T Nation

Front Squat Form Check


FS at about 95% 1RM:



Your form is great, nothing to worry about. Rack position is good, your elbows are always up, you don't have a rounded upper back, great! How many kilos were on the bar?


245 pounds on the bar. I did 260 after this which was a PR. Thanks for the feedback.


The form looks practically perfect.

Though I was wondering about you wearing a belt. This may not be my place, but have you tried front squatting without the belt on? Unless you do have a serious back issue, performing the front squat without the belt -even if the weight get so heavy- is better for overall stabilization of the entire body in the long-run.


You know, I am not trying to be rude or to follow you around the forum (although as I have been posting in the olympic lifting forum for longer than you have been a poster I am perfectly at home here) but that really isn't your place. And you are speaking about things with which you have no real experience. Using a belt at 95% max is perfectly reasonable and in fact smart. There is no actual need to perform the lift without the belt for something as amorphous as "greater stabilization". If the load was 50%, or even 75% to 80% then there might be a point. But a limit lift is exactly that: a max limit. It is a test, more than training. In a test, you use everything at your disposal.


I didn't know that you had much interest in olympic weightlifting. Also, you're probably right that it really isn't my place, but I was just trying to help. I may not have nearly as much solid experience as someone like you Aragorn; however, the advice that I give is always based off some legit expert in strength and conditioning and sports training.

In addition, I thought that you would only use a weightlifting belt and/or other gear when performing a 1-rep maximum competition lift or your absolute true 1RM, where you lift the most amount of weight that you can while being all "psyched up." Otherwise, when it comes to lifting with a 3RM-2RM, or even a 1RM training resistance, you don't need a weightlifting belt (unless of course you have a back issue that is so serious that your orthopedist or PT strongly advises you wear one at all times when lifting moderate to heavy weights).


I understand that, but you really need to have the real world experience, or at least a bit more than you have now which is near to zero, before you can feel the context of this. As with so many other things it is not black and white and there is not one right answer. The answer, as usual is, it depends. You cannot feel this without any real world knowledge. I would not tell a general contractor with 10 years of building contracts under his belt that his way of setting rebar into concrete is wrong if I've never done it, regardless of any books I had read on construction science. Likely HE knows the context of his work better than I do.

Using a belt is a skill. If you don't practice the skill you don't get good at it. So, from that standpoint, if you compete with a belt you need to practice with it to get the most out of it--this is most applicable to powerlifting instead of olympic weightlifting. However, there are other valid reasons for wearing a belt below your 1 rep competition max EVEN if you do not have any orthopedic problems.

My brother squats 5 days a week. This week he squatted 6 days a week. It went like this:

Monday 5x5 back squat.
Tuesday 5x5 front squat.
Wednes 3x5 bad squat.
Thursday 3x3 front squat.
Friday 3x10 back squat
Saturday Overhead squat 1 rep max

Oh wait--this was in addition to training the olympic lifts 5 days a week. He doesn't have any orthopedic problems with his back though. Are you telling me he shouldn't wear a belt? You do not have ANY conception about the type of effort this takes because you have not put any serious effort into real weight training.

The majority of olympic lifters do things similar to this, if less volume and slightly lower frequency in squatting. There is no reason to make the comment you did. I realize it was done with good intentions, but quite frankly there is no way to blanket statement a piece of advice like "don't wear a belt unless it's a competition max".

This is completely different from a weekend warrior whose core is made of jello and who does not serious pulling volume, who needs the core strength. Or a bodybuilder looking to rep out a set. Or a crossfitter doing 70 lb kettlebell squats for time. With all respect, the fact that you do not understand this is proof that you need to spend more time in the gym and less time reading, and less time giving any advice.

The next time you are in the gym, try putting 400 or 500 pounds on the squat bar and just unracking it and holding it. Don't try to squat it because you will die. Please hold it for 20 seconds, and then try to understand why people who squat that much weight want a belt, even if it is "only" their 2 rep max. I'm not trying to crush you but you HAVE to understand these things and that shit only happens by really going after the lifting instead of reading. I understand you are trying to help, and that is laudable. But you do not have the tools to help people, and this isn't a criticism, it's just fact based on your history. If I want to bench 500 lbs, I am not going to listen to the guy who can't bench 200 lbs. I am going to listen to the people who are a bit stronger than me, or at least at my level for what is helping them. You have to get genuinely experienced before you can start to help, as much as you want to help.


