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Best alternatives to barbell squat

Posted by: Pete

How do leg presses compare to squats? Do regular squats have any advantage over dumbell squats?

Re: Best alternatives to barbell squat

Posted by: Chris

Depends on what you're aiming for. Generally speaking, I'd opt for squats in nearly every situation. You simply use more muscle groups in a more functional way and stimulate more bone strengthening with squats than with just about any other exercise.

In my opinion, regular squats are more effective than dumbell squats for 2 main reasons: 1) You can use more weight with the barbell squats and 2) Grip strength is not the limiting factor in a barbell squat. Also, you don't have the same weight bearing activity with dumbells that you do with the barbell squat - which means dumbell squats won't strengthen the skeleton the way barbell squats will. In my mind that's the best reason for Joe Average (or Jane) to do squats.

Re: Best alternatives to barbell squat

Posted by: Bill

I agree with Chris. But there are times when one cannot do a squat due to some unforseen circumstances. Instead, you might have to opt for the leg press. But if you do go for the leg press, there is a "condition" if you will, that you need to be aware of and that is called manufacturers syndrom. This means that most equipment, no matter how elaborate the machine is, cannot possibly fit each and every person. There are some biomechanical problems that are inherent to each piece. What this means is that YOU have to adjust yourself in each machine to ensure that the mechanics are correct.

For example, when you are in position of the leg press, you must allow your legs to be in a 90 degree angle when the legs come down to meet your chest while keeping your butt in the seat. This might mean having to hang your toes over the edge of the platform in order to get your knees into the correct position. Then make sure that you don't lock out at the top nor do you allow your butt to come off the seat at the bottom of the movement. You must also keep the knees in line with the shoulders and not outside the proper alignment of the joints.

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