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How to do belt squats correctly (works form and muscles)

Squats with the belt are a great way to add more strength to your exercise routine by targeting the muscles of the lower body. When done correctly, belt exercises can help strengthen your legs, glutes, and core muscles, regardless of whether you’re an Olympian or an endurance athlete.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to perform squats correctly, including proper form, which muscles are working, and the benefits that come with this exercise. We’ll also give some tips to help you get the most out of your belt squat. Read on to learn more about this effective exercise and its intended range of motion.

What is the squat belt exercise?

The belt squat is an exercise that uses the traditional squat motion, but instead of putting all the weight of a heavy bar on your shoulders and back, it distributes it evenly across your hips and lower body using a heavy belt that you wear around your waist.

This unique variation of the squat is best performed using the belt squat machine invented by Louie Simmons in 1975. After suffering a major back injury, Louie had to come up with new ways to squat correctly, which led to his invention.

Activate the muscles when doing belt squats

Squat with Belt is an excellent exercise for targeting the quadriceps muscles and developing the large calf muscles. Since the load is carried by the hips rather than the spine as in a back or front squat, this can be done without causing stress to the back. This is an ideal way to increase the intensity and volume of training without risking injury. Targeted muscle groups include:

Quadriceps (front of the thighs) – bend the hips and knee joints to lift the weight.

gluteus maximus (buttocks) – stretching the hip joints to help lift the weight.

hamstrings (the back of the thighs) – stretches the knee joints and helps stabilize the hip joints.

core muscles (abdominal, oblique, lower back muscles) – these muscles work in a slight degree. The core muscles stabilize the torso and help keep the spine in a neutral position.

adducts (inner thighs) – Helps stabilize the hips and keep them in a neutral position.

The hip flexors (thigh) – flexion at the hip joints to help lift the weight.

How to do a belt squat

It has been pointed out that the most effective way to perform a belt squat is with a machine; However, many gyms do not have one. What is the best alternative? Most people use two benches or two benches to form a “V” shape while standing, with a weight attached to a diving belt.

If you are a beginner, it may be a good idea to seek guidance from a certified personal trainer to provide guidance and ensure that your form and technique is perfect. Otherwise, you could be targeting the wrong muscles and setting yourself up for the risk of injury. It may be wise to do this as a bodyweight squat until you have mastered proper form.

There are two ways you can perform belt squats.

1. Belt squat machine

This particular piece of equipment is designed to allow you to perform squats while wearing the belt. You stand on a flat surface and tie a belt around your waist, which is attached to a dumbbell stack via a cable. As you squat, the resistance increases, requiring you to apply more force to stand back up.

2. Retraction strap

Belt squats are often done with a dipping belt. The belt is sturdy and has a chain that can be used to tie a weight between your legs. The chain can be wrapped around a land mine bar, or you can stand on an elevated surface (such as an elevated dip bar) with the weight disc slung between your knees.

Don’t rush when invest in a diving belt, Here you can learn what to consider before buying.

Belt squats are one of the easiest lower body exercises to master. All that is required for this exercise is to perform the back squat with proper form; The only difference is that the load is placed on the hips instead of the shoulders. You will definitely feel less impact on your lower back.

The muscles worked when performing the squat are in the lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles, while taking the load off the spine. It can serve as an alternative to traditional squats if you have shoulder, knee or lower back problems.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to performing belt squats with proper form

Load the weights

Before you start a belt squat, you’ll need to attach the barbell plates to the machine itself or to a dipping belt chain or pin-style belt, depending on the machine you’re using.

starting position

  • Position yourself on the raised platform with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart.

  • You may find it necessary to angle your toes outward to ensure that your legs are far enough apart to avoid hitting the weight plate.

  • However, it’s best to start with your toes forward, as it helps engage your quad muscles and reduce the amount of effort your hips have to do.

Heres how to do it

  1. While inhaling, slowly bend your knees and lower your body toward the floor. Don’t drop the weight, but rather control your motion to engage your quads. Make sure to continue inhaling as you lower yourself.

