The Barbell Squat and Deadlift Alternative


Well, you have heard it before. The deadlift is the king of exercise in the gym. This exercise works to your core, glutes, hamstrings, and even the lower back. It even leads to the test of the raw power, which is the move that can set the benchmark for the overall strength.

You can suffer from back pain, and that would lead to additional stress. Never compromise form and technique just to a power movement. We are going to speak about alternatives exercises for the novice or experienced lifters with chronic back issues.

Basic Alternative for The Deadlift

What have each one of you learned from one’s time in quarantine? When gyms are closed, one thing that many people learned is that you can do without gym. The best part is that you can train to be stronger and more fit when you are working in your living rooms, garages, backyards without the use of machines and even barbells. Additionally, you can use even bodyweight exercises and somewhat simpler ones like medicine balls for getting a great workout.

Here the medicine ball squat and clean is a power-driven exercise. Also, the athletic movements help you to be in place of various kinds of individual barbell movements like squat and deadlift.

Do You Really Feel That Medicine Ball Squat and Barbell Exercise Is Great?

Doing great amount of exercises can save a lot of time. This can be done by linking some of the major and basic compound that can lift you in a normal way.

Frankly, this is the practical means for doing general conditioning. Also, it can help one to develop huge strength as well as skills that help in moving athletically. This is the result of the dexterity that you can create while moving from the barbell and deadlift squat.

Moving and gripping a huge and heavy object will not be that much easy to grab. This would build the major ability for faster and quickly stabilizing one’s trunk. This cannot be something that you cannot do unless you are trained to do in the conventional barbell lift exercise.

You would be able to learn this method faster and easily by doing this exercise. Frankly, you would need to have a good understanding of the basics of the balance and stability as well as movement. Sometimes checking out with your local gym instructor would be great.

At times you should try doing the same kind of movement with the barbell that would lead to input of more skills and even a lot of dedicated time. However, using the med ball and the barbell squat alternatives you could even get a full-body strength workout. More importantly, it can help one to improve the endurance and the practice of doing two major basic kind of compound movements.

Who Are the People Who Can Try Out the Barbell Squat And Deadlift Alternatives?

Here the alternative of such exercise would be fit for –

  • People that like to work out from their home.
  • Any person who will not or cannot go to the gym.
  • There would be people that cannot have space for barbell and racks, in that case they would do the back squats.
  • Any of the person that will not or does not care about the surface they are training on.

Keep in mind that some of the heaviest medicine ball and deadlift squat cannot do any damage to the floor, especially when you drop them. You might come across the medicine ball of various sizes and weight. Now you would need to begin first time by doing light and progressing to heavy exercises over time.

After that what you need to do it slowly and this should be consistently progressing like how you do with the barbell. That is when you are adding more number of plates. Not only that these are the best alternatives for any person that hates the idea of doing the barbell lifts. Sometimes the barbell will not sit well with some people.

Of course, some would have certain kinds of movement practice where the barbell lift will not be very much fit. There is nothing wrong with that. Here they would still do good amount of resistance training and exercising. You must understand that resistance training will not mean just doing dumbbells and barbells.

Here one can easily do what one needs to do with a barbell lift. Frankly, this is a loaded movement, and it will not matter where or what the load is all about. You can be a lot comfortable with the idea of hugging the heavy med ball close to one’s chest rather than just balancing the bar right on your shoulder. This would be a lot intuitive for anyone.

Replacement Exercises Like Barbell Squat and Deadlift Are Great for Targeting Muscles

Are you looking for a clean and squat exercise? One that can gain a lot of attention for separating these two major movements. When you are doing three of the major distinct kind of movement patterns, you must follow the given things –

The Best Hip Hinge and Deadlift Pattern – Here you would require a good amount of control as well as the strength present in one’s hips and even hamstrings. That can help one to hinge over and even try to brace and do the deadlift the ball.
A Faster Upper Body Scoop and Rowing – Here you need to a strong grip and supportive back muscles for lifting and even pull close to one body. That can be the object would be difficult for holding.
Squat Pattern – For cleaning the ball from the ground to the chest height, we would train the body for an upper body athletic movement. Here the creating coordination for one’s body and even developing timing. Plus, the exercise can train the trunk muscles in ways that the barbell and dumbbell will not.

