Lose the Belt. Some of the Time.
As coaches, we’re often asked the question, “should I wear a belt” and the answer is usually, “it depends”. There’s benefit to using a belt when necessary, but it should not become a crutch. In his article, Greg Everett summarizes this nicely,
“Belts should be considered performance enhancers more than safety measures. In other words, you need to be strong and stable enough to lift heavy weights safely and confidently even without a belt—you shouldn’t be using a belt as a way to try to avoid getting hurt, but as a way to allow you to lift more weight better.”
If you want to develop serious trunk strength that’ll last a lifetime, consider using your core rather than reaching for your belt. There are certainly situations that warrant the use of a belt for additional stability, but not every set or training session.
So, the next time you reach to grab your belt before your first warm up set, ask yourself why? Is it a habit? Security blanket? Do you have the prerequisite core strength to perform the lift safely? Consider working through your set without a belt and focus on strength and stability through your core using breathing and proper bracing. You’ll be stronger for it!
Looking for additional guidance? Check out Everett’s other articles on breath control, abs and back strengthening linked at the bottom of his article.