T Nation

What is Everyone Doing for Core?


It honestly makes a big difference in how tight you can brace plus it’s extra support to keep the spine from hopefully imploding.


Biggest lifts for me so far are a 405 squat and 515 DL. No belt…


How much should one typically expect to get out of the belt?


It’s highly individualistic so it really depends. Personally when Raw I could hit 500 squats with it and couldn’t hit 400 without ( going off the spider bar, never tried no belt for competition lifts )

Deadlifts is a mixed bag, some people can’t get into position so they pull more without than with.

But I’m willing to bet easily 10%


Wow that’s seems like quite a bit to get out of the belt especially for squats. For deadlifts my belted pull has been roughly 30-40lbs higher reps than my beltless pull and I thought that was still a decent amount.


For sure, could of also been due to poor abdominal strength and in ability to brace as well.

Like I said, safe bet is 10%, but who doesn’t want 10% more lift?


I don’t find the belt makes a huge difference on deadlifts for me either, it adds something and helps me brace better but it adds way more to my squat. Other people have told me the same thing. There are guys out there pulling WR deadlifts with no belt (KK and Belkin) but no beltless squat WRs.


Like one of my favourite lifters, Joy Nnamani a British lifter who pulled 195.5 at 57 beltless. She amazes me.


Interesting. I might be doing something wrong because I have never gotten more out of the belt on the squat vs the deadlift. Both of you guys seem to get more out of the belt. Maybe its a leverage thing?


Last I heard you were a lot better at deadlifting than squatting, if that’s still the case then it might have something to do with it. Stuart McGill says that to get the most out of a belt you have to lift with a rounded back (Nuckols referred to that in his article on belts) and I recall you deadlifting with a rounded back so that’s another possible reason. Of course rounding your back for the purpose of getting more carryover from a belt is not a logical solution, for anyone else reading this.


Not sure I understand squatting with a rounded back


I think the discrepancy between my squat and deadlift is mainly due to me not squatting nearly enough. I’ve just started doing front squats and I’m feeling much stronger already. My core was obliterated the first time I did them. Yea I remember you giving me a lot of help with my technique last year. I still pull with a rounded upper back but I’ve become much better at bracing without the belt. I agree, I don’t think you should be rounded on either lift. My squat is fine, but for whatever reason I could never set up with a perfectly straight back. I lost a ton of strength whenever I deliberately tried to do it and it actually felt more stressful on the lower back. I’ve pulled beltless for several months now and I’m curious to see the effects on my belted pull. You said you didn’t see much benefit for yourself but I’ve still got my hopes up.

@losthog I believe chris is referring to the deadlift


Obviously it’s not a good idea. It seems that McGill’s point (which Nuckols seems to have missed as well) is not that lifting with a rounded back is a good idea but that someone who does so will get more carryover from a belt.


Glad to hear that. I was gonna figure out out to camel back my lifts so I could get 100lbs out of a belt. :joy:


Another thing about squat vs. deadlift carryover, you said you get 30-40lbs on each but if you squat a lot less than you pull that 30-40lbs. is a higher percentage of your max, so you actually are getting more on your squat, relatively speaking.

From what McGill and others have said, it seems like if you pull with a rounded back you would be better off doing less actual deadlift volume and maybe pulling heavy less frequently because you can end up breaking down your discs in your spine faster than they can regenerate and eventually cause an injury. Just do more deadlift-specific assistance work to compensate.


Dude, its long and tough and probably confusing and Dangerous, but if you’re looking for info on lifting with rounded (or flexed) back, check out:

It’s Evolution Baby: The cause and solution to modern low back pain. By Andrew Locke.

This guy says for the strongest possible brace you slightly round the upper back and the lowest part of your back. This way you can use the muscles on the front and back of your body equally.

And watch

To see Coan demonstrate.


I skipped over that video to find out what you are talking about, he does have his upper back rounded when he’s demonstrating how to drive your back into the bar, perhaps out of carelessness and the fact that the weight on the bar is light, but at 19:10 he’s saying that he doesn’t want his upper back to round. What am I missing here?


More about deadlifting with a rounded UPPER back in the article. Apparently, it is a legitimate advanced technique.

Credits to the person who mentioned this article here in T-nation. Sorry, forgot where I saw the link and who first posted it here. Thanks, whoever you are.


About 30 minutes of the video.


I watched this video a couple times before and I don’t recall him saying to squat with a rounded upper back, nor have I heard him say that anywhere else. Perhaps I missed a part, but unless you can actually point out where he said that you give the impression that you are just making stuff up.

So where in the video did he say to squat with a rounded back?