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Old 09-26-2011, 07:33 PM   #1
Cameron Davis
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Lifting without a belt dangerous?

I know the topic of using a belt or not has been covered multiple times... I just read over many old threads on the subject, and I am satisfied with the information supporting the use of a belt.

However, I didn't really see any discussion on whether or not it is dangerous to lift without the use of a belt. It seems like most of the world thinks you're going to hurt yourself if you don't have one on for heavy lifting. I'm still very new to lifting, so I won't be hitting "heavy" any time soon, but I'd still like some insight on this subject next time I hear someone mock a belt-less athlete.
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:55 PM   #2
Ben Croese
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Re: Lifting without a belt dangerous?

i'd also like to know if "heavy" is meant in the relative sense? ie, new lifters lifting what to many would be considered light but to them damn hard. should they wear a belt or is it only really needed when ur able to lift heavy when compared accross the norms? ie. don't bother with a lifting belt untill u can deadlift at least twice ur body weight etc..
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:00 PM   #3
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Lifting without a belt dangerous?

Most people who wear belts (or comment on others wearing or not wearing a belt) are wearing a crappy belt or wearing it incorrectly or both...i.e. they're wearing one that tapers to a small front or have it on too loose to do any good. Or they think that a belt gives support to the lower back, which it doesn't.

There's nothing inherently dangerous about not wearing one, but using one correctly will allow your abs and spinal erectors to do a better job of stabilizing your spine, which is a good thing.

Ben, there's no criteria for wearing one. If you wear one, regardless of your current strength level, your abs will get stronger faster by having something to brace against, which will result in you getting stronger faster because you'll be able to better stabilize your spine.
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:02 PM   #4
Mike Wazowski
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Re: Lifting without a belt dangerous?

As this clip shows (WFS), never ever lift without a belt
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:05 AM   #5
Cameron Davis
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Re: Lifting without a belt dangerous?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Croese View Post
i'd also like to know if "heavy" is meant in the relative sense? ie, new lifters lifting what to many would be considered light but to them damn hard. should they wear a belt or is it only really needed when ur able to lift heavy when compared accross the norms? ie. don't bother with a lifting belt untill u can deadlift at least twice ur body weight etc..
Well 2xBW DL came really quick for me, but back squat is where I'm the weakest. BW-155, BS-225, DL-335 (lbs). To answer your question, I guess upper 200s I would consider being "heavy." Everything feels heavy right now, so I meant it more relative to my body weight.

Last edited by Cameron Davis; 09-27-2011 at 07:25 AM..
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:05 AM   #6
Andrew Milligan
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Re: Lifting without a belt dangerous?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron Kerby View Post
Well 2xBW DL came really quick for me, but back squat is where I'm the weakest. BW-155, BS-225, DL-335 (lbs). To answer your question, I guess upper 200s I would consider being "heavy." Everything feels heavy right now, so I meant it more relative to my body weight.
I started using a belt a few weeks ago on my squats and DLs for the 70s Big S&C program. Since using the belt, I have noticed and definite change in how my abs feel after a squat day. I've also been able to bump my squat 5RM from 240 to 255 (today). I was very skeptical too, and now I highly recommend it.

edit: the bump frmo 240 to 255 came just since using a belt, not the whole program. I started using a belt after my first reset at 240.
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:26 AM   #7
Ash Smith
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Re: Lifting without a belt dangerous?

I'm channeling a combination of Glassman, Rip, and Jack Lalanne when I say "I'm sure Al Qaeda will give you time to accessorize when they hit you with a barrage of small arms and RPG fire at 3am in Anbar Province!"

I'm indifferent to your choice, but think you need to be consistent when measuring your personal results from one day to the next. Anything more than bare feet could be considered a form of assistance, but the very nature of weightlifting is sort of contrived to begin with. Al Qaeda (or your children, job, or hobby) won't always give you time to put on a belt, chalk up, warm up, set your feet, or any of the other niceties that delineate the differences between training and application.

Lifting without a belt is not dangerous. In fact, many people claim that lifting with a belt, then suddenly going without, is potentially dangerous because you acclimate to the extra support. YMMV.
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:27 AM   #8
Michael E Tancini
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Re: Lifting without a belt dangerous?

I only use one when I get in heavier weight. I think belts are a good thing in heavier weight, but I believe that for lighter weight a belt should not be worn unless you have been previously injured. Use correct form and build the stabilizing muscles up at the lower weights and when you hit weight that if your form could possible be sacrificed bc of the weight, such as a 1RM or close to it, use one. The most important thing to do is not to rely on it as a crutch for bad tech. or weak stabilizing muscles.
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:04 AM   #9
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Lifting without a belt dangerous?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ash Smith View Post
I'm channeling a combination of Glassman, Rip, and Jack Lalanne when I say "I'm sure Al Qaeda will give you time to accessorize when they hit you with a barrage of small arms and RPG fire at 3am in Anbar Province!"

I'm indifferent to your choice, but think you need to be consistent when measuring your personal results from one day to the next. Anything more than bare feet could be considered a form of assistance, but the very nature of weightlifting is sort of contrived to begin with. Al Qaeda (or your children, job, or hobby) won't always give you time to put on a belt, chalk up, warm up, set your feet, or any of the other niceties that delineate the differences between training and application.

Lifting without a belt is not dangerous. In fact, many people claim that lifting with a belt, then suddenly going without, is potentially dangerous because you acclimate to the extra support. YMMV.
Rip would probably tell you you'd be dumb to not train with a belt if you care about getting stronger, just like you'd be dumb to not take advantage of the good that lifting shoes can do for you.

It doesn't have anything to do with accessorizing, it has to do with using the best tools in the most efficient way to get stronger. By your logic barbells and incremental plates and squat racks are "accessories." By my count they're useful tools for getting you stronger, and if I get stronger faster because I'm using the right tools I'll be more prepared for whatever situation that comes up, as opposed to if I didn't make as much progress as I could because I didn't warm up or just chalk or a belt because I wanted to "keep it real."
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:34 AM   #10
Ryan Dell Whitley
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Re: Lifting without a belt dangerous?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Montgomery View Post
...your abs will get stronger faster by having something to brace against...
Though this is Gospel in the Rip Bible of Strength, I have personally found this to be suspect. The below link shows how little the abs are activated during squats/deadlifts:

http://strengthcoach.com/mcbride-new...techniques.pdf (WFS)

I suspect that the belt simply limits the amount that the stomach can extend during the Valsalva maneuver, increasing intra-abdominal pressure, making the torso more rigid. I am not convinced that using the belt makes one better able to increase intra-abdominal pressure WITHOUT a belt.

But to the OP, use a belt if you want to use a belt. If you're lifting competitively use a belt simply because it allows you to lift more weight. If not, just remember this: If you can lift it without a belt, you can definitely lift it with a belt. The opposite, however, is rarely true.

Best of luck.
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