SS 220 – Why You Should Do Belt Squats & Reverse Nordic Curls

Episode 220 Show Notes

Today, Grant and Heavey talk about training quads- and why this is beneficial in addition to compound lifting. Specifically, they’re covering two lesser-known exercises, the belt squat and reverse nordic curl. These two might be just the accessory work you need to bust thru a squat plateau, or as lower body strength work when dealing with back pain, arm injury, or wanting to prevent muscle pains and cramps.

[04:55] Semen as a Cure

Grant talks about a recent article that came out where a man bought a hypodermic needle online and injected his own semen into his arm hoping it would cure his back pain. His arm got inflamed, swollen, and infected. When he was discharged from the hospital, his arm was better and he was warned not to do it ever again. Weird enough, his back pain was cured.

[06:55] Squats are Great!

Squats are a great lower body movement because it is a large compound movement. It trains most of your lower body muscles. But sometimes, it makes sense for you to target specific muscles.

Leg extensions are great for quads, which is typically what you’ll find in the gym. But not everybody has access to that kind of equipment and there are benefits to different movements.

[08:00] Movement #1: Reverse Nordic Curl

There are certain movements that can help in specific applications. One is the Reverse Nordic Curl.

  1. First, lay down your mat on the ground.
  2. Get on your knees and put your feet behind you and torso upright, at 90 degrees from the ground.
  3. Cross your arms and lower your torso back toward your feet and keeping your hips up open all the time.
  4. Do this in a very slow and controlled fashion and try to go all the way back as much as possible.
  5. Increase the intensity of the exercise by adding load like a weighted vest.

[10:40] Benefits of this Movement

This movement is especially effective at targeting the rectus femoris, which is one of the quads and found right in the middle of the thigh. The muscle is involved in both knee flexion and hip extension, which makes training it especially effective for improving things like sprint performance.

The hard part of this is the slow, controlled eccentric movement where you’re lowering your body.

[13:10] Movement #2: The Belt Squat

There are specific machines built for this type of movement. But there are other ways you can do-it-yourself..

  1. Imagine you’re standing on two platform boxes. One foot on each box with space in between.
  2. Then put on a dip belt. Suspend some weight (plates or kettlebell) on a dip belt that’s hanging between your legs.
  3. Squat like you normally would but the weight goes between the boxes you’re standing on.

This special movement is one of the few lower body movements that you can perform, especially if you have an arm or shoulder injury preventing your arm from performing a back squat, you can perform this movement instead. It’s also a great movement to train the squat without loading your spine.

[15:00] What Makes the Belt Squat Different From the Others

If you front squat, the barbell sits in front of your body and loads the body differently than a back squat. A low bar back squat is the least relative to a high-bar back squat or front squat. Ultimately, you can change which muscles you’re targeting based on where the load is.

With the belt squat, how it loads your body is between your legs but on the front side of you. It loads up your quads very effectively. It’s effective in targeting hip extension as you need to get your hips all the way open with the way the belts sits on your waist. It also trains your glutes. Heavey has seen this combo to be super helpful for people who are lacking in those areas.

Some people complain about not seeing any progress with their back squats and sometimes, it’s because they’ve got strength imbalances. While Heavey has seen big jumps in back squat numbers based upon adding something like this as accessory for a month or two.

This can be an awkward to load, particularly with heavy weight. You’re probably going to be doing sets, which are closer to 6 on the low end and 15-20 reps on the high end.

[17:25] “Unheard Of” Movements, Yet Super Effective!

The reverse nordic curl and belt squat are two movements that can be extremely effective for people considering growing their quads.

Moreover, these are not meant to be central in your training but more of an accessory type of movement. You’ll notice at the end of the session if your ass is on fire, this can be indicative of something you’re missing.

[20:28] Are You Hitting a Plateau?

Using these movements can also help your body since you’re giving it a different stimulus. More often than not, you don’t need to have a special program. Usually, you have some imbalance that is holding your back.

Again, the two movements mentioned above can be used as accessory movements you can add onto the end of your workout.

Check out the gear page for everything Strength & Scotch! You’ll find a listing of all the supplements and other programs we’ve discussed on the show as well as our killer t-shirts!