Belting It Out

somesupercoolchickwhojusthappenstobewearingabeltThe belt issue. Yup, I’m going there.

Some people love to lift with belts, some people don’t. Some folks need to lift with belts, some don’t.

I’ve done both at various points in my past 20 years of lifting, and I’m only sure of three things:

1.) I’m not a huge fan of belts for me. It doesn’t feel right for me. Your mileage may vary.

2.) Life doesn’t offer you an external belt for everything you’re going to lift. So it’s probably not wise to get addicted to the belt, particularly at lighter loads. If you have to pick up the end of your couch to move, are you really going to run for a belt? No. So you might as well train the way you’re going to play life. Without a belt. Does this mean you shouldn’t use a belt at heavier weights in the gym? No, if that’s what you like to do and what protects you. Go ahead and use the belt. Just don’t get used to the crutch.

3.) Yup, I said crutch. The belt is an aide, pure and simple. Yes, a necessary aide at times for certain folks, but it is an aide. So, I believe there should be a distinction made between a lift made with a belt and lift made without one. (I’m covering my head now, go ahead and throw stuff. I can take it.) Why? Because one is an assisted lift and one is not. All else being equal, the lifter using the belt had a piece of assistance over the lifter not using the belt. Yes, you might need that belt because of a physical issue or a mental need — I get it — just like I might need a small stepladder if I want to dunk the basketball at a regulation height rim. So I use the stepladder because God gave me a 28″ inseam. You use the belt because God gave you a back issue. Or just because you want to lift more than you could without the belt. These are assists and should be marked as such. The accomplishment still stands — but with an asterisk — because one is not equal to the other. Both are good and fair and valid — but they are not equal.

Unkind, you say? Maybe. Totally messed up? Yeah, likely. Ignorant? Yup, won’t fight that classification either. Here’s where you can quote all the experts and cite articles in the Comments. That’s okay. This is just the way I feel. Again, just to be clear, if you want to use a belt, use a belt. But, in this one coach’s opinion, you should asterisk that lift.

Unfair, you say? Maybe. But life isn’t fair. Life is complex and messy and all over the place. I’m just trying to keep the scorecard clear. See you at the gym.

(Words by Lisbeth Darsh/CrossFit Watertown.)

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44 comments
K
K

@ Eric---- Will you marry me?? PLEASE??? :O)

Lisbeth
Lisbeth

Clothing is a good thing.

David Kirk
David Kirk

I think Jen would however be the expert here.

David Kirk
David Kirk

@ Eric - I can't see burpees in the parking lot being any fun. Skiing would be a bit chilly too.

Eric
Eric

Ideas for worst exercise to do naked: I vote rope climbs

Lisbeth
Lisbeth

Awesome. Thanks, Jen.

jen
jen

Eric, If you plan on doing the naked belt deal stand by the window in the sunlight at about 4:30pm it will make a good picture!

jen
jen

Me and My belt, I love my belt because It allows me to lift heavy even when my back is not perfect. I know that it helps compress my core and keep me tight. Coach Rip was the turn around person for me with belts. He just said, Jen wear one and lift heavy then don't and lift heavy you'll see gains. I want to lift into my 70's and if I want to do that then I need this belt to keep me saft at times. If I mess my back up I'm out of the game for a long time and lose alot of strength, if I use it I stay in the game and stay strong. I work my core almost everyday in other ways. I tape my shoulder to beable to go overhead with wight and I wear Lifting shoes so that my body can move wegith more efficently I'm not a huge chalk user just because but if I need it I'm going to use it. I have a 195# back squat with a belt and shoes and I like to wear lulus that are high and tight when I squat With out the belt my BS drops to about 185#. Because of the use of a belt my front squat has changed a lot in the last year. I can keep my chest up better and I'm not rounding out in the bottom. I can't DL 300# with or with out a belt..hummmm! To each his own, do what ya gotta so to stay in the game! I'll see you at CFW with my belt on! Erik, Have you ever lifted naked with your belt on? You should! Whoooot! Good post...Good convo Jen jen

Joe
Joe

You too can can have someone's ball sweat touch your bare skin for only 99 bucks...

