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Is a Weight Belt Ever "Necessary"?

I have never used a weight belt, and I have never “planned” to use one.

I always thought that it would be “better” to go without it, and only lift what I could, without assistance. Better meaning, less dangerous, safer.

Is there a point where you should use a belt for safety? Or is it just strictly to allow you to pull more weight?

Kinda a newby question, but I have NEVER even touched a weight belt.

If you google “The Belt Bible”, you’ll get an awesome article on the topic. But basic summary is belts are for lifting more weight, not safety. If anything, it would be LESS safe to use a belt, since now the rest of your body has to support the additional weight.

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I didn’t start using one until I had maybe two years under the bar.

I deadlifted 585 beltless and squatted 500 beltless. No problemo.

I’ve always viewed it as a tool to lift more weight. This is the powerlifting forum, so you you might want to consider training with one if competing in powerlifting is a goal of yours.

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I was always under the impression that it would be better to work up in weight WITHOUT a belt, because you would be making your whole body stronger. Thanks for reply…

Nowhere near those numbers. Thanks for reply. No plans on competition. Just aesthetics and strength.

You still might want to look into training with a belt. It can mean more reps on a set, which might get you to your goals faster.

I think you’ll be fine with or without one as long as you consider it a training tool and not a safety device. Check out the article p3wnisher linked.

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Concur. I see it akin to straps: if you can find a way to bypass a weaklink, you can train the rest of your body even harder. If your legs can squat 600lbs but your core can only support 500, you end up shorting your legs on a set of squats. If you belt up and can now squat 600, the rest of your body benefits.

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Second all of this.

I worked up to 500 deadlift by summer 2016 without putting on a belt in the year-plus training towards that goal.

I started using a belt for my heaviest sets in most of 2017 as I progressed towards a 600 deadlift (though I would still warm up and go to 405-495 before putting the belt on).

These days I usually go beltless up to 495. Sometimes I even do a full workout beltless and recently pulled a beltless PR of 585. But usually once I’m over 500, I’ve got a belt on.

I do notice a significant difference in both squat and deadlift with the additional power of bracing against a belt. It’s worth an extra 5% at least, maybe more.

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Mostly just to lift more, but it helps you to brace so if you’re doing something a bit risky (1rm attempts for example) then it might make you slightly safer. If you just started lifting then it isn’t necessary but it wouldn’t hurt either. According to Stuart McGill, you are less likely to injure your back when wearing a belt but if you do injure yourself it is likely to be more severe.

The belt doesn’t make your abs weak, it makes you recruit more muscle fibres in your abs. If you are using a belt to replace bracing then you are doing it wrong.

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MikeT reckons there are flaws/bad assumptions in those studies. But doesn’t really matter, I haven’t seen a single lifter who has gotten weaker in beltless squatting if they do a majority of their squatting with a belt.

Going beltless is a good way to do a lighter day though…

As for injury, I’ve hurt my back with and without a belt. I tend to see less severe injuries from a belt but that could just be luck. The belt does let you push through the injury easier. I jacked myself pretty badly pushing through an injury (I was crooked for 4 days, that was worrying haha)

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Yeah, it could be just placebo effect, but on the few occasions when I’ve tweaked something in my back, wearing a belt let me return to training very soon after (a few times that was basically how I “rehabbed” a tweak - light deadlifts every day for a few days with a belt on from the very beginning of the workout, at first topping out with a couple singles at 315 & working back up to 405 over the course of a week until things had returned to normal).

He never wore a belt and hes dead now, Coincidence? I think not.

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