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  1. #1
    Mr. Gecko Kiknskreem's Avatar
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    Post The straight dope on BELTS...

    There are always a lot of posts on belts... their purpose and efficacy, safety, and their resultant impact on training.

    Hopefully this thread will help some people see the light, and put to rest a lot of the misinformation out there.

    The purpose of a belt is to increase intra-abdominal pressure. By pushing your stomach against the belt, you create internal forces that act on the anterior side of your spine. This works to stabilize your spine, and thus entire body.

    This means that more energy can be directed do moving the load, and less to maintaining bodily position. When used effectively, it will help you move bigger weights, and may provide an element of protection. The belt also helps by providing proprioceptive feedback... that is, it provides your body with tactile information, and this helps your brain know where you are in space.


    A belt used properly means on a minimal, as needed basis. Generally speaking, this will mean on heavy sets (1-5 reps) of the major compound lifts. The use of the belt is subject to the trainee's discretion... it can be worn whenever they reasonably need the extra support on a lift. This could be a tough 8 rep set of front squats, or perhaps even a less heavy day when their back may already be fried from previous training.

    Some trainees, particularly older or injured lifters, may not be able to lift at all without a belt.


    Now, there is a common concern that wearing a belt hinders core strength. This is only true if the belt is used inappropriately. Wearing a belt does not cause certain muscle groups to drop out of function. In fact, they are still recieving a stress stimulus. If one wore a belt every single set of their lift, and added 200 lbs to their squat... all the assosciated musculature would still be strengthened. Likely not to its max potential, but the point of this extreme example is to illustrate how the principle of overload does not cease to exist when wearing a belt.

    Sub-maximal sets are done beltless, and these should be rising right along with your belted sets. Therefore, your core is still recieving all the stimulation it needs. As well, many people forget that you can do such a thing as direct core work if you are worried about it.


    A note on the design of belts.... the contoured ones that are thin in the front were not designed by someone familiar with their functioning. The support given actually comes from the front of the belt, where you push your stomach against it. It should be the same thickness all the way around.

    As for how tight to wear it... tight, but not so tight that it restricts your ability to push your stomach out against it. It should be worn well above your pants belt... up on your 'natural waist'.


    Used properly, the belt will help push your top end numbers up, resulting in greater overload to the body and long term, greater potential strength. The belt is a tool that can help you train safer and stronger, but like any tool it can also be mis-used.

    So please... if you hit your thumb with a hammer, do not blame the hammer.
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  2. #2
    Registered User carl.c's Avatar
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    Where did you get the info that a belt gives possitve proprioceptive feedback?
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  3. #3
    Mr. Gecko Kiknskreem's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by carl.c View Post
    Where did you get the info that a belt gives possitve proprioceptive feedback?
    It is common knowledge in powerlifting circles, but it is also specifically mentioned in Mark Rippetoes book "Strong Enough?" on page 58.

    "An often overlooked function of the belt is the proprioceptive feedback it provides, telling the body about tightness and position because of its pattern of contact with the skin. Even when worn loosely it performs this function."
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    Dr. Animal, OD, Natty Pro The_Animal11's Avatar
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    repped. good post.
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    Originally Posted by Kiknskreem View Post
    A note on the design of belts.... the contoured ones that are thin in the front were not designed by someone familiar with their functioning. The support given actually comes from the front of the belt, where you push your stomach against it. It should be the same thickness all the way around.
    You mention thick/thin in belt design. Shouldn't the correct terminology be narrow/wide?
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    Mr. Gecko Kiknskreem's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tropo View Post
    You mention thick/thin in belt design. Shouldn't the correct terminology be narrow/wide?
    Semantics at its finest. I should hope my point was clear, though.
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    Member: Team Ground Zero huddlestonalex's Avatar
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    informative

    Reps for tackling an issue most stay away from. Nice to knowledge like this on the boards.
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    ..Talk Of NY.. Emosh's Avatar
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    Good post..
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    Registered User mojo18's Avatar
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    smart post, you do think quite a bit don't you
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    thanks that was very useful was contemplating getting a belt and what type etc...very helpful
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    Mr. Gecko Kiknskreem's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Randeep.Singh View Post
    thanks that was very useful was contemplating getting a belt and what type etc...very helpful
    Inzer makes quality belts that will last for years.

    http://www.inzernet.com/search_resul...earch&iLevel=1

    I got the Forever belt, double prong, and 10mm because I was worried about it being too stiff, and also I'm a smaller lifter. Either that or 13mm will be fine, and both will be exponentially better than some thin, leather, contoured belt.

