Q: I am a strongman competitor and am thinking about incorporating squat briefs into my training. I talked to a powerlifter buddy of mine and he said he would recommend briefs for max effort squats and deadlifts to keep the hips healthy. What do you think about this?
A: Well, my first observation is that you’re not going to be using the briefs in competition, are you? Specificity is more important than people think; what’s specific for a powerlifter won’t necessarily be specific for a strongman.
However, given the nature of the training you’ll be doing (powerlifting-influenced), I wouldn’t rule the briefs out right away. It depends on whether you're regularly box squatting and/or squatting with a wide stance. If you are, I'd say that they're a good investment, and you could use them 1-2 weeks out of the month.
I would, however, caution against using them as a crutch against poor lifting technique. There are a lot of guys who just throw on briefs because their hips hurt, not realizing that it isn't the specific exercise that is the problem; it's the performance of that exercise that gives them trouble. For example, hamstrings dominant hip extension/posterior pelvic tilt allows the femoral head to track too far anteriorly and can cause anterior hip pain. If the glutes are activated appropriately, they reposition the head of the femur so that this isn't a problem. Unfortunately, a good 80% of the population doesn't have any idea how to use their glutes for anything except a seat cushion.