T Nation

Tapered vs Straight Belts for BBing


So now that I'm starting to do some more heavy lifts, I started using a belt that someone gave me a really long time ago. I'm not sure what kind it is, but its prob a 10mm and its a straight style heavy duty powerlifting belt. I like the feel of a tapered belt better though, as I feel I can get it tighter and it's not as bulky.

I bought a betterbodies traditional leather tapered bodybuilding style belt and feel like i might have wasted my money since i already have the heavy duty one... is tapered out? it seems everyonewhere i read everyones using the straight style... personally i like the feel of the tapered better... any help would be very appreciated! thanks!

by the way i use it mainly for deadlifts, barbell rows, squats, and chest and shoulder work (occasionally)...


From my understanding (I use a straight style, inzer forever lever, btw) you want most of your support on the front, that way you can take in air and push out against the belt. That way, you can keep pressure in the gut to help stabilize the torso. Hope that makes sense, but if not there are a lot of people smarter than me on here that will probably get around to this thread later.


P.S.- that's just what I think I heard somewhere... could be wrong entirely.


thanks man... yea that does make sense! damn it... i wanna use my tapered belt!! haha


I'm not trying to be cantankerous here, but why use a belt unless you're doing SUPER heavy sets? Like... 1-2 rep deads... maxing out squats, etc. Why neglect your "core" strength?


unless your a bodybuilder who wants to keep his waist size down.


If you are using the belt for some extra core tension on the 'hernia prone' lifts than I don't see a problem using either or. Use the one that is more comfortable unless you notice a major difference in performance. I really don't know how much powerlifting differs from bodybuilding when it comes to using a belt but I can't imagine there'd be a problem using the less heavy duty belt for a traditional BB workout.

One of the advantages I see with the straight belt is that it doesn't have the limitations of the belt holes. (I don't know what it's called) The locking system on the straight belts seem to be able to accomodate a wider range of waist sizes, providing a more custom fit. I've never used a straight belt so I don't know how big of a deal that is.


As someone already mentioned, the main purpose of a belt is to help you keep your stomach tighter, not your back. It gives you something to push against. Rippetoe talks about this in his book.


i dont use it a lot.. i really only do when i go heavy and reps of about 1-4.


thanks for all the tips guys.. i guess ill just have to try em both out and see...


Yes, the point of the belt is to push against with your stomach, so usually people go with a non-tapered as it bridges the gap between ribs and hips more fully.

As far as the "your abs will get weaker using a belt" idea, thats not true. Plus, you should be doing some direct ab work anyhow, so that makes the argument moot.

I blew out my back on the 8th rep deadlifting of what was a light weight for me without having a belt on. I was in rough shape for a while after that. I wish I had used a belt for ALL of my squatting/deadlifting, I'd be in a lot better shape today. Whether its tappered or not, just put one on! It will be much better than nothing.


I like the feel of my staight belt.

I only use my belt for PR squats and presses (1-5 reps). I perfer to deadlift raw. Afterwards I do heavy weighted situps on the decline bench.


thanks for the advice...


Do if your pushing your stomach against the belt at what point do you breath out and in on a dead lift?


Do if your pushing your stomach against the belt at what point do you breath out and in on a dead lift?


i generally take a quick breath when the bar is back on the floor in between reps. That doesn't mean you have to completely relax and lose the tightness in your abs, you can breath and keep your core tight at the same time to an extent.