Strong people who don't squat?

Rif

Level 6 Valued Member
Master Certified Instructor
Hello!

Are you strong? Do you not squat? What's your story?

I'm asking because I think I'm done squatting.

Here's my story: I have old knee problems: ACL surgery, meniscus issues and surgeries. Every time I squat, my knee feels crunchy and off the next day, even if it's 3x5 goblet squats with the 16 before an S&S workout.

I'm 39, former juco soccer player, train boxing and Muay Thai, some BJJ, do S&S, loaded carries, some double KB work (I wouldn't consider myself properly strong yet, but I'm getting close to Simple). TGU's make my knee feel strong, squats make me feel like an old man, so I think there's no need for me to do them. There's no benefit for me (I'm not trying to be outrageously strong or powerlift or anything).

S&S and some other exercies suppliment my marital arts training and have made me feel a lot stronger. I can punch pretty hard, I can kick pretty hard and pretty high. I have great flexibility. I just don't think I need to squat for anything.

That's my story, and I'm interested to hear from others who are strong (stronger than me) who do not squat. What do you do instead? Do you miss squating? Are there any major drawbacks?

Thanks!
Well after squatting for bodybuilding and powerlifting for over 23 years with an already surgerized knee and then a L4 herniation after I got the knee replaced I decided I had no desire or need to squat heavy ever again.
I still work the squat pattern for mobility and practice pistol squats and belt squats but nothing heavy.

Instead I focus on heavy one arm swings ( up to 68kg for sets and reps ) and standing barbell press to keep me overall 'strong'. It's been working great and I don't miss barbell squats or deadlifts at all. There are many ways to be full body strong without a heavy squat or dl imo
 

Harald Motz

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Instead I focus on heavy one arm swings ( up to 68kg for sets and reps ) and standing barbell press to keep me overall 'strong'. It's been working great and I don't miss barbell squats or deadlifts at all. There are many ways to be full body strong without a heavy squat or dl imo


love it.
 

Chrisdavisjr

Level 6 Valued Member
Something for heavy metal fans: Glen Danzig from Danzig and Misfits published his workout (primarily body building) in a heavy metal mag back in the nineties: Look At This! :: MisfitsCentral.com

It says at the end that he never did any leg workouts at all as part of his bodybuilding routine but that he practised Jeet Kune Do and went 'crazy' on stage to keep his legs strong.
 

Papa Georgio

Level 5 Valued Member
Something for heavy metal fans: Glen Danzig from Danzig and Misfits published his workout (primarily body building) in a heavy metal mag back in the nineties: Look At This! :: MisfitsCentral.com

It says at the end that he never did any leg workouts at all as part of his bodybuilding routine but that he practised Jeet Kune Do and went 'crazy' on stage to keep his legs strong.
There's some video all over the Internet of Danzig getting knocked out. Don't think his JKD or his BB routine helped here. Don't skip your leg day kids! ;)
 

Nate

Level 5 Valued Member
Well after squatting for bodybuilding and powerlifting for over 23 years with an already surgerized knee and then a L4 herniation after I got the knee replaced I decided I had no desire or need to squat heavy ever again.
I still work the squat pattern for mobility and practice pistol squats and belt squats but nothing heavy.

Instead I focus on heavy one arm swings ( up to 68kg for sets and reps ) and standing barbell press to keep me overall 'strong'. It's been working great and I don't miss barbell squats or deadlifts at all. There are many ways to be full body strong without a heavy squat or dl imo
I used to squat and deadlift decent (2*bw / 2.4*bw) but always felt the barbell beat me up and i actually felt less athletic. When i stick with 1 & 2 hand swings (.5bw), goblets and ghr, i feel great. Then i get to re-reading about the importance of squats / deads & a level of guilt slips in like i SHOULD be benefiting from them. I start putting them back in & down the same hole i go....
 

Rif

Level 6 Valued Member
Master Certified Instructor
it definitely takes it's toll, especially on the lower back, which is always the limiting factor in both the squat and deadlift. And, the stronger one gets and the close one gets to actual structural limitations of the body the 'damage' one can do more easily.
So the older you get and the more miles you put on the bar and the body the less you actually need to do to make progress
But, for some, the goal of the bar are the lifts themselves and that is their "athletics" and their sport/focus. "if everything's a priority nothings a priority"
 

Nate

Level 5 Valued Member
Yeah, at 44 I feel like there's a value to "strong enough" and health, power and grace (how i see general athleticism) are more important. I've always struggled to keep on enough muscle so that occasionally pushes me back to the barbell but "more & better" of what i can do is likely more useful than "less & worse" of what doesn't seem consequence free anymore.... Thanks!
 

Rif

Level 6 Valued Member
Master Certified Instructor
I identify as a lifter ,lol. and have for a long time but injuries and my knee kept that down. I could swing heavy to satisfy that heavy lift itch and now with the press I have no desire to get back under a bar or pull a heavy dl. those my body has told me they don't like. But they do like the swing and press and let me push the envelope a bit it seems pretty safely.
rucking, swings and presses get a lot done for me, the rest is stretching mobility and SMR work to stay where I am in terms of structural balance
But I am loving being able to push some numbers again, I have to admit that :)
But if I felt at risk for injury in any real way I would back off or drop a lift in a heartbeat
 

william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
You are right. The squat and deadlift (powerlifts) do beat me up, for 1 or 2 days afterwards. I do them on Saturdays and I push really hard and I usually really feel a little worn down on Saturday evenings and even on Sundays (Sundays I do a light recovery workout of isolation excersises with machines and dumbells). I only do the squats/deadlifts heavy (a relative term) once per week and typically do a light deload week every 3-5 weeks. However, by Monday I am feeling pretty great and I still think that I am benefitting from them (beyond for just the sake of my powerlifting hobby) in terms of strength, hypertrophy, and athleticism. For me, I think the key is to ensure I dont rush my recovery. I couldn't imagine doing this as a high frequency or high volume routine (I know this works for some people though). Maybe as I get stronger, and as the weights increase, maybe this will be an issue (in terms of taking its toll) for me in the future (I am 40 [not old but not young]). But right now, they are still giving me more than they are taking.

