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Thread: Deadlift: Wear a belt or do not wear a belt?

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    Senior Member KarateBoy's Avatar
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    Deadlift: Wear a belt or do not wear a belt?

    Last week, I moved up on my deadlift to repping 225.

    In a total of about 16 reps in 4 sets since the weight seemed really heavy to me.


    This week I was deadlifting 225 again, and I was able to feel an improvement again.

    I did 3 set of 5 reps and I wasn't feeling nearly as strained as the week before. Then my friend tells me to put on a belt to help avoid injury...I put it on and when I go to my 4th set the weight never felt so light. I was pretty sure that I can do the same reps as 225 with the belt on a still move up another 20 lbs.

    So does the belt decrease the need to use stabilizer muscles and make the weight feel lighter? I noticed that it felt light because when I began lifting the weight and my stomach pushed against the belt, if that makes any sense.

  2. #2
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    Don't use a belt for basic deadlift training.

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    Iced Earth - Stormrider ArchAngel777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MixmasterNash
    Don't use a belt for basic deadlift training.
    Agreed.

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    Senior Member getfit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchAngel777
    Agreed.
    agreedx2
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    General of Froot Soldiers TwiloMike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by getfit
    agreedx2
    Agreedx3
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  6. #6
    Strength & Protection Kiaran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MixmasterNash
    Don't use a belt for basic deadlift training.
    Please elaborate.
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  7. #7
    Super Human kingkrs's Avatar
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    The belt helps stabilze the spine by restraining your inside pressure which makes you stronger via the pneumo-muscular reflex.

    Try to avoid the belt at all costs. Too much dependence on the belt will result in a weaker mid-section and your lifts will suffer. (without the belt) So what you can lift a little more with a belt, you are better off without it. Work on keeping your abs tight throughout the lifts and your internal pressure up. If you are going to help your buddy move, are you going to have your belt?

    I prefer real usable, functional strength.

    I never use a belt for lifting. Sorry I lied... I use a dip belt for dips and pullups.
    Last edited by kingkrs; 03-16-2006 at 03:44 PM.
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  8. #8
    Is cutting down to 9% Jordanbcool's Avatar
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    Nothing can replace good form.

    That is much more important then belts, i never use belts and my deads are fine.

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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by kingkrs
    The belt helps stabilze the spine by restraining your inside pressure which makes you stronger via the pneumo-muscular reflex.

    Try to avoid the belt at all costs. Too much dependence on the belt will result in a weaker mid-section and your lifts will suffer. (without the belt) So what you can lift a little more with a belt, you are better off without it. Work on keeping your abs tight throughout the lifts and your internal pressure up. If you are going to help your buddy move, are you going to have your belt?

    I prefer real usable, functional strength.

    I never use a belt for lifting. Sorry I lied... I use a dip belt for dips and pullups.
    Strongly agree, the belt will actually make your organs and stabilizers weaker because while using the belt theyll become dependant on the support the belt gives them. And yes, the only belt you should be using is a dip belt for dips and chins.

  10. #10
    Breaker of Skulls Guido's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Intensity&Focus
    Strongly agree, the belt will actually make your organs and stabilizers weaker because while using the belt theyll become dependant on the support the belt gives them. And yes, the only belt you should be using is a dip belt for dips and chins.
    Your muscles won't become "dependent" and they won't become "weaker" just because you are using a belt. They just won't become as strong as they would otherwise. Still, on maximal lifts, it still makes sense to use a belt because form becomes much more difficult to maintain. Keep in mind, an injured muscle is a very WEAK muscle.
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Guido
    Your muscles won't become "dependent" and they won't become "weaker" just because you are using a belt. They just won't become as strong as they would otherwise. Still, on maximal lifts, it still makes sense to use a belt because form becomes much more difficult to maintain. Keep in mind, an injured muscle is a very WEAK muscle.
    Im going to have to disagree with you on this one no matter what you tell me. My mom is the manager of a chiropractic clinic and ive talked to all the chiropractors about it. They brought out their books and have prooved to me how bad those belts are for you. So theres no point in arguing with me on this one. You have your belief and I have mine.

