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Thread: Weight belt question

  1. #1
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    Weight belt question

    Other than squats, what lifts would you guys recommend using a weight belt for?
    The problem with being better than everyone else is that people assume you're pretentious.

  2. #2
    HomeYield WillKuenzel's Avatar
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    I don't use one for squats or deadlifts. If I had one, I would only use it for max attempts in either lift. Beyond that, I don't believe them to be necessary.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member GrumpyTX's Avatar
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    I have never used a weight belt. Personal preference I guess.

  4. #4
    Baby Seal Clubber ElPietro's Avatar
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    Just make sure your weight belt matches your shoes.
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  5. #5
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    I only use my weight belt as a dip/chins belt with a strong rope. At least this way it wasn't a complete waste of money.

  6. #6
    Success Nourishes Hope Shankerr's Avatar
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    I use mine for heavy deads, hack squats, shoulder pressing and incline chest presses. Don't let anyone discourage ya from using a belt. Look around at your gym. Notice that all the really big guys use them extensively as safety equipment, and all the little guys that want to think they're big put them down and make fun of ya for using one. now ask yourself... Whose most likely right....??
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    rookiebldr says:
    As for the weight gain, that too shouldn't be a problem, just tell them your leaning out. Then flex your bi and tell them to ****ing get lost.
    Shane says:
    yeah or throw something at them
    rookiebldr says:
    like a couple of 45's

  7. #7
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    I'd use a belt on squats and deads but I wouldn't use the belt til I hit my heaviest set(s). Also, I've seen powerlifters use them for benches and really heavy tricep work as well (again...when going heavy).

  8. #8
    Senior Member GrumpyTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shankerr
    I use mine for heavy deads, hack squats, shoulder pressing and incline chest presses. Don't let anyone discourage ya from using a belt. Look around at your gym. Notice that all the really big guys use them extensively as safety equipment, and all the little guys that want to think they're big put them down and make fun of ya for using one. now ask yourself... Whose most likely right....??

    ? Safety equipment? Explain please. I know why they are basically used, but just curious of why they are considered safety equipment.

    I put personal preference in my post because I prefer not to use one. I have been lifting weights for 16+ years. I always figure that muscles are made to work. Some muscles are made to support a load and others are made to move a load. If I am adding to that load, then those muscles need to adapt. I have nothing against belts and the only people that pick on other people for what they wear or use are either jealous or self-concious.
    Last edited by GrumpyTX; 04-06-2004 at 03:17 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member GrumpyTX's Avatar
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    Does Wearing a Weight Belt Really Protect Your Back?

    By Paul Chek

    The trend to wear a weight belt has extended beyond the gym. Trash collectors, truck drivers, and construction workers often spend their entire workday wrapped in a weight belt. Some companies have gone so far as to make it a mandatory safety policy that all their employees wear a back harness.

    Visit any Home Depot, Office Club, or take a look at the waist of your local package delivery person. What do these employees all have in common? They're all wearing weight belts! Next thing you know, it will not only be against the law to drive without a seatbelt, it will be against the law to operate a vehicle without a weight belt!

    What's going on here? Do weight belts really protect our back? Will they make us stronger? Can the estimated 35-40 percent of people reporting back pain each year, or the 70 percent of the population who will suffer from at least one episode of back pain in their lives find relief, and possibly even avoid surgery, by making a weight belt a habit?

    Before I answer these questions, try to dig up recent pictures of the world's best Olympic weightlifters in competition, but not the American weightlifters who are losing the struggle to achieve international respect.

    Look at photos of European weight lifters who are continuously breaking records and winning world and Olympic titles. Isn't it interesting that Europeans never use belts when they perform the snatch lift? They're rarely seen using one for the clean and jerk!

    When Did Belt Use Get Started?

    A look through David Webster's book, The Iron Game, demonstrates that there is a long history of belt use in connection with heavy weight training.

