T Nation

Need a Belt?


Sup guys, i keep hearing differing opinions on the use of a belt for going heavy on squats and deadlifts. I've never used a belt in training and just pulled 550 from the floor with pretty decent speed. Havn't done a regular full squat in awhile but have box squatted 465. I only post these numbers to make the point that am i going heavy enough at this point in my training career to require a belt?

I know that the main benfit of usng a belt would be to consciously enforce pushing my abdominals against it to reinforce a stable core, but i feel like I'm doing that without the belt anyway. Is the belt necessary and beneficial (safety and performance wise) or should I continue on without it? any help is appreciated.


It's really up to you. I would personally recommend one. That's a pretty impressive belt-less pull as well.



right but this is what im confused about....how does the belt add pounds to the bar. I always assumed if you can't pull it without a belt...barring some type of major weakness...you can't pull it with the belt


well the use of a belt allows someone with a weaker core to supplement it with the belt. so the core is tight and the lifter can continue without worrying about core stability.

however if youve strengthened your core and dont feel as if it helps your lift, dont use it. on the other hand, belts are supposed to decrease the chance of hernia as well so thats something significant to take into consideration

you CAN lift heavy without a belt. i know quite a few oly weightlifters who refuse to wear them and have hit some pretty nice PR's without doing so.

i honestly prefer to pull without a belt but i always use it for heavy squats.


Even guys with strong cores use belts to brace against and get a few more pounds. Learn to use one from a competitive standpoint.

Andy Bolton puts one one once he gets to 405 lbs, I do the same fwiw


"for saftey" maybe if you are still in the stone age and believe that the sky is green too. As a powerlifter you should want to get as much out of your equipment as you can. I can quote Chad Aichs saying something like this in a video he made. "If you are not getting 100 pounds out of your belt you are not using it correctly". I highly recommend a Lever belt, it is a pain in the ass to adjust but it is convenient and very stiff. The key with any belt is to position it correctly, don't wear it around your waist like a bodybuilder does. It should go right around your naval and have enough room for you to expand your belly into it. Good luck researching and finding the right one for you!!


^well said


Do you plan on doing any meets? If so you will need a belt. If not, I think they are good to have just for max,s or like 90 %. Thats when I typically wear mine.


I love me lever belt and it does give me 30lbs i would say on my deadlift but its really not a pain in the ass to adjust. All you need is a quarter.

Not trying to to be nip pickee but i seen a few experienced powerlifters now complain about how its a pain in the ass to adjust. It only takes a couple of minutes sure.

Note: If you find it frustrating to adjust just practice it a few times a day when your not training. Its really not hard.


I guess it was a bad choice of words, I meant more-so that it is tedious. With a prong belt there is not adjustment but from hole to hole. With the lever you have to unscrew it and move it. A quarter? I never thought of that. I've been carrying a screwdriver in my bag for nothing. Im stealing that, thanks for the idea!


As others have said...it takes some time to learn a belt. I start using the PL belt at 2xBW for squats and deads and about 1.5xBW for presses and rows.


Is a belt necessary? I have done some research and it seems like belts really are not necessary and may even increase the likely hood of injury.


Notice what he is wearing....

Yeah, its damn helpful, and the only way it could "increase chance for injury" is if you wear it for every damn exercise, and never develop a strong core. A belt should aid your core, not be your core.


well if you read that from guys like mckenzie and mcgill then they may cause injury. when used at times they are not needed they most definitely increase the chance of injury. when used properly they greatly decrease the chance of injury.

what i learned from mcgill, whom i have read more of then mckenzie, he states that using a weight belt on exercises that apply a large load to the spine and are above 90% of your 1rm. like overheads, squats, deadlifts, etc. are good exercises to use it on.

i once saw an article by him that even stated that the 90% is for the average joe. for guys that can deadlift 600+, for example, starting to wear it at 80% can help some. it all depends on the strength of the stabilizers. and for those that are weaker then average a belt may not be needed at all.

so they have a place. they are just greatly overused. or someone will use a belt that doesn tdo much of anything other then give a placebo effect. like those belts that are thick in the back and thin up front. IMO the only way those will help is if you wear them backwards.


I use mine at 405 on pulls. I'm pulling low 600s fwiw.