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If your gym didn't have a squat rack....

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

If your gym didn't have a squat rack, would you join a new gym?

 

 

(for me the question isn't that easy b/c I'd have to drive an additional 15 minutes to get to a gym with a squat rack, and also be forced to go to the kind in strip malls which I'm not a fan of).

post #2 of 21

I would ask you current gym to purchase one.  I was amazed when I purchased a unit for training my clients how affordable they are.  If you want one, other members probably do as well.

 

Just my thoughts.

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriponsnow View Post

I would ask you current gym to purchase one.  I was amazed when I purchased a unit for training my clients how affordable they are.  If you want one, other members probably do as well.

 

Just my thoughts.



It's actually pretty bad; they did purchase one but it is in a locked glass room that is for "Personal Training Only," which costs 60 bucks a day.  I called in and complained, but they said a squat rack would be "too dangerous" for unsupervised use.  Jeez, it's not like the leg press couldn't severely injure you.  My gym is this wannabe upscale gym that is also a health/racquetball/swimming place and they cater to mostly elderly and out-of-shape suburbanites.  But the location is hard to beat.  Ok rant over. 

post #4 of 21

Sounds like a shitty gym.

 

A DB squat w/ DBs held at your sides, is my favorite squat. Since the weights are hanging, you will always naturally have them inline, reducing the torque, which makes the exercise healthier without sacrificing leg strength/performance. The required upper back stability is greater in the DB squat, more comparable to the loading of the deadlift. Not to mention if you run in to trouble, you can just drop the DBs to the floor, instead of being trapped under the bar.  Plus holding the heavy weights in your hands, will also work your grip.

 

Most gyms have DB's up to 120, so that's a 240lbs squat. Which is something most will struggle with far greater than a 315 back squat.

 

Doing split squat/ one leg versions with DB's will also allow you to double up the load. Safer and more effective than a back squat.

 

From a skier standpoint. A DB squat requires a narrower stance, that has more carryover to skiing, than a traditional squat stance. It's also a better upper body exercise.

 

A front squat would be limited to the amount of weight you can clean. Which for many isn't really a problem. If it is for you, then you should just do more cleans, focusing on catching it deep.

 

Not that I have anything against, back squats or barbell squats. They are great exercises in their own right. For most untrained people especially women, a back squat is more effective than a DB squat, where the limit is often on the arms/upper body.

 

 

Pretty lame gym to not have a squat rack available.

post #5 of 21

I haven't seen a squat rack in a commercial gym around here in years.  Most YMCA's have only Smith machines, although some of the few remaining older ones have proper squat racks.

It's a sad state of affairs.

 

BK

post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post

I haven't seen a squat rack in a commercial gym around here in years.  Most YMCA's have only Smith machines, although some of the few remaining older ones have proper squat racks.

It's a sad state of affairs.

 

BK

and they usually have a dude doing bicep curls in them
 

 

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post

I haven't seen a squat rack in a commercial gym around here in years.  Most YMCA's have only Smith machines, although some of the few remaining older ones have proper squat racks.

It's a sad state of affairs.

 

BK


Yeah I have a smith machine but that takes all the advantage out of the squat, and is basically a vertical leg press.

 

post #8 of 21


Fixed it for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSquare View Post

If your gym HAD ASININE RULES ABOUT WHO COULD AND COULD NOT USE THE GOOD EQUIPMENT AND HOW MUCH EXTRA THEY WOULD HAVE TO PAY, would you join a new gym?

 

 

(for me the question isn't that easy b/c I'd have to drive an additional 15 minutes to get to a gym with a squat rack, and also be forced to go to the kind in strip malls which I'm not a fan of).

And the answer is yes.
 

 

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by surfacehoar View Post

Sounds like a shitty gym.