    I would recommend double or single prong, mostly because I like to adjust my belt to different tightness depending on the lift and how much chinese I ate the night before... the lever belts you have to adjust with a screwdriver everytime you want to change it.
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    Registered User mojo18's Avatar
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    thanks for the link. I've been wanting to get a better belt but didn't know where
    Last edited by mojo18; 07-02-2008 at 02:38 PM.
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  13. #13
    Banned cjdelaney's Avatar
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    i was all ready to rag on you for making another lame-ass belt thread, pretty good though, repped.
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  14. #14
    Moderator Dominik's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Kiknskreem View Post
    Inzer makes quality belts that will last for years.

    http://www.inzernet.com/search_resul...earch&iLevel=1

    I got the Forever belt, double prong, and 10mm because I was worried about it being too stiff, and also I'm a smaller lifter. Either that or 13mm will be fine, and both will be exponentially better than some thin, leather, contoured belt.

    I would recommend double or single prong, mostly because I like to adjust my belt to different tightness depending on the lift and how much chinese I ate the night before... the lever belts you have to adjust with a screwdriver everytime you want to change it.
    I've got a single prong 13mm Inzer, but if I was buying another belt I'd go for the lever. It's easier to get on and off and is more streamlined. Of course there are pros to having a prong belt, like knowing it won't ever accidentally open and being able to easily adjust it for certain lifts like tighter on squats and looser on deads, etc.

    Just a quick word about belt thickness to anyone who's never used one of these belts before. These belts are designed for some pretty big dudes so for a lot of lifters 13mm is probably going to be overkill. Just my opinion, but I have a hard time believing a sub-200lb lifter squatting/pulling 4-5 plates a side needs the same support as a SHW monster like Andy Bolton breaking world records. The first time I put mine on I had trouble getting it off and it took a while to break it in and make it comfortable.

    I think a 10mm lever or single prong would be a good place to start for most people here.
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    almost at stage weight! Squizzzer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by _Dominik_ View Post
    Just a quick word about belt thickness to anyone who's never used one of these belts before. These belts are designed for some pretty big dudes so for a lot of lifters 13mm is probably going to be overkill. Just my opinion, but I have a hard time believing a sub-200lb lifter squatting/pulling 4-5 plates a side needs the same support as a SHW monster like Andy Bolton breaking world records. The first time I put mine on I had trouble getting it off and it took a while to break it in and make it comfortable.

    I think a 10mm lever or single prong would be a good place to start for most people here.
    i agree...i purchased a 13mm inzer double prong...and it took a while to get it on and off easily...but being a smaller guy i do feel like a 10mm woulda been a better choice for me like dom said
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    Registered User carl.c's Avatar
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    I have starting strength by rippetoe: I' thinking of getting his other ones, i think every one should have starting strength.
    I will have to read what he says about the subject. I can't see how it would cause any good nural patterning.
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  17. #17
    Mr. Gecko Kiknskreem's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by carl.c View Post
    I have starting strength by rippetoe: I' thinking of getting his other ones...
    I highly recommend them.

    Originally Posted by carl.c View Post
    I will have to read what he says about the subject. I can't see how it would cause any good nural patterning.
    Good neural patterning? I'm not sure what you're referring to.
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    Registered User carl.c's Avatar
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    proprioception is awareness in space by the body using many inputs. It is a naturaly accoring thing but one can inhance it by doing pattrened moves.
    Problem is bad input causes poor output by the nervouse system.
    My worry with belts outside of max efforts is the body learns to cordinate its responce with the add of the belt remove the belt and the body will still repond as if the belt was there leading to injury.
    Please note i said outside of max efforts.
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    Noob Gains knowles.ja's Avatar
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    I've got a 13mm belt and I don't think it's overkill. I've never used a 10mm, but I like the 13 just fine. Just took a while to break in...
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    Moderator Dominik's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by knowles.ja View Post
    I've got a 13mm belt and I don't think it's overkill. I've never used a 10mm, but I like the 13 just fine. Just took a while to break in...
    Each to his own of course. I've just noticed a lot of people are quick to recommend 13mm probably because it sounds more hardcore, when smaller lifters might find it's too rigid, heavy, and cumbersome and won't really benefit more from it over the 10mm.

