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Beyond 5/3/1 1.1 - No Belt for 5x5s?


#1

Hello all,

This question is about belt use. I am on week 4 of the 1.1. For most of my 5/3/1 experience(4 cycles) I have only used a belt for the PR sets and jokers. I do notice a huge difference for me between belt and no belt. I also notice that my lower back gets really tight when I don't use a belt..

So for doing the 1.1, I did what Jim recommends in the intro, we can use a belt for everything but the 5x5(or 5x3 for DLs). What I noticed was that using the belt for all 3 5/3/1 sets, my lower back feels great. But doing the 5x5s with 1 min rest and no belt.. I can hardly bear the lower back tightness.

Getting to the point here.. Can anyone tell me what this relationship between wearing a belt and lower back tightness means? Do I need more core work? Am I bracing wrong, perhaps? I hate to use the belt as a crutch but it makes my lower back really happy lol. And lower back tightness has been a major issue for me with past back problems..


#2

A belt makes it easier to create tension in the abs while squatting. Lots of times the cue is to push out against the belt. Not uncommon to struggle a bit bracing the abs when you don’t use a belt. I would suggest lowering the weight a bit, using lower %'s, and making sure you are doing ab work and different plank variations to help being able to stabilize since you said the lower back has been a problem in the past


#3

I assume you have been doing the weight vest work. That is essential to the program. Hence why I wrote it.
If you aren’t doing the weight vest work, you aren’t doing the program the way it was designed.


#4

Be honest with yourself about the quality of your ab work.

When it’s under control, get your form looked at (beltless)

If all that us good make a transition plan.

Eg:
Warm up no belt.
Set 1, no belt
Remaining sets w/belt
Any tightness?
Yes --> Repeat the above
No --> Next week , do 2 sets beltless
Rinse repeat.

Or lower the weight.

You have a weakness, this is an opportunity to learn how to overcome them successfully.


#5

Thanks for the replies. Jim, you caught me. Ever since I moved, I stopped weight-vesting. I’ll have to find a solution to this. I do not feel safe walking in my new neighborhood at 7pm at night, especially with a weight-vest on. I am now hoping that the new gym I go to will let me store my vest there and I can get it done on the treadmills…


#6

[quote]Jim Wendler wrote:
I assume you have been doing the weight vest work. That is essential to the program. Hence why I wrote it.
If you aren’t doing the weight vest work, you aren’t doing the program the way it was designed. [/quote]

I walk every day to work/gym, i have my gym at work.
Thats like 3km.
Would be perfect to use a weightvest during this walk perhaps, my only concern (since i never used it and dont know how much work it is) is that i gym first thing in the morning, so i would weightvest-walk just before gymroutine


#7

I found that doing abs between sets of squats, or especially DL, helps with excessive lower back tightness. I do straight leg incline sit-ups.


#8

[quote]dhickey wrote:
I found that doing abs between sets of squats, or especially DL, helps with excessive lower back tightness. I do straight leg incline sit-ups. [/quote]

I would think it’d be a bad idea to do abs between squats and deads which use your core intensely. However, maybe a few hanging knee raises might decompress the spine a little.

It didn’t take me too long to find a good weight-vesting spot. All I had to do was take the stairs like I usually do instead of the elevator coming down from my apt to the underground garage. There is a pretty good loop here. 3 flights of stairs down one side of the building, then probably 150 ft across the garage, 3 flights up the other side of building, then across the 3rd floor hallway. My neighbors might think I am crazy but lol.


#9

Actually, there is a good article on here somewhere stating that ab work that stretches the torso and pumps blood into the core/low back - a.k.a standing abs against bands - is great in between sets of squats/dls. Additionally, they help get the abs/core firing with power. I do it every workout and have only ever felt stronger.


#10

My lower back was contracting really hard and staying that way. The straight-leg incline sit-ups worked really well. Not sure if it was the traction or working an apposing muscle group, but it worked. I still do sets of abs between DLs and Squats. I’m not going harder than one should go on ab work, nor handling weights I’m not capable of handling with reasonably good form, so I don’t see the danger. I guess if you’re not experienced enough to keep yourself out of trouble it might be a bad idea.