 

A DB squat w/ DBs held at your sides, is my favorite squat. Since the weights are hanging, you will always naturally have them inline, reducing the torque, which makes the exercise healthier without sacrificing leg strength/performance. The required upper back stability is greater in the DB squat, more comparable to the loading of the deadlift. Not to mention if you run in to trouble, you can just drop the DBs to the floor, instead of being trapped under the bar.  Plus holding the heavy weights in your hands, will also work your grip.

 

Most gyms have DB's up to 120, so that's a 240lbs squat. Which is something most will struggle with far greater than a 315 back squat.

 

Doing split squat/ one leg versions with DB's will also allow you to double up the load. Safer and more effective than a back squat.

 

From a skier standpoint. A DB squat requires a narrower stance, that has more carryover to skiing, than a traditional squat stance. It's also a better upper body exercise.

 

A front squat would be limited to the amount of weight you can clean. Which for many isn't really a problem. If it is for you, then you should just do more cleans, focusing on catching it deep.

 

Not that I have anything against, back squats or barbell squats. They are great exercises in their own right. For most untrained people especially women, a back squat is more effective than a DB squat, where the limit is often on the arms/upper body.

 

 

Pretty lame gym to not have a squat rack available.

Sounds like the best solution until you use up you payed membership.
 

 

post #10 of 21

Wonder what they'd sat if you bailed with 300# once they got the rack?

 

It is true that you can get hurt doing back squats without knowledge.  Push them to let you use the "private" one.

 

You could also do front squats starting from the floor.  If the weight goes to high have a couple of guys give you some help.


Edited by Paul Jones - 9/12/11 at 5:26pm
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post


 

You could also do front squats starting from the floor.  If the weight goes to high have a couple of guys give you some help.


I can't clean-and-press much (no more than 155 lbs), so that's all I can do right now for back squat.  I haven't tried front squats yet.

 

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSquare View Post




I can't clean-and-press much (no more than 155 lbs), so that's all I can do right now for back squat.  I haven't tried front squats yet.

 


Front squats are good.  I prefer back squats.  Either way you need good form to avoid injury and to get max benefit.

 

The amount of weight that you work with is always relative to your strength and ability.  So, start low and do it right.  In fact, before front squats, as part of the warm-up, we usually start with a pvc pipe for the purpose of form.  It's a good idea to keep the weight low in the beginning.  The front squat is a combination of strength and skill, and lighter weights will allow you to concentrate on proper execution.

 

post #13 of 21

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRTIokP8cv4

 

Don't know how to embed.  Looks like this Crossfitter took the weight from the floor to do front squats.  She did 20 which means she was working with a lower weight.

post #14 of 21

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRTIokP8cv4

 

Don't know how to embed.  Looks like this Crossfitter took the weight from the floor to do front squats.  She did 20 which means she was working with a lower weight.

 

 

Turn the volume way down for this one  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dehR3d6NuQE.  This is an older Crossfit vid - Good v Bad.

 

 

And while you're at it, how's your air squat form.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1FpWEfJW1s&feature=related  You can do air squats then add weight by holding a plate against the chest or even out in front.  You could add a weight vest.  Air squats are fundamental so work 'em.

 

 

And maybe a goblet squat  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nylJSep_RYQ


Edited by Paul Jones - 7/29/11 at 1:38pm
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSquare View Post




Yeah I have a smith machine but that takes all the advantage out of the squat, and is basically a vertical leg press.

 


The smith machine is better than the leg press machine because the load path is the same as for a free weight squat.  With a leg press, your back and ab muscles are isolated out of the load path.  The only disadvantage of a Smith machine is that there's no balancing involved, which is the main event for ski training.

Based on USSA clinics I've done, squats with heavy weights have been pretty much eliminated from serious ski training for some time now.  The emphasis now is on endurance and balance, using light weights, high reps and lots of balance ball stuff.  I haven't been to the USOC training center at Lake Placid, but based on talking to some of the coaches there, I would be surprised if they have any strength machines at all, and maybe not even squat racks.

