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Old 07-22-2013, 04:15 PM    (permalink
Rob S
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Smith machines are completely awful for absolutely everything and they shouldn't exist. If you want to do box squats, they're fine, but never use a smith.
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:20 PM    (permalink
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Smith machines limit your mobility and basically make the lift easier, which shouldn't be what you're looking for. The harder it is, the more benefit you get out of it. If you don't have a spotter, then do less weight, not smiths machine.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:23 PM    (permalink
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swimming laps has become my new favorite exercise. that is all.
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:01 PM    (permalink
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Squats are the single best exercise you can do. There is almost no debating that.

On another note, if you are attempting a PR or max effort bench with no spotter, you're a moron.
Um no, it really is not the best exercise you can do. Especially if you have lower back issues just avoid squats completely.
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:02 PM    (permalink
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Um no, it really is not the best exercise you can do. Especially if you have lower back issues just avoid squats completely.
Assuming someone has no injury issues, it absolutely is. Squats and deadlifts are far and away the best.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:59 PM    (permalink
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If I remember right deads recruit more muscle groups than squats, though no by a lot. Squats definitely involve the legs more though. I think it's fair to say they are the top two overall weightlifting movements. The third best being tricep kickbacks.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:00 AM    (permalink
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Assuming someone has no injury issues, it absolutely is. Squats and deadlifts are far and away the best.
I prefer Olympic lifts if you can get the technical part down. Squat places such a high amount of stress on the lower back. Front squats are a better exercise they do not place near the amount of stress on the lower back.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:07 AM    (permalink
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Honestly if I had your back injury I am not sure I'd bother with squatting. Squats are the best, and if you do them with good form they're not dangerous. But it's very hard to self-evaluate squat form. Are you hitting good depth, is your chest up and back straight, are your knees collapsing inward, etc. Hard to know without another person that knows what they're doing helping you. Not necessarily a coach or trainer or anything like that but someone that just knows what to look for. It is very easy to get into bad habits with squats.

If you were to try it, I would suggest working on form first with light weight and try video taping yourself so you can review or even post it on the web for others to critique. I used to visit wbb.com a lot and they do lots of form checks there and on other lifting sites. I definitely would not push it right away to the point that you have to bail. There are ways you can set up a power rack's pins so that if you bail at the bottom the bar doesn't have far to drop, but it's better to add weight once you are confident in your form so you just don't have to bail.

Also if you are referring to a Smith machine definitely don't squat in that. The fixed bar path will **** up your back and/or possibly other parts of your body.
So what can I do to get around this? I want the benefits but it sounds like I shouldn't squat. So leg press and what else?

I'm also assuming that dead lift is probably not a good idea for me either.
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:21 AM    (permalink
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I prefer Olympic lifts if you can get the technical part down. Squat places such a high amount of stress on the lower back. Front squats are a better exercise they do not place near the amount of stress on the lower back.
Oly lifts are great, but squats are definitely better to develop a base of strength and are more foundationally important to being a generally strong individual. All Olympic lifters squat.
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:40 AM    (permalink
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So what can I do to get around this? I want the benefits but it sounds like I shouldn't squat. So leg press and what else?

I'm also assuming that dead lift is probably not a good idea for me either.
i would suggest doing ultra light weight and seeing how it feels. like start with just the bar, physical therapy type stuff. my brother had surgery for his skulliosis and has two metal bars fused into his back but he now squats and deadlifts without any sign of pain
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:48 AM    (permalink
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i would suggest doing ultra light weight and seeing how it feels. like start with just the bar, physical therapy type stuff. my brother had surgery for his skulliosis and has two metal bars fused into his back but he now squats and deadlifts without any sign of pain
So a combination of lunges/leg press wouldn't give me near the results as squating right?

Do you squat every other day, or once a week?
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:49 AM    (permalink
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BBD, perhaps worth investing a few sessions with a physical therapist/trainer to work on a safe strengthening program?
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:52 AM    (permalink
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So a combination of lunges/leg press wouldn't give me near the results as squating right?

