Alternatives To Squats

alternatives squats

If you have a bad back, it is worth considering doing these exercises that will save your back in the long run.

Squats are great for building a fantastic butt but when you have an injured or stiff lower back they can prove problematic, there are however some good alternatives.

When you have a bad back injury, it is generally not a good idea to be putting heavy weight on there, there is no doubting how good a workout squats are for you core, but sometimes they are just not suitable.

Even if you have to steer clear of doing squats on a rack, there are plenty of other exercises out there that will build up your glutes, 10-15 reps of the following exercises will help build up the muscles in your glutes and also tone them too, include them in full body circuits as well as leg and glute days, do these frequently and correctly for a great round bum that looks good in a bikini or jeans.

alternatives squats

Great for glutes and hamstrings, – the walking lunge

More Power To The Lunge

The lunge is a great alternative to the squat. There are thousands of variations of the lunge but most have the same basic setup, a leg forward with your knee bent and the other leg behind, you can do them without weight, a barbell, dumbbells or even a kettlebell.

These will shape your quads, hamstrings and butt, the further forward you go on your front foot, the harder your butt and hamstrings will work and a shorter step will emphasize your quads, these are great for stretching out your hip flexors, sitting all day will cause them to be short, tight and weak.

Lunges also work the often overlooked hip adducters and abducters which help athletic stability and performance, these are some of the better lunges, you can add these onto your leg day to see the difference.

Walking Lunge

Grab a barbell or set of dumbbells and do it, walking lunges are different from stationary lunges in that you have to use your already stressed leg to step forwards instead of pushing back into a standing position, the trailing leg behind you is just for stability.

Whilst stationary lunges are great for butt and leg development, walking lunges are better because they hit that walking leg so much harder, reach forward with your front leg to better activate your butt and hamstrings, work hard enough to feel the burn.

alternatives squats

Another great exercise that doesn’t involve any injured backs.

Reverse Lunge From Deficit

These are great for building better glutes and hamstrings because they inflate the movement and because your working from a deficit your hips have to push harder to drive your body upward and this places more emphasis on your bum.

A 2-4 inch deficit is enough to start from here, no need to go all the way back, start with both feet on a step and step back with one of your legs, be sure to step back far enough so you can then get low enough to engage your glutes and hamstrings, push the power through your heels as you go back up.

Keep your spine straight, head neutral and train each leg evenly for the exercise.

alternatives squats

Great for your glutes, plus you get to do a cutesy.

Cutesy Lunge

The cutesy lunge hits your glute medius, this is a muscle that helps pull your leg away from the midline of your body and strengthen your adducters and abducters.

This movement is a bit strange and it is best to practice without weight until you feel comfortable.


Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, bring your left foot behind and across your body as you lunge downward, both knees should be 90 degrees.

Be sure to keep your knee from going over your toes too much, if your having problems with balance then use a wall for stability until you can do them on your own.

Other Great Butt Builders

alternatives squats

Great for showing up weak spots in your physique.

Sumo Deadlift

These are one of my favorite exercises, they are great because they always emphasize the weakest part of your body, doing traditional deadlifts, you would use your lower back and quads to help with the lift.

This particular deadlift removes your quads and lower back from the equation, leaving your hips, glutes and hamstrings to do the work. If you have had a lot of previous back problems then the sumo deadlifts are well worth doing.

They look great on paper but they can be difficult, you should set up with a 45 degree foot flare and shins touching the bar with legs wide. This external rotation will help engage your hips on the pull, your knees should be turned outward to match your hips during the pull, if your knees go inward this can cause injuries.

Do not squat down but try keep your hips high, reach your arms straight down and grab the bar, chest up, head and spine neutral and your core tight.

Whether you are old or young, deadlifts should be apart of your program, it doesn’t have to be really heavy but challenging enough to encourage glutes to grow.

alternatives squats

Nice and easy exercise for beginners.

Glute Bridge And Hip Thrust

These are the ultimate builders and shapers, these are the best way to a better booty, the glute bridge is a beginner exercise, start with this until you are performing the workout perfectly and understand how to activate your glutes.

To do a glute bridge, lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet shoulder width apart, your feet should be about 6 inches from your butt. Use the glutes to raise your hips into the air and squeeze at the top, concentrate on glutes only and nothing else.

Hip thrusts are harder because the range of motion is larger, put your upper back against a wall and your feet a little further in front of you. At the top of the movement you should be a straight line from your knees to your hips and then shoulders.

If you want to make this harder, roll a barbell onto your hips for more resistance, your glutes will have to work harder to move the weight up.

alternatives squats

Excellent taking your poor back out of the equation, and not that hard to do either.

Pile Squat

This is absolutely perfect for people with lower back problems, there is no stress on the back and you are in the ideal squat position.

To do this, stand with feet wide and toes pointing outward, similar to the sumo deadlift starting position, the key here is making them work for your butt so concentrate on using your glutes to push you out of your hole, if you wish to use weight, hold a dumbbell/kettle or two in front of you, keep your back straight and your chest up.

You should feel your hips stretching when doing this exercise.

alternatives squats

Short cardio bursts between sets will keep fat off and also keep your heart rate up.

Cardio Bursts

This is great to add in to your lower body training between weighted exercise sets, throw in sets of burpees, mountain climbers, jump squats etc. basically anything to get extra burn between sets, even do jump rope between sets.

These bursts keep your heart rate up so you can actually burn more fat.

And so you can see that there are alternatives to squats that you can use so you can even keep doing them with a bad back.

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