GEAR: when to use a weight-belt

The Weight Belt
The weight belt is a great tool to help you move a lot of weight! But it can be used improperly. Here are some of the most common questions I get asked about weight belts.


• What do weight belts do? 

-Weight belts are best used for max lifts and max reps. When used properly, it greatly increases your intra-abdominal and thoracic pressure (everything inside your torso). This allows more stability through your core and back. This principal allows your back to handle more force, provides a rigid platform, and you to move more weight. 
-Belts can also decrease the chance for injury during a max attempt. 


• When should I grab my weight belt? 
-Only over 80% and up to a max rep. They can be used in deadlifts, squats, overhead presses, and Olympic lifts. 


• How should I use it? 
-The weight belt should be tightly placed between your rib cage and your hips (your gut). It should not be so tight you can’t properly contract your abs, but enough that you can brace against it. Before you lift, take a deep breath, brace your stomach against the belt, and hold that position during your entire lift.  


• I don’t like using a weight belt at all. Is that OK? 
-Yes! If you prefer to lift without a belt, there is nothing wrong with that. You are using all your own stabilizers to properly maintain your position. This is an excellent crossover to every day movements. However, if you are really pushing for that extra edge, using a weight belt while maxing will help increase your numbers. 


• Can I use it for all my sets, even warm ups? 
-No. This is never recommended. If you are using it all the time, it can quickly become a problem that sets you up for injury down the line. Using a belt all the time decreases your ability to brace your core on your own. Every warm up set (everything under 80-85%) and most WOD’s should always be completed without a weight belt.  


• Can I use it for back pain? 
-NO! NEVER! If you are requiring a weight belt to squat or deadlift because of back pain, then you need to stop and address the actual problem. Most of the time it is lack of core activation, but there can be several other causes. If this is the case, please contact your coach and seek help. Lin Hill is in house and has several great therapies and exercises to get you moving pain free! 

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