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The "Do You Even Deadlift" Clinic
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StrikeBack Offline
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RE: The "Do You Even Deadlift" Clinic
Someone (long time beltless guy who's decent but not very strong) asked me this very question last night at training. Here's my answer to him:

Wear a belt if you want to work your abs harder, because you have something to brace against. Bracing against thin air doesn't fully activate your abs.

Don't wear a belt if you want to work your back harder.

They're both valid training tools, but use them to strengthen your abs or back, not your ego.

If you compete with a belt, practice with it.

I don't care if someone lifts more than me belt-less in training, but lifts less than me in competition where we're allowed to use a belt.

Personally I wear a belt for pretty much every set of squat and deadlift, so I can hit maximal high tension in my core for maximal force production (what I practice my comp lifts for). I go belt-less if I do deadlift variations like stiff legged or heavy KB swings to work my low back specifically. I also work abs really hard through a variety of exercises.

Occasionally I've done belt-less heavy squats or deadlifts and felt fine, although I felt my back recovered slower the next day. Since I lift very frequently, I need fast recovery, which is one reason why I always wear a belt for the big lifts.

For someone with a small waist (lighter lifters like myself, or small female lifters), a belt-less squat or deadlift feels very different to one with belt. This can cause poor strength transfer from belt-less training to competition movements with belt.

Having said that, my answer is obviously with a raw powerlifting bias. If you don't like wearing a belt, don't wear one. But I suggest don't do so because you think it makes you tougher than other guys at your gym. Do so if it benefits your training.

Also, I've tested ab strength of people who believe they get more than enough through compound movements, and they've always come up short.

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05-16-2015 04:43 AM
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RE: The "Do You Even Deadlift" Clinic - StrikeBack - 05-16-2015 04:43 AM

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