    Thomas Inch, publisher of Scientific Weight Training (1905), is shown pressing two adult females overhead with one hand, "while wearing a weight lifting belt." This guy was no slouch either. He could clean and jerk over 200 pounds. Not impressed? Perhaps I should mention that he performed all this lift using only one hand.

    One has to wonder, what is it that leads a lifter to use a belt? Is it direction from coaches, did these particular lifters have back pain in their lifting history, did they only wear the belts when performing competition or "max" lifts, or was a belt simply looked upon as an insurance policy?

    With a long history of corset use in the medical field, particularly for back injury, perhaps the lifters have been influenced by the medical approach to treating back pain. Corsets have been used since the early 1900's for the treatment of Scoliosis and back pain and quite possibly much longer.

    Therefore it is logical that a lifter, wanting to make the right decision, would choose to use a belt based on the medical establishment's use of belts, especially considering the history and treatment of back pain dates all the way back to 1500 BC!

    Did Developmental Man Wear Weight Belts?

    Regardless of your opinion about the origin of man, if you believe in God, you have to wonder why he didn't provide weight belts as standard-issue equipment. On second thought, maybe he did, and we just don't know how to use them correctly. Perhaps we abuse our bodies, which creates a dysfunction in our "natural weight belt" and causes us to be reliant on an artificial one.

    Belts, Are They as Good as People Say They Are?

    Certainly, if you could come up with a product that supposedly reduced pain at the same time that it improved performance, or at least appeared to, you could make A LOT OF MONEY!

    Just take a look around you next time you are at the lumberyard, warehouse, or office supply store. Chances are you will see employees wearing belts. As I eluded to in the introduction, many furniture moving companies, chain store organizations and package delivery companies have made it mandatory for employees to wear belts.

    Have the decisions made by companies, corporations, workers and gym members been based on sound research? Perhaps. But maybe it has been the scare tactics and strong marketing techniques of belt companies that have helped people make their decision.

    There is certainly no shortage of claims being made by belt manufacturers. For example, here are two claims I pulled directly from the "Valeo" belt company's web site:

    The support helps workers perform their duties while helping to protect their back from stress and strain damage.
    Reduces the likelihood of pain or injury for a variety of activities.

    If you can market a product based on fear and emotion (both of which are highly correlated with the back pain experience), chances are you will sell that product and lots of it! Famous speaker, Zig Ziglar, states that F-E-A-R is really False Evidence Appearing Real. This, in my opinion, is the case with weight belts in general.

    Apparently, the evidence supporting the use of back belts did not even appear real to Lahad (JAMA 1994;272:1286-91) who identified 190 articles from 1966 to 1993 that focused on various interventions for the prevention of low back pain. He concluded that sufficient evidence was unavailable to recommend the use of mechanical back supports for the prevention of back pain.

    In another study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, prophylactic use of back belts for healthy workers was not recommended because of a lack of scientific evidence promoting their benefit (Spine Vol. 23, No. 19, pp 2104-2109, 1998).

    There are also many other studies indicating belt use provides no significant improvement in performance or reduction in the user's chance of injury (see original article).

    Getting to the Bottom of the Elusive Obvious

    To make this review of belt use complete, it must be stated that there are numerous studies indicating the use of back belts, weight belts and lumbar corsets improves performance, endurance, and reduce chances of injury.

    I have sited these studies in the reference list (see original article). Even though there are studies demonstrating a supposed increase in performance while using weight belts, there are many, if not more, studies indicating weight belts are damaging and even worse, create dysfunction in their users.

    As most of you reading this article are aware, many gyms have racks of weight belts, as a service to their members. I have already mentioned their widespread use in the industrial workplace.

    So then, if as stated above, a government agency devoted to occupational health and safety doesn't support belt use due to lack of scientific evidence, then what are the belts providing that lead people to believe they help reduce pain, prevent injury or improve performance? (see original article for expanded details as to why this is true)

    Conclusion

    In this article I discussed several legitimate considerations regarding chronic use of corsets, back belts, and weight lifting belts. Available research clearly demonstrates that belts are unable to stabilize the spine at a segmental level, therefore only stabilizing the torso.

