Alternative Method For A Squat Rack
There are several alternatives you can use to perform squat lifts.
Squat lifts are traditionally performed using a power rack, which provides support for the weights and protection for the weightlifter. If the rack in your training facility is in use, or if you are working in a home facility with limited equipment, there are several alternatives you can use to perform squat lifts.
Traditional Power Rack
Many fully equipped commercial weightlifting and training facilities include a power rack. This is the optimal piece of equipment for athletes or weightlifters seeking a safe way to perform squat lifts, bench presses and other training exercises involving heavy barbells. The power rack can be configured and used to perform other exercises, including dips and pull ups, as well. It provides an important safety feature for exercises involving barbells -- pins that can be positioned to catch the weights if for any reason they slip or are dropped.
A squat stand is a commonly used alternative to the full power rack. It allows the user to do front squat lifts, but without the full stability and safety pins of the power rack. These stands can also fall over easily, according to Stronglifts.com. The squat stand is typically a heavy-gauge steel structure similar to two sawhorses placed 4 feet apart and connected at the base by a heavy cross-bar. Weights are set across the top and can be lifted up and out from the bar to perform front or shoulder squats. When used in conjunction with a bench, a squat stand can also be used to perform a limited number of other exercises.
The Smith machine is another alternative to the power rack. It is similar to the power rack in that it allows the user to work within an enclosed piece of equipment, but it does not offer the versatility of the traditional power rack. Unlike the power rack, where the weights are independent of the machine, they are fixed and part of the overall structure of the Smith machine. This can force the body into unnatural positions and place potentially injurious stress on joints and muscles during lifting.
Free Weight Squats
Using free weights, such as dumbbells, is another option for performing squat lifts if you don't have access to a power rack. You can do these squats without the equipment found in most gyms, making this a good choice for those seeking to train in their own homes. Dumbbell squats are performed by standing with the feet a little more than shoulder-width apart, bending at the knees while picking up equally weighted dumbbells with both hands and pushing up with the legs into a standing position with the weights held at your sides. Keep your back straight throughout the exercise to get the maximum benefit and prevent straining the back muscles.