To replace the barbell back or front squat, I stand a heavy (80lb+) dumbell end-on on the floor, grasp the upper weights, and stand up. Is this a good alternative to the chalice squat? (Much more below!)
I am doing my best to follow a Starting Strength regimen - but the barbell exercises (except, oddly enough, the deadlift) have all caused injury.
I've switched to dumbbells for the overhead and bench press, and assisted dips/chins/pulls in place of the clean-and-jerk.
My concern is now with an adequate squat replacement. Back squats gave me no-kidding nerve damage that's only now healed after four months. (I couldn't feel my left arm for a while... I apparently have vertebrae that are incompatible with a heavy steel bar across even the meatiest part of my back.)
The injury from the bench-press means front squats are out - I don't have the shoulder mobility to heave that much weight up front with my arms like that.
The chalice squat is difficult but do-able, but I'm worried it taxes my lower back too much to raise a heavy dumbbell (80lbs) chest-high, and that holding the dumbbell like that means I can't squat as deeply as I like as my elbows and the dumbbell itself interferes.
Yesterday, I tried a variation on it, where I stand the dumb-bell on-end on the floor, squat down to grasp the upper weights, and do the squat exercise beginning with up rather than down. It feels natural, I can manage heavier weights, squat deep, and my thighs are still on fire a day later (a good thing, I couldn't get DOMS going with the traditional chalice squat).
Is this exercise a good replacement for a barbell squat? Am I risking another injury doing it this way rather than lifting the weight up to my chest?