 

BK

 

 

post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the links Paul.

 

I'm going to give those a try next time at the gym, but I'm going super-light.

 

 

Bode... yeah, I bought "Avalanche Ski Training" e-book and it said to avoid heavy lifting.  But every time I see videos of LV she is lunging 135 or squatting 225 (which for a woman is pretty impressive).  And then I saw a video of Scott Macartney static squatting 500+ in Chile.

post #17 of 21

Maximal strength is your base. Think of it like a pyramid. If your base or max strength is large, then you can potentially build a much taller pyramid. Very few exercises are as good at developing maximal strength as the squat.

 

Traditionally, a strength standard is a 5 rep squat with 1.5x your body weight. If you can squat this, then you are no longer a beginner, and are now at intermediate strength.

Once an athlete reaches this level, then the max squat becomes less of a priority. - this is an old school concept that in reality doesn't carry much weight. For example. a 150lbs man will have a much easier time squatting 225, compared to a 300lbs man squatting 450. The real world is never black and white.

 

Just because a professional athlete does a certain exercise, doesn't  mean it's the right exercise for you, at your fitness level.

 

I see very little positive carryover in the balance gained from exercise on an unstable surface, in respect to ski racing at the elite level. Balance is a learned skill, not a muscle adaptation. The momentum you carry on skis totally changes how your body reacts to being off balance.

 

Nobody should lift heavy without the proper technique. Heavy is a relative term.


Edited by surfacehoar - 7/29/11 at 3:56pm
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by surfacehoar View Post
Traditionally, a strength standard is a 5 rep squat with 1.5x your body weight. If you can squat this, then you are no longer a beginner, and are now at intermediate strength.


Cool, I could do this in college when I had a squat rack.  Now, I have no idea.  But each time I clean-and-press up 135 lbs, and then start squatting, I think: "man, I could totally do twice this amount, if I could just get a squat rack!"

 

 

I agree that pros are at another level... apparently LV goes to the gym six days a week, spends 3 hours biking, plus 3 lifting/balance/plyo.  That's insane, and would probably give most people rhabdomyolysis.

post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSquare View Post





 

 

 

I agree that pros are at another level... apparently LV goes to the gym six days a week, spends 3 hours biking, plus 3 lifting/balance/plyo.  That's insane, and would probably give most people rhabdomyolysis.


Just imagine how good she'd be with half that volume.

More is just more .

 

 

post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSquare View Post

If your gym didn't have a squat rack, would you join a new gym?

 

 

(for me the question isn't that easy b/c I'd have to drive an additional 15 minutes to get to a gym with a squat rack, and also be forced to go to the kind in strip malls which I'm not a fan of).


Philosophically I'd probably want to change gyms if they had a squat cage that they wouldn't let me use, but practically speaking, given the distance difference, I wouldn't. As long as they have barbells and weight plates. Do they? or is it a DB only gym?

 

Some great answers above, but nobody has mentioned deadlifts! If you have access to a bar then you can do deadlifts and split squats. You don't need to front or back squat if you can do that. If you don't have bar access then I'd suggest goblet squats and single leg Romanian deadlifts. Both can be done easily with dumbbells. You'll hit a plateau on the goblet squats, but then go to split squats, or do the goblets more slowly. If they have kBs, learn to swing them and you can do 2 Kb front squats and do very well.

 

Practicality counts, as I'm guessing the further away the gym is, the less often you'll go.

 

Elsbeth

 

post #21 of 21

Have you tried the hack squat? It works most of the same muscles as the traditional back squat, but you start with the bar on the floor, behind your feet, and you pull it up behind you (so, no need for a rack). It looks like it would be similar to a deadlift, but the position of the bar forces you to squat deeper and pull with a straighter back, like a squat. Plus, you don't have the weight limitations that come with the front squat due to the clean. 

 

HackSquat1.jpg

 

 

 

 

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