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  1. #1
    Registered User Cristian000's Avatar
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    How should i approach squats?

    Some time ago i used to do squats using a belt.This created an imbalance in my lower back.
    For a while now i started to do weighted hyperextensions and lat hyperextensions to enhance my lower back and, in general, the core.Also, i stopped using the belt on squats and i reduced the weight.
    After that i gradually started to add weight on my beltless squat.
    I noticed that, as the time went by, my overall squat stability increased.

    Today i did squats using 80kgs(176 lbs), 4 sets 8 reps each.The reps were fine, not too hard but not too easy.I was thinking of increasing by 5kgs next time.

    The thing that scared me was the fact that i felt too much pressure on my lower back.I started to think that maybe all these beltess squats generated too much pressure on my lower back and spine.
    Do you guys think that doing beltless squats could injure my spine?I am really scared that i might have put too much pressure on spine all this time, even thought the squats were controlled and stable.

    What should i do now?Should i stop doing squats for safety?Should i use the belt?

    Some facts about me: 23 yo,70kgs weight, 174 cm height.I squat once a week, no deadlift at all, and i train my lower back and core(normal and lateral hyperextensions) twice a week.
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  2. #2
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Approach them with caution.

    You should go even lighter and practice proper form before going heavier. Unless you have some underlying issue you should be able to do beltless squats without injuring your lower back or spine, as long as your form is tight.

    But yes, if you have bad form, you can definitely get injured.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Cristian000's Avatar
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    When i started doing them beltless, i used a light weight(60kgs).I set a goal in mind(4 sets, 8 reps).When i achieve this goal, i usually add weight(usually 5 kgs, 10 kgs if i feel really confident).I think my form is good.I have control and stability all the way down and all the way up.I don't do things like one rep max.
    Should i use the belt for safety?
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  4. #4
    pay the iron price SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Belt is not a guarantee of injury prevention. If anything, it helps you lift heavier and how that affects the injury risk is debatable. Personally, I think it makes injuries more 'sudden'. A sore lower back may just be from poorly conditioned upper glutes or tight hamstrings/quads pulling on the hips. It could also be a sign that your spine position is bad during the squats. Video yourself training and check spine position is not moving into flexion. It should stay in a fixed position.

    5kg is also a big jump. You are not wasting time by adding weight slowly, especially if you increase reps temporarily between weight increments.
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  5. #5
    Manlets gonna make it Natty1980's Avatar
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    I always use a belt, I see no reason not to.
    Of course the belt is not intended to substitute lower back and abdominal muscles, but squatting without belt does not improve your core. You need to train these muscles separately (basically weighted crunches, barbell rows and hyperextensions, preferably not on leg days) in order for them to protect your spine when you use the belt.
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    Registered User dazitmayn's Avatar
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    squatting with a belt doesn't create imbalances

    it just gives your abdominals something hard to brace against creating pressure.

    squatting without a belt may slightly change up your form from belted, you just may not be used to bracing without it and I think for a lot of people a belt is placebo although you can noticeably lift more weight with it regardless for most people. alot of people think it's a safety and lower back thing, while it may indirectly prevent injury, it is by far not the main reason a belt is used

    unless you have some pre-existing injuries, some degenerative disease or are 80 something years old your spine isn't made out of glass, however good form should be used. if anything, using a belt, going heavier with bad form is worse
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  7. #7
    temporary illusion supramax's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Cristian000 View Post
    ... Today i did squats using 80kgs(176 lbs), 4 sets 8 reps each.The reps were fine, not too hard but not too easy. I was thinking of increasing by 5kgs next time...
    Instead of adding weight, slow down the eccentrics to around 5 seconds. When you hit your rep goal like that, add pauses in the hole. Breath. When you again hit your rep goal, add weight.
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  8. #8
    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    I agree technique is crucial.
    Also try using the "valsalva manuver" if your not already.
    This is pressurizing the abdominal wall by taking in air expanding the diaphragm while squatting.
    It creates pressure helping to stabilize the mid section and low back.
    Do a search for it if interested.
    It also increases the pressure more when using a belt as you can push out against the belt..
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  9. #9
    Registered User DCSpartan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Cristian000 View Post
    Some time ago i used to do squats using a belt.This created an imbalance in my lower back.
    No it didnt. I have been squatting with a belt since before you were born and never had an imbalance issue.

    Work on your form and how to brace your core properly - a belt helps with this.
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