Belt usage

Ask or answer questions, discuss and express your views

Moderators: Ironman, Jungledoc, ianjay, stuward

User avatar
Dub
Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Posts: 1142
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:40 pm
Location: Lapland, Finland

Belt usage

Post by Dub » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:37 pm

So yeah, I've wondered this for a while now, and I really don't know much about the subject. The question is simple:
Should I consider using a belt for squatting/deadlifting or overhead pressing at some point? Is there some weights that it would be the healthier and better solution to use a weightlift belt? I don't own one, and have used them only once or twice or so, so I really don't know much about belt usage. I know that they thighten and stabilize the core, but don't the belts also protect your lumbar spine from too much pressure/breaking form?? The wondering began cause I already squat over twice my bodyweight, so would it be healthier for me to occasionally use a supporting belt? How about deadlift?

Not that I'm conserned or anything, but I need something to build my thinking. Do any of you people use these belts? Positive/negative reactions?
Physical Preparedness Coach
Co-Owner of UniFit Oy.

User avatar
stuward
moderator
moderator
Posts: 6600
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2007 5:44 pm
Location: Halifax, NS

Re: Belt usage

Post by stuward » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:18 pm

In my opinion, it's healthier to train without it and then use it in competition. Your core will get stronger without it but you can lift a little more with it. I really don't think using a belt is safer, since your body will sense instability in the core and limit what you can do. The belt fools it a little allowing you to lift a little more weight but that's not really safer, just more weight.
Stu Ward
_________________
Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.~Hippocrates
Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
_________________
Thanks TimD

hoosegow
Veteren Member
Veteren Member
Posts: 2003
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 6:40 am
Location: Texas

Re: Belt usage

Post by hoosegow » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:45 pm

I don't know how to answer the question, so I'll simply give you my experience. I use a lever belt for my working squat sets and a soft belt for my working deadlift sets. It seems like once I learned how to use a belt, most of the nagging back pains went away.

For squats when going heavy, I think a belt is a must for stability sake. When you have 500 pounds on your back, if anything goes wrong, the chance for a severe injury goes way up. To me it is an added safety feature.

Some people will say only use a belt for your heavier sets. I use it for all my working sets. You have to know how to use it and thus you need to practice using it so you know what you are doing when you really need it. Before you ask, there is more to it than just strapping on the belt. You have to push your gut out like you are straining to have a movement.

As for deadlift, I suck so bad at them, I hesitate to really give any feedback on using a belt, but here you go. I use the soft belt and it seems to give me the physical feedback on getting my core tight and adds some vasopressure to aid in me staying tight at the beginning of the lift.

I know a lot of the big benchers use belts for benching. For the life of me, I can't see it helping. Truthfully, I've never tried it which shows my ignorance.

Bottomline, if you aren't planning on going heavy and progress slowly, I'd say no belt is needed. If you go heavy and learn to use a belt properly, I think it will help keep you from getting hurt.
Thanks TimD.

User avatar
Jungledoc
moderator
moderator
Posts: 7578
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:11 am
Location: Kudjip, Papua New Guinea

Re: Belt usage

Post by Jungledoc » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:55 pm

I don't compete, and I don't use belts on all my working sets, but I occasionally use them on my heaviest sets. They're OK, but not essential. I definitely wouldn't use them all the time.
Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.--Francis Chan

User avatar
TimD
In Memoriam: TimD
In Memoriam: TimD
Posts: 3129
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2005 8:04 am
Location: Va Beach, Va

Re: Belt usage

Post by TimD » Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:25 pm

I started out in an OL style, back in the day. We never used belts for that sport. Reason #1 was that in the clean and the squatting (or split squat, we did both styles back in the day) we didn't really get close to maxes in squats or DL's, and rarely did DL's. Reason 2, the belt got in the way and hampered upward bar tragetory. When I switched over to a more PL oriented program, our coach advised this; not using one would help add stability to the core, so while doing warmups and lead ins, go sans or very loose belt. When using work sets approaching a 1 or 2 RM, go ahead.

Also, another thing to keep in mind, your waist line is going to expand when getting depth in a squat or the start of a pull/DL off the floor. While putting on your belt, don't cinch it up to the extremes and try to be able to get a finger in betweenthe belt and your body to allow for the expansion earlier referred to. If not, you could be asking for a hernia. That's how I got one. With no room for expansion, the pressure is going to go either upward or downward when your at the low point of a squat, or at the start of a DL. The easist way for it to expand would be down, possibly causing a hernia. I got macho one day, doing sets of paused singles in the DL, pulled that old belt as tight as possible, and after a few few sets of paused singles with close to a 1RM, felt something and that's when the hernia showed up. Just from my experiences and advise from others smarter than I am/was.
Tim

Kenny Croxdale
Powerlifting Ninja
Powerlifting Ninja
Posts: 1107
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 10:36 am

Re: Belt usage

Post by Kenny Croxdale » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:07 am

Dub wrote:So yeah, I've wondered this for a while now, and I really don't know much about the subject. The question is simple:
Should I consider using a belt for squatting/deadlifting or overhead pressing at some point?
Buckle Up For More Weight

I am a proponet of wearing a belt for squats, deadlifts, overhead pressing, etc.

A belt increases core stability. This allows you to increase the loading on the larger muscle groups.

"When The Back Says GO and The Legs Say NO."

Hollie Evette (national powerlifing champion and strength coach) wrote an article on how the legs never are fully trained in squats.

Weak Link In The Chain
The weak link in the chain is the lower back (core strength). The core gives out long before the legs do.

Evette's article examined exercises that minimized the core involvement. Thus, allowing you to overload the legs.

Core Support

Pushing on the belt with the abdominals creates intra-abdominal pressure (IAP).

