Deadlifting with or without a belt?

Steve Freides

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@Alan Mackey, the breathing technique you're describing is what StrongFirst teaches for the kettlebell goblet and front squats, neither of which uses a heavy weight when compared to a barbell squat. At our SFL, breathing for the various powerlifts is discussed in detail, and that particular style of breathing isn't used for either the deadlift or the squat.

-S-
 

Alan Mackey

More than 300 posts
@Alan Mackey, the breathing technique you're describing is what StrongFirst teaches for the kettlebell goblet and front squats, neither of which uses a heavy weight when compared to a barbell squat. At our SFL, breathing for the various powerlifts is discussed in detail, and that particular style of breathing isn't used for either the deadlift or the squat.

-S-
Makes sense.(y)
 

JITASIA

More than Five Posts
Belt or No Belt

Some people don't use a belt, which is fine.

However, research demonstrates that wearing the Belt increase dramatically increase Intra-Abdominal Pressure, which provide greater support for the lower back compared to lifting without it.

The greater your core stability (stiffeness), the more force a lifter is able to generate, which has to do with...

"Leakage'"

"Being able to stabilize the pelvis in the frontal plane as we move is important otherwise we create a disconnect in the connection of the muscles. Dr. McGill calls this a "leakage" of energy, and the knees and low backs generally pay the price. "

The Weak Link In The Chain

I've posted information on this before. The core is usually the weak link in the Squat and Deadlift. That means the core gives out long before the legs do.

The core ends up being Overloaded while the legs are Underloaded. usa today protonmail For individual interested in maximizing leg development, wearing a Belt allow them to minimize "Leakage"; this core stiffness ensure more work is placed on the legs with eithera heavier load or more repetition.

What's even more effective are exercise that minimize or completely eliminate the core from the movement; Leg Press, Belt Squat (great carryover movement for the Squat), etc.

The core is then strengthened with exercise that directly focus on it.



The Purpose

If an individual is lifting for health, there's no reason for wearing a Belt or even lifting heavy for low repetitions.

If an individual is a competitive lifter, a Belt will help the majority of lifters.

So, the right answer is dependent on your objective.
Personally, I got up to a decently strong deadlift without a belt, got one, and didn't notice any performance improvement. I do most of my training with the belt since. I don't give it much thought.
 
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Steve Freides

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Personally, I got up to a decently strong deadlift without a belt, got one, and didn't notice any performance improvement. I do most of my training with the belt since. I don't give it much thought.
I think it's reasonable to assume that if you got some coaching on how to use the belt - the kind of belt, placement of the belt, different technique to use when deadlifting with a belt - you'd find it added to your maximum lift.

-S-
 

Antti

> 4k Posts
I think it's reasonable to assume that if you got some coaching on how to use the belt - the kind of belt, placement of the belt, different technique to use when deadlifting with a belt - you'd find it added to your maximum lift.

-S-
Replying to this since you're quoting my exact words from earlier this thread - I wonder if @JITASIA meant to quote me.

It's been a while since I got the belt - and a second one, incidentally, both IPF approved - and I have since managed to improve my deadlift about 20kg, little less than 10%. I still don't feel it does a lot for me in the conventional deadlift 1RM. Can't say for sure about other lifts as I don't really have the practical experience of belt Vs beltless training with them, though I do have my thoughts.

I don't think your assumption is unreasonable. I have met many people who swear by their belt. I don't. I don't know. Maybe it's a psychological thing, maybe it's ab strength, maybe it's something else.

Steve, do you believe you would improve on your 1RM if you would use a belt and practice using it for a while?
 

Steve Freides

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Steve, do you believe you would improve on your 1RM if you would use a belt and practice using it for a while?
Everything I have read suggests that it would improve anyone and everyone's 1RM. In my individual case, because I'm pretty sure my legs are the weak link in my deadlift, my guess is that I'd have to address that first for me to be able to take advantage of what the belt has to offer.

And when I have trained my powerlifting style, low-bar back squat in the past, my deadlift has gotten better as a result, but it was also clearly the beginning of a road I didn't want to go down - lots of squatting makes me hungry and would, I'm sure, put enough muscle on me that I'd end up in the next higher weight class, which I don't want.

-S-
 

Antti

> 4k Posts
Everything I have read suggests that it would improve anyone and everyone's 1RM. In my individual case, because I'm pretty sure my legs are the weak link in my deadlift, my guess is that I'd have to address that first for me to be able to take advantage of what the belt has to offer.

And when I have trained my powerlifting style, low-bar back squat in the past, my deadlift has gotten better as a result, but it was also clearly the beginning of a road I didn't want to go down - lots of squatting makes me hungry and would, I'm sure, put enough muscle on me that I'd end up in the next higher weight class, which I don't want.

