T Nation

Belts: Why, What, and How?

Why do people wear them? What’s the point? What exactly do they do? How do you know if you should be wearing one? Or is it just personal preference?

Sam

There are plenty of other discussions on belts. But I will summarize as best I can.

They help prevent lumbar flexion during heavy lifts. They help prevent injury.

On the flip side, they “cheat” many of the back/abdominal muscles from working to their fullest and can lead to underdevelopment of these muscles. This is not true for all people.

I have a belt and I bring it on heavy days in case I feel like using it. Normally, I don’t.

The point is that they provide core stability allowing you to use higher loads on squats, deads, overhead lifts, etc., which is good. On the downside, many people use them as a crutch and miss out on the full level of core development which comes from lifting without aids.

I have a good 13mm Inzer lever belt which I use on squats and overhead presses but only when I’m working near my max.

The same can be said for wraps and straps. They’re fine when you can’t perform another rep safely without some extra support, but the majority of your lifting should be performed without them.

As a general rule, if you’re squatting at least 150% your bodyweight it’s time to consider some occasional assistance. Until then, lift raw in order to strengthen your core (tranverse abdominus, spinal erectors, etc.).

Cool, thanks guys.

One other benefit:

On your heavy sets of squats and deads and bench they give you something to “push” your stomach out against and keep your core tight.

Yea don’t wear it the whole time you lift though. take it off when your not doing your set cause its not good for you to keep on for long periods of time.

[quote]ronin45 wrote:
Yea don’t wear it the whole time you lift though. take it off when your not doing your set cause its not good for you to keep on for long periods of time. [/quote]

And why might that be true?

[quote]44calibrelove wrote:
Why do people wear them? What’s the point? What exactly do they do? How do you know if you should be wearing one? Or is it just personal preference?

Sam[/quote]

I wear them for tightness.

Tightness = strength
Laxity = weakness

Even as a bodybuilder who trains for hypertrophy, the ability to lift more weight on any given exercise is ALWAYS helpful.

I wear my belt every time I workout. Wrist wraps, too.

I don’t max out. Ever.

Well if you really think about it you would assume that most wear it extra tight to get that heavy lift up right? now if that is the case you are crushing your intestines together. That is in no way good for you to do for long periods of time.

If you wear it loose then maybe it doesn’t matter for you, but I always have mine really tight when I max.

[quote]ronin45 wrote:
Well if you really think about it you would assume that most wear it extra tight to get that heavy lift up right? now if that is the case you are crushing your intestines together. That is in no way good for you to do for long periods of time.

If you wear it loose then maybe it doesn’t matter for you, but I always have mine really tight when I max.[/quote]

You should not be cranking it tight enough so you have no space between you and the belt. Wear it one loop looser and push your stomach into the belt. This will help you keep extra tight on all 3 lifts.

Wearing a belt is good, and i know the guys at Westside use their belts to remind them to push their belly out. Its also for safety when you start moving heavy weight.

[quote]ronin45 wrote:
Well if you really think about it you would assume that most wear it extra tight to get that heavy lift up right? now if that is the case you are crushing your intestines together. That is in no way good for you to do for long periods of time.

If you wear it loose then maybe it doesn’t matter for you, but I always have mine really tight when I max.[/quote]

I don’t wear mine that tight. I don’t even know how anyone could get it that tight - tight enough to crush your intestines? No, that wouldn’t be good. Nor would that be possible.