Thoughts On The Ironmind Hip Squat Belt

by Kilo on November 20, 2010

I’ve never been a very good squatter. My best in the back squat is a measly 315 although I could probably grind out a few more pounds at risk to life, limbs, and sanity. Front squats, the last time I checked, were a mere 225. I’ve tried to make a point of never making excuses for my height, but there is just no getting around the fact that at 6’8″ most squats turn into lower back exercises for me at some point. This is the cost of having femurs the length of a canoe.

magnus Samuelsson

click for image credit

But recently my mom sent me an Ironmind squat belt from Ironmind Enterprises. Here is a picture of World’s Strongest Man winner Magnus Samuelsson using the belt for hip belt squats.The idea is that with the weight hanging between the legs, suspended from the hips, there is no stress on the lower back. According to Ironmind, Samuelsson started using the belt after a biceps injury forced him to lay off traditional squatting for a while. In the picture here he is using a loading pin with weights stacked on it, but other options that I read about in Randall Stossen’s book Super Squats included strapping on a barbell or a cambered EZ curl bar.

This morning I gave the squat belt its first trial run at the gym. I hooked up to the loading pin I use for my Rolling Thunder work. I actually clipped the carabiner straight into the hole at the top of the loading pin, bypassing the daisy chains that come with the product. This allowed me to hang the weight as high as possible in able to allow me to get down to a parallel squat without being elevated. It still wasn’t enough and I wound up standing on a pair of plyo boxes with the weight dangling between them.

And then I loaded it up to a whopping…70 lbs. I had heard that the movement of squatting with the belt takes some getting used to and I didn’t want to get too silly too soon. This was a good call. 70 lbs was plenty by the time I had knocked out a few sets between 15 and 25 reps and I was able to get my bearings and stay balanced. I believe I’ll be able to increase the weight fairly rapidly and still keep it feeling effortless.

Balance was one of the major things I noticed. If I went too quickly, the weight would swing forward and back a bit when I stood. This was bad news standing on top of two boxes, even though I was holding onto my power rack with one hand to steady myself the entire time during this first session.

As to the effect on my legs–this is a very different sensation than the kettlebell front squats, barbell back and front squats, and pistols I have done in the past. It really did hit my thighs in a way I have never felt before. Is that a good thing? We’ll see when I measure my thighs again in a month. But the best part for this tall loon was that my back did not factor into the movement at all. I could concentrate completely–well, except for the part of my brain trying to keep me balanced–on the movement of squatting and let myself be governed internally by the sensations of the movement as they presented themselves.

So far so good. I think I’m going to be a fan.And it certainly won’t hurt my deadlift to bring my squat up.

K

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

frank November 20, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Josh what size did u buy. I was looking at this for doing weighted chins.

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Kilo November 21, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Frank, I bought the large size. It’s just right for me. My waist is usually between 37 and 39 inches, so this will work for a while even if I grow, and you know I plan to!

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Brian June 9, 2011 at 6:17 am

Kilo- great site! After reading your review of iron mind belt- thought you would appreciate the device I am now marketing. See link for video or visit my website. Best wishes!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyFFUjdLGek

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