Getting The Most Out of Your Belt
A lifting belt is probably one of the most common lifting accessories you will come across, and one of the first you will begin to utilize as a beginner lifter. Chances are, you already use one. The question is, are you getting the most out of it? Here are my tips for using a belt.
Don’t Go Cheap
I am not saying to go all out and buy a top of the line ratchet style belts, BUT this is generally one of those things you get what you pay for. Don’t go down to the local sporting goods store and buy the cheap velcro belt. It won’t last, one of the last things you want is for it to bust loose in the middle of a heavy deadlift or squat. There are plenty of good belts out there in the $50-60 range.
Fill the Belt
First off, don’t over tighten your belt. Yes, you need it to be tight, but you also need to be able to get a full breath in before your lift. As for the breathing, I recommend breathing in as much air as you can through your nose, filling you stomach NOT your chest, use this air to push out against the belt. Once you have breathed in as much air as possible through your nose, take one quick breath in through your mouth. This will truly let you take in as much air as possible. This is crucial for bracing on a big lift.
Don’t Neglect your Core Training
You need to think of the belt as a tool, you want it to be there to use, but don’t become overly reliant on it. You still need to train your core, and train it heavy. This applies to all areas of your core, your abdominals, your lower back/spinal erectors, and especially your obliques. The obliques are the most overlooked, but play a large role in bracing against your belt, and bracing in general.