First let me start by saying I know that the general consensus on when to wear a lifting belt is about when you reach ~70% or so in your squat and DL training. The reasoning behind this is that, somehow lifting without a belt below 70% will keep your “core” strong. That, if you use a belt on all your sets, also somehow your “core” will become weak because the belt somehow helps your “core” lift the weight.
Now…first of all, let me say that I don’t really understand that logic. The people who say that you will lose core strength if you use a belt on all sets always just say that, it’s basically an appeal to authority. I’m not aware of any studies which show that to be the case. But even common sense it doesn’t make sense. A belt helps you brace and increase IAP, it doesn’t actually structurally assist you in the lift like a bench shirt or knee wraps would. Your “core” is still lifting the same amount of weight with the belt on, and therefore should become just as strong whether you have the belt on or not.
Second, even if you are losing out on some kind of core development by wearing a belt on all sets, why not just do that to protect your back and then go hard on working your core with other exercises designed to work the core like abdominal work etc?
Third, I have seen it recommended by professional powerlifters to at least always wear a light wrist wrap when benching and even squatting. Increasing the tightness as you go heavier. Reason being to protect your wrists, and to lift how you will compete if you are competing using wrist wraps. I’ve also seen nothing bad said about wearing knee sleeves for all squat sets, even advocates of it, because it helps warm you up during your warmups, protects your knees, and if you’re going to compete in sleeves it’s good to train in sleeves.
So then, why doesn’t that logic apply to lifting belts? If I am going to compete using a belt, why wouldn’t or shouldn’t I wear a belt for the same reasons as sleeves and wrist wraps? To 1.) Protect my back, and 2.) To train that way because I will compete that way? Assuming “because my core will get weak” is not a valid answer that is…