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'Cheating' w/ Belt to Train Front Squat?


Hey, I'll try to interject a topic totally unrelated to doping here for a minute:

My raw front squat stinks (PR 205x3) compared to my back squat (355x3 no belt, etc). Watching myself on video, I see my hips rising faster than my shoulders, and the weight moving forward. I squatted wide as a PL'er, so I just pull the weight up like a front-loaded goodmorning. Not good.

When I wear a belt, my form is much better, I am more upright, and my "head leads" my hips. This is in part because I have very short legs for my height, very long torso, and my abs are not as strong as my legs or posterior chain. (My obliques are the only part of me that gets sore from front squatting.

And, yes, I am committed to improving my front squat. I have a bet with a local HS football coach that at age 40 and 182 I can clean more than any of his players next season. I have 5 months, and I am only 25 lbs below last year's team PR.
I am doing a "high volume" program, hitting Clean and Front squat 4x/wk, with varying intensities, most sets 75-85% range. I figure practice makes perfect.

I came up with 3 options:
1) Just train with the belt (which seems like the most expedient, if a little wussy)
2) Stick with no belt and back off the weight - work on my form/technique until I get the movement pattern mastered and all of the lagging muscles catch up
3) Cut back my volume of squatting and add in some special exercises to attack the imbalances

Any suggestions?


You can wear a belt in comp so wear a belt.


Yeah! I see no problem wearing a belt for front sq if weightlifters in competition wear them.

I had the same problem and I was very embarrassed for a while until a someone pointed out that olympic styrl front squat is no comparasion to pl style back squat really because like you said the just enough meet-depth, super wide stance mostly used for a pl back squat isn't comparable muscle use-wise to the lower depth of a front squat.

Also fronts are more quad dominant where as the wider stance pl squat is hammies and ass. so they are two different animals.


oh! and as for training them there are a few programs you can look up to train them. I too am really wanting a decent frontie and have been just doing a regular squat program but doing fronties instead. I'm doing various sheiko ones.


The one thing that has helped myself and my oly club is front squatting before and after the workouts. Koing one of the better and more experienced oly athletes here sent me on that path a while ago and I went from being stuck at 270# to 300# in about 4 weeks. The same has happened with the members of the oly club I coach. If you like the belt use the belt. Most of our guys go without, but with the front squat frequency has been the best answer. Basically what we do is work up to a heavy single right when we walk in the gym, then do our O lifts, Then another heavy single followed by 2x2 @90% of the heavy single. Most of our guys do this 5 - 7 days out of the week and in the last 2 weeks there were 9 FS PR's between 5 guys.


I am using Cleans and Front Squats in an HP Mass program, since the bench is also part of the bet I mentioned.

It a lot of sets, but its not debilitating, if you stay within the loading parameters (It helps that I lag on both lifts, so the loads are not impressive). I have over-active hams and hips from years of squatting wide. I need as many sets as I can to retrain the movement pattern.

I think I will add the belt and get back to work. I will try to train abs on the sled after my sets tonight.


So in addition to using the belt, I also switched to using straps instead of a clean grip so I could drive my elbows up, and put a 3/4" lift under my heels. And BAMM!! The weight was flying up last night. I can't wait to finish this meso-cycle so I can retest.

Thanks again for the help, y'all.


FS 205x3
BS 355 x3

I guarantee your BS is not upright and not that deep compared to your FS. It's all quad strength to get jacked OLIfts (besides 1000s of hrs of training them, but once at a proficient level it's about what you can FS) if you don't have a freak show pull. I've met few people that could lift more than me who are weaker than me.

Are you working on your ab and back exericses?

Obliques feel sore in FS? That is crazy.

Don't BS. You need to hammer your FS as well as learning the lifts well.

Make sure you can rack the bar properly in a Clean and a FS. That will really lower your weights.

Slow and steady wins the race. Edge out 1kg per week or every few weeks. It all adds up.



I never got a red light for squat depth in a meet, but over the years developed a wide-stance low bar technique that worked well for me. It doesn't transfer well at all to FS. I agree that it is all technique.

No kidding about my obliques. I am 173cm tall, but have a 73cm inseam - I am all torso. I have the leverages to put up a decent FS, but the technique is as foreign to me as signing my name with my non-dominant hand.

I am currently doing 10-16 triples on Front squat x3/wk. I am hoping that the reps will eventually create a repeatable and explosive movement pattern.

I am luckily able to rack the bar properly already - Bill Starr taught me to clean many years ago, and I have that base to draw from. We used the clean as a training exercise for FB, and didn't test it, because Coach Starr was solid enough to know that most American football clean tests are an insult to the Weightlifting Gods. We used the clean and high pull as an accessory movement to back squatting. In that sense, I needed to rack properly, but I got plenty of training effect catching it high.

Thanks for the tips.


Work on your mobility. There is not much technique to the FS. It's about sitting down inbetween your feet and then driving up. If you don't have the mobility then you won't be able to sit down properly, keep your back upright and keep your chest up.

How many times are you stretching in a week?

You need to do more ab work, your obliques should not be feeling it in the FS like this.

Don't kid yourself in the amount of mobility/ stretching you need to do. i have heard many people online/ in real life say they did this or that but when it comes down to it they did not work hard enough. I've only met one person who actually worked as hard as he said and he manage to get down a deep ATG squat and work on his mobility so he could Sn and Cj properly.



You are the man! Did some hip mobility last night as my warmup. That was a great tip. I was much better able to sit back, and even lost my balance backward in the hole on one of my warm up sets. That was a first, and obviously now I just need to keep my core upright because I am back far enough now. Also, I was so jazzed I accidentally went 9kg (20lbs) heavier than I was planning to go, and smoked a triple.

I could feel my abs limiting my ability to stay in a neutral spine in the hole. What ab work would you recommend? Heavy stuff like weighted hanging leg raises, or more of the anti-flexion stuff like planks?

I used to do "standing abs away from a pulldown machine (a Dave Tate favorite)" or as I like to call them "IHTFE" - I hate this f---ing exercise. But I am now without any cable equipment. I do have a full set of jumpstretch bands that I use for all kinds of moves that used to be done with cables. I also have a set of the Elitefts Blast Straps (like TRX) I have rigged up all kinds of things. I also have swiss ball, if that would have some kind of role.

In the last two years I have gotten a lot of my ab work via volume pull ups with my legs out in front, and from planks and lots of high-rep pushups.

Thanks again.


Weighted decline sit ups are a bread and butter ab exercise.

Do not forget to stretch at the end of training as well. You must hammer stretching until you can sit down properly.

Do hanging leg raisers to the bar as well. Hang, get your shins over the bar. Drive your legs up as fast as you can, down normal, repeat for 6-8reps x 4sets. Remember to drive your legs up as fast as you can. You will swing a bit but it won't help much so ignore that.