    Gross stabilization, as provided by belts, may allow you to lift more weight than you could without the belt, indicating a stabilizer dysfunction within your body. The increased weight being lifted as afforded to the lifter by the belt will likely serve to traumatize the spine due to increased levels of compression, torsion and sheer, increasing the potential for a serious injury.

    Caution should be exercised by those using belts to increase "proprioception," as a belt is clearly a form of "exteroceptive stimuli".

    When the belt is removed, it is likely to have accomplished little in improving proprioception, leaving the lifter with an increased risk of injury secondary to belt usage.

    My clinical treatment of workers and athletes with spine injuries has shown that chronic use of weight lifting belts and back belts is highly correlated with sensory-motor amnesia of the deep abdominal. Finally, weaning yourself off a belt must be done carefully and in concert with evaluation and treatment of any stabilizer deficit found in the torso.

  10. #10
    En botella whey! Max-Mex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shankerr
    I use mine for heavy deads, hack squats, shoulder pressing and incline chest presses. Don't let anyone discourage ya from using a belt. Look around at your gym. Notice that all the really big guys use them extensively as safety equipment, and all the little guys that want to think they're big put them down and make fun of ya for using one. now ask yourself... Whose most likely right....??
    Uhm, neither is right. It's all personal preference. True there are times when a belt would be a good idea (ie max effort lift) but not it's not a rule. I don't use a belt on any lift (max effort or not) because I want a strong core.
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  11. #11
    Success Nourishes Hope Shankerr's Avatar
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    it just happens that the personal preference of the more successful fitness athletes is to use proper equipment Alot of people overdo it, I'd agree, but there is a time and a place for belts, straps, etc. that no one on this forum seems to be willing to admit to.

    As far as safety equipment goes, just because your overly long cut-and-paste says that belts suck, doesn't mean anything. I mean, come on, you should be able to tell just by using a belt that it helps decrease the chances of hyperextending your lower back and provides support, or have you just not bothered to try one out?
    Let me get this straight...
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    PR Shoulder Press using the 3 digit dumbells
    Hit up some fun with the guys
    Then get more play
    (all in one afternoon/evening I might add.. S)
    You are a success my friend . Share your secrets. (Crippy)

    rookiebldr says:
    As for the weight gain, that too shouldn't be a problem, just tell them your leaning out. Then flex your bi and tell them to ****ing get lost.
    Shane says:
    yeah or throw something at them
    rookiebldr says:
    like a couple of 45's

  12. #12
    Success Nourishes Hope Shankerr's Avatar
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    Heres another cut-and-paste article by another excercise physiologist..

    he practice of wearing weightlifting belts used to be limited to Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting. In recent years, however, even recreational lifters of varying degrees of skill and experience are wearing belts. Is such a device necessary for recreational lifting? If so, what are the proper ways to use a belt? What are improper ways to use a belt? What ill effects can result from its misuse?

    A weightlifting belt has two main purposes. It reduces stress on the lower back while the person is lifting in an upright position and prevents back hyperextension during overhead lifts. A belt reduces low back stress by compressing the contents of the abdominal cavity. This increases the intra-abdominal pressure (IAP), providing more support in front of the bones of the lower back. This allows the spinal erector muscles, which would normally provide this support of the lower back, to produce less force during the lift. Another benefit of increased IAP is a reduction in the amount of spinal shrinkage (lower back compression) a lifter may experience during circuit weight training. Some belts have a wide back and a narrow front. Therefore, it would be advisable to wear the belt backwards if increased IAP is desired, as the area gives the contents of the abdominal cavity more surface area to push against.

    The belt prevents back hyperextension by forming a rigid wall around the lower torso, connecting the rib cage to the hip. This not only limits back movement, but it also prevents sideward bending and twisting. A powerlifting-style belt that is the same width all the way around would be ideal for this purpose. Otherwise, a conventional belt can be worn in the usual manner with the wide part of the belt in the back.

