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Old 03-17-2008, 02:32 AM   #1
Victor Putz
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Squats without a rack?

I'm finally about to invest in a barbell and plates, but since we're renting this round there's no way to get a rack/power cage. What's the safest way to do squats without a rack? I'm guessing front squats are mostly it for any sort of heavy weight, but I wasn't sure what other ideas folks would have...
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:32 AM   #2
Scott Allen Hanson
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Re: Squats without a rack?

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Originally Posted by Victor Putz View Post
I'm finally about to invest in a barbell and plates, but since we're renting this round there's no way to get a rack/power cage. What's the safest way to do squats without a rack? I'm guessing front squats are mostly it for any sort of heavy weight, but I wasn't sure what other ideas folks would have...
The only safe way to back squat heavy without a cage is with two spotters, one for each end of the bar. I recall someone posting here a year or so ago who ended up letting a heavy bar roll down their back because of failure. Then there was a youtube video posted not long ago with a poor sucker crashing face down on the floor with the bar on is back. It looked ugly.

One other possibility is to use something like saw horses on either side as safety rails to catch the bar if you can't come back up with it. Of course, you still need to get the bar onto your back, and I'm not sure how you'd do that without spotters, stands, or a rack. Check the Equipment past threads on this. I recall someone purchased some adjustable saw-horses at Home Depot or Lowes.

Other than these, I'd stick to front squats.
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Old 03-17-2008, 08:13 AM   #3
Howard Wilcox
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Re: Squats without a rack?

The most plausible thing, I think, was the home-made squat rack. Two 5-gallon buckets, two 4x4 pieces of wood, concrete. Notches were cut into the wood to hold the bar and they were mounted in the concrete (in the buckets of course).

Not ideal, but cheap and easy.


howard
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:40 AM   #4
David Gessen
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Re: Squats without a rack?

What about clean, jerk and lower it to your back?
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Old 03-17-2008, 11:21 AM   #5
Derek Maffett
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Re: Squats without a rack?

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Originally Posted by David Gessen View Post
What about clean, jerk and lower it to your back?
Can only be done with light weights.
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Old 03-17-2008, 11:53 AM   #6
Feng Yi Chew
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Re: Squats without a rack?

I chanced upon this article, interestingly titled "Ways to Squat When You Don't Have A Squat Rack" <http://stronglifts.com/ways-to-squat-when-you-dont-have-a-squat-rack/> (wfs).

It shows the Steinborn lift as a means of getting the barbell onto your back/shoulders. I don't know how realistic it would be, though, with any considerable weight on the bar.
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Old 03-17-2008, 11:56 AM   #7
Sam Ser
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Re: Squats without a rack?

i've been doing squats with dumbbells in my apartment. not nearly as much weight as back squats in a rack, but then again i'm finally going deep. that, and by concentrating on form, you do get a good workout.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:25 PM   #8
Victor Putz
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Re: Squats without a rack?

Well, to be honest I'm new enough to squatting that I don't need to jump into heavy any time soon, and I figure light squats and solid deadlifts are a good deal better than no squats and no deadlifts (not to mention finally having a proper bar for things like Fran, where I was using a box of books...).

Good ideas on homemade squat racks; I may try some of them, but I think anything even half-serious will have to wait until we're back in the states again.

Interesting article; not sure what I think of the Steinborn (sounds a bit dangerous; I thought you weren't supposed to subject the back to torsion like that...?). Worth thinking about, though.
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Old 03-17-2008, 09:24 PM   #9
Sam Streck
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Re: Squats without a rack?

Hack Squats, Bulgarian Squats, Front Squats are all things that I have to do with my equipment. Granted I'm using sandbags for them, but I make due.
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:08 AM   #10
Rohan Sookdeo
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Re: Squats without a rack?

I have personally been doing squats without a rack. And I do use the clean and jerk method. Heavy weights is not a good idea it just does not feel safe, knowing the safest way to bail is to get it back over your head. I would say stick to about what you can comfortably clean and jerk so you dont end up like that guy on youtube. Its fine for when your starting to learn form and balance but once you want to start adding some weight its needed. I have seen some decent ones for under $200. Its on my list of things to get.

I dont know if others would reccomend this as an alternative but Im living out of a hotel right now and my weights are 400+ miles away. I have sandbag a nicknamed punisher that I use to do back squats(along with other things). I had to improvise (I also do pullups on the door to my bathroom). Your form changes a bit but it is a new challenge because it adds alot of instability. The nice thing about it is if you need to drop one of those is it does not hurt that bad. and it does not make as much noise as dropping a loaded bar. Because of the instability added you will actually use less weight than you expect.

Heavy duty duffel bag at an army navy store = $21
200lbs of sand= $12
Heavy duty garbage bags and duct tape about= $18
Ability to complete WOD and not introduce My face to Mr. Floor = Priceless
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