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T-Bone 12-28-2011 09:37 AM

Weight Belts - When Do You Need One?
Yesterday I pulled a fantastic (for me) Deadlift PR and it got me thinking. With all that pressure and straining, I don't want my belly button to go from an innie to an outtie!

So, when should I start wearing a belt, and how does this help me progress?

5kgLifter 12-28-2011 09:40 AM

I'm not sure that people ever need a belt, having seen some people pull a whole lot of weight with no belt and others pulling less weight wearing a belt. Having said that, if a person feels more confident and comfortable using a belt then it may be time to do os; likewise, if they are concerned about their back or feel they have reached their max without one, then it may be time to consider one as well.

Off Road 12-28-2011 09:52 AM

I always use a belt when I squat, but never use one when I pull. Hmmm...Maybe that's why I squat pretty decent and pull so badly...Hmmm. But seriously, I only use a loose belt to cue my squats and never felt they were required for safety. But I've read compelling testimony that says they will increase lifts.

Rich Knapp 12-28-2011 10:29 AM

This is another old school deal that will have people both ways fight this tooth and nail they are right. But no hard core medical proof either way.

People were a belt for different reasons.

The only definite proof of help it does, is people watch there form better when they ware a belt causing less people to get hurt.

Oh I will get flamed by the "It locks your core" and stuff like that but there is nothing no-ware proving this is a fact and not just old school theory or research done by a special intrest group that will benofit by the results they provide.

So bottom line you want to ware one do it. You want to build up your core don't.

T-Bone 12-28-2011 10:54 AM


Originally Posted by Rich Knapp (Post 201764)
So bottom line you want to ware one do it. You want to build up your core don't.

That's was my thinking too. But since I'm getting into some heavy weights now, I wondered if a belt should be worn as a precaution.

Rich Knapp 12-28-2011 11:03 AM


Originally Posted by T-Bone (Post 201780)
That's was my thinking too. But since I'm getting into some heavy weights now, I wondered if a belt should be worn as a precaution.

Heavy or light just watch your form.

lol I was benching 225 for reps, deep squating 400 for reps in 2003 and tore my R/C lifting a 1 lb stack of paper at work the same year. ;)

Pull14 12-28-2011 12:28 PM

I'd personally say that the potential for injury is just as great with a belt than it is without one assuming the lifter knows how to hold his positions (tight abs, mid and lower back). For those that don't have the above down, a belt can certainly help teach them how to maintain a rigid torso, but past that, if the lifter is performing the lift correctly there is no difference.

Injury is more likely to occure when the body moves out of position and this will happen when form is not prioritized or on the heaviest attempts, weaknesses fail -- these weaknesses will more than likely be the same with and without a belt, only difference being that with a belt, weight on the bar will usually be a bit heavier.

To the original post, when to wear a belt is up to you... should you decide to wear a belt. If you want to use one, start now and use it on all of your heaviest attempts. When I used a belt, my general rule was to belt up around 75% - 80% of my heaviest lift done above 85% of my 1RM so that I could get used to the feel. Down sets or volume work were performed beltless.

Most people will get a pretty good carry over with a belt; 20 - 30lbs seems to be the average for squats and deads. Others don't get much carry over.

Tannhauser 12-28-2011 01:10 PM

I agree with Pull on pretty much all of that.

I have twinged, or downright hurt my back more often with a belt on than without. This isn't just because I'm using more weight; it's because I'm more careless about racking and unracking when I'm belted, and more cautious when I'm beltless.

Having said that, personally I like a belt on for anything over 350 lbs squats, 400 lb deads. I use a relatively tight belt for squats and a much looser one for deads. I get a lot out of using one - I think probably 40 pounds on squats.

I will sometimes substitute in blocks of beltless squats as a distinct variant. It really feels like a different exercise for me.

rocco-x 12-28-2011 05:12 PM

i only wear it when i know i have to count on my breathing tecnique more than sheer strength.i know it sounds stupid but once i get into the low 300's on squats/deads my breathing changes.i tend to take deeper breaths and let the air out in smaller spurts and the belt,which not only stabilizes the back,it also helps my gut push against something otherwise i'd hold the air in too long or let too much out.

other than that i see no reason to unless you're an extremely heavy powerlifter.i hate when i see guys in my gyms get psyched up,lock the belt like they're about to bench 550 then walk over and grab a set of 40lb db's and get 10 whole reps like they're Hercules.of course after that it's fix the gel,bicep pose and text your girl a photo in the mirror,lol...!

BigJosh 12-28-2011 06:44 PM

I've read and believe that a belt gives your abs something to press against. Therefore increasing the amount of intra abdominal pressure. As a result there is increased core/lower back/ab support (as opposed to not wearing a belt). This is how I believe Rippetoe explains it, this is how I've seen others explain it.
How do you know when do you need one? I am of the opinion that you need one when you are squatting or deadlifting heavy enough that you feel you need the extra support. And I am of the opinion that when it will be needed will be different for everyone.
Rippetoe also explains that the whole idea that your core or abs strengthen harder/faster/better without a belt as opposed to with a belt is untrue.

I'm just explaining what I've read and what my opinion is. I use the belt on my heavy squat and deadlift sets because it makes sense to me to do so. It may or may not be the same for someone else.

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