (proper) is at a 90-degree angle,” says Ingram. “It’s vital that you’re bending the again leg fastidiously to keep away from banging the knee on the ground which may end up in potential patella harm.” Then, “urgent via the fitting heel, return to a standing place.”
For the very best outcomes, Ingram recommends 3 units of 12-15 reps on all sides. To stage up from body weight reverse lunges, attempt utilizing dumbbells or a barbell for added resistance.
The glute bridge is a perfect train to work your glutes and decrease physique with out having to squat. Whereas glute bridges are usually carried out as an adjunct for different compound actions, as Jones says, “they’re typically good for concentrating on posterior chain muscular tissues while additionally being decrease again and knee joint-friendly,” giving them credit score as a person energy motion as nicely.
To carry out glute bridges, start by mendacity in your again on the ground dealing with the ceiling. Bend your knees so the soles of your ft are planted on the bottom and are immediately beneath the knees. From there brace your core. Jones explains this motion as “drawing your stomach button into your backbone and ‘packing’ your abs beneath your ribcage to attenuate spinal extension.”
When you’ve braced, drive via the ft out of your heel to mid-foot. “Totally contract the glutes and hamstrings, driving the hips upward till absolutely prolonged,” says Jones. “It’s best to really feel the strain within the glutes on the high of the motion.”
One of many different nice issues about glute bridges is that they are often adjusted to your health stage. Like a couple of of our different squat options, you may combine it up by including weights or a band to the motion.
If the opposite squat options are irritating your knees, Romanian deadlifts are an amazing different for these with knee ache and can’t squat down however nonetheless will successfully goal your decrease physique, particularly your glutes and hamstrings.
To carry out them, use a dumbbell or kettlebell and maintain the load in entrance of you, along with your arms straight down. Maintain your ft shoulder-width aside along with your knees barely bent. Slowly, hinge on the hips and decrease the load towards the ground. Guarantee your again stays straight. Maintain going till you’re feeling a stretch in your hamstrings. Whereas this can differ for every individual, usually most individuals will really feel a stretch when the barbell is under the knees. Then, driving your hips ahead and pushing via the ft, stand again up till you’re within the beginning place.
Lure Bar Deadlift
If you happen to don’t need to overload your again however nonetheless need to work your quads, then attempt incorporating the lure bar deadlift into your routine. They’re additionally simpler in your joints as through the use of a hex bar as an alternative of a barbell, extra weight is shifted to the quads versus your decrease again. This additionally leads to much less weight in your shoulders and hips as nicely.
To do that train, step into the center of the hex bar and take a hip-width stance. Maintain onto the handles on both facet, bending on the knees along with your hips sitting again. Maintain your chest and shoulders up. Brace and drive via your ft, standing up with the bar. Squeeze your glutes on the high of the place earlier than decreasing it again right down to the ground. As with all of those squat options, ensure that to concentrate to kind to keep away from damage.
In case your restricted on obtainable train area, skip the opposite squat options and preserve it easy with step-ups. “Step-ups are additionally an amazing different to a squat motion for these affected by knee/joint ache,” says Jones. “For starters, it reduces the load going via your again particularly when doing weighted actions.” It’s additionally a unilateral motion so by working one leg at a time, “you’re capable of deal with the energy, stability and pain-free vary in every particular person leg.”
He suggests decreasing the peak of the step, to start with, particularly for those who expertise any ache. Then, improve the peak as you and your confidence, turn out to be stronger.
“One factor I discover with purchasers which have knee ache relating to step-ups is that they subconsciously (or by behavior) transfer away from the ache. Because of this by cautiously stepping up they really, in reality, placing extra stress on the knee joint,” explains Jones. “I get my purchasers to deal with driving their foot ‘via the step’ utilizing their mid-foot to heel. This implies the glute is extra concerned because the prime mover and 9 occasions out of 10 this helps the extension on the knee to be much less painful.”
To do that, first, guarantee that you’ve got a robust and secure bench/platform. Keep in mind, begin at a low peak first after which you may work your approach up. Step onto the platform along with your main leg, making certain that your complete foot is totally on the step. Jones warns in opposition to trying down, which can end in your torso leaning ahead. As a substitute, preserve your eyes trying up. Then, “drive via the step utilizing mid-foot to heel to…deliver up the again standing leg and convey your foot in line on the step.” Step again right down to the bottom along with your main foot first after which the opposite facet. Ensure to repeat with the opposite facet as your main leg.
Mendacity Leg Curls
Of all of our squat options, the leg curl variation is nice if you wish to focus in your hamstrings. Their significance can’t be understated. By concentrating on your hamstrings, you may stability out your quadriceps. To not point out, as Ingram states, “Leg curls use a lot much less vitality and are simpler to do as a result of they’re much less technical than squats.” She additionally provides that “if accomplished with restricted loading, there’s little or no danger of damage to the knees.”
Leg curl machines are one of many extra widespread machines that you could find at a gymnasium and as Ingram says, they are often carried out both seated or mendacity down. We’re going to clarify the mendacity leg curl.
Lie down on the machine along with your abdomen to the bottom. Place your ft beneath the curler pad, preserving it above the ankle and under the calves. You could want to regulate the seat and pad to take action comfortably, in addition to the load that you just need to use. Keep in mind to go lighter in order that it’s simpler on the knees. Maintain onto the handlebars as your curl your ft up, pulling the ankles in the direction of your glutes, making certain that your hips stay on the seat. Then, decrease your ft once more to the beginning place, in order that your legs are straight.
If you wish to make this a unilateral motion, then do your leg curls, one leg at a time. Whereas one leg is curling, the opposite stays rested on the bench.
Lateral Monster Walks
If you happen to’ve tried the opposite squat options and are searching for one thing slightly totally different, don’t underestimate monster walks. They’re a killer train that’ll work your hips and glutes (notably the gluteus medius). That is actually useful for these unable to squat as a consequence of knee ache as usually it’s “weak glutes [that] result in poor stabilization within the knees,” says Ingram, “which [then] leads to knee and different joint ache.” By bettering your glute energy, you may enhance these areas in your physique as nicely.
Whereas monster walks may be accomplished transferring forwards and backwards, we’re going to deal with lateral monster walks. To carry out lateral monster walks, you’ll want a mini-band. Place this across the thighs, simply above the knees. “By inserting the band greater on the leg versus the ankles or ft, the hips are capable of really feel extra of the resistance from the band,” explains Ingram. From there, preserve your ft shoulder-width aside with a slight bend in your knees. You’ll be able to put your arms in your hips.
Ingram says, “Main along with your knee (not your foot) with resistance on the band, take a small step out to the facet. Repeat these steps 15 occasions on all sides paying cautious consideration that you just aren’t dragging your ft or dropping your shoulders within the course of.”
To maximise outcomes from lateral monster walks, Ingram advises preserving fixed rigidity on the band, with sluggish and managed actions. Solely then will or not it’s “efficient and goal the required muscle teams.”
Whereas squats are an amazing compound motion that successfully works the decrease physique, those that undergo from knee and hip joint ache might not be capable of do them. Nevertheless it doesn’t imply that it’s important to skip leg day. As a substitute, attempt these squat options that’ll deal with totally different elements of your decrease physique the place you may nonetheless construct energy and muscle and fight tightness and ache—even with out the squat.