At what point should a person doing raw squats and deads start thinking about using a lifting belt. I've heard when you're lifting around 60-80% of your 1-rep max is a good time to start. What about a certain weight as a guideline. For example, once you squat over 250, start using a belt for your heavier sets.
If I'm training as a bodybuilder and never squat or deadlift for less than 5-reps, am I fine not using a belt regardless of how much weight I use?
There's absolutely nothing wrong with not using a belt as long as you're using good form.
When to start using one? Andy Bolton apparently puts it on before deadlifting anything over 400 pounds. Or about 40% os his max. Then you have guys who separate between PRs and beltless PRs and try to get both up. If I'm squatting, and I'm working my way to a top set with a belt, I put it on a few sets before my last set, so I get used to the form I use with a belt.
If you're a bodybuilder, you might be interested in the effects the heavier weights a belt might allow would have on your physique. Bought a belt a couple of months ago and have split 3 pairs of pants since then. Putting 90 pounds each on your squat and front squat has side effects
This post isn't very good, but maybe you'll find something of value in it.
I only use a belt for my top squat and deadlift sets. I have found it all comes down to personal preference. Alpha does not use one, and lifts very heavy. I consider him to be a freak. I would NOT avoid using one if it meant I could lift more weight.
To give the illusion of protecting your back, when really they are just not giving you any support up front, making them pretty useless, but a very pretty accessory, along with some gloves and a size small under armour compression shirt.