  12. #12
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guido
    Your muscles won't become "dependent" and they won't become "weaker" just because you are using a belt. They just won't become as strong as they would otherwise. Still, on maximal lifts, it still makes sense to use a belt because form becomes much more difficult to maintain. Keep in mind, an injured muscle is a very WEAK muscle.
    Actually, there is some evidence that there is reverse training of the abs with chronic use of a belt. Instead of remaining tight for support, the abs will expand against the belt for maximum support. The abs will indeed become weaker at supporting the core by themselves.

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  13. #13
    Getting Swole hoser813's Avatar
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    no belt. Why use something that limits lower back movement for a lower back exercise?
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Well, I guess I'm going to disagree w. the "avoid using a belt at all costs" attitude.

    There is debate about whether a belt actually INCREASES your chance of injury when deadlifting. Personally, I don't buy it, but I'd concede that some lifters could be predisposed to injury with the pressure a belt gives.

    Using the best form possible on every rep is a given. A belt will not make you weak. Wearing a belt ALL THE TIME probably would. Saving a belt for your heaviest sets should not ruin your progress or your core strength.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
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  15. #15
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei
    Using the best form possible on every rep is a given. A belt will not make you weak. Wearing a belt ALL THE TIME probably would. Saving a belt for your heaviest sets should not ruin your progress or your core strength.
    Hence my specification of basic deadlift training.

    I don't think anyone should use a belt to train higher rep, <80% 1RM for deads. Pulling a max, fine; prepping for a contest, obviously; 5+ rep training to develop strength and musculature, nope.

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  16. #16
    Baby Seal Clubber ElPietro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MixmasterNash
    Hence my specification of basic deadlift training.
    Wouldn't basic deadlifting include testing your max from time to time?
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  17. #17
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElPietro
    Wouldn't basic deadlifting include testing your max from time to time?
    Nope. That's intermediate deadlift training.

    And even if you do want to max, you still don't really need to use a belt... I never have.
    Last edited by MixmasterNash; 03-17-2006 at 09:35 AM.

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  18. #18
    Breaker of Skulls Guido's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MixmasterNash
    Hence my specification of basic deadlift training.

    I don't think anyone should use a belt to train higher rep, <80% 1RM for deads. Pulling a max, fine; prepping for a contest, obviously; 5+ rep training to develop strength and musculature, nope.
    I agree with Mixy. Anything over 3 reps to failure, no need to use a belt. For near maximal lifts, it's definitely a good idea. Then again, that's not really "basic" training.
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    Iced Earth - Stormrider ArchAngel777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei
    Well, I guess I'm going to disagree w. the "avoid using a belt at all costs" attitude.

    There is debate about whether a belt actually INCREASES your chance of injury when deadlifting. Personally, I don't buy it, but I'd concede that some lifters could be predisposed to injury with the pressure a belt gives.

    Using the best form possible on every rep is a given. A belt will not make you weak. Wearing a belt ALL THE TIME probably would. Saving a belt for your heaviest sets should not ruin your progress or your core strength.
    I respec that, but obviously I dissagree. My feeling is that strength should be as close to functional as possible. If you walk around with a belt, or always have one handy, then I guess I am fine with using it for every day lifts. I have no problem for using it for an extreme heavy set, perhaps doing 1 set with it, one set without, etc... But having a belt attached to you isn't my idea of functional strength.

    If the strength I gain in the gym is not transferable to the real world, then crap, no point in doing it, personally. If someone wants me to help them move a couch, I am not going to say "Hold on, let me get my squat suit, knee wraps and my belt"... Not my style, therefore, I don't any of it. When I start to compete (distant future) I am sure I will start using it. But I vow to never use it regularly. Personal decision, really.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    I get you Mix.

    Arch,
    I take issue w. the idea that because a lifter is wearing equipment, that his/her strength is somehow "less functional" or less "real world". Certainly there is more and less task-specific lifting, but how is adding a belt to heavy sets going to render all gains useless outside of the gym?

