Recommendations for Compound Lifts in lieu of squats/deadlifts

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Roza42
Roza42 Posts: 246 Member
Are there other compound lifts where I can feel like I am working my body and not body parts? I am 50 and progress has slow due to a knee/shoulder issues. The shoulder issue seems to have resolved. However, the knee has not (surgery and arthritis). I can't squat with a bar. It feels fine until the next day when I can barely walk. I have tried box squats as well. I was doing 185 lb deadlift until I pulled my back gardening. But trying to come back to it has been really hard. I have tried 35 lb dumbbell deadlifts, but somedays it's ok and others I have swelling.

Currently my routine is low weight/ high reps. However, the plan is to change in a few weeks to lower reps.

Bench 115 4 x 10
Cable row 120 4 x 10
Lat pull down 110 4 x 10
Clean and press 60 1 x 10, 55 1 x 10, 50 2 x 10
Generally I also do a tricep and bicep exercise as well.
For cardio I bike about 10 mile commute and a one 16-20 mile ride a week.

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Replies

  • arabianhorselover
    arabianhorselover Posts: 1,488 Member
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    Overhead Press and Barbell Rows.
  • nossmf
    nossmf Posts: 9,613 Member
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    The leg press works many of the same muscles as a squat, though it (the machine) provides the stability instead of your joints and core. For this reason most lifters prefer the squat, but for your purposes your knees may be more agreeable to the leg press.

    For the deadlift, try doing sumo deadlifts instead of regular ones. Plant your feet very wide apart and grip the bar with your hands inside your knees. For me this has allowed me to keep straighter lower back during a deadlift but still get that whole-body experience.
  • Roza42
    Roza42 Posts: 246 Member
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    @arabianhorselover Thanks. I like the overhead press. 3 weeks ago I was able to do the OP with a bar, and I started clean and presses. I hadn't thought about the barbell row. I will have to have my trainer watch my form.
  • Roza42
    Roza42 Posts: 246 Member
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    @nossmf Thank you. I hadn't thought about the leg press since it bothered my back when I hurt it, but it should be fine now.

    Does the sumo work for people with short limbs and a long torso?
  • TR0berts
    TR0berts Posts: 7,739 Member
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    Sumo is pretty close to perfect for short limbs, long torso.
  • SideSteel
    SideSteel Posts: 11,068 Member
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    Sumo generally involves more knee flexion and less hip flexion so if the issue is your knees, conventional might be better. If the issue is your back, sumo may be better.

    In a leg press you don't see the hips extend as much as they do in a squat. You can still use it to build your legs of course.

    I would recommend looking at a combination of leg press and barbell glute bridges as things to consider.

    This assumes that squats and deads are problematic for you. In many cases the issue is technique.
  • Sarauk2sf
    Sarauk2sf Posts: 28,072 Member
    edited May 2015
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    nossmf wrote: »
    The leg press works many of the same muscles as a squat, though it (the machine) provides the stability instead of your joints and core. For this reason most lifters prefer the squat, but for your purposes your knees may be more agreeable to the leg press.

    For the deadlift, try doing sumo deadlifts instead of regular ones. Plant your feet very wide apart and grip the bar with your hands inside your knees. For me this has allowed me to keep straighter lower back during a deadlift but still get that whole-body experience.

    I am having knee issues at the moment - not arthritis, but a similar issue in that my cartilage is worn on the medial side and I have some bone spurs. Sumo's are far worse for this than conventional as there is more knee flexion as well as 'torque' on the knee. I can conventional pull with really no swelling, but I definitely have felt it the next day when I have pulled sumo.
  • Roza42
    Roza42 Posts: 246 Member
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    @SideSteel Would hip presses work as well as glute bridges? I'll start leg presses for sure on Tuesday. With squats and deads it is definitely the knee. The surgeon told me at the followup that I would need to replace the knee as soon as I couldn't take the pain as he had stuck a probe through the cartilage with no resistance.
  • Roza42
    Roza42 Posts: 246 Member
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    @Sarauk2sf Thanks for the heads up.
  • arabianhorselover
    arabianhorselover Posts: 1,488 Member
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    nossmf wrote: »
    The leg press works many of the same muscles as a squat, though it (the machine) provides the stability instead of your joints and core. For this reason most lifters prefer the squat, but for your purposes your knees may be more agreeable to the leg press.

    For the deadlift, try doing sumo deadlifts instead of regular ones. Plant your feet very wide apart and grip the bar with your hands inside your knees. For me this has allowed me to keep straighter lower back during a deadlift but still get that whole-body experience.

    I'm short, and have always felt the my form was not correct on the deadlift because of it. Maybe I should try these. I assume you turn your toes out quite a bit if your legs are far apart?

