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Squat Variation Question


I coach college basketball players and they are all beginners in the weight room. Back squat is very painful to him due to a previous injury. Last year we did only front squats. I was wondering if the squat using a weight belt and standing on platforms would be beneficial. I don't know the name of this movement.

Does anyone have experience with this type of squat and its benefits?


What is the injury? That is kinda really important info for this question.



As long as everyone understands what you mean, the name doesn't matter.

The obvious benefit is there isn't a huge weight on your back compressing your spine.


It's an injury to the muscles between the shoulder and the mid-back. Back squat is painful and front squat is only a little better.

I have another athlete whose lower back is bothered by back squat, so again we only front squat with him. Seems like the hip belt squat might be good for both of these athletes.


Can they hold a trap bar?


They can deadlift with a straight bar so I would imagine they can hold a trap bar.


If I was a parent of a collegiate athlete, I'd flip my shit if I found out the coach was asking random people on the Internet advice for dealing with my kid's injury. It's one thing to look for advice and second opinions from peers, but this just seems scary. (No offense to the guys who've replied. I'm sure you get my drift.)

With that said, I suggest you seriously consider the pros and cons of having injured or recently-injured athletes squat, and look at all possible alternatives. You're still being vague about the actual injury. Is it a herniated disc, torn low trap, a sprained rhomboid? The particulars will obviously affect the entire training program, not just one lower body exercise.

If back squats are painful and front squats are "only a little better", then neither of them should be considered. You need to bring the upper back and spinal stress to a bare minimum. Something like a hip belt squat should help, but unilateral training would be my preferred choice. For the kid with lower back problems, a neutral grip (like a trap bar or dumbbells) should also be doable, but I'd also rely on unilateral stuff.

Have you been having this kid do front squats since last year even though the pain is "only a little better" with them?


This seems like pretty good advice coming from a random internet person. :0


Relax, Chris. I am neither forcing kids to do something painful, nor following advice from random people. It doesn't hurt to hear an opinion and the articles provided me with information from an authority on the subject.

We tried front squatting with "upper back pain kid" but stopped that too due to pain. Hence my purpose here. "Lower back pain kid' performs front squats pain free. They both do lunges and Bulgarian Split Squats and I'm simply looking into additional options.

"Upper back pain kid" doesn't suffer from a diagnosable injury. Our trainers and his doctor have looked. It's just discomfort. "Low back pain kid' just gets tightness after back squatting regularly so we decided to avoid it.

God I hope you don't have kids. Another unreasonable, overreacting parent: just what the world needs.


What is this fucking shit? Why would you bring his family into this?

Apologise or fuck off. Seriously man. I can't belive i'm reading this shit.


You can go fuck yourself.

I'd rather be a concerned parent than an unprofessional irresponsible beginner who somehow stumbled his way into a position of authority with influence over the health and well-being of kids.

Quick recap of your post history:
- You started lifting "seriously" just last year.

  • You know nothing about basic nutrition.

  • You're clueless about when to program front squats, back squats, deads, and RDLs.

  • You don't know the difference between a clean and a snatch and don't know the difference in benefits from the floor or the hang.

I'd have no problem with a basic beginner asking these kinds of questions, but you've somehow ended up as a collegiate coach and have little to no real world experience in the gym. That's fucking shameful, a disgrace to the profession, and absolutely the wrong call by whatever school made the poor decision to hire you. Best of luck to the athletes unlucky enough to fall under your watch.



You are welcome.

Second: No one can tell you the benefits for that kid. Actually, it is quite the weird question. All anyone can tell you is how it is performed and which muscle(s) it takes. As a college "coach", you should know that. Do what doesn't hurt and see a professional.

Third: I am a parent and I would be very concerned that my kid's coach is on the internet, in a public forum, asking basic questions.... My son's coach has a network of other professional for referrals.


A) He brought "his family" into this ("If I was a parent of a collegiate athlete, I'd flip my shit")

B) Please stop acting like those with advanced degrees are the only people who can help people lift. It's quite possible to strength train in a safe and beneficial manner with the help of a relative beginner, or without a coach at all.

C) What is concerning about ASKING basic questions? That's how one learns: ask questions, sift through answers. This process doesn't commit you to anything. Again, I knew someone would point me in the right direction, WHICH THEY DID.

D) Chris, not sure what your superior knowledge and experience has to do with this. I posted the question hoping to get insights from such people.


Not touching the kid thing. But I think the point was, how the hell are you getting paid to teach people. You are right that an advanced degree isn't required to teach kids to lift. And a relative beginner can help guide people to lift, but if you are getting paid for this advice you should be highly experienced and well read before anyone should consider hiring you.

I question how exactly you got this job without some serious resume doctoring. And are the parents of the kids you are training aware that they have hired someone who is a beginner themselves to teach their kid?


Seems like a more qualified coach might be good for both of these athletes


Sports coach. We employ weights to help. We also have our players run. Is this a problem since I'm neither a marathoner not an Olympic sprinter? Chill out guys.


It has nothing to do with asking the questions. It is the kind of questions you're asking (BASIC) and where you are asking them (a public forum where anyone can say literally anything and claim it as truth). If you were asking some more advanced questions (like periodizing volume in the squat for pre and post season training) and asking them of a more professional group of people (like dedicated S&C coaches who do that for a living) there would generally be less negative feedback


Not going to pile on, but I do agree with what everyone is saying about how worrisome it is that a "relative beginner" is in charge of a college team's strength training. Also, don't talk shit about a stranger's parenting ability. It makes you look like an ass. All that said, here are some ideas worth looking into:

Belt squats, goblet squats, kettlebell front squats, squats with a weighted vest or chains draped over shoulders, single leg movements (look up Ben Bruno -- he's a huge advocate), heavy sled drags, prowler pushes, high handle trap bar deads with an upright torso

Remember that strength training for athletes is just GPP. If they can't squat, that sucks, but its not the end of the world. Find a different way to elicit a training effect and make them stronger. Don't get hung up on it. Good luck to you and your athletes.


As worriesome as it maybe, there are countless of clueless coah's with too much pride to even seek out some type of "second opinon". I hear what everyone is saying but, having gone through having a clueless strength coach I know the woes oh so well.

Have you considered hack squats?