Should I be using a weight belt for squats?

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    Should I be using a weight belt for squats?


    A lot of you will be thinking this is an insanely stupid question, but keep an open mind and THEN tell me how ridiculous it is.

    Do you ever consider (or care) how practical the strength that you build in the gym is? If you can squat 500lb with a weight belt on, but can't do 225lb without it, cause you might hurt your back...is this practical strength...do you care? Should you care?

    I've been doing squats and deadlifts without a belt, because I want to have practical strength and this would entail building up my back strength. I can't lift that much because my back is the limiting factor right now: squat: 225x10, deadlift: 155x10. I'm 5'10", 178 lb...been lifting on/off for 10 years, but I'm serious this time!

    Should I be using a belt?...is it practical?...any thoughts?

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    I like it better without the belt anyways. Feels like I have more control over the weight.
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    when you don't use a belt you're incorporating more lower back, so the exercise becomes significantly more compound. i prefer training w/o a belt because then i work all muscle groups with the squat. don't forget, your lower back plays a big role in your success with the squat... as well as other related leg exercises, as everything is all connected.

    knee straps are a different case as there's only so much weight the joints can handle. but it's really best to train your lower back equally as much (i.e. by not wearing a belt) so that your body grows proportionally.
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    Quote Originally Posted by beebab View Post
    when you don't use a belt you're incorporating more lower back, so the exercise becomes significantly more compound. i prefer training w/o a belt because then i work all muscle groups with the squat. don't forget, your lower back plays a big role in your success with the squat... as well as other related leg exercises, as everything is all connected.

    knee straps are a different case as there's only so much weight the joints can handle. but it's really best to train your lower back equally as much (i.e. by not wearing a belt) so that your body grows proportionally.
    That sounds in line with what I'm thinking...I guess I just figured there was no point in making my legs any stronger if my back can't handle the weight I'm putting up.

    Knee wraps you say? My knees feel a little painful sometimes. I hear you're not supposed to let your knees go over your toes, but if I prevented that from happening, I would fall backward from imbalance. I think it's just a physics problem...you put the weight too far backward, it doesn't matter how strong you are, you're gonna fall over, right? any comments?
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    Quote Originally Posted by drguitar78 View Post
    That sounds in line with what I'm thinking...I guess I just figured there was no point in making my legs any stronger if my back can't handle the weight I'm putting up.

    Knee wraps you say? My knees feel a little painful sometimes. I hear you're not supposed to let your knees go over your toes, but if I prevented that from happening, I would fall backward from imbalance. I think it's just a physics problem...you put the weight too far backward, it doesn't matter how strong you are, you're gonna fall over, right? any comments?
    not necessarily. when you're performing a squat act as though you're going to sit down. you will break your knees going too far forward with a heavy weight. but you won't fall down if you sit back and do it properly. adjust your stance if you feel uncomfortable. go a little wider and point your toes out somewhat. try multiple stances with proper form with lighter weights until you get a feel for it.
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    I use a belt when the weight goes above 80 percent of my max. I had a freind complaining about the belt thing. Just to show him I maxed out without a belt and was fine. Wearing a belt will not weaken your back. You should be doing good mornings anyway if your at all concerned with a strong back. Maybe it is the fact that I do good mornings that makes it so I can go without a belt anyway. Most can get a few extra lbs by wearing a belt. Good knee wraps really can help up the weight. I can get about 15-20 more lbs with tightly wrapped inzers.
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    I like to train without a belt up until I'm in my last working sets, or my heavy sets under 6~8reps. For example when I squat i'll do this

    135x10-warm up w/o belt
    185x10-warm up w/o belt
    225x10-warm up w/o belt
    575x12-working set w/o belt
    615x10-working set w/o belt
    665x8-working set WITH BELT
    705x4-working set WITH BELT
    * I really dont use those weights

    Get the idea?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jstrong20 View Post
    I use a belt when the weight goes above 80 percent of my max. I had a freind complaining about the belt thing. Just to show him I maxed out without a belt and was fine. Wearing a belt will not weaken your back. You should be doing good mornings anyway if your at all concerned with a strong back. Maybe it is the fact that I do good mornings that makes it so I can go without a belt anyway. Most can get a few extra lbs by wearing a belt. Good knee wraps really can help up the weight. I can get about 15-20 more lbs with tightly wrapped inzers.
    working w/o a belt won't weaken your back, but if you constantly wear a belt with squats per se you risk strengthening your legs more so than your back, which would give you a comparably weaker back compared to your legs. i'm not anti-lifting belt by any means however, i'd be a hypocrite if i were bc i sure use one. but unless you're purposely trying to go extremely heavy, i'd say it's best to try and go w/o it. also for the sake of avoiding injury when you do go heavy, it's better to have a stronger lower back that can handle hefty weight on its own - then add the belt for additional support.
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