WSBB Blog: The Squat Suit for Beginners
Time to Read: 3.5min
In the land of geared lifting, there are two pieces of powerlifting gear necessary to squat the heaviest weights possible; your squat suit and your briefs. Being able to correctly use your briefs and squat suit can be the difference in gaining or losing hundreds of pounds on your geared squat. Usually, one of the first introductions most raw powerlifters have to geared powerlifting is through the use of squat briefs. Relatively easy to learn, and very beneficial for hip recovery, the use of powerlifting briefs is a smart strategy to employ even if you aren’t a geared lifter.
The first thing you will need to do is get a feel for your briefs, and learn to properly move in them. Often, when a raw squatter transitions into briefs, they experience increased amounts of chest and head pressure due to the briefs. This feeling like you may pass out is what keeps many raw lifters from committing to the use of gear either full time or as a training aid.
However, once you learn to properly move in your briefs and find the groove that keeps the pressure tolerable while allowing you to hit proper depth and ascend explosively. Box squats, free squats, and sumo deadlifts are all great ways to get acclimated with your briefs and get a good idea regarding how you need to move to get the most out of the material. Once you are able to get comfortable squatting in your briefs, you can then begin using your squat suit.
To begin squat suit training, we begin layering the suit over the briefs on a dynamic lower day to get a feel for how the equipment works together and an idea of how you will need to adjust your movements to get the pieces of gear to work together properly. At this point, straps are left down and we are only concerned with squatting properly with multiple layers of powerlifting gear restricting the hips. As you begin to squat to a box using both pieces of gear successfully, it is then recommended you begin free squatting, still with straps down. Once you are able to handle the multiple layers of gear and still properly hit depth, you can then begin squatting with the straps up.
Once you’ve become comfortable lifting in a powerlifting squat suit, it is time to start including full suit training into your programming to further improve your skill level. We don’t suggest squatting every week in your full suit. Preferably, you will squat once maybe twice per month in your full squat suit during max effort lower. As far as dynamic effort goes, you will only use squat briefs unless it is circa max.
One of the best max effort workouts you can do to perfect your equipped squat is a max effort squatting into chains. When beginning to squat heavy weights in a full suit, depth will inevitably become an issue. As the weights get heavier, you will naturally try to cut the reps shorter and shorter.
The chain provides you with specific depth control, allowing you to gradually lower the chain to eventually end up with consistent competition depth. This exercise is generally performed once per month with the chain at either parallel or below, working up to a top set single. As you progress, you will focus on either squatting to a deeper chain depth or by increasing the amount of bar weight squatted to the previous chain height.
Free squats in your suit can also be done as a main exercise. When done this way, we recommend squatting for sets of three to five, taking small jumps to get more sets out of the workout. This will provide not only an increase in training volume for the day, but an increase in skill due to the added amount of practice the reps provide.
Whether you want to become a geared lifter, or you are a raw lifter looking for additional training tools to help you recover while still lifting heavy weights, squat suits and briefs are great options to add into your programming. The increased recovery rate, along with the exposure to heavier barbell weights contributes to not only geared lifting skill, but raw lifting strength as well.