Do you squat every other day, or once a week?
i squat once a week. i'm not nearly an experienced enough lifter to tell you whether or not those exercises can replace squats, though. i'd definitely recommend phys. therapy like bsaza said. they'll be able to both tell you if you can ever do squats/deds and what you can do to strengthen your back in order to do them safely
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:56 AM    (permalink
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Yeah I've been debating whether I should contact a physical therapist. I'm probably going to do that. Better safe than sorry.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:05 AM    (permalink
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Nothing can replace squats, but lunges are a very good supplemental exercise. If it isn't safe for your back, a combo of leg press, lunges and glute ham raises would be okay. I'd say you can squat anywhere between 1 and 3 times per week. 3 for beginners and less for more experiences lifters.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:21 AM    (permalink
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Yeah I've been debating whether I should contact a physical therapist. I'm probably going to do that. Better safe than sorry.
Assuming you have insurance, you can get a doctor/therapist to help you out. Go onto Zocdoc.com and check reviews. If you can get a therapist with a sports medicine background, that will likely be best for you.

The one caution I will throw out there is that Therapists love to get long term clients. If you can put very clear parameters on the goals of the engagement, that will help control the situation. Basically tell them "I'm coming 3x with this goal in mind, and I won't pay/come more than that." That will prevent them from messing around and wasting your time and money with copays and such.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:28 AM    (permalink
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Yeah that's the problem. I'm currently a consultant with crappy health insurance. Which is why I tried avoiding it.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:38 AM    (permalink
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I would look at this as an investment, which is why you can really just work on a specific program. See about getting 3 sessions, just strengthening. You can also see about hiring a personal trainer at your gym who has a rehab/PT background. Could be easier.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:46 AM    (permalink
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There's so much information on the internetz it really can get confusing. I see some people just do 5 exercises per day, 5 sets 5 reps.

Then other people say you should do like 4 exercises per body part, like 4 chest, 4 ab etc.

So i really have no idea if I'm overtraining or undertraining. I do 4 sets of each exercises at 5 reps heavy weight, but I also do about 7 to 8 exercises per day (4 days a week).
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:50 AM    (permalink
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Current routine: 5 reps of each set. I don't know the names of some of the exercises so I just describe it the way I know it.


Leg day
-4 sets of lunges
-3 sets of leg press
-4 sets of calf raises
-3 sets of leg curls
-3 sets of hip abduction
-3 sets of hip adduction
-plank 2 minutes twice

Back/chest day
-3 sets of pull down front
-3 sets of pull down rear
-4 sets of sitting pull down
-3 sets of bench press
-3 sets of curls 10 or 5
-3 sets of raises 10 or 5
-3 sets of decline raises 10 or 5
-3 sets of incline raises
-plank 2 minutes twice

Arms/shoulder day/abs
-3 sets of shoulder shrugs
-3 sets of vertical raises
-3 sets of dumbbell raises
-3 sets of bicep curls
-3 sets of tricep curls
- 3 sets of forearm curls
-3 sets of forearm lifts
-3 sets of ab machine
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:59 PM    (permalink
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again, i can't pretend i'm an expert, but your core work seems kind of light. i think it would help doing less machine work because to get that same fixed motion with free weights a lot of the time you need to engage your core.

edit: you could also try a back brace/lifting belt

Last edited by sbh15 : 07-23-2013 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:03 PM    (permalink
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The only machines I use now are for the pull downs that work on my back muscles and the hip machines. Everything else is dumbbell. Oh and the ab machine is obviously a machine, and leg press/curl.

Is there a way to replace the back machine with free weights? I don't know the name of it, it's the one where you pull down while sitting and engage your upper back muscles. And the other back machine is sitting down and pulling towards you engaging your lower back muscles.
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:11 PM    (permalink
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Try looking up some physical therapy stretches and workouts to build your back strength back up. I wanted to avoid the doctors like you for my left knee which on some days I could barely walk on, but I got some bands and did some PT workout and stretches I found online that I'd do before a workout or my games. Did it for a few months and my knee feels great, I still get occasional pain, but as long as I keep up the stretches it'll be fine.
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:14 PM    (permalink
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I do the stretches. I went to physical therapy when I first hurt my back and I remember all the stretches I have to do.

For strengthening my back muscles they just had me do the back machine. That's it. But that was a long time ago.
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:41 PM    (permalink
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A good master trainer can make all the difference here. Even without top notch insurance, you should be able to make an investment at the gym. Highly recommend at the very least.
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