What You Need To Know About Belt Placement In Powerlifting

April 28th 2019

In this article, we shall focus on one the most important equipment for powerlifting; lifting belts. If you are seriously committed to powerlifting, you should invest in a good lifting belt. You will also apprehend how a lifting belt works, their impacts and optimal belt placement in powerlifting.

Whether you are an athlete, an avid heavy lifter or an amateur, it should sink into your mind that training requires a lot of dedication and sacrifices. One of the common and most effective ways of building body muscles and improving your overall health is powerlifting. Unlike other exercises, for instance, bodybuilding which basically focuses on a particular part of the body, powerlifting helps athletes to attain humanly strength as raw as possible. However much it appears simple and fruitful, powerlifting is not always that glamorous; you need to put in a lot of work for you to see the desired results.

Powerlifting is essentially practical and hardcore, but it always guarantees results when it is done properly. The big three fundamental lifts of powerlifting include back squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. All these powerlifting variations are very demanding and incredulously taxing physically and mentally. Therefore, you will need a couple of things to make your powerlifting sessions effective and safe. Since it is mostly hardcore, you need to equip yourself appropriately to enhance lifting and avoid injuring yourself. Otherwise, powerlifting does not require a lot of personal gear. However, it is important to have specialized equipment such as lifting belts, knee sleeves, and wrist wraps.

How belts aid in powerlifting

A lifting belt will help you create better intraabdominal pressure for you to brace your abs. This will ensure that you are able to stabilize your spine better and create a more rigid core.

In general, a weight belt is used to act as a wall for the abs to push against when you are performing deadlifts or squats. When the force is added in limited space it will result in an increased anterior force for your spine which makes it more stable. When powerlifting, you need a rigid torso in order to lift max weight safely. You can actually lift heavy weights without a weight belt but you are at a high risk of injuring your back and other parts involved. In essence, the force transmitted from your hips to the bar is essential because you will have a more stable foundation for performing any variation of overhead lifts. Most people think that the width at the back of their belts has something to do with lifting. That is not true because the performance of the belt is pegged to the thickness and placement in general.

Ideally, if you place your weight belt between 3 to 4 inches wide all around your waist, it will be very sufficient that way. When it is much smaller than the above-mentioned range, it may fail to provide the necessary support needed to lifts more than 80% of your regular weights in powerlifting. On the other hand, when it is large than that, it will definitely fail to fit properly between the ribs and hips.

Concerning the material, it should be firm and extremely rigid to avoid stretching haphazardly. The most common weight belt materials are nylon and leather. You should choose a leather belt if you are powerlifting because it is more rigid and durable. If you are an Olympic weightlifter, a nylon belt would be better for your sport.

Weight belts are very essential in powerlifting but make sure you are not dependent on them. You do not need to use them during every training session. At the same time, proper use of weight belts will surely allow you to hit the goals organically. Continued dependence on belts could make you weaker.

Wear your weight belt only when you want to lift heavier loads than your normal lifts. This will ensure that you can train effectively and overload your training appropriately. Let us picture this situation. If you are able to lift more weights with a belt, you are getting stronger. If your muscles are getting stronger with the belt, you are also getting stronger without the belt. In the end, you have a happy scenario where you are getting stronger both with the belt and without during heavy lifts.

Because you are stabilizing your spine, your risk of injury also decreases. When lifting a heavy load, you must learn how to place them properly around your abdomen. Belt placement powerlifting involves the position of bracing and tightness. Belt placement is actually the most important thing to learn when it comes to powerlifting belts. Your belt should always be positioned correctly and in an ideal tightness. The following section will enlighten you on where and how you should place your belt during powerlifting?

Where and how should you place your belt in powerlifting?

Whether you choose to have a weight belt or not in your powerlifting workouts, you have to learn how to brace and breathe properly. If you lack the basic skills about proper belt placement and breathing abilities, your belt will be just a useless powerlifting tool. As an upcoming or an experienced powerlifter, you may find out that some belt placement positions are more comfortable on your torso during particular lifts and uncomfortable in others.

The point of the weight belt is to provide maximal support in particular powerlifting variations. Therefore, you must try and find your individual optimal belt torso placement positioning for your exercise to be a success. Experimenting with your belt can be the best way for finding your best fit since not all athletes are the same. The answer to where and how to place your weight belt in powerlifting is discussed in the two parts below.

1. How tight should you brace your powerlifting belt?

Your powerlifting belt needs to be as tight as it can be. Some lifters prefer to tighten it as much as possible with their own two hands while others prefer to tighten their belts against an apparatus. If you are unable to take a full deep breath with the belt on, it is too tight for you.

