When to use a belt for squats?

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    When to use a belt for squats?


    When should a belt be incorporated into your lifting? I don't need it yet since I am still repping low 300s and my body weight is around 200.. but when should I add a belt? Is it ever necessary to add a belt or maybe when I get to repping 400+ lbs...500+ lbs?

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    Let's bring some science into this as there is going to be a lot of varied opinion. Various quotations from the Godfather of spinal mechanics, Stuart McGill.

    ---

    "Those who have never had a previous back injury appear to have no additional protective benefit from wearing a belt.
    • Those who are injured while wearing a belt seem to risk a more severe injury.
    • Belts appear to give people the perception they can lift more and may in fact enable them to lift more.
    • Belts appear to increase intra-abdominal pressure and blood pressure.
    • Belts appear to change the lifting styles of some people to either decrease the loads on the spine or increase the loads on the spine.

    There is no question that belts assist in generating a few more Newton-meters (or foot-pounds) of torque in the torso through elastic recoil of a bent torso that is stiffened with a belt. However, if a neutral spine is preserved throughout the lift this effect is diminished. In other words, to obtain the maximal effect from a belt, the lifter must lift poorly and in a way that exposed the back to a much higher risk of injury!

    Evidence suggests that people change their motor patterns, together with their motion patterns when using a belt. The evidence suggests that these motor control changes can elevate the risk of injury should a belt not be worn in a belttraining athlete."

    Source: http://www.nsca-lift.org/hottopic/do...s%20-%20v3.pdf
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    So basically... make sure my form stays good for the higher weights... and if my form is good the belt will prob just do more harm?
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    If someone's form is going to diminish on heavier weights then the belt would serve purpose in those instances.

    I think they need to be used as sparingly as possible.
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    i always recommend using a belt on lifts that load the spine with 90+% of your 1RM. i do not focus so much on how much weight. as someone that can squat 500+ lbs wil lhardly feel any effort on 225. while some people would fold in half with 225. if you based it off of weight, like say anything above 300lbs then the person that is much weaker should not need a belt. but in this case a belt may actually save the back. percentages take into account more peoples strength levels.

    if i am going to go that heavy i do put it on at about 70%. just to make sure i grease the groove per say and maintain good form. as a previous poster has stated it can alter your mechanics. so there is a learning curve. if i stay below 90% i may not even put on a belt for my lifts.

    the only time i train with lighter weights and a belt is to get even better at using a belt at heavier weights. for example. say i am doing a lot of doubles on squats, like 15-20 sets. i may only use 50-70% of my 1RM but i will wear a belt. i will wear it a bit looser then normal and try and push out real hard against the belt. this teaches me to force out against the tighter belt even more so at higher weights without thinking. it becomes automatic. this way i can even more intra-abdominal pressure when lifting. this is not something i do every time i squat with lower weights. its just another tool in my toolbox. as long as i use my tools properly it helps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdavid
    When should a belt be incorporated into your lifting? I don't need it yet since I am still repping low 300s and my body weight is around 200.. but when should I add a belt? Is it ever necessary to add a belt or maybe when I get to repping 400+ lbs...500+ lbs?
    I agree, there's a time and place for a belt. But with squats, I use it on every set, except my first warm up set with 135. But I've always been a little sensitive in the lower back region. Where if I was repping 225 without a belt and 225 with a belt, I would feel a lot more support and more fluid motion with the belt. To each their own I guess, IMO...
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdcc View Post
    If someone's form is going to diminish on heavier weights then the belt would serve purpose in those instances.

    I think they need to be used as sparingly as possible.
    Good point..

    When I was younger (high school), I used belts but I didn't really know why I was using them other than because everyone else was.

    It increases the pressure around your core. Which is something like you would have if your core muscles were naturally strong. So you can make it a point to train your core muscles to build their strength, which makes everything tighter, which will help you in your squats and everything else.

    So, don't use a belt. Make sure your form doesn't suffer on squats... So if you're using a weight so heavy that your form slips, reduce weight.

    In the meantime, work like hell to strengthen your core. You can find all kinds of info about how to do this. Use this form, an article database, or just use Google.

    Good luck!
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    You use a belt when it is time. For powerlifting this is when the lift gets to around 90% 1 RM and above. It helps one breath deeply into the belt and hold there abdominal pressure. I use it only at the 90 percent and above personally.
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    Quote Originally Posted by asooneyeonig View Post
    this teaches me to force out against the tighter belt even more so at higher weights without thinking. it becomes automatic. this way i can even more intra-abdominal pressure when lifting. this is not something i do every time i squat with lower weights. its just another tool in my toolbox. as long as i use my tools properly it helps.
    Bingo. Basically, the belt is good at teaching one how to hold air in properly. Even in advanced lifters, it helps as it gives you something physical with which to judge how much air your hold in. That's the key with using the belt. I would in fact recommend beginners wear a belt over not wearing a belt as you approach your max so that they can learn to really breathe with your gut and hold it to brace the abs as strongly as possible, though all this would be best done with a coach around to judge how well you're doing all this. Also belts at most gyms suck and may possibly not be worth using. That's my two cents
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