Lifting Belts 101


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C[size=small]ookies go with milk, pizza goes with beer and lifting belts go with lifters. Wherever you see one, you usually see the other. The majority of gym lifters wear a lifting belt of one kind or another. Like any other piece of lifting gear there are more effective ways of using them for max results. Effective use of a lifting belt use can improve results and safety, but conversely, misuse can have the opposite results. So with that in mind, let’s get into a little Lifting Belts 101.

The oldest and most widely used type of lifting belt is the thin, narrow in front, wide in the back style that are sold at all local sporting goods stores. This type of belt may work for the average gym rat, but not necessarily for a powerlifter. Powerlifters tend to lean forward during their competitive lifts so they require more support in the front of the torso. Deadlifting mega legend, Lamar Grant, realized this years ago and wore a thin in front, wide in back style belt backwards so the support would be in the front of his torso. Belt makers saw a new untapped market and made belts that were the same width all around to meet powerlifters’ unique needs.

Biomechanics 101 speaking, wearing a lifting belt allows the abdominal muscles to push against it during exertion. This aids in stabilizing the spine, the result is enhanced power, stability and support. The increase in intra-abdominal pressure also lessens pressure on the spinal disks, lowering chance of disk injury. As a sort of side benefit, this pushing action also works your abs in the process.

The down side of this is that frequent use of a belt hinders a lifter’s abdominals to work and grow stronger. The better answer is to limit use of a belt to sets of three reps or less. This guideline allows your abs to develop on the lighter, higher rep sets while providing the lifter benefits on these heavy, low rep sets. This can also pay dividends in your life outside the gym. Many retail stores, like home improvement stores, require employees to wear quasi-lifting belts during work to ‘protect’ them while they are lifting and moving merchandise on the job. Some stores have found that numerous employees end up injuring their backs while off work. The reason is simple, wearing the belts at work substitutes for strong abs. When they lift or move objects off the job without belts, they have greater tendency for injury due to underdeveloped ab strength.

I doubt the need to use a belt for the bench press as compared to the deadlift and squat as there is less pressure in the spine. A belt also restricts a lifter’s arching ability which increases the distance a lifter must press the bar to lockout. But if you absolutely, positively must use a belt to bench, use a thin one, not a double or triple thick belt used for squatting. One justifiable use for a belt for the bench is to help keep your bench press shirt on securely. In this case, put the shirt on and loosely cinch the belt around your waist to better hold your shirt in place to prevent slippage.

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I recommend not wearing a belt while doing assistance work like curls, pulldowns, shoulder and tricep work, etc. There simply is no need for it. Let your abs and other torso muscles support and stabilize your body during these exercises. They will get extra work and build strength that will come in handy.

Another issue is how tight to cinch the belt. The tighter the belt, the more support, but that too can have drawbacks. If cinched too tightly, it could result in breathing problems or elevated heart rate and blood pressure. Also, if worn too high above the waist, it could bruise or crack a rib. With this in mind, use common sense. If you are short of breath or are in pain, the belt is most likely too tight or worn too high. You may need two helpers to get a belt on tight. Have one helper pull on the belt and the other hold the lifter and fasten the buckle. To minimize and negative effects from wearing a tight belt, tighten the belt right before you take your attempt or set. Immediately after the set or attempt, loosen or remove the belt. Common sense is usually the right answer.

There are several types of belts. Most are made of leather, which is the best choice. Belts vary in thickness also. Some are single layered; others are double or even triple layered. Most belts come with buckles but some designs use a lever device to open and close. I suggest trying both to see what works best for you. I can’t emphasize enough to not try any new gear for the first time at a contest. This advice also applies for tightness and belt placement around your waist. Use your competition gear and everything that goes with it in training so you know how it works to prevent any surprises. Bring a backup belt in case your main belt gets lost, stolen or breaks.

Powerlifting rules do not mandate a lifter’s use of a belt, unlike a one-piece singlet or shoes. Generally rules limit the width of the belt to 10 centimeters and the thickness to 13 millimeters and the thickness to 13 millimeters. This eliminates yard-wide-in-the-back belts worn at trendy health spas. Always check the rules of the organization you compete in beforehand to avoid problems with illegal equipment. It could be too late to come up with legal gear on meet day.

