How Much Can A Lifting Belt Add To Your Squat?
April 14th 2019
Lifting helps to build muscular strength, develop bone density and strength and also it aids in enhancing endurance. When you lift weights and squat simultaneously, your workouts become even more effective and fruitful. Unfortunately, injuries are very common in such intense exercises. There are many techniques one can use to increase their lifting ability and also to prevent damaging key parts of the body. Whether you are an amateur or you have mastered your craft, you may need a good lifting belt to perform your squats.
In essence, a powerlifting belt is basically one of the most effective workout tools that you can ever own. However, you should note that lifting belts are meant for individuals who frequently lift heavily in squatting and other movements like deadlifts. In general, people use weightlifting belts in competitions, squatting, cleaning, snatching, deadlifting, carrying, and even in bench pressing. In this article, we shall focus on the impact of lift belts in the squatting exercise. Continue reading, to apprehend a great deal of information about lift belts, their impacts, squats and how to incorporate them in your workouts.
Lifting belt adds how much to my squat?
A lot of lifters justify that lifting belts can add 25-50lbs to their squat max. The amount that a lifting belt adds to squats depends on quite a number of factors:
- Training experience
- Injury history
- Learning how to use a belt when bracing for a squat
Also, the impact is of lifting belts on squats varies from one athlete to another. Also, it has a lot to do with the level of experience of the person training. For instance, if you are an avid weight lifter who avoids the belt in most cases, then you will definitely add on weights to the lifts. There is more to the lifting belt than just bracing it on. There is a science behind choosing a lifting belt and making sure you put on your belt correctly so that you get the most out of it.
Also, note that you can use a lifting belt frequently, but that does not mean that you have to go heavier when you start using a belt. As aforementioned, different people have a different response in regard to the weight in squatting. You may not have a significant add up but you will not suffer any injuries if you use the belts wisely. Another plus that comes with using a good lifting belt is an increase in volume and insist on your squat workouts. You can also choose to skip using a lifting belt in some days.
The main aim of the invention of lifting belts was to prevent injuries. Therefore, do not squat using a lifting belt when you are injured. The most effective way to of gaining from squats while using a lifting belt is to work out for a longer period until you reach your goals. While some people are able to add approximately 100lb to their lift, others add only about 5 to 10lb. However, a lot of lifters see between 25-50lbs of improvement in their squat max.
The difference varies from one individual to another. But ultimately, lifting belts for squats have a huge impact on your exercise.
How tight should the lifting belt be?
When squatting, make sure that your belt is tight as you want it to be. However, you can still make it too tight as long as you are comfortable while training. If the belt is hindering your mobility, then you need to loosen it. Also, make sure that you are able to take a full deep breath while your belt is braced on.
Do you really need to use a lifting belt to squat?
You always need to brace on your lifting belt to squat because it helps to reduce stress on your lower back. Also, the lifting belt helps to prevent back hyperextension when lifting while squatting. A good lifting belt will reduce stress on your lower back by compressing the core and its contents to make a rigid torso that will support more weights.
The tightness of the belt increases the intra-abdominal pressure which provides more support to the bones found in the lower back. Consequently, you do not necessarily need to use a lifting belt if you are able to squat with weights less than 90% of your 1 rep max. The increase in intra-abdominal pressure allows your spinal erector muscles to produce less force when you are lifting. Also, you need to use a lifting belt to squat because the pressure exerted helps to reduce spinal shrinkage. Furthermore, lifting belts help to beget a better performance with reduced risks of injuries.
How lifting belts work and what do does the lifting belt do to help improve the squat?
It is important to know your body mechanics whenever you are squatting or pressing heavyweights. Your torso is essentially soft and flexible. Its flexibility allows you to swiftly bend to all sides. However, when you are squatting and at the same time lifting a heavy weight that becomes unbearable and it could just collapse.
