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Trying to Fix Leg Strength Imbalance: Incorporating Belt Squats in Texas Method?

Hi, I’ve been running into some issues with form breakdown in my squats and deadlifts at high intensity, where my lower back tends to take over a disproportionate amount of the load relative to my legs. This leads to challenging squat reps starting to look more like a good morning, and challenging deadlift reps starting to look more like a romanian deadlift. Found this video which I thought did a good job of explaining why this is happening (linked to 7:10 where they start discussing this issue): Assessing Leg vs Back Strength in the Squat | JTSstrength .com - YouTube

After doing some research it seems like this is probably due to a strength imbalance, where my lower back is stronger than my legs. This shows in my lifts, I recently deadlifted a 1RM at 500 which felt pretty solid, whereas my tested 1RM for squat is only 375.

I’m wondering what I can do to best correct this imbalance. In the video linked above they recommend belt squats, which seem to me like they’d be a great option for getting my legs up to speed with my lower back. Where should I incorporate this into the Texas Method program, or is there an alternative option y’all would recommend trying? I’m currently running the standard Texas Method, only mod is that I’m replacing power cleans with 5x5 beltless deadlifts, since I’ve never done any olympic style lifting. The two thoughts I had would be to do a 5x10 belt squat on Wednesday, and/or to replace some of the beltless deadlifts with belt squats. What do you think?

I would deload squats and deadlifts to 85-90% (don’t worry, you’ll still be getting strength adaptations) and focus on:

  • Thinking about hips forward when coming out of the hole on squats
  • Pulling the slack out of the bar and transitioning smoothly off the floor on deadlifts

Belt squats could help, but not as much as becoming more efficient at squat and deadlift

I don’t think this is a good substitution. If you wanted to practice deads instead of O-lifts (which is perfectly fine) I’d either do 5-6 x 2-3 at ~60% for speed, or go beltless double overhand for 1-2 hard sets of 5

What’s wrong with the substitution? What would these replacements be doing that the 5x5 wouldn’t? (I’ve been doing the beltless 5x5 at about 85% of Monday’s 5RM weight).

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This mostly just looks like poor technique. As you drop into the hole you’re letting the bar travel over the ankle which puts you in a terrible position.

Probably controlling the decent, ensuring you are rooted, and driving the traps back should fix most of this.

I don’t remember the full texas method but generally hips rising before chest means weak quads. So build your quads. Don’t forget fatigue from building your quads can also show as weak quads.

So address your legs as you want but work on the squat technique to tighten up the bar path.

Does this mean I am leaning too far forward? And should be leaning further back in order to fix this?

You could do the belt Squats light, before your real training.

Some light get your quads working and to practice pushing your hips forward, and squatting with your legs in an “easier” way than with the barbell.

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Well if you wanted to replicate the intent of power cleans, you would want to prioritise speed. This is why I recommended the 5-6 x 2-3

If you wanted to drill DL technique in a way that felt subjectively hard whilst mitigating fatigue (which is vital during Texas method imo) then going double overhand is your best bet.

Finally, it’s a good idea in general to use lower volume when training DL relative to other lifts

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Technique is optimally developed and trained for singles with 85% plus of your 1 Repetition Max. That based on research by Dr Tom McLaughlin and others.

Repetition Training

The issue with training the Squat or Deadlift is…

  1. Technique is altered with each successive Repetition. As muscle fatigue set in, technique falls apart, as you noted.

  2. As muscle fatigue set in, the muscle firing sequence is altered.

Increasing Strength With Auxiliary Exercises

The most effective method of increasing strength in a movement without developing poor technique is with Auxiliary Exercise that are similar in nature to the movement.

The Westside Powerlifing Method

The foundation of this method is based on increasing strength with Auxiliary Exercises rather than training the competition lifts for repetitions.

Great Analysis

Yes, shifting the load to your lower back, with the Squat-Morning means you need to increase your leg strength.