You are developing coordination present in the body and creating timing. Also, the exercise can help one to trunk the muscles in the ways for the barbell and dumbbell that will not. Hugging the object closer to one’s body and even keeping the upper-back to the rounding forward. That can demand on the whole exercise to engage the trunk and building strength and stability.

How to Do A Med Ball Clean and Squat?

Firstly, you need to place the medicine ball to the ground. That must be between your feet and even closer to your toes compared to the heels. You would need to ensure that your feet are wider enough for getting down when you are doing the squat and that too without making your elbows hitting the knees.

Try to Hinge Your Back Flat As Soon As You Do The Deadlift

For doing this exercise, you should drop your hips slightly lower compared to the conventional barbell deadlift. That can keep your hips from shooting up. Also, it would let your chest drop on the clean.

Next you need to breathe, brace, grab, and go. When you are standing from the squat with the ball in your hands, start by bending your elbows and using the upper back you should pull the ball close to your hips.

When you stand further, try to shrug your shoulders. Also, you would need to shoot your elbows up. That can keep the ball so close, making you feel it as it gets lightly brush against your body.

After that you can pause when you are at the top. This should be done before you squat. That can make sure your elbows are high, balance is set, and that you are braced. After that you should complete the whole squat by keeping the focus of your elbows high. That makes sure they fit between your knees at the bottom of the squat. You can drop the ball if you want. Even you can do the squat down and lower it with control.

What Are the Variations You Could Try?

Sometimes doing certain variations would do the trick. All you must do is make changes to some of the aspects. Well, you would be having the mobility for getting into the good position. That can help one to take up the ball from the floor.

Here this would be lower compared to the loaded kind of barbell. Sometimes that would be the aspect which you could struggle from. In that case, you can make sure that the ball would be placed on a small box. You could try something of the same for raising the height when beginning from the starting position.

Now the best part is that you could work your hip muscles a little more. That would be the common case. You start the exercise from the hang. Not only that you can deadlift the ball up with arms straight, then hinge over, floating the ball above the ground before doing the clean.

Making Sure the Exercise Is Smooth

Of course, a huge medicine ball would be tough to move. Here this is oddly shaped. Plus, it is hard for one to grab. That means it is important to keep the movement fluid, thereby keeping one from getting hurt. As soon as you grab the ball, try to make sure you keep your back in a good and firm position and drive it up with your legs.

Here the closer you have the ball to your body, the more efficient the exercise will be. Besides that, A lot of space between your body and the ball, and you’ll catch it in a bad position putting needless stress on your back.

Best for the More Experienced Lifter

If you have practiced quick dynamic exercises like this before, try doing a full clean instead of separating the movement.

You may not want to rush into doing the exercise like this initially, but you should really see this as progression if you’ve never practiced other loaded movements like this.

We want to separate the two movements when first practicing these because of how important it is to make sure that we are balanced and braced before going down into the squat with the ball at chest height.

It is not easy to first relax the tension in your body only just enough to explosively shrug a ball upward and then immediately become rigid under its weight to reverse back into a squat.

But if you are ready for it, give it a shot with the heaviest medicine ball you can find.

Doing the Glute Bridge

Sometimes you must do a friendly exercise. Here this would be one that can need the whole-body weight and even help one to take the pressure out of the low back. So, does it work? Yes, it does. That can help one to target the posterior chain. However, this would be more of accessible compared to the deadlift.

The methods to do the exercise involves where one needs to lie on the back, then kneel bent and feet should be flat on the floor. After that, keep the arms down to your sides.

After that you must inhale and push through all the basic corners of your feet. Then you need to engage the core glutes and the major hamstrings for lifting the hips to the ceiling. Later you should be pause right at the top and then move slowly as soon as you release right back to the beginning.

Wrapping Up

Now doing the alternative of the barbell squat and deadlift is great for exercising. It helps one to develop the required muscles and makes one fit. Just try them and see for yourself. Our advice. Be mentally prepared. Adjust your set-up and lift. Make sure you keep breathing throughout the exercise. Take longer breaks if you need to recover before the next. Use a belt if deemed necessary. Foam roll in between sets so that the hips, lower back and other muscles groups involved are relaxed.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.