    Do you think that someone who is deadlifting 5, 6, or 700pounds with a belt is not going to have enough "real world strength" to move a sofa?

    Maybe I'm just being defensive, but the whole idea seems preposterous to me.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
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  21. #21
    Iced Earth - Stormrider ArchAngel777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei
    I get you Mix.

    Arch,
    I take issue w. the idea that because a lifter is wearing equipment, that his/her strength is somehow "less functional" or less "real world". Certainly there is more and less task-specific lifting, but how is adding a belt to heavy sets going to render all gains useless outside of the gym?

    Do you think that someone who is deadlifting 5, 6, or 700pounds with a belt is not going to have enough "real world strength" to move a sofa?

    Maybe I'm just being defensive, but the whole idea seems preposterous to me.
    Perhaps you are being defensive... But, quite honestly, my mind is made up on the issue and as I noted before, it is my personal opinion. So there really isn't anything to refute here.

    As for the sofa, they probably will be strong enough, but it depends on the couch and where it is going, in addition to the angles it has to go through.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchAngel777
    Perhaps you are being defensive... But, quite honestly, my mind is made up on the issue and as I noted before, it is my personal opinion. So there really isn't anything to refute here.
    There is something to refute. That wearing a belt makes you "unfunctional". I realize it is your opinion, but it is unfounded. I realize that your OL background probably has something to do with your bias against equipment of all kinds, but IMHO it is a little over the top to say a belt has absolutely no place whatsoever in training.
    As for the sofa, they probably will be strong enough, but it depends on the couch and where it is going, in addition to the angles it has to go through.
    Of course. So will the person's build and stature. I don't know what that has to do with it.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
    Lifting Clips: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=johnnymnemonic2
    Blog: http://squatrx.blogspot.com/

  23. #23
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    I would also like to say that this thread is quite nostalgic! No one has asked a belt question for a long time!

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  24. #24
    Baby Seal Clubber ElPietro's Avatar
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    The concept of functional strength is 99% ignorance to begin with, so when someone keeps spouting off that term, I tend to stop listening.

    So unless when you are lifting in the real world, everything has weight perfectly distributed on either side, and a bar with the same thickness in the middle there is no "functional" correlation, so please understand the terms you are using before posting.

    As for the belt, I have one, and I would only use it on max or near max singles, and that's it. Using it for reps I don't see the point of. I only use a belt to help perhaps lift a very small amount more weight. I do this because I train to compete, and for competitions the numbers are what count.

    Does it prevent me from hurting myself? Not directly. However, I could argue that if I'm at the very limit of my strength, and make the lift with the belt, that I wouldn't have without the belt, there is a degree of safety offered by the belt. But this is more because I know that I"m stubborn and don't give up on a lift easily, so I may have injured myself lifting a weight I couldn't have without a belt.

    Other than that, I never use my belt. I probably bring it into the gym only a handful of times per year.
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  25. #25
    Super Human kingkrs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElPietro
    The concept of functional strength is 99% ignorance to begin with, so when someone keeps spouting off that term, I tend to stop listening.

    So unless when you are lifting in the real world, everything has weight perfectly distributed on either side, and a bar with the same thickness in the middle there is no "functional" correlation, so please understand the terms you are using before posting.

    As for the belt, I have one, and I would only use it on max or near max singles, and that's it. Using it for reps I don't see the point of. I only use a belt to help perhaps lift a very small amount more weight. I do this because I train to compete, and for competitions the numbers are what count.

    Does it prevent me from hurting myself? Not directly. However, I could argue that if I'm at the very limit of my strength, and make the lift with the belt, that I wouldn't have without the belt, there is a degree of safety offered by the belt. But this is more because I know that I"m stubborn and don't give up on a lift easily, so I may have injured myself lifting a weight I couldn't have without a belt.

    Other than that, I never use my belt. I probably bring it into the gym only a handful of times per year.
    I was referring to those that wear their belt for every single lift in the gym. Bench, squat, deadlift, etc.

    I agree with you in that only on max singles should such tools be used, however I do not and will not use a belt. My .02
    The difference between the freaks and the flock is the ****ing fork!
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