For example.... I dont have much experience snatching. I rarely did it in the past (I have done a lot of swings and cleans though). I think I did the ETK program like a decade or so ago and I would do a lot of volume snatching with the 20 or 24 kg bell (I remember the 24 kg bell being hard). I've also played around with the snatch during my annual ETK+ program, but the snatch has never been my focus (I've never taken it serious). I have recently started an A&A snatch program (I've written about it on this forum). 3 days per week, I am doing 20 repeats. <2 months ago, I started with the 28 kg bell and I am already working with the 36 kg bell and I have even started playing with the 40 kg bell. Honestly, the 40 kg bell isnt as heavy as I was expecting it to be (dont get me wrong, it isnt easy, yet!). But I think the heavy squat and deadlift (heavy hinging) has really put me at an advantage for these snatches. I kind of already have the strength, if you know what I mean. What I am developing is the "conditioning" aspects of it.

If I was not a squatter or deadlifter, and I attempted to do kettlebell snatches, how likely is it that I would be able to progress to the 40 kg bell for 20 repeats in <2 months?

Becoming somewhat proficient and somewhat strong (or maybe not weak, lol) in the squat/deadlift has made other things I try a lot easier. If it is not obvious, I am a big fan of the heavy barbell low bar squat (and also the deadlift) and probably have too strong of an opinion on this! Do you have to squat heavy to be healthy and strong, definitely NO. However, to me, the low bar powerlifting squat, is the most direct path to becoming strong.
 

Rif

Level 6 Valued Member
Master Certified Instructor
I do think it's important that one develop more than a decent level of strength on the basic barbell lifts at some point in their lives. After that more is not necessarily better. But once you know how to get really tight and exert force on a object it definitely carries over to other lifts.
How fast can you make progress with the 40 kg? no way at all for me to tell without knowing you but if it doesn't feel heavy now that's a good sign. The key is finding a workload that lets you progress and doesn't tear you down more than you can recover from
and yes I would agree with the barbell squat , ( low or hi bar imo) is the King of strength exercises
 

william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
You are right. The squat and deadlift (powerlifts) do beat me up, for 1 or 2 days afterwards. I do them on Saturdays and I push really hard and I usually really feel a little worn down on Saturday evenings and even on Sundays (Sundays I do a light recovery workout of isolation excersises with machines and dumbells). I only do the squats/deadlifts heavy (a relative term) once per week and typically do a light deload week every 3-5 weeks. However, by Monday I am feeling pretty great and I still think that I am benefitting from them (beyond for just the sake of my powerlifting hobby) in terms of strength, hypertrophy, and athleticism. For me, I think the key is to ensure I dont rush my recovery. I couldn't imagine doing this as a high frequency or high volume routine (I know this works for some people though). Maybe as I get stronger, and as the weights increase, maybe this will be an issue (in terms of taking its toll) for me in the future (I am 40 [not old but not young]). But right now, they are still giving me more than they are taking.

For example.... I dont have much experience snatching. I rarely did it in the past (I have done a lot of swings and cleans though). I think I did the ETK program like a decade or so ago and I would do a lot of volume snatching with the 20 or 24 kg bell (I remember the 24 kg bell being hard). I've also played around with the snatch during my annual ETK+ program, but the snatch has never been my focus (I've never taken it serious). I have recently started an A&A snatch program (I've written about it on this forum). 3 days per week, I am doing 20 repeats. <2 months ago, I started with the 28 kg bell and I am already working with the 36 kg bell and I have even started playing with the 40 kg bell. Honestly, the 40 kg bell isnt as heavy as I was expecting it to be (dont get me wrong, it isnt easy, yet!). But I think the heavy squat and deadlift (heavy hinging) has really put me at an advantage for these snatches. I kind of already have the strength, if you know what I mean. What I am developing is the "conditioning" aspects of it.

If I was not a squatter or deadlifter, and I attempted to do kettlebell snatches, how likely is it that I would be able to progress to the 40 kg bell for 20 repeats in <2 months?

Becoming somewhat proficient and somewhat strong (or maybe not weak, lol) in the squat/deadlift has made other things I try a lot easier. If it is not obvious, I am a big fan of the heavy barbell low bar squat (and also the deadlift) and probably have too strong of an opinion on this! Do you have to squat heavy to be healthy and strong, definitely NO. However, to me, the low bar powerlifting squat, is the most direct path to becoming strong.
I apologize if I came off a little Dogmatic. That wasnt what I was really going for, lol.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
The sweet spot for me in my barbell deadlift is about 70% 1RM. I keep that amount of weight on the bar. It's a weight I can pull for a few singles without any warmup, as well as a weight I can use for touch-and-go sets of 5-8 reps when I'm deadlifting regularly. My current bar weight is - just did the math - 67.6% of a competition 1RM from 2 or 3 years ago, which probably means it's more like probably about 5 % points higher of what I could do today (if I decided to do a max not within a DL training cycle).

I sometimes decide to do a few singles, and feel nothing but great afterwards - it's not draining, and it definitely gives me more than it takes in terms of keeping my body happy. 4 singles on 1-2 minutes rest - that's what works great for me. It is, however, definitely not number chasing, it's just keep the body happy.

-S-
 
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