Friday, June 13, 2008

The Step-up : a real squat alternative?

I'm a big fan of squats, especially box squats, but very few people (at least at my gym) squat correctly. No wonder everyone thinks they're dangerous and hurt your knees. To quote Dan John, "Squats don't hurt your knees. The way YOU squat hurts your knees."

Heavy Step-Ups might be a great alternative to squats. Read this great article on them over at Straight to the Bar. Not saying you should give up squatting all together. Keep working on your form with bodyweight squats or try box squats. You could also do some heavy squat variation once a week and some heavy step-ups on another day or do a three week cycle of squats followed by a three week cycle of step-ups. This would be a nice way to keep punishing those legs while taking stress off your back and letting your CNS recover.

I think heavy unilateral work (one limb) is HIGHLY underated. Everyone's in love with heavy squats and deadlifts (me included), but have you ever tried HEAVY step-ups, split squats, bulgarian split squats, lunges, and pistols??? Not easy at all.......

Don't give up the basics. They work. Always have, always will. Just don't be afraid to substitue heavy unilateral work for a few weeks to give your body a break once in a while.