    Wearing a belt also causes the lifter to be more aware of the position of his or her back. This is because the physical sensation of a belt against the skin provides additional information prompting the lifter to consider his or her back position and what muscles must be activated to maintain good posture. In this case, the belt does not need to be worn too tightly for an effect. Some lifters report feeling more secure and confident while wearing a belt even if IAP and muscle activity are unaffected.

    However, a belt must be worn tightly to maximize its usefulness. This is physically taxing and should not be done for long periods of time. Research has shown that wearing a tight belt during exercise can elevate blood pressure. For this reason, belts should only be used on two primary occasions. The first is when performing maximal or submaximal lifts in exercises such as the squat or deadlift, in which the weight is supported by the lifter's back. The second is while performing exercises, such as the military press, which may cause the back to hyperextend. The belt should be loosened to allow blood pressure to return to normal levels in between sets.

    Weightlifting belts are not necessary for other types of weight training exercises in which the spinal erectors do not work against heavy resistance. For example, the use of a belt will not affect performance on exercises such as the lateral pull down and leg extension. Belts also have little or no effect on performance weight loads that are fairly light . However, elevated blood pressure that results from using a belt can increase over time, even when fairly light work or aerobic activity is performed. Lifters with heart disease and blood pressure problems should exercise caution when wearing a tight belt for long periods of time.

    Constantly wearing a belt can also cause decreased strength development in abdominal muscles. Electromyographic research has found that there are lower levels of muscle activity in abdominal muscles when a belt is worn while lifting. The muscles that would normally keep the abdomen stabilized are inhibited when a belt is used, which could result in weaker abdominal muscles in the long run.

    Strong abdominal muscles are important in maintaining trunk stability in the absence of a support belt. Studies have shown that substantial IAP can be achieved by simply holding oneUs breath while lifting. It is also important not to be too dependent on belts while training as they may not be admissible during competition.

    Weightlifting belts can help support the back by increasing intra-abdominal pressure and preventing back hyperextension. They are most effective when used for maximal or submaximal lifts in which the spinal erector muscles work against heavy resistance. However, many ill effects, such as high blood pressure and abdominal muscle weakness, may result from improper use of weightlifting belts. They should be used sparingly in training.





    Sooo, not even the real professionals can agree...
    Let me get this straight...
    You get play from the girl of your dreams
    PR Shoulder Press using the 3 digit dumbells
    Hit up some fun with the guys
    Then get more play
    (all in one afternoon/evening I might add.. S)
    You are a success my friend . Share your secrets. (Crippy)

    rookiebldr says:
    As for the weight gain, that too shouldn't be a problem, just tell them your leaning out. Then flex your bi and tell them to ****ing get lost.
    Shane says:
    yeah or throw something at them
    rookiebldr says:
    like a couple of 45's

  13. #13
    HomeYield WillKuenzel's Avatar
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    Just because you are using a belt doesn't mean that an injury won't occur. It might help, but then again it might not.

    The above article says that it helps to prevent spinal compression. I doubt that. It might increase abdominal pressure, yes, but if you are squatting, the bar is directly over and pushing down. This will force the spine down regardless of what is around the outside. The only thing that would really prevent spinal compression is to have your spine lined with rods. Even deadlifting, you'll still experience compression but it just won't be pushed away from the core. Why would ab pressure increase, because pressure is coming down on it.

    So a belt can help with certain circumstances but its not a sure fire way to prevent injury. Over use of the belt will decrease ab and lower back strength that can carry over into everyday life and make certain circumstances probably more difficult than they should be.

    I've seen many "big" guys use belts, but these are also the same guys that do quarter squats in the smith machine and do 30lb swinging curls in the squat rack. I also seen guys ATF squatting 500-600lbs without a belt. Granted these are olympic lifters but it should just go to show that some of the biggest and strongest don't have to have them either.

