Super Squats Hip Belt by Ironmind
What’s the difference between a true gym rat and a wannabe sissy boy? Easy. True gym rats squat. They do back squats and front squats and one-and-a-quarter squats and anything else they can think up. They know there’s something about a good free weight squat session that will push your physique and athletic performance to a whole new level. Based on this, I was more than a little skeptical when I first heard about the Hip Belt by Ironmind. I thought, hey, I don’t need a contraption to squat, just give me a bar, a rack, and turn up the new Staind CD! But given the fact that Ironmind only produces the most hardcore devices and tough-as-nails training equipment on the market, I figured I’d give it a shot.
The Hip Belt looks like a fat, padded up squat belt that ties in the front. On each end there’s a carabiner and a "daisy chain", which is not what you think it is, you pervert. You attach these to a barbell so that the bar is in between your legs. (This looks like an old school "Jefferson lift", only your hands will be free instead of hanging onto the bar.) The idea here is to do squats while you’re strapped in. Basically, the quads will have to do the majority of the work since the back is taken out of the equation almost entirely.
After some trial and error, we figured out that an EZ-curl bar works best with the Hip Belt. A straight bar will work, but it’s harder to get the straps in the right place to balance the bar. After I was strapped in I noticed the major drawback of this device: You look like you’re wearing the world’s most wicked sex toy. This is the most profound phallic symbol I’ve ever seen! This isn’t really a problem of course, but I have to admit I felt funny standing there with this big iron erection strapped betwixt my legs.
After a couple of sets, we discovered several things: 1) It’s much easier to breathe using the belt as compared to back squats. The position was comfortable and the back was never stressed. 2) Despite the comfort, this thing was a quad killer! The front of our thighs were on fire, especially right above the knee. It felt a little like a front squat in that it really targeted the quads. The glutes and hams get some work, but man, the quads take most of the punishment, especially if you elevate your heals as the instruction book suggests. 3) It doesn’t take as much weight as you think. Although the belt is built to handle up to 3,500 pounds (yes, really), you won’t use near as much weight as you normally would with a back squat. Even if you can lift some big weights, it’s better to use smaller plate to increase the range of motion.
An advantage of the Hip Belt is that you can train to failure if you want, something that’s tough to do in a regular squat. If you fail, you just kneel down and unhook yourself. With your hands free you can even push off the floor or place you hand on your quads to force out another rep.
This is a great device for those who train at home or without a regular partner. It will also act as a dipping belt in a pinch and it’s possible to do calf work with it (although I tried it and didn’t really like the movement.) Ironmind has recently beefed up the padding and the price, but this is a quality piece of equipment so that’s cool with me.
Will this replace regular squats for me? No, but I am going to cycle Hip Belt squats into my regular leg training. I may even take a month off back squats and do nothing but Hip Belt squats, just for a change of pace.
Rating: 9 — CS
I was looking to get a dipping belt for pullups, chins & dips. I have no squat rack and workout at home so this might suit me for squats. I will have a go making a simple one with light weights, just to see if there is anything obviously wrong.