The IAP allows you to increase you lower back (core). This allows you to support the smaller weaker core while overloading the larger primary muscle groups.

Belt Width

The kind of belt you want is a powerlifing type belt. A belt that is the same width in the front (abdominals) as in the back (erectors).

A belt that is wide in the front allows you greater surface contact to push your abs against. This allows you to produces more pressue, thus more support for you lower back and core.

Abdominal Isometrics

The abdominals are working when you wear a belt.

"Compared with the no-belt condition, the belt condition produced significantly greater rectus abdominis activity and significantly less external oblique activity." Duke University
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11932579" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Ab Work

With said, specific abdominal exercises (core work) is necessary.

Non-Belt Movements

Training with no belt does overload the core.

The downside is that the larger primary muscles are "underloaded".

Kenny Croxdale
Thanks TimD.

hoosegow
Veteren Member
Veteren Member
Posts: 2003
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 6:40 am
Location: Texas

Re: Belt usage

Post by hoosegow » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:59 am

Do you have a link to Hollie's article? I'd like to read up on it.
Thanks TimD.

KPj
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Posts: 3482
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:49 am

Re: Belt usage

Post by KPj » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:11 am

Great post, as always Kenny.

I personally don't own a belt. I've squatted just about 2.25x b/w and pulled just less than 3x b/w with no belt.

I have used one before, and especially love it for squats - definitely helps. I found it awkward with deadlifts, though. I also found it encouraged me to round. However, I've literally had 4-5 sessions using a belt so never had a chance to get used to it. What also threw me off on the deadlifts was having to get my air before i went down to the bar vs getting my air when i'm down at the bar, but I know that could be trained, too.

I think if you don't max out a lot, which I don't, then you don't need one. If I maxed out regularly or done competitions I would definitely use one, both to add more weight to bar and also for protection in the unlikely event of buckling.

Also, I need to be a smart a$$ here, can't help myself,

Kenny Croxdale wrote: Hollie Evette (national powerlifing champion and strength coach) wrote an article on how the legs never are fully trained in squats.

Weak Link In The Chain
The weak link in the chain is the lower back (core strength). The core gives out long before the legs do.

Evette's article examined exercises that minimized the core involvement. Thus, allowing you to overload the legs.

Core Support
This just sounds familiar.... The lower back being the limiting factor in squats and therefore not effectively overloading the legs? Can't think where i've read this before.

-cough cough- Boyle - cough-

:salute:

I may have this wrong but, I think the Bulgarians thought of this decades ago and used heavy step ups. I can't remember where I read this article, will try and find it.


KPj
Thanks TimD

KPj
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Posts: 3482
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:49 am

Re: Belt usage

Post by KPj » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:24 am

I think this might of been it, interesting article anyway. I can't remember if it's the exact one I was referring to, was years ago I came across it.

http://www.overspeedtraining.com/legsart.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

btw, i've been loading up various versions of single leg exercises for years, and can easily lift significantly more than 50% of my squat max on one leg, for reps. They have a big learning curve, though. Takes some time before you're proficient enough to go a little crazy with the load.

KPj
Thanks TimD

Jason Nunn
Associate Member
Associate Member
Posts: 349
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 7:35 pm

Re: Belt usage

Post by Jason Nunn » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:51 pm

For me, I guess it just depends on what your goals are. For my adult clients, most of them just want to get better at the game of life. So, I make them go without a belt.

Personally, the deadlift is a competitive event. Not just an exercise. So, I wear a belt so I can lift the heaviest weight possible. That being said, I'll still go up to my first working set without one.

BlazingAirMAx
Novice
Novice
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:37 am

Re: Belt usage

Post by BlazingAirMAx » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:26 pm

I don't use belts because I want my core to handle my legs. I'd rather use a weight I can control on my own anyways.

Kenny Croxdale
Powerlifting Ninja
Powerlifting Ninja
Posts: 1107
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 10:36 am

Re: Belt usage

Post by Kenny Croxdale » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:07 pm

KPj wrote:I think this might of been it, interesting article anyway. I can't remember if it's the exact one I was referring to, was years ago I came across it.

http://www.overspeedtraining.com/legsart.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

btw, i've been loading up various versions of single leg exercises for years, and can easily lift significantly more than 50% of my squat max on one leg, for reps. They have a big learning curve, though. Takes some time before you're proficient enough to go a little crazy with the load.

KPj
That is the article. It came out in 1989.

I am a proponent of Step Ups.

Kenny Croxdale
Thanks TimD.

Kenny Croxdale
Powerlifting Ninja
Powerlifting Ninja
Posts: 1107
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 10:36 am

Re: Belt usage

Post by Kenny Croxdale » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:09 pm

hoosegow wrote:Do you have a link to Hollie's article? I'd like to read up on it.
I've got it some place. I will look for it.

Kenny
Thanks TimD.

Oscar_Actuary
Veteren Member
Veteren Member
Posts: 2406
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:12 pm

Re: Belt usage

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:28 pm

BlazingAirMAx wrote:I don't use belts because I want my core to handle my legs. I'd rather use a weight I can control on my own anyways.
that is the camp I am in, well said

NightFaLL
Member
Member
Posts: 778
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2009 12:20 am

Re: Belt usage

Post by NightFaLL » Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:00 pm

Not a fan of belts, think they're fairly useless unless you're a competitive lifter - if you feel like your core is limiting your squat, maybe that's a problem in itself that should be fixed rather than 'duct taped' with a belt.

That's my opinion, of course. I've squatted 495 below parallel and conventional deadlifted 513 without either and have never experienced back pain of any sort.

If anything, doing military press standing with a barbell causes more pain in my middle upper back, so not sure why anybody would use one for that.

Post Reply