Squat Replacement and an Awesome Smoothie

In this week’s blog, I thought it was appropriate to answer a question from a reader since it covers two things that will probably interest you. – CW

Question: Mr. Waterbury, I bought your book, Huge in a Hurry. Holy shit, it works! But I have two questions. First, I can’t squat so what exercise should I do instead? Second, do you know a good smoothie I could drink before my workouts? Thanks, Patrick

CW: The barbell squat has been called “the king of all exercises” by many guys that are stronger than an ox on D-bol. For them, it’s a strength-builder that’s appropriate for their goals. But for many other people, the squat just doesn’t work.

Why? First of all, even though the “squat pattern” is a basic move that we all must master in order to sit on a chair or the bathroom throne, pulling off a perfect barbell back squat is another matter altogether. To perform a barbell back squat correctly, you must have sufficient mobility in the ankles, hips, T-spine and shoulders. Also, you must possess enough stability strength through your core to maintain the correct position.

blog bad squat

Those factors explain why the squat is a great exercise when you can do it correctly. However, most people lack in one or more of those areas and sometimes genetic factors such as long femurs and a short torso will always make the squat problematic.

If the squat isn’t ideal for your program due to structural, orthopedic or equipment limitations, there are two exercises you can do to replace it: hip thrust and stir the pot. The combination of those two exercises effectively challenge many of the same muscles as the squat, while also being user-friendly for almost everyone.

Hip thrust: perform with a barbell or a strong resistance band(s) as shown in the video below. Five sets of anywhere from 5-10 reps works well:

Pair the hip thrust with the Stir the Pot exercise that Prof. Stuart McGill made famous. Perform 5 sets of 6-10 alternating reps (3-5 in each direction):

Squat replacement
1A Hip thrust for 5-10 reps
Rest 30-45s
1B Stir the pot for 6-10 alternating reps
Rest 30-45s, and repeat 1A-1B for 5 rounds

Now, let’s get to everyone’s favorite blender concoction that doesn’t involve copious amounts of tequila: smoothies.

There’s definitely a plethora of smoothie recipes, books and blogs floating around the internet. Most of them consist of pretty straightforward ingredients such as fruit, protein powder and yogurt. That’s all fine, but there’s one simple smoothie I’ve used for years that might seem, well, odd on paper. But it’s packed with nutrients and it tastes awesome.

If you’re like 99% of my clients, you’ll eat up this unique combination of ingredients. Drink it 30-60 minutes before your workout to reduce inflammation and fuel your efforts. (Thanks to Dr. John Berardi since I initially learned a similar version of this smoothie from him):

Mix in a blender:
Around 20 ounces of water (more/less based on your taste preference)
2 fistfuls of fresh spinach
1 fistful of frozen raspberries
1 palmful of cashews
2 scoops of high-quality whey protein

Stay Focused,
CW

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3 thoughts on “Squat Replacement and an Awesome Smoothie

  1. Chad, how about the trap bar for a replacement?
    BTW the smoothie is great!!

    CW: Ralph, that will work but I was aiming at giving people a less obvious alternative. I wanted to give two exercises that don’t require special equipment like a trap bar.

  2. I seem to be doing okay with the basic squat but alternatives are always good to have to mix it up. Thanks.

  3. hi Chad. i want to ask you about trainers who insists about doing a quad dominant exercise and a hip dominant exercise at the same full body session to maximize the lower body and posterior chain development (hamstrings / glutes).
    i am on the HIAH program (with a few exercises substitutions because of my sciatica) and i was wondering if doing only one lower body exercise (squat, deadlift or lunge variations) per session is sufficient to fully train the whole legs. i am using the BB front squat, BB sumo deadlift and DBs lunge, and i was thinking about adding every workout a posterior chain / hip dominant drill that keep my torso straight (sciatica) like the GHR, reverse hyperextension or hip thrusts. so, do you think this is necessary?
    about the pre-workout smoothie, i am used to this one: one scoop of whey protein isolate, 1/2 ounce of ground flax seeds, a tsp of cinnamon, 1-1.5 banana and a 3 ounces of natural full fat Greek yogurt then blend all that.
    is it good as a pre-workout meal to take 60 min before working out? thanks Chad and sorry about the length of this replay.

    CW: Yes, one compound lower body exercise per session is sufficient since you’re working all the major muscle groups of the posterior chain and legs. I don’t like whey isolates since they’ve been stripped of key nutrients: immunoglobulins. Use organic unflavored whey instead.

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