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Leg Mass Without Barbells


Here is the belt squat setup we’ve used over the years in order to deload the spine and traction the hips. It gives your athletes a break from barbell squat variations and still allows them to get stronger.

Important Setup Instructions

First thing you want to notice is that the barbell is in the inside of the rack, not on the outside. This is an important point to note as you don’t want to pull the bar out of the j-hooks. You want the bar to be jammed into the inside of the rack so you can pull on it without something bad happening.

Secondly, in this setup, we used two benches to stand on. I would prefer two boxes of equal height, but all we had on this day were benches. Boxes give you stability and control for the heavier sets. If you have a smaller box to use as a step up onto the higher boxes, that’s even better.

Next, for loading, we used chains. I love using chains because they have a nice feel and provide a little instability that needs to be overcome and control. An even better loading strategy is using the low pulley on a cable stack. This gives a smooth repetition and can really help you dig into a higher volume set. We’ve also used kettlebells hanging from chains which is the most cumbersome setup and should be your last resort.

As always, the technique should be 123: 1. Chest up, 2. Hips Back, 3. Knees Out.

And ensure that the knees ‘self-select’ and track over the feet. Look for butt wink and only allow the athlete to move through a range of motion (ROM) where they can control their torso (position) and pelvic position (APT<=>Neutral<=>PPT).

Equipment Needed

In the video I used an actual belt squat belt, but a dip belt will be fine. You can load the exercies with chains, kb’s, db’s, cable stack, or elastic bands anchored to dumbbells on the floor. Finally, we used two benches, but I would prefer two actual boxes to stand on for more stability and support.

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By on March 21st, 2017

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