I'm sorry, but you sound like a dick. Then listen to John Broz, he advocates -almost religiously- NOT wearing a belt unless you have some injury or something. Also, check out pat mendes. He squatted at that time about 10-12 times per week for MAX weights each time (mind you, he was an 800 pound squatter) and never use a belt. Saying that you always need is wrong. Saying that wearing always a belt is better is wrong. 90% of people on any weightlifting gym I have ever been almost never used a belt.


I never said this. And do not believe it to boot.

I never said this either. Reread my posts please.


Is =/= to either of the statements you told me that I made. I even pointed out that the first instance was much more applicable to powerlifting than olympic lifting. What I did was give direct instances where the value of the belt should be taken into account short of a "serious orthopedic problem" or "competition max" as Bull suggests is the only way to use a belt if ever.

In short he made a blanket statement and I provided instances to the contrary, NOT another blanket statement. My entire point was that the context is important for determining whether to use a belt or not at weights other than competition maxes and that there are many possible reasons for doing so. I am not making any claims on particular lifters squatting particular ways, nor am I saying that there is only one way. That was the entire point. I have listened to Broz, and I know he is a proponent of very minimal belt use. He is welcome to his opinion. It is not without merit and he certainly knows his coaching extremely well. I am also a proponent of minimal belt use, however I am not one that believes as Broz does, and apparently neither is the original poster of this thread.

There is nothing inherently substandard about holding this opinion, and that is my point--the blanket statement made was not one that should have been made, and there was no hyperbole indicating that it was an illustration of a larger point either (which is generally a reason for blanket statements that if not exactly valid--technically speaking--is normal and similar to sarcasm).


I don't understand this. Lot's of people squat with 400 - 500 lbs without a belt. I can do 405 no belt no problem. The only time I wear a belt is in competition. I don't quite get where you got the "you have to train with a belt when the weights get heavy" mindset from.



As can I squat it without a belt. I do not have the mindset that you HAVE to train with a belt when the weights get heavy, what I am attempting to retort to is the idea that you should NEVER squat with a belt (outside a competition max) which is what was advocated earlier on. That is it. I don't know how people mistook my response to that as saying you HAD to have a belt on when squatting. In all the years I've been on this forum (or any other) I don't believe I have ever advocated HAVING to squat with a belt.

Perhaps I was very unclear in my original response and if that is the case I apologize to people who misunderstood. It is true that I personally prefer to squat without a belt until about 90% max most of the time and then add a belt, but I am not suggesting--have never suggested in all my time here--that anybody must always squat with a belt...unlike the post I was attempting to reply to, which fairly explicitly stated in a blanket way that you should never squat with a belt EVER unless it was a competition max or doctor orders due to "severe orthopedic problem".

The only time I would suggest anybody HAVE to squat with a belt before reaching their max is in the specific case of building skill with the belt for a raw powerlifter. Since it is the only piece of equipment you are allowed it is probably a good idea to practice using it to get the most help out of it possible, as you are essentially trying to gain a competitive edge. Other than that I do not believe I have ever said so.

If it would make you feel better I will edit that comment out of my previous post. It is clear by your response that the point I was attempting to make with that suggestion was lost on people in any case so perhaps it would be better and less distracting to my intended point as a whole.


So then it seems like it all depends on not just your current physical condition, but also what type of sport you are training for and at what level you are at in weight training. If you are just starting out as a beginner in weight training then you shouldn't use the belt because you want your nervous system to learn to automatically activate your own core muscles and other stabilizers within your own body when lifting any given weight regardless of whatever you are training for. However, if you are powerlifter or a strongman athlete who has developed enough to be able to squat and deadlift much more than your bodyweight about, then you can and should start to practice frequently using a weight belt when lifting heavy weights, even if it's a weight that is within about your 2-6 RM range. Although, if you are athlete in any other type of sport whether it be in martial arts, football, wrestling, baseball, basketball, a given track-and-field event such as sprinting, shot-put, and maybe Olympic weightlifting, etc., then you only should wear the belt about once a month and when lifting your absolute max. regardless of your strength and conditioning status (unless of course you have a certain back problem that restricts you from safely performing a free weight exercise such as squats or deadlifts without using the belt).