View Full Version : when to start using a belt?

12-22-2009, 07:20 PM
when should i start using a belt? i have been seriously lifting for about 3-4 months now and just doing the starting strength routine. my gains are starting to slow down and was wondering if i would benefit from a belt or if i should just stick to raw lifting until my numbers get up there? right now my numbers are:
squat - 1X275
dead lift - 1x315
bench - 1X185

mr handy
12-22-2009, 09:56 PM
I am relatively close to you as far as weight is concerned, today I lifted, bench 190x3x5, squat 240x3x5, and dead 290x1x5.
I am looking into a belt and plan to order one in a week or two. I think the belt will help with heavy squats as it will give me that reminder to keep tight... hopefully.
I also think that at this point by the time I will most likely get the most benefit out if it, it will most likely be broken in and I will have it figured out.

As I understand it, a belt becomes useful when you start lifting 1.5 to 2x body weight, and at 163 myself I would think that I am getting solidly into that range with squats and deads.

12-23-2009, 03:45 AM
a belt becomes useful when you start lifting 1.5 to 2x body weight.

where did you get this info?

12-23-2009, 04:01 AM
Just throw your belt on when you feel your form being pulled apart. There is no specific weight you need to hit. Learn to lift all you can without it and then learn to lift all you can with it and btw, a belt is still raw.

12-23-2009, 04:03 AM
I hardly ever use a belt anymore. I want my core to be strong. If I'm at a weight where I'd hit failure about 4 reps, I'll throw one on (deads/squats).

12-23-2009, 06:17 AM
I would say never. As some ov the old school guys would say, build your core up into a solid 'natural belt' instead. Keep your lifting form solid, especially on squats and deadlifts, and dont do stupid things and you'll never need one.

Many people have clean and jerked well over 500lbs without one, and Konstantinovs just deadlifted 880lbs without one. There is no set number or level to start using one.

mr handy
12-23-2009, 08:21 AM
where did you get this info?

I have read several times that this is a good starting place for the use of a belt. I don't remember where all I have read this but most of my reading on the subject has been here, random googeling (which seems to yields useless information) and on the SS forum. I did not try to imply that it is by any means necessary at these or any weight. I imagine that at this weight the user can generally get benefit from the belt as the weight is sufficiently heavy to allow the user to flex tightly against the belt.

I do not expect a belt to do anything other then add a tactile cue to stay tight during movements such as heavy squats and deadlifts, and provide a solid place for the muscles in the trunk to push against as they flex under load. Which in my head should cause the trunk muscles to grow and get stronger, not weaken.

Wow just read that and I think it sounds defensive, not my intention. I just tried to summarize the understanding I have built on the subject.

I found this thread interesting... http://startingstrength.com/resources/forum/showthread.php?t=13539

12-23-2009, 11:06 AM
You guys may or may not agree with this, and I'll respect that decision because you're probably a lot stronger than me, but saying you shouldn't wear a belt because it makes your core weaker has always seemed a ludicrous statement to me.

There's some good discussion about this at 70sbig:

I remember reading about the belt issue at another blog (I won't say which, but its mostly catered to beginners) and all the comments were people saying, "Oh no, I want to build functional strength", "Yes, a belt would limit my real-world strength", "those powerlifters wouldn't be as strong without their belts", etc etc. And I was scratching my head thinking, do these people honestly believe the belt is what makes powerlfiters strong, and it somehow magically lifted the weight for them? Did they think wearing a belt would somehow make them weaker?

I dunno, in my limited experience, there is a technique to getting the most out of a belt, and its worth practising lifting with one so that you can maximise your gains. If it messes with your technique, then improve your technique. Sometimes its good to leave it off. But often its good to wear it.

12-23-2009, 02:36 PM
For me it just gives me confidence that I can crank out an extra rep even when I feel like dropping the bar on the pins. When I would normally quit is when I keep going with the belt on. I always go completely raw until I can feel my back fatiguing then I throw it on to get the extra set it. I would say never train with it on at all times or you will rely on it too much. If you are doing starting strength I would at least do one of the sets beltless.

12-23-2009, 03:11 PM
My opinion and what I would do if I was in your situation, would be to avoid using a belt for the most part except if you feel you need it on those heavy singles and triples, I know I can tighten up and push my abs into the belt and be a whole lot more stable when squatting and deadlifting. Or even just do it on your most heavy set of 5 reps. I do all my warm up without a belt and some of my heavy stuff without, but wear it often on the really heavy things to get the most weight moved.

12-23-2009, 06:27 PM
I generally only use a belt on my heavier sets, however I dont feel it limits your raw strength on the Sqt. or DL.

All warm-up sets & 5-8 reps are done w/o a belt. Heavy triples, doubles & singles are done w/ a belt.
Just my .02

12-23-2009, 06:31 PM
Depends on your goals. Although there are some great powerlifters who don't use belts, there are far more that get pounds out of a belt.

If you just want to be a gym lifter long term, then I don't think a belt is all that important. If you wan't to move the heaviest weights possible, get a good belt.

12-23-2009, 06:32 PM
if i would benefit from a belt or if i should just stick to raw lifting until my numbers get up there?

A belt is still raw...

12-23-2009, 06:44 PM
A belt is still raw...

Depends on who you ask, i think some raw federations don't allow a belt.

I think a belt adds more to my squat then a singleply bench shirt adds to my bench haha

12-23-2009, 10:25 PM
Andy Bolton has a post on here somewhere where he says that he thinks it gives you more longevity in lifting (and that Konstantin is a bit of an anomaly XD).

there has been all sorts of discussion on this, and there are really strong lifters who never use it and 1000 lb squatters who use it to warm up with 135. Use it whenever you feel like it.