Beery
Beery

Ha, I was just reading that guy Kroc's daily nutrition breakdown and he eats a dozen eggs for lunch. What!?!?!

Lisbeth
Lisbeth

I told Melissa what would happen if she kept up with those deadlifts. (And she looks soooo different on video.)

Lisbeth
Lisbeth

See, naked it is. Kirk is always right.

David Kirk
David Kirk

Hopefully Barry would be wearing a benching shirt and powerlifting briefs with the squat suit. I do like the minimalist approach that Barry takes, but alas, I really like the sound the lifting shoes make on the platform, thwack! Kind of like the sound heard when my mashie niblick connects... And on the point Lis about the sport of fitness, why then are compression outfits like skins allowed? If it comes down to who can do more work faster (across broad time and modal domains), the less stuff you have to transition into and out of the faster your time and if you can move large loads without all the transitions, then you win. I remember a WOD couplet with a heavy lift followed by a run, and there were people who opted to put on and take off weight lifting shoes to then put on running shoes. Can tomorrow's post be about trebuchets?

kirk
kirk

I'd pay to see Barry wear nothing but a squat suit. I'm not sure what they look like either, but it must be fantastic.

Beery
Beery

I've never worn the belt to lift and I've never worn lifting shoes to lift and I've never used straps on a deadlift or this suit you speak of for squatting. It's not that I'm against any of them, it's just that I don't feel like suiting up for 10 minutes to lift weights. Really though, shoes are the biggest crutch I could think of and they take the most time to equip but they're never even questioned as being a crutch. It takes no time at all to slap on a belt or straps and in the real world it's more likely that if you're a furniture mover or a warehouse worker you're going to have access to a lifting belt before you see wooden shoes or a squat suit (I've got to see one of these things). What about chalk? Almost everyone in the gym uses it for pullups and if you find yourself dangling in a precarious situation in real life the odds are against there being a chalk bucket nearby. I guess you have to draw the line somewhere but I don't think any of the objects we use, including belts, give a mechanical advantage in lifting. I'm going to have to look into this squat suit though, it sounds kind of fishy.

Lisbeth
Lisbeth

As for serious discussion, well the entire weightlifting/powerlifting/strongman gig is different from the sport of fitness, namely CrossFit. So, while Natalie Burgener wears a belt for her sport -- Oly lifting -- that's cool, because that's part of her sport. (And because Natalie's really cool and I get to see her next week so I'm psyched.) Anyhow, if we are talking about CrossFit as a sport then it would come to bear whether belts are an acceptable part of CrossFit. So Kirk's question about the Games becomes pertinent. And I can't remember the answer right now. I want to say belts were allowed on the max dl's at the 2009 Games? I'd have to go look at the photos. All I'm tossing here is what I've heard The Man say in regards to belts. Not a big fan. Then again, he hates our platforms and I like them. So I don't know what any of that means. All I know is that Rockstar must have patients today because she only poked Brian in the eye a couple of times and then left.

kirk
kirk

Did they let people wear belts at the CrossFit games? I can't seem to remember?

David Kirk
David Kirk

As do Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy!

Brian W @ CFNH
Brian W @ CFNH

Oooo! I hope there's a cash prize with the POD, 'cause I've just found a darling weightlifting hat that really brings out my eyes. Just to give the pro-belter's a little more fuel to the fire, since I'm nothing if not a highly fashionable matchy-matchy devil's advocate, I will offer you this one gem of information: Batman wears a belt.

