T Nation

Belt Use When Deadlifting


I managed to get my deadlift up to 230kg without a belt. I'm thinking of competing and I think the belt would obviously help, but whenever I use it, it pinches the skin on my stomach and it feels really awkward and uncomfortable. It feels so awkward that I lift much slower with it on. I would say it's just that my stomach is big, but it's only like 36in and there are plenty of bigger guys that deadlift with them no problem.

It's a normal 10mm powerlifting belt.
Anyone had any similar issues and any solutions to it? Should I just suck it up and use it for every set for a few weeks?

I'm fine with squatting with it btw, and it's helped alot.


Have you tried adjusting where the belt sits? I have to wear mine higher for deads than I do for squats.


I’ve tried shifting the belt around, it’s not really helped that much, thanks for the input though, I’ve heard it helps some people lift more (e.g. Pete Rubish).

It’s not the stiffness of the belt that’s the issue either, I’ve had it for a good six months now and it’s definitely been broken in.


Have you tried it a bit looser? Belt tightness and positioning varies person to person. I prefer it fairly loose for deadlift and pulled down in front. When I have it too tight it feels like I can’t get my core tight enough and I lose lbs but when it’s right, it adds significant lbs.

However, some people really just don’t like them at all. I’ve seen a number of geared lifters who dispense with them entirely.


[quote]ouroboro_s wrote:
However, some people really just don’t like them at all. I’ve seen a number of geared lifters who dispense with them entirely.[/quote]

I fall into this category. I used to train with one but never got comfortable wearing it. Now I don’t train at all with it and only use it for competition purposes. OP, maybe you should just train without a belt. No point being uncomfortable. I mean more uncomfortable that is.



I find myself in the same position as the OP.

While I feel my setup is the same both ways, my pull with a belt feels so much slower off the floor. There is a 35lb difference between my best beltless pull and belted. I do use a lever belt and, like ouroboro mentioned, feel the tightness of the belt may be the main factor. That’s the only reasoning that makes sense to me. I just haven’t bothered with trying a looser belt.

So, my solution is to leave the belt in the bag…


I feel like what people are saying is completely valid - some people simply feel better without a belt. But a few things to think about :

First of all, 10mm powerlifting belts aren’t the only belts out there haha. There are olympic lifting belts that are significantly less diesel than your typical powerlifting belt. Maybe that would be a good compromise for you. You might be able to get a little more stability than beltless, but it wouldn’t be so uncomfortable.

Also - I think there is something to be said about just sucking it up as well haha. As some of the other posters pointed out, some people just don’t pull as well with a belt. But from the way you described it, it doesn’t sound like the belt is actually preventing you from getting into an ideal starting position, it sounds like it’s just uncomfortable and you let that distract you and that is messing up your setup. Obviously I can’t know this without watching you. But I can say from my experience that wearing a belt HURTS sometimes. Last time I pulled a max deadlift with the belt, I had bruises on my stomach for like 4 days haha. Maybe you just need to try putting the belt on, and setting up fast + pulling. Try and keep everything exactly the same as it would be without the belt. Don’t let the discomfort throw you off mentally. If you give that a shot and it still feels shitty (and you feel confident it’s not just you being whiney), then you probably are just better off without the belt, or trying a lighter belt out for size.


Think less about comfort and more about your total.

I have marks on my knees for days from wrapping them and marks on my waist from my belt. Its part of the sport. There is nothing comfortable about pulling 3xBW. If I wanted comfort I would have taken up knitting or Harry Potter books.


I’m extremely new to power lifting… I’ve used a belt only a few times. Competition is WAY down the road for me. Currently I’m pulling around 385lbs or so… nothing to brag about by any means, but from the few times I’ve used a belt it has definitely been awkward. When I start putting up bigger weight I will re-visit the belt, as for now I’m just being hyper-mindful of form as to not allow my spine into a compromised position.

Thanks for this thread though… I thought I was doing something really wrong since it seems like belts are a staple in this sport


It’s not so much the discomfort that’s affecting me, it’s the fact I’m so much slower off the floor and lowers the weight I can use. I’ve really worked hard to get decent starting power and it all seems to go away when I pull with a belt on. I can deal with discomfort, it’s just using the belt simply lowers the weight I can deadlift, which is obviously not what I want.

I’ll stick at it, but it’s frustrating when the weights you use in your working sets drop. Cheers guys.


If using a belt makes you lift less, you probably need to practice more with the belt. Make sure you are pushing your stomach out into the belt the whole time and keeping a solid core.


If wearing a traditional belt is throwing off your form or pinching you, I would advise investing in a Spud belt. Its soft and contours to your body, so you get support without the rigid edge. It’s better than no belt because it still gives you something to press your belly into.