I go to college, and there are two gyms here with different hours. Depending on what day it is, sometimes I have to go to a gym that doesn't have a squat rack.
How good are dumbbell squats compared to barbell squats? I know everyone usually does barbell squats, but....?
i can't really answer your question but all i've done are DB squats. i've never used a rack. just be sure that when squatting DB's, keep your knees behind your toes & your back straight. if i had to guess, i'd say the effect is similar to using a rack if your form is good.
deferring to those with more experience.
you won't be able to use as much weight. that's the only problem i see
If you can do a similar weight with dumbells as barbell. then you can get a good workout.
however most people can't do this especially when been trianing a while as most gym do not have 200 pound dumbells.
my exprience - joined gym 10 years ago, 6 1/2 years hard weight training exprience.
If the alternate gym has Oly bars, I would do hack squats, front squats or Zerchers instead. That said, DB squats are better than no squats.
Stats: Age: 34 Weight: 205 Height: 5'6"
Gym PRs: Squat:635 Bench:560 Deadlift:495
Meet PRs: Squat:575 Bench:525 Deadlift:510 Total: 1605@220
You can hold them at your hips, or at your shoulders as if they're a disconnected bar.
The other problem with dumbbell squats is the pressure on the spine. If you do regular squats, you put pressure all the way down your back and this means your bone density and core strength build up from squatting. You won't get this from dumbbell squats.