View Full Version : Cleans instead of squats

Nikolaj Poulsen
11-08-2010, 08:29 AM
Hello everyone,

I'm in a position where doing regular squats is not possible for me, my gym got rid of their squat rack in favor of some machines, don't ask me why. Going to another gym is not really an option either, the only other gym in a 10 mile radius doesn't have enough weight for me, I can DL more than that (they only got 130 kg in bar+plates). I live in a sucky place. But this isn't gonna make me stop lifting.

Before the removal of the squat rack I was doing squats, deadlifts and bench press. Will substituting cleans for squatting and power cleans be efficient, or should I keep power cleans in my program?

Right now I'm just working on getting stronger, so the loss of the squat rack sucks a lot, but I have to work with it.
I would like to get more into oly lifting, however I can't snatch or jerk because of the low ceiling (yes my gym sucks), and this is also where I think doing cleans could benefit.

Arien Malec
11-08-2010, 10:34 AM
No home gym option? Can you ask your gym to purchase squat stands, rather than a rack?

If truly no other option, clean and front squat for reps and do Zerchers. Or get a hip belt and do hip belt squats.


Nikolaj Poulsen
11-08-2010, 11:24 AM
No home gym option, if that were an option I'd do that instantly. And since my gym just spend a lot of money on new machines and filled the gym (almost) with them, I doubt they'd want to get rid of them to make room for a squat stand. And I think they prefer people using their machines rather than barbell, they only got one left.

The reason I asked about cleans is because they have the front squat component, without the eccentric part. Just wondering if that'd be enough or if I'd have to do extra front squatting. I won't be able to squat more than I clean.

And the hip belt squat looks interesting to say the least.

John Alston
11-08-2010, 11:51 AM
Adding extra front squats in with/as part of cleaning work is a good way to go.
I have front squatted using a bench as a rack before so it's possible. You just have to waddle it back off past the bench first.

Pete Gordon
11-08-2010, 12:31 PM
Now I've heard everything. A gym atually removing it's squat station for bloody machines. Youre right. That is sucky.

The comment about following some cleans with a lot of front squats is good. You're too strong for them to be worth it....goblet squats are good.

Perhaps you look at 'strongman' type of squatting options !

Spencer Mackay
11-08-2010, 03:45 PM
Where is this place!? And seriously how low are the ceilings?

Nikolaj Poulsen
11-08-2010, 04:07 PM
I'll try cleaning with extra front squat work, it sounds like the bench thing may be doable.

I can reach the ceiling standing flat quite easily, don't have to fully extend my hand, so any overhead movements with plates is gonna be hitting the ceilings. And it's in a small town in Denmark.

Dave Van Skike
11-08-2010, 05:09 PM
zerchers and front squats, i don't think there is a replacement for squatting.

Chris Butler
11-08-2010, 06:05 PM
How about front split squats? Did they keep the benches?

Ben Moskowitz
11-08-2010, 09:38 PM
Maybe do the Steinborn lift. Also, single leg work (lunges, etc). That way you can get the bar into position w/o needing a rack because the load is lighter. Snatches and OHS if you are into that kind of thing - if there's the headroom

Nikolaj Poulsen
11-09-2010, 07:38 AM
I'll take unilateral work into consideration, but for now I think I'll try see how cleaning with extra front squatting works. I think I'd just hurt myself with the Steinborn lift. Thanks for the suggestions and information, definitely helped.

Ivan Perez
11-10-2010, 02:39 AM
Maybe, you can get barbell from incline/declined bench press supports

Something like this


Nikolaj Poulsen
11-12-2010, 04:30 AM
Alright, so my gym got rid of some leg machines and put this (http://www.evolutionary-fitness.com/maxrack.aspx) (WFS) in, it's a max rack. The bar is free to move up, down, forward and back, but you can't tilt it. The bar also weighs 5-6 kg less than a proper olympic bar. I can squat in this, the biggest problem however is the weight restrictions. It's limited to 320 lbs (145 kg), which is a little less than 1.5x my bodyweight, and about 2x what I can currently back squat. (My squat sucks compared to my DL because of some ankle problems, which made me unable to get in a comfortable (read = pain free) squat position).

I'm thinking I should use it and get my squat up to the 145 kg, better than not squatting yes? Or is it just another machine I shouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole?

Does anyone have any experience with overloading it? If so, can I safely squat more than the 145 kg? I'd hate to break their new expensive toy.

John Alston
11-12-2010, 05:58 AM
Why are you worrying about overloading a machine that is rated 2x what your max is now? Just use it. If your max squat is ~72.5kg you just need to squat. Worry about the load on the machine when you double your squat 3 weeks from now.

Nikolaj Poulsen
11-12-2010, 06:10 AM
Righteo, squat in it I shall, and worry about it when the time comes I will.