In part one we discussed the importance of learning how to properly increase intra-abdominal pressure with lifting activity, so if you missed that, that is actually an important part of why we use a belt!
It’s very common to want to strap a good belt on right away for lifting, I will admit, it does feel nice! But is that really what is best for our body? Probably not. The purpose of wearing a belt with lifting (or metcons) is NOT to tighten it as tight as you possibly can and have that hold your spine & discs in place…it’s really so that you do something to the belt! We want to be able to increase pressure through our midsection to press into the belt. So, really the best way to use a belt is for feedback – having something external that can tell you if you are maintaining that pressure! That can be especially helpful if you are new to the bracing and not over extending concept!
We recommend not relying on a belt (or really any gear) for lighter/positioning/tempo work. If you were to wear one it would be best to keep it on loosely and only use for the purpose of feedback, to help you know if you are able to keep that pressure the entire movement.
It’s understandable to want to strap that belt on nice and tight when testing max lifts! When building up on testing day it’s best to start no belt, then put it on lighter as the weight increases. Also, there is value to knowing what you can lift without the assistance of the belt! If there is a huge gap between what you can do unbelted vs. belted, that means you should probably spend more time on working core stability, positioning, and proper bracing!
Have more belt questions?! Any of the coaches at Friendship would love to help!