Wearing a Belt?!?!
It is time to belt up… Possibly. The answer can be a complex and controversial topic, but I’ll try to break it down.
Are you new to lifting or have been consistently coming to Ammo less than 6 months? If the answer is yes, then It’s probably too soon for a belt because chances are you’re still learning fundamental movement patterns. Being confident in your form when lifting heavy, knowing your maxes, and determining your overall goals should all be factors in whether a belt is in your near future.
Are your goals to get “fit”, drop a few pounds, or general health? It is possible that using a belt wouldn’t make much sense. Maybe you’ve reached a plateau, want to get stronger, and push your percentages. In that case, a weightlifting belt just might be your next gear purchase.
Possible negatives to consider before using a belt:
- Increased exposure to injury due to lifting heavier weight more frequently
- Using the belt to cover up a nagging back injury.
- Mentally becoming dependent on a belt when it isn’t really needed
- The belt does not keep your back flat… You do. Relaxation of your back muscles causes you to impose much greater stress on the ligaments and intervertebral discs of your back. No amount of belt support is going to solve this problem.
In CF we will lift heavy. Before applying a belt, make sure you can control the positioning of your lower back. Understanding that lifting with a flexed lumbar, or over extended spine can be dangerous and injury will follow. The belt does not keep your back flat… You do. Relaxation of your back muscles causes you to impose much greater stress on the ligaments and intervertebral discs of your back, and belt support won’t solve this problem. A belt plays a minor role in directly supporting your lower back, but helps by creating awareness of the position of your lower back. Don’t rely entirely on a belt before learning how to position your back correctly and tense the right muscles at the right time.
Positives to consider:
- Increased intra abdominal pressure caused by wearing a belt should allow heavier weight to be lifted.
- Gives feedback on if you’re properly bracing your core before lifting, and could correct some form/mechanics in your lifting
- Stabilization & stress reduction on the spine
- They just look cool 😉
Intra-abdominal pressure is important because we need to understand the role of breathing and how we create pressure. Pressure within the abdomen stimulates activity in certain stomach muscles (internal/external obliques, transverse abdomen, and rectus abdominals) which acts as an internal restraint that protects our lower back. The belt serves as an external restraint allowing for feedback. When wearing a belt, pressure exerted on the skin and muscles below tell you a lot about the tension within the muscles.
If after all this if you still think you’d like to try out a belt, come join us at the grand opening event, where we can help you get sized into the right belt. In my opinion, having your own belt is like having your own pair of crossfit shoes or your own jump rope. I never became truly efficient at my double unders until I had my own rope and practiced daily with it. Using and becoming comfortable with a belt is similar, so go ahead and treat yourself….get a belt.
— Coach Randall —