Lifts for strength/power:raw vs belt,wraps,etc

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by gspieler, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. gspieler

    gspieler Red Belt

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    OK, obviously, wearing a belt, and in the case of squats, knee-wraps, enables you to lift more weight through core-stabilization. My question is, do these devices decrease the amount of functional value you get out of doing the lift. That is to say, for an athlete, would wearing a belt contribute to their sport ability any less than if they went raw? Curious because regardless if I can lift more using them on my heavy sets of squats and clean&presses, if will not help my real-world strength I don't want to use them.
     
  2. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    Belts work by increasing intra-abdominal pressure, which is created by taking in deep air, and flexing the core against the belt. In others words, having the belt there allows the core muscles to work harder. The counter argument to this is that the muscles are working differently when the flex against a belt than they do otherwise, wether this is true and signifcant, I'm not certain, and I doubt there's much in the way of solid science on the matter (considering the quality studies on belt use in serious lifters are few and far between). As for knee wraps...first, don't confuse these with knee sleeves. Knee sleeves help prevent injury by keeping the knee joint warm, and don't add anything signifcant to the lift. Knee wraps on the other hand do (and also help prevent injuries).

    Then there's also the matter of injury prevention. Avoiding injury is a huge part of getting stronger, since if you get hurt, you're training will suffer, and there could well be lingering affects of an injury that last for years (or a lifetime if severe enough). You wouldn't want an injury in the weightroom to affect your sport because you didn't wear a belt. Absolutely someone can lift safely without either of these things, but eventually you may find that without them (especially a belt, unless you have knee issues) you have to moderate your training, I.e. less volume, intensity, frequency.
     
  3. maravillin

    maravillin Blue Belt

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    tosa, i take it you endorse the belt? thanks for the info
     
  4. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    Absolutely. It's safer, and allows you to lift more. And unlike knee wraps or a bench shirt or squat suit, it doesn't store elastic energy, I.e. functioning like an artificial stretch reflex (That's not to say I'm against them, but belt use is much one sided. All the force produced still has to come from you.

    You still have to be smart about it though, a belt can't protect you from stupidity. As for when to use it...that depends. For example Andy Bolton will use a belt starting at 40%, where as Konstantinov will pull near maxes beltless. Personally, I put my belt on for the set before the set I feel like a I want to use a belt. The reason being (1) better safe than hurt, and more importantly (2) so I can get the feel of the belt before a set that I actually want it for.
     
  5. maravillin

    maravillin Blue Belt

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    hanks for the info, i always figured the belt would store up energy and cheat you from maximum strength gains.. knee sleeves and a quality belt are on my shopping list, can you tell me which brands you perfer for each?
     
  6. UrbanSavage**

    UrbanSavage** Pepe Silvia

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    I just got the Spud Inc. 3 ply deadlift belt. I had hernia surgery 3-4 months ago and I've been back lifting for about 2 months now. This is the first belt I've ever used, it makes me feel a lot more confident when I'm going heavy on squats and deads. I only use it on my "work sets" for ME stuff, I opt to go beltless for DE lifting and all assistance stuff unless I'm going heavier on things like good mornings or any heavy squat/dead variation.
     
  7. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    I've never used knee sleeves. There only necessary if you've been having knee issues, which I'm not. So I don't really know, other than to suggest EliteFTS as they generally have quality equipment.

    As for a belt, I use a 13mm two prong forever buckle belt from inzer. I like it very much. When I was still in the process of breaking it in, I'd wished I had got a lever belt, although now I don't care. Many of the guys I lift with also got their belts from inzer. On the other hand, I've heard they don't have the best customer service, but I don't know first hand, as I never dealt with them. Or you could go with the EliteFTS econobelt...I know a guy who recently bought one, and is happy with it.

    In case you didn't already know, you'll probably have to buy online, almost all of the belts or knee sleeves sold in fitness stores are junk.
     
  8. UrbanSavage**

    UrbanSavage** Pepe Silvia

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    I've heard Inzer's customer service/shipping for belts is bad as well, especially if you get a colored belt and not just a plain black one.
     
  9. cheez whiz

    cheez whiz Brown Belt

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    I have Rehband knee sleeves and a Crain belt. I wear the knee sleeves for my whole lower body workouts, and the belt just for the heavy sets (reps of three or less). Going without the belt for most of the other sets makes your core stabilize the weight unaided and will help to strengthen it, again preventing injury.
     
  10. toonie

    toonie Tuesday

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    I didn't really have any problems with them, however I did also read about their terrible customer service. I ordered a large black lever belt, and it came pretty much 2 weeks after the order was made. I also live in Canada.

    My only complaint was the belt/package really stank up my car. Smelt like buttered popcorn/cake batter.. I think it was the glue.
     
  11. Pathogenic

    Pathogenic Wo Cao Ni Ma

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    I've been on SS for two months, but I don't feel as though I need a belt yet. Is there a certain squat/DL number where I should begin to use one, or is it more based on intensity? If so, at what intensity would you recommend wearing them?
     
  12. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    It's based more on intensity, personal preference, training history, and what sort of routine you're using.

    Intensity, as in when you use a belt is relative to your own abilities, not some numbers set in stone. Personal preference is also an issue, a great example is comparing two of the best deadlifters in the world, Konstanin Konstaninov who pulls near max weights beltless, and Andy Bolton, who wears a belt starting at 40% (although for him 40% is ~400lbs)...so there isn't one right answer.

    Training history, or more specifically, if you have had any back issues or injuries in the past, being more liberal with belt use would be a good idea. And it can also depend on what sort routine you're using...for example, right now I'm following Sheiko, which has a tonne of volume with squats and deads, so I'll use my belt more often than I would if it was a lower volume routine, like 5/3/1 for example.

    Some people will won't use a belt for anything below 85% or 90%. Personally I'll use if on lower intensities (like 80%, or a higher rep set of 75%, it varies depending on how I feel) because (in addition to the reasons stated above) I feel that the reps are higher quality (Ie. better technique, speed). I generally put my belt on the set before I want it, to get the groove down.

    So you'll have to figure out what works best for you. Try and get in at least a few warm-up sets beltless...but also remember, in the words of Jim Wendler "there's no prize for most weight lifted without a belt, but there's plenty of pain killers, so when in doubt, belt up"...or something along those lines.
     
  13. Pathogenic

    Pathogenic Wo Cao Ni Ma

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    Thank you so much.
     
  14. KnightTemplar

    KnightTemplar Ebony Belt Platinum Member

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    This. I would not even consider Squatting or Deadlifting without using a Belt. This is not because I think the Belt helps me lift more weight. It is purely a matter of safety. I've had way to many back injuries to risk another one.

    Of course one can Lift without using a Belt; I was in the Gym on Wednesday and training alongside a Polish Powerlifter who was Deadlifting 240 Kilos without a Belt. He did not use one because he thinks it makes his Core stronger to Lift like this.
     
  15. KnightTemplar

    KnightTemplar Ebony Belt Platinum Member

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    This = End Thread.:icon_chee
     

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