When your back doesn't tolerate regular lifting, substitute the squat and deadlift with sled or Prowler walks or marches. There are situations when the low back can be so out of whack that most squat variations will cause problems. Prowler/sled marches are a great choice, especially for the quads, glutes, and hips.
The main benefit of this exercise is the elimination of eccentric stress, meaning there's only a push phase and no "negative." You can go heavy, but when your back is out, go light to moderate and instead increase the distance you push or march.
Don't be concerned that you won't stress the legs enough. Besides training the quads and glutes, this exercise will force you to integrate your whole body. You can also push with more power and even run with the sled, but going slow and controlled is the first variation you should try when substituting the squat.
The video shows two different hand placements. Holding the low bar causes more forward lean and is great for athletes, but it can be stressful for someone with knee issues. If that's the case, go for a high grip and a more upright torso.
Technical Focal Points
- Keep the upper back as activated as you can.
- Push the feet DOWN and back.
- Go slow and controlled.