Is squat and deadlift replacable trough isolation?

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Stephen Johnson
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Re: Is squat and deadlift replacable trough isolation?

Post by Stephen Johnson » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:04 am

Putting an untrained person on a routine made up of isolation exercises is a sure-fire recipe for increasing muscular imbalances in his body. The result of this is a body that is all show and no go.

To a couch potato, any routine is better than no routine. So, if his goal is to look good sitting on the couch, the muscle imbalances might not be a problem. But if he wants to get off the couch - even for casual physical activities - problems will arise.

As noted in hoosegow's article, serious sports trainers no longer consider the leg press as a substitute for the squat. Leg press trained athletes don't have the lower back strength needed to transfer the power generated by their lower bodies to their upper bodies in their athletic movements. Doing squats and deadlifts in a routine avoids the lagging lower back problem.

Olympic trainers worried about the load that the back squat places on the spine switched to a version of the step up as a work around.

Frankly, a commentor who is making progress squatting worrying about getting injured is a new one on me. As Matt and Robertscott said, you don't have to set PRs in the squat to benefit from the exercise.

And, one more quote from hoosegow's article:
World renowned personal trainer Brian Dobson, owner of Metroflex gym, says, “My daughter can leg press 800 pounds, yet she struggles to squat 115.”
Piling 45s on a leg press doesn't make it equal to a squat
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Re: Is squat and deadlift replacable trough isolation?

Post by Matt Z » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:14 pm

"Front squats are much better but it's hard to progress doing them if you can't even hold it properly. Some people are just not enough flexible for it." - excore

Have you tried doing front squats with your arms crossed? If you find this uncomfortable, look into a device called the stingray. It snaps onto the bar and rests on your shoulders/upper arms. You'll need to play with it a little to get the width right, but once you do it will help prevent the barbell from digging in or rolling back onto your throat.

PS) Powerlifting is safer than most sports. Meanwhile, when serious injuries do occur, it's usually in competition, rather than in training. That's probably because the pressure of competition and the desire to win (or at least do well) leads some lifters to take chances at meets that they wouldn't take in training. ... For me at least, the take home message is to exercise caution and good sense whenever you lift. If you do that, you can lift heavy and still stay safe.

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Re: Is squat and deadlift replacable trough isolation?

Post by KittenJ » Tue May 06, 2014 11:00 am

I'm still a fan of squatting. I just know how to do it right for my limitations. tyvm
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Re: Is squat and deadlift replacable trough isolation?

Post by SmokeWillow » Sat May 10, 2014 9:31 pm

Squats and deadlifts are the best core exercises hands down and nothing on this planet or any other that we know of can beat them out.

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Re: Is squat and deadlift replacable trough isolation?

Post by Drake Van Steed » Tue May 13, 2014 6:42 pm

It's a valid question. The answer is no, but it may not matter. Here's what I mean. Only squats and deadlifts will make you good at squats and deadlifts--specific adaptation to imposed demand principle. That's the "no" part of the answer. Here's the "it may not matter" part of the answer. You can build comparable muscle mass, if not more, in the same muscles involved in squating (not so much deadlifts perhaps) by using machines, such as the leg press, leg extension, and leg curls. This muscle mass can be trained to perform whatever explosive athletic activity you do--ice skating, sprinting, jumping etc... The muscle you build squating and deadlfting is no more "functional" than the muscle you build leg pressing--it's just dumb muscle. You have to train the muscle to do some other activity better. Now, squating resembles jumping probably better than leg press, but I would say those squat developed muscles will still require activity specific training.

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Re: Is squat and deadlift replacable trough isolation?

Post by Matt Z » Tue May 13, 2014 7:39 pm

Squatting builds more than just leg muscles. It also builds core strength, balance, flexibility, motor skills, etc. You won't get all that from a leg press.

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Re: Is squat and deadlift replacable trough isolation?

Post by Stephen Johnson » Wed May 14, 2014 8:44 am

Matt Z wrote:Squatting builds more than just leg muscles. It also builds core strength, balance, flexibility, motor skills, etc. You won't get all that from a leg press.
Agreed. Squatting is a full body exercise, not just a "leg exercise." Strong quads on the field mean nothing if they are accompanied by weak glutes and a weak lower back.

Athletes who train body parts rather than for function are missing the boat. They're athletes, NOT bodybuilders.
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Re: Is squat and deadlift replacable trough isolation?

Post by robertscott » Wed May 14, 2014 12:31 pm

Stephen Johnson wrote:
Matt Z wrote:Squatting builds more than just leg muscles. It also builds core strength, balance, flexibility, motor skills, etc. You won't get all that from a leg press.
Agreed. Squatting is a full body exercise, not just a "leg exercise." Strong quads on the field mean nothing if they are accompanied by weak glutes and a weak lower back.

Athletes who train body parts rather than for function are missing the boat. They're athletes, NOT bodybuilders.
good post. If you want to actually be able to use your legs to lift something outside of the gym, then you need to have the glute and lower back strength to back it up.

Take me for example. In the gym I'm strong like ox, outside of the gym I'm weak like kitten. Do I care? Hell no, my legs look awesome, and that's what I'm training for. If I were an athlete it'd be a totally different story.

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Re: Is squat and deadlift replacable trough isolation?

Post by Stephen Johnson » Wed May 14, 2014 4:13 pm

robertscott wrote: Hell no, my legs look awesome, and that's what I'm training for.
At least you're training legs. Most of the guys in my gym - I mean, health club - are like this dude:

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Re: Is squat and deadlift replacable trough isolation?

Post by Rucifer » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:15 pm

Recently I've gotten into kettlebell swings. I do wonder what the long term joint implications are for heavy squats and dead lifts. I feel like explosive exercises like the swing, or snatches and cleans might be "safer" as far as joint safety is for the long term. Anyone have an opinion on this? I'm talking if you've been doing this for decades I mean

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Re: Is squat and deadlift replacable trough isolation?

Post by stuward » Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:18 am

I think both are helpful. You can maintain your volume with lower intensities but you should go heavy some time.
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Re: Is squat and deadlift replacable trough isolation?

Post by Matt Z » Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:52 pm

I've been at it over for 20 years now. I find I get fewer aches and pains on my current strength program (low volume and relatively heavy) than I did training like a bodybuilder back in high school (high volume, moderate weight, lots of isolation).

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