-S-
I agree that the belt is typically written of as something that warrants an increase in performance, at least in personal anecdotes on the various fora and such. Imagine my disappointment when nothing happened when I started wearing one. My progress since has been quite moderate, like a kg a month or so, and I have had to train for it all the way, no easy kilos anywhere in sight.

In my case, the difficulties in the lift start halfway, right where I would expect the belt to help if it was it. I agree that in your case a healthy dose of squats would be the recommended recipe.

Regarding squatting, have you found the same effect regardless of the set/rep range you use?
 

Anna C

> 6k Posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Regarding squatting, have you found the same effect regardless of the set/rep range you use?
Excellent question. Often times squats get a reputation for eliciting certain effects, when it's not the movement, but the programming.
 

william bad butt

More than 500 posts
I find that a lot of people dont wear their belt tight enough. It should be really tight, but not impact breathing or mobility. If the belt is not tight enough, you will not be able to push against it and generate extreme intra-abdominal pressure. When training with light weights, I get the belt as tight as possible with my bare hands. When handling big weights (close to the limit), which is rare for me, I am not able to get my belt tight enough with my bare hands. I have to use a little tool (like a ratchet) to get my belt on and off. Or there is a trick where you can use the power rack to ratchet the belt on. It is uncomfortable! But it allows for more tension and stability. 1 extra belt hole or another 1/2" tighter could make a huge difference.
 

Antti

> 4k Posts
I find that a lot of people dont wear their belt tight enough. It should be really tight, but not impact breathing or mobility. If the belt is not tight enough, you will not be able to push against it and generate extreme intra-abdominal pressure. When training with light weights, I get the belt as tight as possible with my bare hands. When handling big weights (close to the limit), which is rare for me, I am not able to get my belt tight enough with my bare hands. I have to use a little tool (like a ratchet) to get my belt on and off. Or there is a trick where you can use the power rack to ratchet the belt on. It is uncomfortable! But it allows for more tension and stability. 1 extra belt hole or another 1/2" tighter could make a huge difference.
I have two belts, a lever belt and a prong belt. I can get the lever belt way tighter and used it way tighter. I don't know if there's a difference between the belts in action, though. But that's not to say there won't be a difference for someone else.
 

Steve Freides

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Regarding squatting, have you found the same effect regardless of the set/rep range you use?
I haven't trained my squat for a low-bar 1RM is a long time, more than 10 years, maybe closer to 15.

That said, I now prefer to goblet squat, front squat with kettlebells, front squat with a barbell, or high-bar back squat with a barbell. But my training time is limited. My favorite squat is bodyweight only, but otherwise performed like a goblet squat - very deep, relax and pry at the bottom, and I consider it a stretch, not a weight-lifting/bearing/training exercise.

Often times squats get a reputation for eliciting certain effects, when it's not the movement, but the programming.
I think both. I was working on improving my 1RM, so that programming and that lift is what I could tell would put more meat on my bones if I continued it - so I stopped. Would the same squat and different programming not have the same effect? Would a different squat and the same programming? Yes, no, maybe ...

-S-
 

Anna C

> 6k Posts
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Would the same squat and different programming not have the same effect?
Well, programming definitely has an effect; higher reps and more fatigue for hypertrophy, lower reps and higher intensity for strength... that sort of thing.

I think squats are just a higher volume of work, and time under tension, which gives more overall effects. That and they work the muscles through a greater ROM, so some muscle tissue would have a tendency to thicken a bit with the new loading, but that wouldn't continue indefinitely.

Would a different squat and the same programming? Yes, no, maybe ...
A different squat and same programming IMO wouldn't have a greatly different effect, other than you would get much better at the one you practiced, while the others would be increased but not nearly as much.

That said, if you're talking about many months or years doing one kind of squat at a fairly high load and 3x/week (and very few ever get here), eventually some differences eventually emerge. The low bar back squat would probably create bigger muscles closer to the hip, where the front squat would tend towards more quads. The high bar back squat somewhere in between.

The reason I emphasize months or years is that I think people get way too hung up on what type of squat does what, when it really doesn't matter until you've been squatting a lot of weight, quite often, for a a good long time.
 

Steve Freides

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@Anna C, I think the reason the low bar back squat has its well-deserved reputation as a size builder is that iit's the version most people can carry the most weight with. If hypertrophy is a goal, I think most people are best served by version that allows the most weight.

I expect to reintroduce the low-bar back squat into my training again - as I get older, it makes a better fit for me and my goals.

-S-
 
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