That’s one rep. Why it works: This exercise also strengthens the booty, stretches the hamstrings, and doesn’t create much pressure on the knees, says Stacy Sims, Ph.D., exercise physiologist and author of Roar: How to Match Your Food and Fitness. Why It's Sub Worthy: Anyone who bashes the Smith machine for not being "functional" hasn't opened up his or her mind to all the function this training tool has to offer. The second alternative lower-body exercise is called the Belt Squat. Would doing and squats and deadlifts affect my growing or not? Are smith machine squats just as effective as regular squats, would I make better gains if I switched? Also for John, I turned 55 this month and have made great progress this last year. Lee's main focus right now is with helping men over 40 - who don't want to be fat anymore - lose the gut, build muscle, and get back in shape. But I do love squats. The following exercises still work the major muscles you’re trying to target (glutes, hamstrings, quads, and hips). Similar to front squats, Zercher squats require you to maintain a more upright torso, and they also allow you to achieve a greater depth at the bottom. When i do barbell squats, it hurts my traps so i put a cushion pad on the bar so it doesn’t hurt as much. Step back with your right leg and bend both knees as you lower until your left knee is bent 90 degrees. Everyone has to do this in their training as they get more advanced. Let's start with some more obvious alternatives. Tony: That's one rep. Why it works: The good morning exercise doesn't require much knee bending, but helps you practice proper hip hinging form that will assist with squats, says Cosgrove. Excellent blog, Lee, thanks for the post.-Ian, No offence to the personal trainers out there, but lifting a barbell will work more muscle then some weird 1 legged, quarter turn twist, while holding on to a cable handle and wobbling around on a bosu ball . They are brutally hard, and as such are a fantastic exercise for leg… I really think that my parents would benefit from doing some good old fashioned heavy (scaled to their abilities, of course) lifting (deadlifts and squats especially), to get the hormones pumping again. With this movement, you have the option of either putting a barbell on your back or holding dumbbells. That's one rep. Why it works: Glute bridges target the booty and hips without placing any bodyweight on your knees, according to Sims. Alex. Therefore, an alternative exercise, such as the belt squat, can prioritize the load to the lower body musculature and be an effective substitute for the traditional back squat. You can even change things up from time to time and do leg presses or hack squats as a easier variation. Now back to your original question about dumbbell squats; they are ok, but once you work up to any amount of weight at all they can be quite awkward to perform. Keep your left leg slightly bent. You’ll find that as you make gains in the squat, the rest of your body will grow in proportion. Yes, the barbell back squat is the "king of exercises," and I'm as big a fan of the move as anyone. Talk about big shoes to fill. About 3\4 years ago I injured myself in the gym whilst squatting. The dumbbells could then go lower – below the sides of the platform. This will stimulate more muscle growth all over. Swap them in for squats, and prepare to see some lower-body gains. Reverse the motion, letting your glutes track backward, to lower back down. But they set me back big time. Do you know of any studies or info on having senior citizens do this kind of training? Sadly my knees are injured and recovering so I can’t push as much as I’d like. Reverse the direction, driving up forcefully through the forward heel to the start position, using the back foot for balance. Whats the purpose of this? I firmly belive All belt squats utilize a belt to place the load on the hips, effectively circumventing the need to support the weight with the upper extremities. How to: Place a mini resistance band underneath your feet, and stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. I have just ordered one & understand this will take some of the strain off the lower back but is as effective as squats. But more important for those with lower-back issues, front squats force the torso to remain more upright than back squats do (otherwise the bar will fall forward and drop to the floor), thus relieving some of the strain on the spine.).