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Old 02-21-2012, 01:40 PM   #1
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Default Weight Lifting Belts - Needed? If so, how and when

Are lifting belts needed?

If so what kind, and when and how should they be used?
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:04 PM   #2
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I do not think that a lifting belt is required. They can be of some benefit, but not a requirement in my eyes.

Anti belt arguement:
Lifting without a belt will help to build the core muscles and make your body stronger as a whole unit.

Pro belt arguement:
A belt can actually make you stronger as it enables you to push your abs against it and create more stability.

My personal opinion:
I only use a belt on my top work sets. I make sure that I am working my core with the lighter sets. Adding the belt for the top sets ensures that I am applying maximal effort to the lift.
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:02 PM   #3
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Belts are not necessary to get strong but they do provide many benefits to a lot of lifters, namely the ability to use more weight. It also seems to work well in teaching certain individuals how to hold their air and keep their abs tight throughout a lift.

In reference to the "core muscle" arguments taken by both sides, I don't personally buy into either (look to OR's post for the usual argument). I've spent just as much time with a belt than I have without; you will get stronger either way. If your beltless squat movse up, so will your belted squat. If your belted squat moves up, so will your beltless squat.

As for the argument of being more prone to injury when not using a belt... something else I don't buy into. The lift is only as safe as the form and technique used. Lifting with a belt does provide your lower back with greater support, but the loads used are also heavier. In my eyes this cancels out any safety benefits because the lifter is still at a point where load can cause a deterioration in form which can cause injury.

After a long period of relying on a belt, I ditched it. I've continued to get stronger and can still walk upright. I've also found, for me, that its much easier to hold the correct positions in my lifts without a belt... it often got in the way or changed the path of my movement.

In the end, I don't think it really matters. Belt or no belt is a small matter of personal preference and as long as the lifter continues to progress and get stronger it doesn't matter.

Last edited by Pull14; 02-21-2012 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:51 PM   #4
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Belts are not needed at all, I mean look at lifters like Paul Anderson and Konstantin Konstantinovs.

It can however allow one to use a lot more weight, when I started I noticed about a 20 pound jump on squats. It also helps my beltless squats, I've noticed that I feel more stable and have learned how to get tighter without it.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:53 PM   #5
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I totally agree with Pull and MAB, belts have helped me realize form mistakes and helped correct them. Any bonus in extra weight used will be negated as I move forward. And like OR, I too only use them at 95% or above so that I'm using the knowledge/strength I gained on lower weights. Pretty soon, my belted max will be a nonbelted max, and so on.

Only other thing I will note that hasn't been discussed is that safety effect a belt gives you when you are maxing out. If you get forward on a max squat or deadlift without a belt, your lower back is in serious trouble. A belt can save you and allow you to train again a week later, as opposed to maybe months or years later if you eff up some disc or tiny ass muscle in your lower back.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:45 AM   #6
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For one thing, not everyone gets extra weight on their total from using a belt; I know several lifters who stopped using a belt after realizing that their beltless max was actually higher.

For the short while I've been lifting, I have found that every time my belted max went up my beltless max also went up. Using a belt enables you to use more weight, for one thing, and increases your midsection stability while still strengthening your abdominals and lower back.

The main thing to watch out for is that you still utilize your best technique with the belt. I only use it for my top sets (around 90% of my max).

I would say that if gaining strength is your goal, weight belts will definitely help. As far as what kind: Anywhere between 8 to 13mm thick, leather, and the same width all the way around. My personal preference is a double-prong, but lever belts work nicely too.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:19 PM   #7
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I think for any in-depth discussion regarding belts, one would need to talk specifics. Different lifts and even different variations of each lift will effect usage in various ways:

Squat

Raw Squats: Specificity will of course mean you'll be doing these belt-less. However in terms of assistance a belt to increase the amount of weight you can use is a useful way to overload the surrounding areas.

Equipped Squats: Specificity dictates you would use the belt as the weight get's heavier. You can use the belt in numerous ways, by having it lower and pushing against it with your abs. Or having it higher up can work as well, especially with lifters who have to bend over a lot in the Squat and will have issues with the belt hitting the thighs on the way down.

A decent assistance will be to go beltless to increase strength in the midsection muscles.

Deadlift

Conventional: Many decent conventional pullers don't use a belt, or rather use a belt which is thinner. KK is the notable example of this. Depending on bodytype and particular strengths of the lifter the heavily bent over position may mean that the belt hinders rather than helps.

Sumo: Almost always the belt will help here, due to the more upright position and consistently arched/flat back. There shouldn't be issues reaching the bar, either equipped or raw.

This wide spread of variations, strengths, weaknesses, bodytype and intended training effect all play a role in whether using the belt is useful or not and account for the many arguments for & against on the forums. As always the answer lies in the individuals situation.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:49 PM   #8
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BTB, its really up to what you prefer, If you use it for a meet try to incorporate it into your work outs. I mostly only use the Belt when I get anywhere close to my max. So I would have to say about 75-80% range is when I start using my Belt. I have only used if on my Squats an DLs.
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:15 AM   #9
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I use my belt, for all the 3 lifts. Even for high pulls, push presses and lunges. It helps me.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by themaster2981 View Post
I use my belt, for all the 3 lifts. Even for high pulls, push presses and lunges. It helps me.
How does it help you?
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