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Belt Required for DL?

Is a belt pretty much “mandatory” for deadlifting? I know it is when doing heavy singles or PRs for sure. Is there any advantage for doing DLs without one? I was thinking it strengthens the lower back more…

Is the belt more recommended or less for a beginner? Does it help or hinder technique?

Thanks.

The belt is used to create extra intra-abdominal pressure - basically, taking a big billy breath and forcing your stomach out against the belt helps you keep your midsection tight.
so no, the belt isn’t “mandatory” but if being tighter in the midsection can help you get a few more pounds, sure, why not?

If you’re a complete beginner, I would say that you should learn HOW to effectively wear and use a belt, but train without it as much as you can. You’re never going to run into the problem of “my midsection is too strong” but you can certainly encounter problems if your midsection isn’t strong enough.

In general, I do all my sets at 85% or below beltless. I pretty much only put the belt on when it’s time to go heavy and push myself.

Paul Carter from Lift-Run-Bang wrote an article on this earlier this week:

And I tend to agree with him. If your abs and lower back are comparatively weak, and you’re totally dependent on a belt, that’s not a good sign.

Ed Coan says don’t add anything until you need to. Do your deadlift warmups double overhand until you need to switch to your mixed grip. Do your deadlifts beltless until you get to your heaviest worksets where you need the belt. Stuff like that. Most people I know only add the belt on their heaviest sets.

As a beginner or intermediate, the belt really isn’t even necessary on your 90%+ sets, or even a 1RM. Leave the belt at home, keep building functional core strength.

I knew a 800+ deadlifter who never used a belt except a couple of weeks out from competition just to get used to it.

The alternative is to make sure that you always wear your belt, especially when it’s lift that has you seated and working against a pulley system. Problem with this approach is that you also need to make sure you have a good pair of weightlifting gloves.

Necessary? No. Useful? Absolutely. With two herniated discs and SI left and right SI joint issues, a belt is an important part of my squat and deadlift training but not a mandatory one.

[quote]Rock978 wrote:
The alternative is to make sure that you always wear your belt, especially when it’s lift that has you seated and working against a pulley system. Problem with this approach is that you also need to make sure you have a good pair of weightlifting gloves.[/quote]

At that point, you’re halfway to getting your picture put into a Ben Bruno article.

Seriously though, its different for different people. Andy Bolton doesn’t pull anything above 400 without a belt when he’s pulled over 1000 in competition, while Konstantinovs (as shown above) never wears a belt because he gets nothing out of it. I think its prudent to have a good one, and then find out when you personally need to put it on.

I don’t like wearing belts.

If you were to compete and could use the extra numbers then try and get comfortable with one, but train submaximally without it.

For me the belt produces TOO much intra-abdominal pressure, the only time I ever popped a nosebleed was with a belt.

[quote]Rock978 wrote:
Problem with this approach is that you also need to make sure you have a good pair of weightlifting gloves.[/quote]

Are your hands cold?

People flame me for this but I don’t believe belts are any safer at all. You do get a couple pounds out of the extra pressure, especially in the squat. However, it seems to me everyone wears them just because everyone says you should. I haven’t seen any compelling evidence to convince me they are actually safer.

I also believe the act of pushing yourself out into the belt is going to mess up your motor patterns with regards to contracting the transverse abdominis. When you deadlift, this should be tight to help stabilize your spine. When you push out against the belt it’s too easy to relax the TA. If you get used to lifting with this relaxed, your nervous system will keep this firing pattern even when you are not wearing a belt. Thus, you are at much higher risk of injury due to lack of stability. Sure, with a belt you are probably fine, but why not be stable all the time without needing a belt? There’s also the factor that if you feel like lifting without a belt may be unsafe based on what you believe, that lack of confidence can manifest itself in dangerous ways.

The fact of the matter is this is all bro-science. Most people claim they know one way or another, but no one REALLY does. We are all just going on what we are told or what we read. In my opinion in these cases it’s almost always the best to go vanilla and let the design of our body fend for itself, making sure it’s working properly through activation, flexibility, and soft tissue work of course. In the end it’s your decision of course but it’s never ideal to do something just because people say it’s a good idea. Think about it and form your own opinion.

[quote]Brett620 wrote:
I know it is when doing heavy singles or PRs for sure. [/quote]

I’m echoing what many have said in this thread, but I want to quote this for emphasis. You do not know this, because it is false. It’s absolutely not mandatory. I’ve pulled nearly 500lbs in the 170’s, and I have never even put on a belt. Ever. Meaning I’ve hit every heavy single and every PR without a belt.

I think if I ever competed, I would probably try a belt out to see how much it helped. If it helped me squeeze out a few extra pounds, cool. I would use it in a meet. But I don’t expect to ever train with one on a regular basis.

for me it depends on the day, sometimes it is mandatory for ME if I need the support. Generally I try not to rely on it, but once I hit 90% of my max it goes on, no matter how I feel. There have been times where I was feeling so beat up I have put on a belt for 60% of my max…OMG for-shame!

The idea that this is a yes or no question is the real problem…its a tool and its good to have if you need it. For me it depends on the day.

It doesn’t have to totally be one way or the other. I only use my belt for the first exercise of the day and all my supps and accessories are beltless. When I do use my belt any sets under 90% are a notch loose at well. So that’s basically only the last 2-3 sets of my ME work.