To achieve a rigid torso rather than a spongy one, you need to use a good lifting belt to support all that weight on your shoulders. Bracing your torso with a lifting belt help to tighten the muscles so that you can hold breath much longer and flex the core muscles with ease. When you brace yourself with a lifting belt, you will be able to hold your breath constantly while the muscles are kept steady and tight. Therefore, holding your breath while tightening the torso helps you to create more internal pressure inside your core. The pressure typically turns your torso into a rigid structure that can support more weight while you squat. Therefore, the pressure created in the core allows you to lift more while squatting without injuries the spine. Ultimately, lifting belts works by helping you to get a rigid torso through an enhanced ability to hold breath and tighten muscles.
Proper use of lifting belts during squats
Lifting belts can only be effective when you use them appropriately. For the following information will guide you on how to make the most out of the lifting belts when squatting with weights. Always ensure that you use a lifting belt during heavy lifting or when going above 90 percent of your one rep max. As aforementioned, lifting belts are also very important is supporting the spine when you are doing heavy squatting.
At the same time, there is such a thing as using a belt too early in training. If you are a beginner or intermediate lifter, using a lifting belt may take away from your experience of learning how to breathe and brace your abs. So, here is a non-exclusive list of reasons for when to properly use a lifting belt during squats:
i) Training over 90% of your 1RM
Some lifters advocate that using a belt when training over 90% of your 1RM is beneficial. You are able to overload your squats by bracing harder and creating more ab pressure. This is good because as you increase your belted squat PR, your unbelted squat PR will also increase.
ii) An older lifter
Sure, if you are an older lifter (60+ years old), you pull out your “old card” and use a belt to train. It will create a more stable position for you to squat in.
iii) Training for a powerlifting competition
If you are a powerlifter, lifting belts can be used in competition. It is a well-known fact that lifting belts will add some pounds to your squats. The key is to maximize how much you can overload you squat by.
iv) Test day
If you are going for a PR, you should absolutely try to hit the highest number you can go for. What better way to accomplish this task than by slapping on a lifting belt and seeing your number climb higher.
v) Heavy days
On training programs that have a high intensity day, you can shoulder that load by wearing a lifting belt. You will be able to get through the training much easier and you can handle more training stress.
What materials make a good lifting belt for squats?
Most lifting belts are made from two main materials namely; leather and nylon. Of course, there are many other materials but most of them tend to have these as base materials. There are several other material blends, cloth variations and foam inserts in belts, but ultimately the main materials are either leather or nylon. Leather and nylon materials are best in adding stability while one is squatting.
Leather belts will definitely serve you for a longer period than a nylon lifting belt. Leather lifting belts are usually felt by their stiffness and rigidness. On the other hand, nylon lifting belts are known for providing comfort and versatility. Its stiffness will depend on the materials inserted inside. Other variations in the two materials are pegged to the buckling system, flexibility, and versatility.
What characteristics make a good lifting belt for squats?
Lifting belts are constructed from different materials, thicknesses, widths, and even fasteners. The choice will essentially depend on your personal preferences. However, there are common characteristics that a good belt for squatting should have.
A good lifting belt for squats should be fairly stiff. For powerlifters, this is generally the most efficient thing to do since a stiff belt can provide enough rigid support for your abs to brace on and to prevent some back flexion from occurring.
What is the ideal belt for squats?
The Schiek Double Prong model is one of the best belts for squats and powerlifting. Of course, there are many other weight belt models but we will focus on this one since it ranked number one on the stiffest belt you can use for squatting in a powerlifting competition.
The Schiek Double Prong model is very rigid and efficient since it offers a cylinder design. This model does not bend easily even when it is subjected to more pressure. That feature makes it one of the best belts for the low-bar squats. It is a typical squatting belt with a double-prong buckle that is made from heavy stainless steel. You will, therefore, get durable service from the Schiek Double Prong lifting belt model. There are two types of squats that help to test the belt’s ability, these are; the front and back squats. When you want to buy a lifting belt for squats and powerlifting, make sure you perform a low-bar squat to ensure that it is able to resist forward leaning. If it is too flexible, then it means that your torso’s rigid posture will be compromised during the actual training. You should consider the following factors when choosing a lifting belt to improve your squatting experience; ability to hold up properly during a squat workout, stiffness and the degree of rigidness it offers your torso, flexibility of the belt, fitting ability and the size of the belt and lastly the material, buckle and durability of the belt.