T Nation

Being Comfortable When Squatting


#1

Hi CT, I got a quick question. Why is it when I squat I feel 100x more comfortable when I wear a belt but when im beltless I feel uncomfortable. Could it be because I have weak abs or lower back? Im only uncomfortable when I go heavy


#2

[quote]Distortia wrote:
Hi CT, I got a quick question. Why is it when I squat I feel 100x more comfortable when I wear a belt but when im beltless I feel uncomfortable. Could it be because I have weak abs or lower back? Im only uncomfortable when I go heavy[/quote]

It could be that you have a weak core or that you simply don’t know how to keep it tight when the weight gets heavy. The best cue I can give you is that you should tense your stomach as if someone was about to punch you in the stomach.


#3

Is there a certain weight or percentage of 1RM in which a belt “should” be worn or do you recommend not having to rely on a belt?


#4

[quote]And30res wrote:
Is there a certain weight or percentage of 1RM in which a belt “should” be worn or do you recommend not having to rely on a belt?[/quote]

If you are using a belt properly there is no such thing as “relying on the belt”.

A recent study has shown that using a belt DOES NOT reduce abdominal/lower back activation during squatting (like most people believe) AND it actually increases quadriceps and hamstrings activation.

Properly using a belt means using the belt to have something to push on. When you squat you should expend your belly then tense up your abs as if you were about to get punched in the stomach. The belt gives you something to push upon and get tensed more. So if you are using a belt properly it actually help you use your abs MORE.

If you use it improperly, clinching it as tight as possible and not expending your belly and tensing your abs, then yeah, it becomes a crutch.

A powerlifting friend of mine has a cool way of using a belt. He start to use one at about 75% of his max and the heavier it gets, the tighter he puts it. At 75% it barely provides any tightness, but it still give you something to push on.


#5

Thank you so much for your reply. When I first started working out as a teenager I used a belt to squat. I was one of those that read (and believed) that using the belt would reduce abdominal/lower back activation, so I stopped using it and have not used one for close to 20 years. I had been contemplating getting a new belt and your reply just helped to seal the deal. I just hope there is still enough time to get my letter to Santa.