I hope this lifting belt 101 article has given you some useful tidbits to think about concerning belts. A lifting belt is a mainstay of a powerlifter’s arsenal both in competition and training. Using it properly can mean higher totals and reduced chance of injury. But it is important to know when and how to use one. Strengthen your abs and torso muscles by not relying on a belt during your higher rep sets and assistance work. Of course, abdominal exercises like crunches still should be part of your training program. Combining the lifting belt with stronger torso muscles can improve your lifting results and safety and those two always go well together.
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Comments

  • luchi_bieluchi_bie Posts: 238
    sirs, san pedeng makabili ng quality lifting belt? I tried sa mga regular sport shops sa mga mall wala sila eh. Thanks in advance.
  • RockcenaRockcena Posts: 603
    ^parang may nakita ako sa moa sa dri fit
  • Emman1986Emman1986 Posts: 1,819B-Class
    kung may credit card ka try mo onine. schiek ung brand. for me, matibay sya :)
  • luchi_bieluchi_bie Posts: 238
    Emman1986 wrote:
    kung may credit card ka try mo onine. schiek ung brand. for me, matibay sya :)

    Thanks bro. Found few in OLX but will see the reviews, etc.
  • rtravino29rtravino29 Posts: 1,549
    Luchi > sa cnc meron, dun sa gilid ng nike store.di ko lang sure magkano presyo,bili ko nang sakin eh sa cnc din pero sa top floor, lapit sa tindahan ng combat equips. :-)
  • ReneRene Posts: 213C-Class
    Thanks for the post Sir Corecheers Great info!!
  • luchi_bieluchi_bie Posts: 238
    rtravino29 wrote:
    Luchi > sa cnc meron, dun sa gilid ng nike store.di ko lang sure magkano presyo,bili ko nang sakin eh sa cnc din pero sa top floor, lapit sa tindahan ng combat equips. :-)

    Thanks Bro. Really need it now. Things are getting challenging.
  • rtravino29rtravino29 Posts: 1,549
    Thanks Bro. Really need it now. Things are getting challenging.

    DL or Squat or Both bro?
  • luchi_bieluchi_bie Posts: 238
    @ravino - Both bro, currently squatting 180ish. DL is 290ish.
  • rtravino29rtravino29 Posts: 1,549
    Both bro, currently squatting 180ish. DL is 290ish.

    Mirin' the poundage brah! :sport:

    careful on using the lifting belt though, may possibility kase na mapeke kang kaya mo yung poundage since may lifting belt ka, as long as you know and confident that you can lift the weight, go for it, andun lang ang lifting belt as support, but not entirely will help you on lifting the poundage. Mahirap na, baka ma snap city tayo, :P
  • luchi_bieluchi_bie Posts: 238
    Thanks Bro, kaya naghahanap ako ng quality belt. Need to lift smart din =).
  • rtravino29rtravino29 Posts: 1,549
    Thanks Bro, kaya naghahanap ako ng quality belt. Need to lift smart din =).

    +1 for this .
  • raokikunraokikun Posts: 154
    ask ko lang mga sir, hanggang anong safe weight pede mag squat at DL habang wala pang belt. kasi mag sstart pa lang ako mag SL 5x5 sa monday 35-35 + bar

    wala pa kasi akong belt. bibili pa lang ako kapag kailangan ko na. maraming salamat
  • rtravino29rtravino29 Posts: 1,549
    depende sir, pero for me, as much as possible, kung hindi lalagpas sa bodyweight ko yung binubuhat ko, di ako gagamit nang belt,
  • raokikunraokikun Posts: 154
    maraming salamat sa info sir @rtravino29 kakatakot din kasi haha pinaka delikado talaga ang deadlift para sakin
  • RayKriegRayKrieg Posts: 577C-Class
    Ako brah, ang bw ko ngayon 182lbs pero ang max dl ko na walang belt is 270lbs x 1 rep. Ayoko na muna mag increase ng weight habang wala pa yung belt ko. Depende naman sayo bro @raokikun kung kelan mo gusto magbelt :)
  • luchi_bieluchi_bie Posts: 238
    Check your form always raokikun un ang mas importante kesa sa belt. Ako kase nagsimula akong mag-belt nung nasa 200lbs na ung squat/DL ko. Btw my BW is 160lbs.
  • raokikunraokikun Posts: 154
    @RayKrieg, @luchi_bie salamat ulit mga sir, nag researched ako nung nagkaron ako time.

    sa mga nabasa ko karamihan na sinasabi nila is

    advantage:

    pampalakas mag deadlift. "to add more weights"

    then

    disadvantage:

    nakakasira ng form parang hindi mo daw ma rereach masyado ung pagka bend. something like that.

    at sabi nung iba 600lbs DL still no belt. 1Rep Max lang.

    siguru nga mga sir depende rin sa lifter kung san siya mas komportable mahalaga pa rin is proper form.

    salamat mga ka PBB gandang araw sa inyo
  • dskinnydudedskinnydude Posts: 176
    @raokikun my take on lifting belt;

    Not really to help you lift more weights but gives you a stronger core when performing valsalva maneuver, hence getting you into a safer zone. Problem is, I see people wearing lifting belt but doesn't know how to properly use it, getting them closer to snap city.

    cheers
  • rtravino29rtravino29 Posts: 1,549
    people wearing lifting belt but doesn't know how to properly use it, getting them closer to snap city.
    +1, yung tipong sobrang higpit nang belt na naka " donald duck" na yung butt. kaya pag nag deadlift / squat.. boom! :duh:
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