T Nation

When to Wear a Belt

Hi, I’ve been training beltless for the last year. Reached a squat of 145kg and deadlift of 210kg. Opinions on if I Should start wearing a belt? I know it’s completely up to me but would like to hear some pros cons of wearing one at the intermediate stage I’m at.
Cheers

[quote]jt1 wrote:
Hi, I’ve been training beltless for the last year. Reached a squat of 145kg and deadlift of 210kg. Opinions on if I Should start wearing a belt? I know it’s completely up to me but would like to hear some pros cons of wearing one at the intermediate stage I’m at.
Cheers[/quote]

Just wear a belt.

X2 on just wearing a belt. I use mine on either my heaviest working set or sometimes all my working sets. Its a great tool to help get stronger and you’d be better off learning how to use it before you need to use it.

If you are doing substantial work for your core outside of your power lifts, you can belt yourself to your heart’s delight. Otherwise, keep belting to minimum until you reach 85% or more of your max. My suggestion is the former. If you make the time investment to get your core strong, your squat and deadlift will move up much faster.

Thanks guys, I’ll start belting up on my top sets.

I’d second what drew said. I use a belt on every squat and DL at 90%+. Both for safety and to continue learning how to get the most out of the belt. Below 90% I go without it, and really try to get my core as tight as it would be with a belt.

[quote]Rock978 wrote:
I’d second what drew said. I use a belt on every squat and DL at 90%+. Both for safety and to continue learning how to get the most out of the belt. Below 90% I go without it, and really try to get my core as tight as it would be with a belt. [/quote]

Very true. Learn how to use and get the most out of the belt…that will go a long way.

Its just a tool, for alot of people its a mental cushion. Sometimes I like to use it only on a few working sets, other times the whole time.

Any tips on getting the most out of a belt? I feel like I don’t get anything out of my belt, which leads me to believe I have no clue how to properly use it.

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
Any tips on getting the most out of a belt? I feel like I don’t get anything out of my belt, which leads me to believe I have no clue how to properly use it. [/quote]

Learn to be a belly breather. I used to have the same problem. I could wrench a belt down until I could hardly breath but couldn’t get anything out of it until Ai learned to actually take air into my belly. A belt is not meant to crush your abs its meant to push your abs into it and and brace your self.

Lay on your back and put a book or something on your belly and practice taking air into your belly to make the book rise and hold this position at the top for a few seconds do this as long as you need. Then practice doing this bent over at the waist. Once you feel you can easially do that. Practice doing it with a upright chest and pull air into your stomach. If your shoulders or chest rise you did it wrong.

[quote]Reed wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
Any tips on getting the most out of a belt? I feel like I don’t get anything out of my belt, which leads me to believe I have no clue how to properly use it. [/quote]

Learn to be a belly breather. I used to have the same problem. I could wrench a belt down until I could hardly breath but couldn’t get anything out of it until Ai learned to actually take air into my belly. A belt is not meant to crush your abs its meant to push your abs into it and and brace your self.

Lay on your back and put a book or something on your belly and practice taking air into your belly to make the book rise and hold this position at the top for a few seconds do this as long as you need. Then practice doing this bent over at the waist. Once you feel you can easially do that. Practice doing it with a upright chest and pull air into your stomach. If your shoulders or chest rise you did it wrong. [/quote]

Thanks Reed. I’ll give this a try.

For fat guys (like myself), here are a couple pointers:

  1. Put the belt higher than your waistline. I put mine over my bellybutton. What this prevents is the belly fat flopping over top of your belt, and really provides a huge push on your abs / back when you breathe in. If you put it on your waste, then breath in, a lot of times the belly will just flop over the belt.
  2. Suck in your gut as much as possible, and “raise” your upper chest as much as possible, elongating your body, to allow you to get the belt one notch tigher. When you clasp the belt, if it is tight enough, fat will pour over it, even ripped dudes (look at Dan Green, he always has some flop over his belt, yet he’s cut).
  3. Right before he lift, breathe in a full breath in your belly only, then flex your abs and all upper body to stay tight. This is much easier, at least for me, on bench then it is for deads. AS a fat guy, putting in all that air in your belly, then bending over = hard to stay tight.

I keep my belt higher on squats then on deads, but I have issues keeping the belt tight on deads when it is lower, so I will probably raise it up next time just like squats. Again, fat guy problem, you may not have these issues if you are not a bigger dude.

dzirkelb, I had a hard time keeping tight when bending over for deads last night. As usual, I thought the belt hurt my performance. Practice, practice, practice I guess.

Ya, my session Wednesday felt the same way as you just described, hard to keep tight with belt. I think I just need to raise it up to my belly button like on squats, that way the fat doesn’t flop over the belt, ut instead, is sort of wedged between, creating a nice fat blanket haha.

When I squat the belt goes over my belly button but to get most out of it for deads I move it right up under my ribcage

I do the opposite and try to get my belt under my stomach rather than over it. I find that the lower I wear the belt, the better.

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
dzirkelb, I had a hard time keeping tight when bending over for deads last night. As usual, I thought the belt hurt my performance. Practice, practice, practice I guess.[/quote]

Next time try this. Like REED said, BIG AIR into belly while standing. You’ll get way more air in the belly this way vs when you are crouched over getting ready to pull. Then while holding your air, get into deadlifting position and go with it. Not necessarily a ‘grip and rip’ but don’t mess around or you’ll run outta air. When you take the slack out of the bar push your abs into the belt hard and go. You should get some pop off the floor if you do it right from all the tension from the air and abs into the belt. It should be a tad bit harder to get to the bar this way too because of the air in the belly. With a bit of practise, you’ll be able to do all that in one smooth motion. Hope this helps.

I don’t know if you do standing ab work but try this if you haven’t. Find a high pulley like a lat pull down. Use a triceps rope and face away from the cable with the rope on each side of your head. With your belt on fairly LOOSE,push the abs into the belt and pull down using your abs. You can do the same thing, doing Landmines. Those are brutal anyways but done this way will straight blow up the abs.

Put it on when you feel like you need to have the extra help. i usually train without belt, mainly when i deadlift. ill work upto about 90-95% without one. on day of comp will always have one as most weights lifting are new to me. try not to rely on a belt but use it to help and protect you.

Thanks StrengthDawg, I’ll give that a try.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I do the opposite and try to get my belt under my stomach rather than over it. I find that the lower I wear the belt, the better.[/quote]

I was thinking about trying this as well. My lower back feels “exposed” for lack of a better term when I try and wear the belt at or above my belly button.