T Nation

Help out a newbie!

Okay guys - help out a newbie here - and remember, we gotta learn somewhere. Here’s somethin that’s been buggin me: I’ve been training only about a year now, and when the guy who introduced me to the gym showed me everything, he suggested wearin a weight belt if I liked it, saying ‘if you feel better when you lift with it on, then wear it.’ Then I see in the threads of ‘things we hate about the gym’ comments about guys who always wear belts. Oops. that was me! Damn, you mean they were all laughin at me? Then over the weekend I notice the topic in a magazine column - their answer is not to wear it for light sets, but always to wear it for the heavier ones. sheesh. I gotta be honest, though I know it didnt matter for some things I was working, it would often just be a reminder to me to watch my form. So for me it was sometimes more a stabilizer and reminder, not something to help my back. So teach me, whats the right thing to do? My body has drastically changed in the last year and I wanna keep learning.

Do a search at T-mag. This issue has been addressed in detail in several articles. Start with the ones by Paul Chek. Also, be sure and read our “Dawg School” articles, designed mostly for new lifters.

IMO the only time to wear a belt is on a failure set of squats or deadlifts.

I used to wear one but I realized that belts should only be worn on 1-3 rep maxes. If you want to stop wearing a belt, drop the amount of wieght you use and wean yourself off of it.

I believe that by wearing a belt, you are teaching your body to rely on artificial support. When you are in a real-world situation and need your functional strength to move an object, you won’t have your belt with you and you may be more likely to injure yourself. As already mentioned, if you’re not pushing yourself to maximal limits on squats and deads, don’t wear a belt. It has been proven in industry that back support belts do NOT reduce injuries. In fact, they sometimes artificially boost people’s confidence, and they try to lift objects that are too heavy, resulting in an injury.

thanks for the advice guys - the belt is stayin at home! (now what to do with it - make a planter?!) and Chris - thanks for the Dawg School tip - that’s exactly what I’ve been hoping and looking for! How did I miss it for so long? woof!

If you don’t already have a dipping belt, you can rig one up with the belt you have and a piece of rope (this is what I did for a while). Can use it for dips and pull-ups, just don’t pull it as tight as you would for squats or deads.