    If I was going to buy another belt it'd be a 10mm lever.
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  21. #21
    Strength Addict ElderJefferson's Avatar
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    I've never worn a belt while lifting, but this information (if reliable) seems valuable. I long for the day when I'm actually so concerned about the amount of weight I'm lifting that I consider putting on a belt.
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    Originally Posted by _Dominik_ View Post
    I've got a single prong 13mm Inzer, but if I was buying another belt I'd go for the lever. It's easier to get on and off and is more streamlined. Of course there are pros to having a prong belt, like knowing it won't ever accidentally open and being able to easily adjust it for certain lifts like tighter on squats and looser on deads, etc.

    Just a quick word about belt thickness to anyone who's never used one of these belts before. These belts are designed for some pretty big dudes so for a lot of lifters 13mm is probably going to be overkill. Just my opinion, but I have a hard time believing a sub-200lb lifter squatting/pulling 4-5 plates a side needs the same support as a SHW monster like Andy Bolton breaking world records. The first time I put mine on I had trouble getting it off and it took a while to break it in and make it comfortable.

    I think a 10mm lever or single prong would be a good place to start for most people here.
    i have both a lever 13mm and a two prong 10mm and i use the two prong more often than not because it's easier to get on and off, go figure eh. lol

    the 13mm is a stiff bastard also and i would only recommend it for the heaviest lifters.
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  23. #23
    jesus thinks youre a jerk ehlpitel's Avatar
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    This should be a sticky.
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    Belt : At what point should one start to think about using one

    Hey guys,

    Ive been making some good gains in deads and squats, I feel that I could do alot more in dead but my lower back gets insanely tight/cramping during deads, its not a feeling of too much weight but of not being flexible enough almost,

    Should i grab a belt and go for it to continue the gains or just keep the weight as is and push through it to try strengthen/improve flexibility,

    I train at 125kg, no idea what my max is
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    Registered User Viper504's Avatar
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    i think just as long as u go up in weight slowly you don't need a belt till you squat 315lb+ and deadlift 405lb+

    my deadlift is at 455 and squat at 315 parallel and i never used a belt and dont plan to till i get 500+ dead and 400+squat then i might use one
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    Good question. There's a guy at my gym who wears one no matter what he's doing. Literally. If he's doing curls, cables, (never squats, no deads, no bench) smith machine-pushups...yes, really...he puts the bar at about waist level, and does 'pushups' on the bar,...he's always got that belt on. Must have been in a bad wreck or got some kinda severe back problem.
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    Originally Posted by fmrmarineinbiz View Post
    Good question. There's a guy at my gym who wears one no matter what he's doing. Literally. If he's doing curls, cables, (never squats, no deads, no bench) smith machine-pushups...yes, really...he puts the bar at about waist level, and does 'pushups' on the bar,...he's always got that belt on. Must have been in a bad wreck or got some kinda severe back problem.
    yeah, this guy at my gym (i know him but he still only does curls and bench) ask to borrow my belt to do curls today i loled
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    Originally Posted by Viper504 View Post
    i think just as long as u go up in weight slowly you don't need a belt till you squat 315lb+ and deadlift 405lb+
    Those numbers are totally arbitrary. How would you say they apply the same for a 215lb male college football player and a 45 year old soccer mom?

    The use of the belt is totally relative to the trainee's strength.

    That being said, I do not think that the use of belts generally needs to be considered until near the end of the novice phase, when workout to workout progress is starting to faulter.
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    A belt isn't really needed when you get out of novice phase.
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    Originally Posted by Flair4TheGold View Post
    A belt isn't really needed when you get out of novice phase.

    I'd say just the opposite is true.
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