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3 joint friendly alternatives to barbell squats

Squats are a classic gym exercises.


Walk into any gym and you will see someone doing some type of squat.


One of the most popular variations is the barbell back squat.


These are right up there with the bench press and deadlift as one of the most commonly used exercises to build strength, size, and function.


As great as barbell squats are they may not be for everyone.


If you feel your knees, back, or everything but your legs working when you barbell squat, you should definitely keep reading.


Barbell squats are a family of exercises that require a lot of coordination, mobility, and technique to master.


As a coach my goal is to come up with a plan that gives you the best results that you are looking for.

And rather than just forcing you to do an exercise that may not be the best fit for you, it is way better to provide you with options.


Those of you that have back pain, knee pain, or just don’t feel comfortable doing barbell squats, here are 3 alternatives you can do.


These three alternatives will still get your legs strong, develop good looking quads and butts, and will allow you to do so with less chances of injury.


1. Leg press.


For most adults this is my favorite exercise for the legs.


The machine puts you in a very safe and stable position so you can put as much effort as you are comfortable with into each rep.


2. Hack squat.


This one is a little more advanced than the leg press because it requires more use of the abs and requires more mobility.


Looking at it you may see the resemblance to the barbell squat.

The hips, knees, and ankles all bend and the legs push into the platform to stand you up.


3. Reverse hack squat.


This one is not one I give people often, as it is a little awkward. However, I felt it was a good alternative to the barbell squat, so it ended up here.


This time, instead of facing away from the machine, you will face it while your shoulders on the pad.


With this variation, you may feel more in your butt (a.k.a glutes) because you have a little more of a forward lean to it. Versus the regular hack squat which keeps your shoulders stacked over your hips and uses the front of the leg (a.k.a quads) a little more.


There you have it!


3 alternatives you can try if barbell squatting is not giving you the outcome you want.

Each of these can be programmed just like barbell squats.


3-4 sets for 10-12 reps and 2 minutes of rest in between each set is a great place to start.


Use these to help keep your legs strong, muscular, and healthy!


If you know you need more personalization to help you get stronger, lose weight, or build muscle, then click the link below and let’s talk!


We can go over what your goals are, what current routine is like, and find the easiest adjustment you can make to reach your goal.






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