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Barbell exercises are a staple of just about any weightlifting routine.
In fact, most of our favorite exercises are done with a barbell (squats, deadlift, bench press).
While these exercises deliver great results they are also pretty rough on your joints.
In this article, we will give you some joint-friendly alternative exercises to try instead of traditional barbell exercises.
Problems With Barbell Exercises
While barbell exercises are great they are not perfect. For one thing, they can be difficult for some people to learn to do with good form. Just think how many times you have seen a deadlifter with form that made you cringe. Don’t be that guy.
On top of that, barbell exercises require a certain amount of mobility that some of us do not have. Our sedentary lifestyles and hours hunched over our computers does a number on us and limit our range of motion in the hip and shoulder areas.
Barbell exercises can also put extra stress on the spine and lower back area. When you couple this with a lack of mobility you are playing with fire when it comes to injury.
Replace Barbell Squats With Goblet Squats
Barbell squats are easily one of the best exercises out there, they can also be trouble for people with back pain and a lack of mobility. What is meant to be a squat ends up looking rather cringeworthy. Goblet squats, on the other hand, are a great and less painful alternative.
The reason I like goblet squats is that the weight is held in front which makes it much easier to stabilize than a long barbell.
Having the weight in front also places greater emphasis on the quads, core, and upper back muscles while reducing the stress on the spine. This reduced spine stress is a big one for people with low back pain, which is just about all of us at some point in time.
To do a goblet squat, hold a dumbbell (or kettlebell) with both hands at chest level, and set your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing a bit outwards. Push your butt back like you’re sitting in a chair and descend until your elbows reach the inside of your knees. Keeping your heels flat, pressing into the floor, pause at the bottom of the squat, and return to a full standing position. If your heels rise, push your hips further back and work on partial ranges of motion until mobility and form improve. Repeat for three to four sets of 8-10 reps.
Instead of Barbell Deadlifts Do Trap Bar Deadlifts
Deadlifts are another great exercise, easily one of the best out there for total body muscle building. The thing is, they can also be troublesome for people with back pain and those of us that hunch over a desk all day and lack mobility.
While switching to trap bar deadlifts may not seem like much of a change it can do wonders for your lower back. The reason it is so much easier on your back is that with the trap bar the weight is centered under your hips rather than in front of you as it is with a traditional deadlift. This difference in the center of gravity will save your back bigtime!
Another nice thing about the trap bar deadlift is that you can use a neutral grip and you get a lot more activation in the quads as well, in fact, some people even call this exercise the trap bar squat instead of the trap bar deadlift.
Find out more about the trap bar deadlift in our article on Which Deadlift Variation is Best for You? where Westside Barbell coach Joey Percia says the trap bar deadlift is “the best deadlift option for anyone who doesn’t plan on competing in a powerlifting meet”
Sexy Ass Man Legs (Workout Wednesday ) When we get down to the bottom of it most of us workout out to look better with our clothes on and off. Yes, there are health benefits and strength and blah blah blah. When we look better we feel better and when we feel better we are more confident. When we are more confident life is better and more enjoyable period. There are certain muscles that both men and women perceive as 'ideal'. It's known as the 'X-Shape or V-Taper'. The ideal body looks proportional and be able to move and be strong and athletic so you can dominate in a game of pickup football. This starts with broad shoulders a well-developed chest, that goes into a narrow waist with visual abs which gives the X-Shape or V-Taper. Hanging next to those nice abs are well-developed biceps and triceps. This sits on top of well developed upper legs and defined calves. Today we are going to start from the ground up with you upper legs and defined calves. [Sexy-Ass Man Legs]1a) Lying leg curl 2 x 201b) Leg extension 2 x 20 Less than 30 seconds rest. This is just to get some blood pumping2) Back Squat 3 x 3-6, 2 x 8-10Take ~2 minutes between working sets3) Barbell Lunge 3 x 8/sideNo rest between legs. Rest 60-90 seconds between sets4) Leg press OR Duck-stance hex-bar deadlift 3 x 15Rest 60-90 seconds between sets5a) Standing calf raise 3-second iso hold at top 3 x 105b) Standing calf raise 3-second eccentric 3 x 10 5c) Standing calf raise 3 x 10 No rest between exercises. Rest 60-90 seconds between sets. Let's turn those baby calfs of your into COWS. They should be the same circumference as your bicep for the ideal male physique. ******Disclaimer**: sexy ass females can do this as well******#legionofboom #legday #quadsarethenewabs #nolegpressnoproblem #nycfitness #shinyasshead #soho #sohostrengthlab #ssl #shinyasshead #familyfunfitness #joeypercia #joeyperciacoaching #thefamilybusiness #thefamilyVideo is of Duck Stance hex bar deadlifts. The leg press substitute.
Posted by Joey Percia on Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Instead of Bench Press Do Push-Ups
I’m a big bench press guy, it’s probably my favorite exercise but it can also cause shoulder and elbow pain. One of the main reasons for this pain is that the barbell places your hands in a fixed position that isn’t always very shoulder friendly. A neutral grip bar would be a great way to remedy this but most gyms do not have those and they are a bit expensive for home gyms. Dumbbells are another good option but we feel the old fashion push-up is the best way to go as it gives the most freedom for arm and wrist positioning.
Push-ups give you all kinds of variety when it comes to hand positioning, hand width, feet elevation and just about any other variation you can think of, if there is a position for you to do this exercise pain-free you will find it.
Wrapping it up
There you have some good alternatives to traditional barbell exercises that may be causing joint pain so you can stay pain-free, or be in less pain than before. Just remember nothing is foolproof and you should take it slow when starting in on a new exercise.
Ryan is a former college wrestler and lifelong fitness fanatic. He has run half marathons, done mud runs, placed in body transformation contests, coached wrestling and now coaches girls soccer. Not to mention he has also tried literally hundreds of supplements over the years and has a vast and thorough supplement knowledge. He has written for Muscle & Strength, Testosterone Junkie, The Sport Review and other publications. He is also the editor in chief of this website. Feel free connect with him on his LinkedIn page below.