Since the tightness of a powerlifting belt has a huge impact on your breathing mechanics and movements, you need to get it right. The level of tightness will definitely vary from one person to another. Also, the type of lift performed will determine the degree of tightness of your belt. Always mark certain tightness settings that make you comfortable when you are squatting, bench pressing or deadlifting.

If you have a bigger belly, you should avoid a bracing it too tight because it will hinder your starting position. Generally, as a lifter, you should tighten your belt in a way that your hands will not get stuck between the belt and your skin. Too tight placement will impede your ability to brace your abdomen and as well limit proper breathing. Conversely, a loosely place weight belt will be moving around and it will not provide the core with the required pressure to make the torso rigid enough to support heavier loads.

2. Where to place your powerlifting belt

Generally speaking, belt placement in all the major powerlifting variations should be at one or two inches just above the pelvis. This positioning is ideal since it provides maximal intraabdominal pressure and support that is required in lifting maximum loads on a barbell.

Belt placement in powerlifting is basically a personal subject. This implies that belt placement in powerlifting varies from one person to another. In essence, every lifter must place their powerlifting belts in a way that it covers the majority of their abdominals and erectors.

But as we mentioned earlier, all lifters are not the same. So, belt placement will vary based on quite a number of factors.

These factors include your body structure, the type of powerlifting exercise and level of comfortability. So, do not be afraid of experimenting and figuring out the best belt position for you. If you are a group of 10 world-class lifters on their belt positions at a powerlifting meet, you will come up with 10 different answers.

In regards to belt placement in powerlifting, you need to know the optimal position for you. Every powerlifting variation requires you to brace your weight belt differently.

In the next section, you will apprehend various optimal belt placement positions for different powerlifting movements.

What makes high belt placement optimal?

Legendary deadlifter George Leeman explained why he uses a high belt position. One of his theory is this - by being keeping his belt placement high, he is able to push his stomach into his thigh. He claimed that this can give him an extra two inches for his deadlift, which is a significant distance for anyone who deadlifts competitively. He gives extra core power off the ground during the initial phase of the deadlift.

Another reason that George Leeman uses a high belt placement is that it helps support his lockout position. George Leeman commented that the lower his belt position is, the more it hindered his ability to lock the deadlift out. When he places the belt high, he does not have any issues.

George Leeman also gave us another golden nugget of powerlifting belt placement for the deadlift. When most people began to break down during the deadlift, their mid and upper back starts to round. So, George Leeman figured that if he placed the belt there, it can help prevent excess rounding that might occur. That would make sense.

Most powerlifters like trying high belt placement to create stability in their backs especially when they are deadlifting. Most people spend a lot of time sitting and operating a computer. That sitting position has resulted in the increase of thoracic kyphosis and also it has caused loss of mobility in the back. In a chair and computer sitting position, the back becomes tucked under the pelvis; shoulders become rounded, and the neck and head stay protruded. That makes the mid back weak since the back is always flexed. Therefore, high belt placement keeps the spine neutral for proper and effective deadlifts.

What makes middle belt placement optimal?

Middle belt placement is a common position for bracing weight belts in powerlifting. Most people who are starting out to use weight belts in powerlifting try middle belt placement position first. As early mentioned, everyone should experiment with their belts to mark the optimal bracing positions for various lifting variations.

The best way to learn how to place your belt is to position it at the middle and ensure that you brace your abs tightly with the belt. Ultimately, middle belt placement is the optimal bracing position for all powerlifting moves; deadlifts, bench press, and squats. The main reason why it is the ideal position for powerlifting is that it covers the abs properly which plays a huge role in generating pressure to the core. When the pressure is enough, your torso becomes more rigid thus it is able to support maximum loads.

What makes low belt placement optimal?

Basically, low belt placement works for some people and it does not work for others. Therefore, whether low belt placement is optimal or not will depend on your personal preference and level of stability. The main factors also could be your torso length and the strongest part of your back.

Which belt placement position is the best? (Final Thoughts)

The lifting belt is specifically designed to provide you with support to avoid injuring your back while also help you overload exercises above your usual beltless max. As long as the belt is placed in a position that offers maximum support to your torso, then you are safe. However, in most cases, some powerlifting moves have their ideal belt placement positions.

In general, when performing squats, just place your belt directly over the belly button to restrict it from shifting upwards while you hit your maximum depth. Placing it too high will definitely make you feel awkward.

For deadlifts, you should try to place your belt a bit higher even slightly above the belly button. If you wear your belt too low during deadlifts, you will probably pull the stomach too far wand you will fail to keep your back tight.

Finally, when it comes to belt placement in powerlifting, your personal preference matters a lot. Therefore, try to experiment with various positions when performing different powerlifting movements

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