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Thread: WEIGHT BELTS? crutch?

  1. #1
    Junior Member LARGERTHANNORMAL's Avatar
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    WEIGHT BELTS? crutch?

    Whats your view on a belt? I was just about to order myself a new belt and came across this on a fitness trainer website.

    Today’s Fitness Fact Or Fiction is a great topic!

    When I first became serious about weight training, I was taught all of the ‘big’ lifts by a competitive power lifter. In addition to specific form, I was also introduced to the world of weight lifting accessories; wrist and knee wraps and of course, a weight belt. These were considered essentials in fact. I mean what serious trainee didn’t have a bag with all the goodies in it. In fact I think I still have my fathers 35 year old leather belt lying around somewhere. Many people swear by use of a weight belt, while others say they’re no good and can potentially cause injuries. But who’s right?

    So here’s the real deal! The truth is a weight belt DOES make you stronger and the reason is simple – a belt is an external way of adding strength to your core. So in exercises like squats, deadlifts and even on the bench press, where a super stiff core is desirable to target a muscle group, they’re a good thing. I have to once again look to the pros on this one. You’d never see a competitive power or Olympic lifter compete without a belt on. Plus in addition to providing a helping hand in the strength department when it comes to extremely heavy loads, weight belts may also protect against a potential hernia, by guarding against a tear in the abdominal wall.

    But I’ve got to be honest. For 99% of you I think weight belts are a total waste of time and will do more harm than good. How’s that possible you ask? Again the answer is super simple. If you wear a belt during your heavy lifts, your strength in your low back and abdominal / core area won’t develop as it should. The belt is basically doing a lot of the work for yoyu. So it’s very common to see people who can squat hundreds of pounds but who don’t have core / low back strength to back it up – without a belt that is. Think about it – if you wear an external belt to boost your strength, then it follows that your own body won’t need to be as strong. The belt is essentially replacing the strength that you should have. You follow?

    It kills me when I see people in the gym training arms and wearing a belt. If you ask them, they’ll say they’re wearing it for support! Support for what? In fact that’s a main sales pitch of many belt manufactures. But how does a belt actually ‘support’ you? It doesn’t, unless it’s the kind with metal rods and serious bracing using to correct posture abnormalities and following spinal surgery. Your run of the mill neoprene belt isn’t doing jack for you except slimming your wallet down a bit.

    It’s really interesting. If you look at the anatomy of your midsection, you’ll see that the human body already has a ‘belt’ in place. The way you stabilize the spine is by training the low back muscles, core work that involves rotation, and of course specific abdominal and oblique exercises. Not by wearing a belt. You already have everything you need permanently affixed to your waist to develop strength in the big lifts. And the great thing about having strength without use of accessories such as a belt is that your risk for injury is lower and your muscle groups will most likely be more proportioned.

    As for me, I ditched the belt, wraps, gloves and all of it 15 years ago. In my heyday I was quite strong on my own merit, without a belt. And you can be too! So while belts can help lift bigger weights, I believe ultimately they do more harm than good and promote reliance on their use.

  2. #2
    Junior Member LARGERTHANNORMAL's Avatar
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    And then this read :

    A lot of people are wondering if they should use a weightlifting belt when lifting in order to prevent back injuries. In my opinion the belt is a crutch and should be used only when you have a history of back problems. I know that many of you will disagree and that's why I will try to prove my point by criticizing the famous article on 70sbig.com regarding the use of weightlifting belts.

    From 70sbig.com
    "The belt’s purpose is to constrict the abdominals to give them something to contract against. This contraction of the abdominals with an appropriately tightened belt is like trying to increase the volume in a non-expansible container - it increases the pressure even more. Not only is it helping to increase the intra-abdominal and thoracic pressure more than without the belt, but the abdominals also contract harder into the belt to do so. More pressure is more support which means more strength to do the task at hand."

    Yeah...right. First your abdominals do not need to contract against anything in order to contract hard. They will contract as hard as they need to in order to complete the lift. Yes, the belt might increase the intra-abdominal and thoracic pressure but it also offers an enormous support for the lower back.

    Think of the weightlifting belt as a wrist wrap. I don't care who you are but if you try to bench press with with wrist support a lot of the stress on that joint will be reduced while minimizing the work of the stabilizing musles. Same with the belt. You wrap yourself and the stress on the trunk is reduced but also the stabilizing requirements. That call for a weak spine if the use of belts is excessive.

    It blows my mind every time I read stupid statements like the one from 70sbig.com. If it is a knee wrap, wrist wrap, elbow wrap it's considered a support but suddenly when you wrap your trunk with a belt it's not considered a wrap because pushing with the abs fixes everything. Fuck off.

