I am a firm believer that if you are going to invest any of your time in the gym you need to spend some time with the squat. Even if you have lower back issues, shoulder issues, knee issues or you just head trippin about squatting because some knucklehead someone says it will destroy one or all of the above…YOU (and I) NEED TO SQUAT.
I hear you if you have concerns about squatting because you are banged up somewhere between your ankles and you back. Trust me been there… done that! And if I may be so bold to say “…so what…you still need to squat”
Let me re-phrase that…You need to know what you are doing and you need to figure out lower body training options regardless of past injury and/or jacked up skeletal ‘architecture’ like the two samples below. Yes…those MRI photos are of my lower back. Lots of interesting stuff going on down there. So it is fairly clear that conventional back squatting is for the most part no longer a viable option for me.
So I had to figure stuff out. And what I have found to be the most effective lower body exercise without totally having to bail on the squat is the old school Bulgarian Split Squat; or what is also called the Rear Elevated Foot Split Squat (explanation: in strength & conditioning tradition sometimes a country is given props for something it had nothing to do with…so someone takes the liberty to just rename it) I think it was Mike Boyle who came up with REFSS…check out this article from MB.
In this video I simply run through some progressive sets using a single kettle-bell. The rep volume was 10-8-6-4 left and right legs. Then repeated for another round of 10-8-6-4. As the reps dropped…the load was increased.
16kg x 10/10; 24kg x 8/8; 28kg x 6/6; 32kg x 4/4 REPEAT
Here is a short vid showing last set of second round using the 32kg for sets of 4/4
Finally…Just could not leave this post without including ‘The Squat’