  • Sarauk2sf
    Sarauk2sf Posts: 28,072 Member
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    Roza42 wrote: »
    @SideSteel Would hip presses work as well as glute bridges? I'll start leg presses for sure on Tuesday. With squats and deads it is definitely the knee. The surgeon told me at the followup that I would need to replace the knee as soon as I couldn't take the pain as he had stuck a probe through the cartilage with no resistance.

    Hip thrusts (presses) can be used interchangeably with glute bridges. Another thing you can consider if these give your knees (or back) issues is cable pulls throughs. I would try leg press and hip thrust/glute bridge combo first, assess how your knee and back feels and then think about possibly swapping out if you are still experiencing issues. Pull throughs would be a swap for the thrusts/bridges. If leg presses cause an issue (as there is still the knee flexion going on there), then let us know and we can suggest an alternative based on your circumstances.
  • Roza42
    Roza42 Posts: 246 Member
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    @Sarauk2sf Great! I will try the leg press and hip thrust. I was doing unweighted hip thrusts until a couple of gentlemen actually talked to me while starting the exercises ( I can ignore them if they are just watching). So I know I can do those. I am a little intimidated by the videos I have seen of the weighted glute bridges.

    What I read was that the pull through is also good for hams. So, I'll try those eventually. Cycling I can really feel the quads, and could use a balancing exercise.
  • Roza42
    Roza42 Posts: 246 Member
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    Update: I have tried the leg presses and glute bridges. The glute bridges worked well. The leg presses did not. I had the same issue with the leg presses as I do with squats. However, I did do lunges and those seemed fine. I guess my lower body at the moment will be glute bridges and lunges.

    However, I am thinking that my issue with the dumbbell deadlift maybe my squatting to pick the dumbbells off the floor. I think I will try setting them on a box and see if that works.

    The best part of realizing I could do lunges is that I took a Krav class on Monday and am taking a Eskrima class on Wednesday.
  • ryry_
    ryry_ Posts: 4,966 Member
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    For lower body I am a huge fan of Bulgarian Split Squats, One Leg Romanian Deadlifts as a lower body strength excercise that will whoop your behind without the loading issues of their barbell counterparts.
  • FitForL1fe
    FitForL1fe Posts: 1,872 Member
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    if you have or can gain access to a trap bar then you may be able to keep going with these movements
  • Roza42
    Roza42 Posts: 246 Member
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    ryry62685 wrote: »
    For lower body I am a huge fan of Bulgarian Split Squats, One Leg Romanian Deadlifts as a lower body strength excercise that will whoop your behind without the loading issues of their barbell counterparts.

    Unfortunately loading isn't the issue for squats. Even body weight squats cause swelling/pain on my knee the next day.
  • Roza42
    Roza42 Posts: 246 Member
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    draznyth wrote: »
    if you have or can gain access to a trap bar then you may be able to keep going with these movements

    I don't have access to trap bar, but I did the dumbbell deadlifts last night and today the knee is fine. It was the squatting to lift the dumbbells.
  • Sarauk2sf
    Sarauk2sf Posts: 28,072 Member
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    Roza42 wrote: »
    Update: I have tried the leg presses and glute bridges. The glute bridges worked well. The leg presses did not. I had the same issue with the leg presses as I do with squats. However, I did do lunges and those seemed fine. I guess my lower body at the moment will be glute bridges and lunges.

    However, I am thinking that my issue with the dumbbell deadlift maybe my squatting to pick the dumbbells off the floor. I think I will try setting them on a box and see if that works.

    The best part of realizing I could do lunges is that I took a Krav class on Monday and am taking a Eskrima class on Wednesday.

    Combining lunges and glute bridges should hit most of your lower body pretty well - a bit light on the hamstrings though.

    Have you tried romanian deadlifts? - you keep your legs straighter.
  • husseycd
    husseycd Posts: 814 Member
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    One more exercise I'd like to add for hamstrings are glute/ham raises. I believe they're also called Russian leg curls. Unweighted generally, but hit the hamstrings pretty hard.

    I limit squats because of hip issues. I also can't go as deep as is often recommended because of limited mobility somewhere in my body. What I've done for the last year is make sure I'm focusing on the posterior chain since my not quite below/at parallel squats aren't quite as well rounded. I do cable pull-throughs, barbell glute bridges, and the above mentioned glute-ham raises to target my posterior chain. I also have split squats, single leg leg-press (supposed to be easier on your back), trap dead-lifts, and single-leg RDL in my rotation.
  • Roza42
    Roza42 Posts: 246 Member
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    I will have to try the romanian deadlift. I have found that doing a limited ROM on the deadlift is helpful as well. I have only been going to mid shin. I think about the same spot the 45s will stop the bar at. I did 2 sets at 145 yesterday, and once I am able to start at 135 it should work out.

    @husseycd do you have a link for glute ham raises?