    The first time I tried a belt on squats I felt solid as fuck. Especially solid from side to side. In other words the work of the obliques was reduced. Walking out the weight felt so easier. And not because of added pressure. Because the fucking belt is acting like a support.

    More from 70sbig.com

    "Before addressing other belt related topics, I want to make a bold, clarifying statement. If your goal is to get stronger (and you have been lifting longer than two months) and you refuse to wear a belt, you are a fucking idiot. I’m sorry I’m not sorry. Look, not only are the abdominals working harder, but the pressure is increased within the trunk which stabilizes and strengthens the spine. This makes you stronger, and it is usable strength. The first time someone wears their belt in a serious training session (especially when pressing and deadlifting), their abs get sore. Not to mention the work sets are handled easier than without the belt. The belt is not something that you use to “bust out of a training rut”, it is a tool that you use to get stronger, and if you aren't wearing one, then you aren’t serious about your training."

    Are you serious? Belt for a two month newbie? How about checking your ingredients before overdose? Nowbody who lifts weights for two months will need a belt. Nobody. You simply won't be lifting that demanding weights and certainly don't need to wrap yourself.

    Who cares if your abs get sore when using a belt? Also wearing a belt cannot be considered a good ab exercise because at some point your abs will get used to pressing against that belt. You can't keep making it tighter and tighter. Doesn't make sense. Lifting more weight is what will make your abs stronger not pressing against a stupid belt.

    "Not to mention the work sets are handled easier than without the belt. The belt is not something that you use to “bust out of a training rut”, it is a tool that you use to get stronger, and if you aren’t wearing one, then you aren’t serious about your training."

    No..kidding bro. Of course the work sets will feel easier when you wrap one of the biggest stress point during a deadlift - the lower back. I don't care who you are but almost everyone will be able to lift more weight to the bar after getting used to a belt and it's because your torso is more stable but that stability is caused by an outside force rather than muscular force production.

    No to mention the fact that the lower back ligaments will be become weaker because of the added support. It's not only muscle we are trying to get stronger. It's joints too.


    "Ok. Bro...but how come all big guys are using it ? "

    First, not all big guys are using belts. The below paragraph is an excerpt from Ed Coan interview on T-Nation (link to interview)

    Q: Do you have your workouts all planned out ahead of time?

    Coan: Sure, I know what I'm going to do that day and for the next so many weeks. The assistance exercises can vary, but I generally have it all written down. In the off season what I like to do is not to wear equipment, deadlift off a block, do pause squats, and change stuff around like that. You want to find out where your weak points are or where you need to get stronger. Just don't wear equipment when you squat or deadlift. You'll find at weak point really fast; you'll find out by how fast you bend over. Some peoples' noses will be touching the ground.

    There was a powerlifter by the name of Uri Splinoff from the Ukraine. He had a big gut, but it wasn't fat; it was like a big muscle belly. I saw him squat 947 without a belt and he stood straight up. He didn't even bend forward. He did a squatting type of good morning with over 800 pounds. I asked him about wearing a belt and he just laughed, tapped his belly, and said, "We build our own belt."

    Note: The name of the lifter is NOT Uri Spinoff. It's Yuri Spinov. T-Nation show some respect.

  3. #3
    Junior Member magnus's Avatar
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    Yep I've read similar articles and have never used a belt. Curious what other guys are doing. I know there are articles that say the opposite stating that if you do not use a belt you will get hurt.

  4. #4
    Junior Member LARGERTHANNORMAL's Avatar
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    I agree, some days I use one and some days I dont. On days I dont i call that my " high rep day" technically its my excuse for not lifting as heavy... LOL.

    Quote Originally Posted by magnus View Post
    Yep I've read similar articles and have never used a belt. Curious what other guys are doing. I know there are articles that say the opposite stating that if you do not use a belt you will get hurt.

  5. #5
    Founding Member Mini-G's Avatar
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    I'm too fat for belts. They just pinch and hurt.

  6. #6
    Junior Member LARGERTHANNORMAL's Avatar
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    Depending on the type of belt mine can pinch too. Especially on reads. A nice 4" thick leather seems to work ok

  7. #7
    Founding Member Mini-G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LARGERTHANNORMAL View Post
    Depending on the type of belt mine can pinch too. Especially on reads. A nice 4" thick leather seems to work ok
    In have a GIGANTIC grizzly belt. Perfect before... Now it's not so good. Need to drop more!!

  8. #8
    Junior Member LARGERTHANNORMAL's Avatar
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    I'm just partial on investing on one right now.. I'm not even a big squatter...big as in weight... I'm just a lil guy in comparison to you guys...

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