    For some its just a personal preference as they feel safer. For others they decline to use them because in most circumstances the illusion of safety doesn't always help.


    I'm not saying belts are a bad thing. I'm just saying that they are best used sparingly. If you are a recreational lifter and not competitive, the added weight they may provide, or added safety, won't outweigh the possible injury or lower back misproportionate strength that might occur.
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  14. #14
    There may be hope yet. JustinASU's Avatar
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    Weight belts are like pacifiers to a baby. They're there for security. I deadlift 540 lbs without a belt, wraps or straps. I think lifting completely raw helps strengthen your whole body.
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  15. #15
    LittleJake JSully's Avatar
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    holy **** justin.. you dead 540 w/out straps? *claps hands* wow! i'll give ya madd props bro.. the most ive hit was 455 for 3.. and thats with straps and with a belt...i drag the bar on my shins so i lose grip.. and thatd be pretty loud and embarrasing if i dropped that much weight.....

    so i guess im a loser cuz i wear a belt and straps for heavy weight

    i also use straps for heavy shrugs... my forearms/grip give out before i can even get to a burn.. kinda sucks...and its strange cuz i gotta strong ass grip.. but it just prys my fingers right open...

    as for squatting with a belt... i put the belt on when i start doing 315 after a couple warmups.. i feel much better after the routine's over when i use a belt.. my backs naturally f0cked up.. crippling arthritis runs in the family.. so i know im prone to it.. but when i was getting adjusted 3 times a week and wearing my belt as needed.. i never felt better...

    so does that make me a l0ser. lol... if so then im proud to be a loser.. heh
    Last edited by JSully; 04-07-2004 at 12:37 AM.
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  16. #16
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    schwarzenegger in his encylopedia to modern bodybuilding says that a weight belt helps keep a slim waste. He says especailly in squats and deadlifts where stress is placed on ur obliques. What u guys think about this? i persaonally dotn use a belt casue its not as smoot as w/o.
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  17. #17
    Que Viva La Raza! Ruthless's Avatar
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    well as the article above says i do believe that wearing belts make your abdominals muscles weaker (to me they are the belt) i say this from my experience wich is not too much but it convinced me, i came to this conclucion because i used to deadlift and squat with belts and when i stoped wearing belts the wheight i used for weighter crunches increased significantly, i put this down at the fact that i stoped using belts wich made my abdominal muscles much stronger and by this i believe that it will provent an injury by having stronger abdominals.

  18. #18
    Senior Member GrumpyTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shankerr
    it just happens that the personal preference of the more successful fitness athletes is to use proper equipment Alot of people overdo it, I'd agree, but there is a time and a place for belts, straps, etc. that no one on this forum seems to be willing to admit to.

    As far as safety equipment goes, just because your overly long cut-and-paste says that belts suck, doesn't mean anything. I mean, come on, you should be able to tell just by using a belt that it helps decrease the chances of hyperextending your lower back and provides support, or have you just not bothered to try one out?

    I posted the overly long post because that is pretty much the way I feel about weight belts. Either you like weight belts or you dont. I personally do not.

    Most people prefer to run in tennis shoes but I like to run in combat boots.

    It is all about preference. If you feel safer using the equipment, then by all means use the equipment. I am 31 years old and I have tried to use weight belts and straps from time to time and I never found them to be comfortable or helpful so that is why I dont use them.

  19. #19
    Wannabebig Member
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    Thanks for all the replies, guys. I never intended to use the belt on all of my squat sets. I just don't feel comfortable pushing myself to squat heavier and heavier without a little extra support.

    I actually haven't used a belt in a long time. However, last week I had somebody spot me during my last (heaviest) set. This guy is a bodybuilder and well-respected chiropractor in the area. During the whole set he was watching my lower back. After I put the weight on the rack, he looked at me and said, "No belt?" I told him that I hadn't used one in a long time. He recommended that I start using one on the heavy sets.

    Looking back, I wonder if he was watching my lower back and thinking "hmmm... potential client."
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