Belt Squats

The Belt Squat is an Auxiliary Exercise that is similar in nature to your Squat.

The Belt Squat takes the lower back out of the equation; placing the overload on the legs.

Heavy Abdominal Training

Make sure you include some heavy abdominal training into your program, as well.

This is one of the keys to maintaining a more upright position when Squatting.

Personal Perspective

Like you, I am build to Deadlift, with a strong back.

Years ago, I implemented Belt Squat as a means of increasing my leg strength.

My Squat Training was focused on Technique Training only.

My Squat increased, as well as my technique.

A Side Benefit

My Deadlift also went up due to the fact that I wasn’t beating my lower back up with Squat-Morning as well as Deadlifting heavy, as well.

Kenny Croxdale

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So it makes sense as to why belt squats could help me, but it seems like you’re coming at this from an advanced powerlifting training perspective, rather than what I’m doing, which is intermediate level general strength training using the Texas Method (I only posted on the powerlifting forum as it is the closest thing to this topic).

I’m not trying to ditch my program, which is based around doing mostly compound barbell exercises, I’m looking to add an accessory to smartly address a specific weakness I’ve been noticing.

Where would you add in belt squats within the general Texas Method format?

In short you don’t otherwise it’s no longer the Texas Method.

You can sub extra deadlifts for powercleans ( since the deadlift volume is terribly low ) without changing too much of the program. However adding belt squats changes the program.

Maybe switch the 5x5 to a lighter % then add in some belt squats on the volume day but you’d have to play with %s to figure out the recovery and fatigue.

You just need to control the decent. I can no longer see your reddit videos on tnation but found them on another site. From the second you start the decent the bar is traveling forward. Work on your form so that the bar doesn’t travel so far forward on the way down. You may need to play with foot width, torso angle, sitting back a smidge more, etc.

Switch to a lighter weight, take about 2 seconds to get to the hole and lets see that bar path.

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Yes, definitely.

Continuint perform Squat-Morning reinforce bad technique. You become better at perform a Squat-Morning. It that is your objective, you are spot on.

Increasing Leg Strength

To increase Squat Leg Strength, you need to focus on an Auxiliary Exercise that enable you to place the workload on the legs rather than you back; train your weak point.

Put Belt Squat on another day.

Kenny Croxdale

Slowing The Descent

Good point.

Research (Dr Tom McLaughlin, PhD Biomechanics) found that lowering the weight too fast, increased the bar weight beyond its true load.

Force = Mass X Acceleration

The research showed that lowering the weight too fast increased the load 149% above it true weight.

That means, if you were Squatting 300 lbs and allowed the too fast a descent, the force would be 447 lbs.coming out of the hole.

If you lowered the bar slower, that would only increase the load 112%. That means the force would be 336 lbs coming out of the hole.

When To Increase The Descent Speed

When you are within approximately 2 - 3 inches of the hole, allow the Descent to speed up.

This elicits the Stretch Reflex; the connective tissue provides a rubber band effect. When aggressively stretched, the connective tissue spring back.

Pause Squats

Another method of ensuring technique and strength are developed in the Squat is to perform Pause Squats. Focus on technique.

To reiterate, once your technique begins to fall apart, terminate the Squat Set.

Continuing once fatigued ensure poor technique is developed.

Kenny Croxdale

414 and 404 tempo squats and deadlifts as well as pauses at specific points to you. Force perfect tech force the legs to do the work, stay in postion rep after rep. Don’t worry about the weight for a minute and worry about making your body do what you want it too do. Start with about 50% of your 1rm for 5-8 sets of 3-5 reps. Looking for about 24 total reps which ever combination you take and then work up slowly. Also if it is quads that you are lacking I strongly feel hack squats and vmo squats are the way to go but don’t ignore the adductors (magnus specifically) with Coppenhaggen planks and drills. With out a video of the squat thats about the best any one can offer.

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