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Thread: Starting Strength for someone who can't back squat

  1. #1
    IRL my name is Trent Hazerboy's Avatar
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    Starting Strength for someone who can't back squat

    I'm designing a program for someone who can't back squat - he has some sort of spinal disorder. Essentially he has a hunch back.

    Anyways, he can deadlift fine (recently did 240x5 at somewhere around 180 lbs, 6'0) and is cleared for sports (was a D3 cross country/track athlete for awhile). So what should I replace the back squats with? Front squats? Regular deadlifts? trap bar deadlifts?
    Stats: 11/15/07-First-meet--2nd Meet----3rd meet
    Weight: 185-----187---------198---------198
    Max Bench: 255---220-----------280------300
    Max Squat: 405----395----------440------460
    Max Dead:475-----485----------551------570
    CHINUPS - Bodyweight + 135, x1, dead hang. Still working on the one arm chinup.

  2. #2
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    Front squats should work fine. Any squat variation he can do should work.

  3. #3
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Front squats would not be a good choice if he has a hunched back near the upper vertebra.

    He may be relegated to the hack squat machine or the leg press.

    How bad is the hunch?


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    Yeah, how could he do front squats? If for some odd reason, he can - they would probably be a preferable alternative. Otherwise things like single leg squats and lunges would probably be the best.

  5. #5
    IRL my name is Trent Hazerboy's Avatar
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    Here is a pic of em.

    Should I put deadlifts as his core 5x5 lift and follow it with leg press or some squat varient every other day or so?
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Maybe you should ask rippetoe himself over at the strength mill forums q&a?

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    Moderator joey54's Avatar
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    What about barbell hacks? If he can deadlift he can probably do those. I like the trap bar deadlift idea. Consulting his physican might not be a bad idea for this gentleman either.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by joey54 View Post
    Consulting his physican might not be a bad idea for this gentleman either.
    I'd take this advice as well. I don't see how DL can be any better than squatting.

  9. #9
    IRL my name is Trent Hazerboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cmanuel View Post
    Maybe you should ask rippetoe himself over at the strength mill forums q&a?
    thats probably a really good idea. I'll get on that at some point.

    I'll look into consulting his doctor. I have a feeling he'll be one of those "no one should squat ever" doctors though.


    I feel like he can deadlift, but not squat, because for squats there's no solid place to put the barbell. Also, the torque on his upper spine would be TREMENDOUS. For deadlifts, at least the force is more spread out, and its not resting on the weakest part of his spine.

    I've also been going by how he feels about the exercise. He says deadlifts are really hard though he thinks they've actually been making his back feel a lot better.

    The other thing I"ve been considering is belt squats.
    Stats: 11/15/07-First-meet--2nd Meet----3rd meet
    Weight: 185-----187---------198---------198
    Max Bench: 255---220-----------280------300
    Max Squat: 405----395----------440------460
    Max Dead:475-----485----------551------570
    CHINUPS - Bodyweight + 135, x1, dead hang. Still working on the one arm chinup.

  10. #10
    Demons of Steel and Flesh HP666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazerboy View Post

    The other thing I"ve been considering is belt squats.
    Well ****!!! If he has access to a belt squat than by all means, forget the leg press and hack squat and have him use the belt squat. Belt squats are AWESOME!!!

  11. #11
    IRL my name is Trent Hazerboy's Avatar
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    Its this belt: http://www6.mailordercentral.com/iro...sp?number=1310

    I own it, but I don't own any of the cool loading equipment like the pins or anything. I kind of forgot I could use it for belt squats. I'm sure since he's a noob he'll only need like a 45 or something for awhile.

    My real question is this: would I keep belt squats as the cornerstone of the program, or replace it with deadlifts?

    Oh and I tried to register at the strength mill forums but the administrator has disabled registration O__o. Maybe they got trolled or something?
    Last edited by Hazerboy; 07-16-2009 at 04:10 PM.

  12. #12
    Demons of Steel and Flesh HP666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazerboy View Post
    Its this belt: http://www6.mailordercentral.com/iro...sp?number=1310

    I own it, but I don't own any of the cool loading equipment like the pins or anything. I kind of forgot I could use it for belt squats. I'm sure since he's a noob he'll only need like a 45 or something for awhile.

    My real question is this: would I keep belt squats as the cornerstone of the program, or replace it with deadlifts?

    Oh and I tried to register at the strength mill forums but the administrator has disabled registration O__o. Maybe they got trolled or something?
    I think an easy to follow program like the 531 may work well, just use belt squats instead of regular squats on squat day and let him do them for reps in the beginning to build some strength. Then you can still have him deadlift another day as the belt squats will keep his lower back from getting fried. I say this assuming he can deadlift without any problems as you said earlier.
    Last edited by HP666; 07-16-2009 at 07:36 PM.

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