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Squatting With or W/O a Belt?


I never thought I would ask this question, but previously I have never used a belt when squatting. Last night at the gym I had a veteran spotting me on squats and told me the first thing I need to do is get a belt, or I would throw my back out. I said "I thought a weight belt keeps your lower back from getting strong?" Keep in mind, I only squat 275. I don't intend to increase it much more, maybe 300 or 315 in the future.

Are belts just for high weight squats, or have I been wrong for years?
If you use one for squats will deadlifting alone take care of your lower back in terms of strength and size?


Well the veteran lifter is totally wrong, belts will not prevent you from throwing your back out. for what you are doing and you plan on not going up in weight and if you do only a little, don't bother. Just train abs and erectors along with your squat. You'll be better off without a belt. I powerlift and i only use a belt when i go above 95%1rm.


So, in my case not using a belt would be detrimental, because 1. it offers no guaranteed safety, and 2. I would be missing out on extra growth in the lower back region?


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See that's what I thought, and I'm sure I read it here on this site....I'm going to skip the belt, and stick with 275 for awhile too, probably until I get 12 good reps for sets. I'm only getting 8 right now and the last one or two I tend to skimp on depth.


No belt.
Strengthen your lower abs.
Then master contracton of lower tummy when squatting.

Ian Kings video on "Squat".

Get it


If you are really into squats then this is good advice. I am not into squats. I do them, but my goal isn't to be king of the squat rack. I go sans-a-belt on my warm-ups and put it on for my heavy sets. For me, I feel it helps. I'm currently nursing a really sore lower back from squatting too much without a belt. Yes, I don't have perfect form, but then I'm a recreational squatter. To me it's kind of like the whole arch vs. no arch bench press technique. Depends on your goals. Wearing a belt doesn't hurt anything. Just don't wear it throughout your whole workout. I've seen guys wear a belt on seated curls and leg extensions.


Thanks for all the advice. I feel at this point that if I have to use a belt, I'm probably using too much weight too soon, strength and form wise...


that "veteran" lifter is totally wrong!

you are exactly right in that using a belt prevents your abs, lowerback, and trunk in general from getting stronger because they are not being stessed and worked due to the belt holding you up.

I almost never lift with a belt, in fact really never. I have squatted a little over 500 without a belt. The important thing is that you have good form in the squat.

in fact I just recently did a strongman contest without using a belt or wraps in Farmers, conans, and log press.


Cool. Wed is leg day, so I'll stick with working out w/o the belt.

Thanks for the advice


Ok bro... First of all you should describe the term "veteran". But I'll let that go and get back to the issue.

Generally I'm against squatting with any sort of equipment. I like the Ironmind style of No- No- No squats (no belt, no suit, no wraps).

But squatting with a belt helped me learn to push OUT my abs in order to improve stability. When you learn to push your abs OUT against the belt you'll not miss as many lifts.

So what I'm saying is the belt is a tool to be used... but the majority of the time you should lift without it and be on a steady regimen of torso training. Side deadlifts (suitcase dl's), side bends, roman chair situps, and anything that improves the stability of your spine.

I like 1 hand dumbbell overhead squats. but I'm weird as hell so take that with a grain of salt.

Though to be quite honest. If you can only squat 275 currently and your goal is to only be able to EVER squat 315... as in, after you reach 315, you'll rarely ever squat again.

Then you don't need this advice and I banish you to the land of yogurt pink vw beetles and hugh grant movies.

Strive for 4plates (405#), especially cause if you're around 150-200lbs... Regular squatting will probably put enough size on you to get you near to 200.

Thats a reasonable goal for any gym-goer, and not superhuman by any stretch of the imagination (unless you weigh 100lb's).

If you squat 2x a week...and only add 10lbs to your squat every month.

In 1 year, you've added 120lbs to your squat... Thats 395lbs. 10lbs away from 405.

And the truth is that you can probably do it faster than that if we were to take "newbie gains" into consideration.

You just need time under the bar bro.