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Old 11-04-2012, 06:31 PM   #1
Matt Thomas
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Deadlift with belt?

I may have asked this somewhere before, but I'm making a thread on it because I need to get to the bottom of this. WHY CANT I DEADLIFT WITH A BELT!?! Seriously a belt is supposed to help your lifts. It helps me on almost every lift where it makes sense to wear one except the deadlift. I've tried a lever belt, a regular belt, and a tapered belt. I've tried wearing it midway up my stomach and I've tried wearing it lower than normal. No matter what, I feel like when the weight gets heavy my torso folds over and I lose my posture when I wear a belt. Why does this happen??
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:14 AM   #2
Mike Jenkins
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Re: Deadlift with belt?

A lot of people wear their belt too tight when pulling. It shouldn't be as tight as a belt when squatting. It does change mechanics though, a video comparison of pulling with a belt and without one from side and front may help. Make sure its heavy enough weight.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:23 AM   #3
Matt Thomas
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Re: Deadlift with belt?

I've tried loosening it. Still seems to happen. It's very frustrating. I've literally put weight on the bar and tried pulling with a belt on and barely been able to get it off the floor. Took the belt off, waited 30 seconds and then lifted it with ease. I'll work on getting a video comparison up some time this week to see if anyone can spot where I'm going wrong.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:33 AM   #4
Mike Jenkins
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Re: Deadlift with belt?

What type of belt do you use?
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:58 AM   #5
Clint Harris
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Re: Deadlift with belt?

One of the things I used to do was forget part of my setup when wearing a belt. I'd push my abbs down and out against the belt and concentrate on nice and stable/tight within it - but neglect to get as tight in the upper back and set myself up per normal. It also caused me to change my back angle ever so slightly.
It was like only being able to concentrate on one thing at a time. Good and tight against the belt but everything else wasn't as dialed in as it normally was.
Anyway - perhaps there's something like that going on ? Where wearing the belt makes you forget other parts of your setup.

I've also seen where people don a belt and start to suck their guts in more .... rather than pushing out against it. I have no idea if that's going on. But just another thought.

There may also be that subconscious thing going on now too ... where you're already thinking "why can't I do this" as soon as you put the belt on. The lift has failed before you even put your hands on the bar. If it's a subconscious thing, (or even conscious) you'll have to work on getting that confidence back. In golf (as with other things) it takes at leat 20-30 days of doing something every day to start changing those motor patterns. I can't imagine that weightlifting is any different. Sometimes lying to yourself will help too .... you're already lying to yourself by saying you can't do this .... so may as well turn that lie around and tell yourself that you can. This doesn't mean you'll magically be able to do it - it'll just help your mindset change for the better over time as you ingrain better motor patterns and start to successfully lift more weight with a belt.

Last edited by Clint Harris; 11-05-2012 at 12:05 PM..
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:15 PM   #6
Sean Dunston
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Re: Deadlift with belt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Thomas View Post
I may have asked this somewhere before, but I'm making a thread on it because I need to get to the bottom of this. WHY CANT I DEADLIFT WITH A BELT!?! Seriously a belt is supposed to help your lifts. It helps me on almost every lift where it makes sense to wear one except the deadlift. I've tried a lever belt, a regular belt, and a tapered belt. I've tried wearing it midway up my stomach and I've tried wearing it lower than normal. No matter what, I feel like when the weight gets heavy my torso folds over and I lose my posture when I wear a belt. Why does this happen??
Can you describe this last bit for me a little more.
What do you mean "my torso folds over and I lose my posture"?
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:58 PM   #7
Casey Bard
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Re: Deadlift with belt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clint Harris View Post
One of the things I used to do was forget part of my setup when wearing a belt. I'd push my abbs down and out against the belt and concentrate on nice and stable/tight within it - but neglect to get as tight in the upper back and set myself up per normal. It also caused me to change my back angle ever so slightly.
It was like only being able to concentrate on one thing at a time. Good and tight against the belt but everything else wasn't as dialed in as it normally was.
Great post...

One cue that you can use is to look in the mirror... If your shoulders raise when you take a deep breath, then you're not holding your air in the proper place. Aim to take a full breath into your belly, and mid body rather than high in your shoulders. The belt should be loose enough to fit an open hand behind it while relaxed. Prior to the lift, as Clint said, push down and out to snug the belt up.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:01 PM   #8
Matt Thomas
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Re: Deadlift with belt?

Sean - Without a belt I feel like I am able to keep a rigid torso and maintain a neutral spine position. Even at heavier or too heavy weights I feel like my back position stays sound. If I fail it's just because the strength isn't there. With a belt, at even moderately heavy weights, as soon as I start to pull off the floor I feel like my torso caves in and I get a lot of thoracic and lumbar flexion.

Clint - This is possible and something I have thought about. I feel like when I don't have a belt I focus a lot more on my legs. My mind is really focused on initiating the lift by firing the glutes and "pulling" with the hamstring. When I wear a belt most of my focus seems to go into pushing into the belt. Perhaps this is causing me to not generate as much tension in the posterior chain?
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:27 PM   #9
Sean Dunston
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Re: Deadlift with belt?

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Originally Posted by Matt Thomas View Post
Sean - Without a belt I feel like I am able to keep a rigid torso and maintain a neutral spine position. Even at heavier or too heavy weights I feel like my back position stays sound. If I fail it's just because the strength isn't there. With a belt, at even moderately heavy weights, as soon as I start to pull off the floor I feel like my torso caves in and I get a lot of thoracic and lumbar flexion.

Clint - This is possible and something I have thought about. I feel like when I don't have a belt I focus a lot more on my legs. My mind is really focused on initiating the lift by firing the glutes and "pulling" with the hamstring. When I wear a belt most of my focus seems to go into pushing into the belt. Perhaps this is causing me to not generate as much tension in the posterior chain?
Interesting.
I only started using a belt on DL a couple years ago.
I do remember when I began lifting with it, I thought it was awkward (though I used to lift Sumo, and I have switched back to conventional).
I remember the awkwardness I felt was just that the belt would dig into my ribs a bit, and it needed some adjusting before I was ever comfortable with it. Now, I don't even think about it. Either I played with the positioning enough that I found a comfortable position, or I just "got used" to the feeling of it and it stopped bothering me - I honestly don't know which.

The torso caving cannot be caused by the belt. My guess is that you are using it improperly. I can't imagine that you are losing rigidity in your torso if you are engaging and bracing your abs against the belt while performing the lift. Try it with 50% weight, and get used to doing it - treating each lift as though it is a near max effort. Do 6-8 sets of doubles at the light weight. See if that changes the experience. If not, there's something else going on. If it helps, try increasing the weight moderately the next week and the next, etc., until you are comfortable performing heavy lifts with the belt.

good luck
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:33 PM   #10
Matt Thomas
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Re: Deadlift with belt?

Thanks for the reply.

It is honestly does feel better at lower weights. I feel like I'm so solid at lower weights and that the belt is helping that I'm going to shatter numbers. But then when I start moving up in weight eventually it just falls apart and things go to s**t. But I dunno. Maybe I do just need more "practice" getting used to it. Belts aren't awkward to me usually. It feels great in the squat so it doesn't bother me that if it digs into my ribs or hips. I just can't lift with it...

Sean - On a side note why did you switch to a sumo deadlift and what made you switch back?
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