How to optimize your exercise selection from the gang of nine - Part 9

 Chapter 12


Ball squat

The ball squat, also called the wall squat, is an alternative to barbell squats. The muscle involvement of the ball squat is similar to that of the leg press. Both involve the back only minimally. The ball squat, however, has three major advantages over the leg press:


A machine isn't required.


The ball squat can be done almost anywhere.


There's no compression of the back.

Although there's flexibility over foot positioning with the leg press, there may be more flexibility with the ball squat, to find the best set-up.

The ball squat is technically easier than the back squat, parallel-grip deadlift, and front squat. Furthermore, the thighs and hips can receive stimulation with much reduced weights relative to those required for the back squat, parallel-grip deadlift, leg press, and front squat. The ball squat is an alternative if you're unable to perform safely any of the other multi-joint, lower-body exercises.

Hip-belt squat

Relative to barbell squats, the hip-belt squat shares the same advantages of the leg press and the ball squat (but doesn't involve a ball or a wall, and the resistance is applied around the hips and doesn't need to be held). Some trainees may use the ball squat as the introductory movement that leads to the hip-belt squat later on.

The hip-belt squat can be a highly effective exercise, even for trainees who can perform the other multi-joint, lower-body exercises safely, but it's especially valuable for trainees who can't back squat, front squat, or parallel-grip deadlift safely, and who don't have access to a good leg press machine, or who can't leg press safely.

By employing the strap- or rope-assisted hip-belt squat — see

 Chapter 12

 for the technique — trainees who don't squat well with a barbell can, by controlling their shin and knee forward travel, and their torso positioning, perform a deep squat that provides safe, effective loading on their thighs and buttocks. The hip-belt squat can be a godsend for them.

It can also be a second squatting movement in a program for someone who can barbell squat or parallel-grip deadlift well, as will be explained in the programs.

Sumo deadlift

The sumo deadlift provides another alternative to the conventional, straight-bar deadlift. For some trainees, the sumo deadlift may be a good choice as the primary, multi-joint, lower-body exercise.

The sumo deadlift uses a straight bar, but because of the widened stance relative to that used in the regular deadlift, and the hands positioned between the legs or thighs, the back is more upright in the sumo deadlift when comparing the two styles on the same trainee.

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