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Nice post on belts



Oct 1, 2010
There are always a lot of posts on belts... their purpose and efficacy, safety, and their resultant impact on training.

Hopefully this thread will help some people see the light, and put to rest a lot of the misinformation out there.

The purpose of a belt is to increase intra-abdominal pressure. By pushing your stomach against the belt, you create internal forces that act on the anterior side of your spine. This works to stabilize your spine, and thus entire body.

This means that more energy can be directed do moving the load, and less to maintaining bodily position. When used effectively, it will help you move bigger weights, and may provide an element of protection. The belt also helps by providing proprioceptive feedback... that is, it provides your body with tactile information, and this helps your brain know where you are in space.

A belt used properly means on a minimal, as needed basis. Generally speaking, this will mean on heavy sets (1-5 reps) of the major compound lifts. The use of the belt is subject to the trainee's discretion... it can be worn whenever they reasonably need the extra support on a lift. This could be a tough 8 rep set of front squats, or perhaps even a less heavy day when their back may already be fried from previous training.

Some trainees, particularly older or injured lifters, may not be able to lift at all without a belt.

Now, there is a common concern that wearing a belt hinders core strength. This is only true if the belt is used inappropriately. Wearing a belt does not cause certain muscle groups to drop out of function. In fact, they are still recieving a stress stimulus. If one wore a belt every single set of their lift, and added 200 lbs to their squat... all the assosciated musculature would still be strengthened. Likely not to its max potential, but the point of this extreme example is to illustrate how the principle of overload does not cease to exist when wearing a belt.

Sub-maximal sets are done beltless, and these should be rising right along with your belted sets. Therefore, your core is still recieving all the stimulation it needs. As well, many people forget that you can do such a thing as direct core work if you are worried about it.

A note on the design of belts.... the contoured ones that are thin in the front were not designed by someone familiar with their functioning. The support given actually comes from the front of the belt, where you push your stomach against it. It should be the same thickness all the way around.

As for how tight to wear it... tight, but not so tight that it restricts your ability to push your stomach out against it. It should be worn well above your pants belt... up on your 'natural waist'.

Used properly, the belt will help push your top end numbers up, resulting in greater overload to the body and long term, greater potential strength. The belt is a tool that can help you train safer and stronger, but like any tool it can also be mis-used.

So please... if you hit your thumb with a hammer, do not blame the hammer.
Lizard King

Lizard King

Staff Member
Sep 9, 2010
Why do dillholes where it on the treadmill, elliptical and stationary bike??


VIP Strength Advisor
Sep 15, 2010
nice post pux888 I wear one do too a back injury from 1994 while lifting .


Oct 22, 2010
i have never worn a belt before.. i have been training well over 20 years now--i recently blew out an umbilical hernia .. so i am going to start using one when i go back after surgery recovery .. what is a good belt ??


Sep 22, 2010
Only wear one when training over 90%Max and back is sore. If its too sore though, I just back it down and let it heal. No belt will be enough to stop a bad injury from happening if your body is beat to hell. Herniated discs are permanent injuries and you will NEVER be the same. Slow and steady wins this race.


National Champion & VIP Member
Jul 8, 2011
I use my belt on work sets for DL, squat, and overhead press. I prefer an 11mm suede single prong PL belt, the double prong has proved to be a pain in the ass to remove, and the lever belts are a pain in the ass to adjust. A simple suede belt will do the trick and last for years if cared for properly.