Our goal as strength coaches is to make sure that our athletes are as prepared as they can possibly be for game day. We want their body to be as resilient to injury as possible, with their performance level as high as it can be. One of the ways we try to keep our athletes healthy is to reduce injury risk during training as much as possible. Whether it is removing spinal load during a squat pattern, or focusing on anti-flexion and anti-extension exercises for the muscles that connect to the pelvis, instead of loaded flexion or extension, we are always working to find safer ways to produce the best athlete possible.

We make a conscious effort to remove spinal load in our programming, especially for our younger athletes. The Pit Shark Belt Squat gives us the opportunity to train the lower body without compressing the spine. The Pit Shark system allows us to place the load at the hips instead of the top of the back, like you would experience during a normal barbell back squat. During the belt squat all we have to coach is the lower body movement pattern for a young lifter, without them, or us, having to worry about bar position, or other complexities of the exercise. Also, for many of our younger thinner athletes, this removes the uncomfortable sensation of the barbell sitting on their spine, instead of the trap muscles that they haven’t developed yet. Once their movement pattern is perfect on the Pit Shark, and they are comfortable squatting with a load, we will continue to move them to our spinal loaded squat modalities.

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Here is a video of Brian Amenta, Director of Strength and Conditioning at UMBC, discussing one of the ways he reduces wear and tear on his athletes during his training sessions.

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