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Belt Squat Variation Idea

So I was thinking about ways to squat for people who have unresolved spinal lumbar flexion issues and I considered the idea of a belt squat. A quick google search shows that it’s a thing, but obviously the limitations would be in the amount of plates you can load in between your legs as well as the challenges of simply getting into position.

The benefits to this variation, I think, would be obviously no spinal loading and I think the nature of the load pretty much guarantees that weight remains over the center of the foot during the lift.

Now as to the issue of plate load limitations, couldn’t you simply load up as many plates as possible, perhaps 5 and then grab a heavy dumbbell and hold it in the goblet squat position for additional load? Supposing you can fit in 5 plates on the belt and get a 120lb dumbbell, that would allow for 345lbs. Alternatively someone could perhaps hold two dumbbells at their side for even more loading. The only other thing you’d need is a solid platform to create a deficit to make room for the plates—ideally with steps to make it easier to load up.

Anyways I’m curious about your thoughts or if anyone has put this theory into practice before. Cheers.

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Or you could use a belt squat machine. Quite a few people make them.

Why not just use a loading pin?

I work out from home though, but that works for many people.

Yeah same basic idea but you’re definitely right about that as far as maximum plate allowance.

Unless the benches are bolted and I have something to hold on to I personally 3would not do that.


Yes, belt squats are a thing. They’ve been around forever. There are a ton of articles about them, including this one from Ben Bruno with a few variations. The one using a dip belt on a t-bar/landmine setup would be great for a home gym.

Both of these defeat the purpose of doing belt squats, since they increase upper body involvement and add lower back stress/compression.


I have done this in my home gym. I have some 5" blocks (made from 4 4x4 cut 2’, 1/2" plywood, 1/2" rubber mat for the top) and stood on them to create more deficit.

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Anyone has a personal experience with the real effectiveness of belt squats?

Something tells me it’s not as effective as conventionnal squats, or it would be a lot more popular since there is so much less chance for injuries and manageable in the long run.

I had this idea to use a t-bar setup at home for loading

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Awesome article.