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The Training Yard: Where We Get Our Learn On


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Thanks everyone for your comments :)


At the moment I am at about 1xbw squats, and 1.5xbw DLs. Since i am considering competing in novice comps in the near future i might just give a belt a try to get a feel for it, decide whether or not i want to use one. From my experience most of competitions locally have most lifters using them no matter what weight they are lifting.


There is a belt at the gym i am able to use for now that fits me - it is quite worn but apparently does the job. Majority of the other lifters there use these belts and they all like them. I believe the gym owner can also source them for cheaper.

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I recently got a 13mm Inzer lever belt purely for squatting, at the recommendation of my coach. At 13mm, it's not competition legal for weightlifting, nor is the design of the belt favourable for cleaning anyway, but for squatting it really can't be beat. It offers such immense trunk support.

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So just an update on the belt situation :- I tested maxes last week, and smashed some pbs :) My coach said that he thought I should start practicing with a belt throughout my next program (starting today). I will use the old gym belt for a little while and try to get a belt for christmas. Everyone at my gym uses the 10mm Inzer lever belts so i am going to get the same ... although Im thinking i might go all out and get a hot pink one, instead of the usual black i always see!! Any more thoughts on this type of belt?


Also - sizing for Inzer!!? Any tips?

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I'm still of the mindset that you shouldn't be "training" with a belt... with obvious caveats, including tons of volume or any attempts over ~93%.


I will be using it for weights approaching my max, but the main reason for using it in this program will be to get used to how to lift with the belt, rather then just chuck it on for max attempts without knowing how it should work. Once i am used to it, it will only be used for max attempts, or really heavy sets.

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That sounds like a good plan. It really does add an extra dimension to lifts and can add X amount to your max lifts once you learn to use it correctly. I just get worried that people rely on it like a crutch.


My first attempt at 90kg deadlift I had a trainer chuck a belt on me - completely threw me off on the lift and i didnt get it. Got 92.5kg not long after beltless with my new coach so it can definitely add another dimension to lifts that needs to be learnt! I'll be interested to see how much it does add to my lifts come testing time again!

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I just get worried that people rely on it like a crutch.


This is pre-kool aid for me. I just think that the vast majority of people here may strap on a belt way before they need to and lose out on any core/stabilization development that comes with hitting those lifts without the belt.


I honestly don't get this logic. A belt is no more a crutch than weight lifting shoes, wrist wraps, or chalk. These are all tools that allow us to lift more and progress longer. Its been my experience and the experience of the vast majority of strength athletes and coaches that the proper use of a belt will not hinder your "core" but strengthen it. For example I belted up pretty early in my training but my beltless max has kept pace.

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Each of the things you mentioned affects the way we lift, well, besides chalk. Let's be clear here, I use each of those things in my training at some point or other. But each of them lessens how much you're relying on your natural ability to lift.

WL shoes add an extra inch to your heel, forcing more quad dominance in your squat and extending ankle mobility.

Straps save your hands from taking a beating during multiple reps/take strain off your grip during heavy or continuous pulls.

Belt adds an external source to push against in order to produce more internal pressure for valsalva maneuvering during your lifts.

They each are a tool for training, or more obtusely put, a crutch.

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I'm not anti belt (though I've swung back to not using one the past few months, and am almost into PR land on the squat) but I can see both sides of it. Something about a 105lb woman who's been training for five weeks strapping on the big leather powerlifting belt for her squat set of 83lb x5 just smacks of.. not quite necessary. These are the things I see daily that make me sit back and wonder if they aren't doing themselves more harm than good by staying away from the aids for a little while at least. Not to mention few of them are actually coached on the proper usage of the belt, but that's a different issue entirely. 


That said, I would disagree with the crutch metaphor when talking about experienced trainees using them correctly as it's a little too pejorative in a lot of contexts IMO. Firemen have their axes, serious strength athletes have their tools too.

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I don't see a problem with belts. I have used them in the past and haven't really thought about the effects, it made me feel safer on squats. I haven't used one in a few years and I have lifted some heavy weights. I've seen guys squatting 400+ pounds without a belt so I don't think it is a necessity but it does have its uses.

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There is obviously some very differing opinions on belts!! I used one in my last set of 10 squats last night just to see how it feels - and wow, i was really concentrating on that and it kinda threw the rest of me off so i do have some learning & adapting to do.


One problem It is now clear I have though is that my waist is so tiny, that the smallest belt in the gym at the moment (titan toro XS on second smallest setting) is still a little too big :/ definitely need to get my own belt and i think i will pushing the smallest size (XS) in the inzer belts. Will have to wait and see...

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I think there are times to use belts and times to leave them off and it can very well vary workout to workout.


I'm glad that people are finding utility in both using and not using a belt, but I feel it really needs to be a personal decision made AFTER training for a least a few months without. Get that first set of novice gains done and then think about what your goals are and why you'd want the belt. If you want them to protect your back, I don't think that's the best idea. You'd be better off thinking about technique as the primary protector of your vertebrae and assorted soft-bits. If you want it as a training aid to help push that extra little few % that's another story all together.


You need to think about a belt like any other technique. It takes practice to get it right and after practicing and learning the technique you may find that it's not right for you. Give yourself time to learn how to lift heavy-ish without a belt and then you should try. Once you try you'll decide if you like it or not and if it's working for your goals keep it in.


Like a lot of stuff that comes with weightlifting there's definitely no one size fits all rule. Our goals and bodies are soo different that unless you're trying to start off your day with 1RM round-back deficit deadlifts, there's a bunch of different ways to get where you want to be using all sorts of various aids (as long as you're squatting and deadlifting).

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Do you have any recommended ways to deal with pain and inflammation in the neck and elbow?


Pain in the neck - chiropractic and chest/shoulder/trap mobility as long as it hurts good and not bad (obvs)


Pain in the elbow - mobility and therabar.  Therabar is more of a long term approach. I noticed it helped shortly after I used it but I use it regularly now to stave off more issues.


Inflammation - lots and lots of ginger & turmeric tea (with lemon is preferable, fresh ginger and tumeric root), fish oil, and avoid foods with high inflammation markers.

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Define "mobility"... I have mobility.  It just hurts.


This is just pain after squats (neck), OHP (shoulder and elbow) and squat (neck and elbow).  Left side only.  It's really affecting the intermittent numbness in my left pinky, wrist and forearm, and my doctor wants me to get a neck X-ray since there's pain in one very specific spot. 

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