A Great Squat Substitute

Sometimes it's prudent to not have an athlete perform a barbell squat for their main movement.

This could be because of structural changes in the hip (FAI, as an example), a shoulder injury, low back pain, or perhaps the because of the time of year (in-season, early off-season, etc.), or any number of other reasons why a strength coach or trainer may decide not to put it in their program for that wave.

The great news is, despite the fact that the squat is often heralded as the "king of all exercises," there other ways of to induce a similar training effect if the time calls for it.

While there are many possible alternatives, one great substitute is the barbell stepback lunge with front squat grip:

You still receive all the benefits of axial loading, along with a healthy dose of a strength stimulus for the lower body and core. Not to mention, there's something about this exercise that really gasses you, even if you keep the reps toward the lower end of the spectrum.

Give it a shot. I think you'll like it, even though your athletes may curse you for its inclusion in their program.


Sarah Walls

A little about me: I've worked in pretty much every corner of the fitness industry for about 10 years. I've had the great fortune of spending most of this time working with gifted athletes at every level. I've also had the great opportunity of designing and conducting research projects, writing occasionally for various publications and blogs, competing in powerlifting, and just generally having a killer time pursuing my passions wherever they may take me. Now I own two businesses: one is an athletic performance training company that I started in 2007 at age 26 and the other is a software company startup that was launched in 2014. Paramount to all the awesomeness of my professional career, is my family. My kids are a thrill and my husband continues to be my most critical and important supporter.