T Nation

Beltless Deadlifts?

I assume that most people who deadlift regulary wear a power belt of some kind. My question is that aside from the safety aspect of the belt, does it offer any improvements in performance? I have heard both ways, though I don’t see how more lower back stability could hurt ones deadlift.

I’m sure some on here will post to only use the belt with heavy lifts. Warm-ups or anything less than 70%, no belt. I’m not interested in injury. That would be my reason to use a belt. I’m sure someone that deadlifts a lot will have better input though.

Yes. If you learn to use it properly it adds a lot more stability and thus a bigger pull.

I have a heavy (13mm) Inzer lever belt that I love for squats and overhead lifts. It knocks me out of my groove on heavy deadlifts though. I can’t say that I feel any stronger or safer while trying to use it on deadlifts. I find that most belts ride up and get loose when I drop down to start the lift so i usually don’t bother with it. Many top deadlifters use them though so I guess it just depends on your body type and personal preferences. Borrow a belt and see how it feels for you.

I think it physically helps a little bit. But, honestly, I suspect it is largely a psychological thing. I pull 680- but I put on a belt at 405. I know a couple guys that pull 700-800 that put on a tight belt at 315. There’s a lot of ritual in lifting- just like in swinging a bat. There’s just somethign about cinching your belt, chalking up, and finding that “sweet spot” to plant your feet before you pull- even if it is some joke weight.

Perhaps I should reword my question. Do belts help improve performance in Max effort deadlifts? I am a strong believer in beltless sub maximal training for purposes of core strength, but I am unsure in the deadlift how much help is actually given by the belt.

There’s actually some controversy as to how a belt actually does help the lift, but it’s hard to deny that you can pull more with a belt than without.

Belts are for softies.

If you can throw on a belt and your DL numbers go up, then use a belt. If not, then don’t use one.

Whenever I’ve tried using one, I can’t seem to find the groove, so I don’t use one in competition. I’ll keep experimenting in training, and if it helps, then I’ll start using it.

For what it’s worth, I was the only beltless DL’er at my last meet, and there were over 60 competitors, so I may be in the minority.

For me, the whole point of using free weights is to hit those stabilizers, which a belt partially negates. For powerlifting, I’d say yes, belt if it helps you lift more, for bodybuilding, I’d say no unless it lets you work around some sort of injury.

I’m going to say that a belt helps you learn how to Sumo Deadlift and how to Squat (both are pretty much the same) because having the belt there teaches you how to fill your belly with air. I don’t think from a technique aspect its as benifical for the deadlift.

I can’t handle wearing a belt. I’ve tried a few times, but it seems to get in my way more than it helps.

[quote]Steve-O-68 wrote:
I can’t handle wearing a belt. I’ve tried a few times, but it seems to get in my way more than it helps. [/quote]

If you have a single prong, wear it a little looser and turn it backwards. Wear it higher than you would for a squat. It will tighten as you descend to the bar.

I like a belt when I do ME or PR deadlifts. I don’t tighten it as tight as I would for a squat, I just want it tight enough to push my belly against it and keep my core tightened as I begin the pull. I don’t use any belt for DE deadlifts, speed pulls, pin pulls or RDLs.

Never once used a belt pulling 500+.

early in my lifting career I wore a belt for all my DL’s. When I hit 40(I’m in my 50’s), I stopped using the belt in training & in competition. I felt that in order to derive any benefit from it, it had to be so tight that it threw my form off and made it difficult to breathe…not getting enough air in at the start of a max DL throws MY form off & makes me real dizzy at the end of the lift.

My max went down over time, BUT I attributed that to getting older & overcoming 2 upper body injuries that required extensive surgery and long rehab periods. I’m sure others will have their own ideas & I think in the long run you will have to experiment & by trial & error find what works best for YOU! Good luck in your quest!

Hmmm, I belt up mostly as a safety precaution. But, the one benefit I derive from it is a feeling of tightness. I can’t tell if the belt is actually making me tighter because I can consciously feel my abs push against the belt, or the belt restricts them and it’s easier to get tight, but I know I can pull more in one. If you don’t already use one, but want to, I’d advise only putting it on over about 90-95% of your max. It’s very easy to “get used to.”

Thanks for all the input. I have never used a belt for my PRs (561) before. I about to begin attempting more PRs in my near future and was considering belt use. I guess I will do a little trial and error, find out if it feels natural or not. I will post my personal (as if it really matters) opinion after my belt trial.