5 Squat Alternatives to Build Muscle

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Glute-Ham Raises

Glute-ham raises are incredibly effective in bringing up the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, and low back). It’s a general rule that the stronger your posterior chain is, the better off you'll be in preventing injury and pain. Think of training these muscle groups as protectors of the potential problem areas like the knees and lower back.

  • Hop in the GHD machine (that stands for Glute Ham Developers) and setup so the bottom of your thighs are resting on the top pad.
  • Keeping the back flat and legs straight, fold forward at the hips so your upper body comes towards the ground and your legs extend fully.
  • Once your body is parallel to the floor, drive your feet back into the foot plate and leg curl your body back to the top.
  • Be careful not to arch hard on the way up, and once you reach the top, it's important to avoid overextending your back.

When to Use: If you don’t have knee or low-back pain, you need to be doing these. They can go a long way in preventing low-back pain while squatting and can build work capacity in the low back to prevent excessive fatigue that could cause a potential injury while squatting.

When to Avoid: Back extensions may cause some discomfort if you have extremely tight hamstrings or some knee issues.

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