  2. Push up from a squatting position to a standing position by pressing into your heels. Move slowly and deliberately, as this further engages and strengthens your quads. As you get up, exhale. Avoid jumping quickly as this will not help your strength.

  3. When you reach the highest point of the squat, do not completely straighten your legs; Instead, keep your knees slightly bent. Push your hips forward to activate your gluteal muscles, and pause for one second before moving on to the next repetition. This will enable you to maintain a steady and controlled movement, as well as give you the opportunity to adjust your position if needed.

Repeat to suit your goal

  • For weightlifting, aim for 2 to 6 reps

  • For strength training, aim for 8 to 12 reps

  • To build endurance, aim for 15 to 25 repetitions

Benefits of a squat belt

The squat belt allows you to shift the weight to your hips and waist rather than your lower back, which reduces stress on your spinal muscles. This makes the exercise less taxing on your lower back, but still provides a great lower-body workout, which leads to additional benefits.

Builds less muscle mass in the body

Belt squats are most commonly used to build muscle mass in the legs and are usually performed in the 6-15 rep range until near exhaustion. Although it is possible to do fewer repetitions to increase strength, other leg exercises such as the squat, Romanian deadlift and leg press are usually better suited to heavier weights.

It reduces spinal pressure and lumbar vertebrae load

The squat belt provides a way to work the lower body without placing any load on the upper back and spine. Most lower-body exercises involve some type of spinal tap, which can be beneficial for building bone density, core strength, and muscle mass.

However, when someone is recovering from an injury or has an existing back condition such as compromised spinal erectors, this type of loading is best avoided. Belt squats are also useful for targeting the legs more than the back.

Benefits of slings with limited shoulder motion

For weightlifters who have limitations in shoulder mobility, whether it’s from an inability to externally rotate their arms to hold a barbell or because of a shoulder injury, belt squats remove the shoulders from the equation.

Reduces elbow and wrist extension

If you squat regularly, you may find that your elbows and wrists ache. The squat belt removes any stress on the elbows and wrists that is usually required to do a lower body exercise.

More training with less fatigue

The belt takes pressure off the spine, making it less stressful. This means that you can still train your lower body hard without feeling too fatigued, and you’ll be able to bounce back from the workout much faster than if you were to do squats, deadlifts, and lunges.

If you want to train your lower body more but are concerned about your recovery, belt squats are a great option, and for more recovery benefits, you might want to try ISO WHEY grater stackfor optimal healing.

Best for lifters with core injuries

Belt squats are an effective exercise for weightlifters who hurt their core muscles, because it allows them to Their quads work without putting too much pressure on the heart.

Starting point to increase the squat frequency

If you only do squats once a week but want to do them more frequently, belt squats are a great way to ramp up your lower body workout.


Toned Glutes - Image from Shutterstock

The belt squat is a complete lower body exercise that works your glutes and quads. If you want to focus on one or the other, it can be easily modified.

To emphasize the glutes, sit on your heels and keep your leg vertical, which is why some people hold onto a handrail and lean back.

To focus on the quads, stay as straight as possible and bend forward at the knees as you lower.

Squat belt variations

Adding a weight belt or belt squat machine to your favorite squat variation such as the split squat can enhance its benefits. Try adding weights to these exercises. When you adjust your movement patterns for these differences, you can hit different muscles and ensure evenly developed muscle hypertrophy.

  • Split belt squat

  • Sumo squat belt

  • Telescopic squat belt

  • Squat belt marches

  • Landmine belt squat.

All of these are compatible with both landmine rods and cable machines, so you can add exciting variety to your lower body builder’s toolbox.


Now that you’ve been introduced to the hip belt squat exercise, it’s time to get to work without the risk of subsequent back pain. Start with a lower weight until you have mastered the technique before gradually moving up. Just like with any other exercise, don’t overwork your body and listen to what it tells you.

If done correctly, you’ll begin to experience the various benefits of hip belt squats – better mobility, increased strength, and a better booty. If you lack access to the device, you can try its modifications or even opt for alternatives.

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