David Kirk
David Kirk

What wonderful and thoughtful comments from everyone. Another thing to add, is the wraps, straps, belts, shoes, chains, bands, etc are all tools to help one cross through "the door of awesomeness" and are sport specific forthe sports of powerlifting, olylifting, strongman and any other sport where one needs to be as strong as an ant (I hear they can lift tons relative to their body weight. If any armchair entymologists want to weigh in on the specifics, that would be great. I'm too lazy to look it up on google.) Just because pro golfers aren't using wooden mashies, niblicks, mashie niblicks etc, or tennis players aren't using those really cool tennis rackets from the 20's doesn't mean their game is inferior to the matches of yore or there should be asterik's next to their names for the modern day accomplishments. As for your comment on the shoes Lis, "lifting shoes" are different from all the other shoes you mention because they are sport specific. I do think people should learn to lift without the belt first, then the belt should be introduced once form is correct.

Lisbeth
Lisbeth

@Eric: You had a whole bunch of stuff there but all I remember is the "key to the door of awesomeness" . . . you know what good word choice does to me.

Lisbeth
Lisbeth

LMAO at the "weightlifting ensemble"! BrianW swoops in and steals POD from Kirk/Brian!

Eric
Eric

As somebody who lifts with a belt (and shoes) this is in my wheel house... 1. The belt gets you stronger. Done. Because I lift with a belt regularly I can squat 405# sans (that's foreign for without) belt. Lis, Pam and Jen have seen it. I hit 415x2x2 with a belt on Monday and when I go for new maxes on Saturday (all are welcome to join) I will, or course, be wearing a belt (hopefully my red, white and blue one is broken in in time) 2. ABZZZZ. No kidding. Squat with a belt. Do a 5x5 day. Really heavy. See how your abs feel. Trust me. 3. They look totally bad ass. 4. It helps brace your back under heavy loads. Coach Rip tells us to push out our abdomen (abzzzz) to create a rigid structure for our spine. Now add a piece of leather. 5. A belt is not the same as a squat suit. A squat suit is designed to spring your hips back into a straight position. a belt doesn't do the work for you. with that said, Kroc has a 1008lb squat in a suit and it's probably the most awesome thing in the world (he weighs 220). Would I ever use a belt in a met-con? Absolutely not. I don't put a belt on until 315#. But when your goal is to get big, strong and tough as home-made jerky a belt isn't a crutch, but a key to the door of awesomeness

Brian W @ CFNH
Brian W @ CFNH

I'm with you on the belt Lisbeth, though my reasons are even more basic. While I've finally found a weightlifting belt that goes with my weightlifting shoes, they both clash with my weightlifting purse. Once I get my ensemble settled though... PR time, baby!

Lisbeth
Lisbeth

If anyone wants to clean naked, that's okay. Just start at my house in the kitchen and then work your way to the bathrooms. Thanks!

Jason
Jason

Kirk, I worry about you cleaning naked. Your perfect form may cause a tap out or two.

Nathan
Nathan

I hear paleolithic era caveman lifted with straps. Just sayin'...

Chris
Chris

I've never used a belt before while lifting. I'd probably get used to it if I did, so I'm not going to start now.

Rockstar
Rockstar

And go suck on a windmill

Rockstar
Rockstar

Brian I heard your wife wears the belt in your household

Lisbeth
Lisbeth

Right now, Brian and Kirk are tied for POD* *Post of the Day, even if they were both wearing belts when typing.

K
K

Damn, the belt..In my lil nobody opinion... I would think it was fairly common knowledge that the belt is used only when moving heavy loads, near max ability....Why??? Because it IS an assistance tool. Some back injuries may "require" it's use-- but having had 2 herniated disks & still managing to recover without one, I don't really get that one either. .. And yup- I could go with an * for loads moved with a belt.. Why?? Because, for example, if I put on a squat suit, I'll probably out squat Barry- should my lifts count the same as if I did them without the suit?? No. A 80lb DL does not require a belt with ANY of the members at our gym.. and outside 1 rep max days or training for a powerlifting event, they should stay in the supply room... Let the games begin! *PS- @ David- I lift barefoot..

Kirk
Kirk

I think we should all just lift completely naked. Let the best man or woman win!!!

melissa
melissa

Alright Lis...I was with ya until I got to paragraph #3. This is where I will respectfully disagree with you. As someone dealing with back issues on and off, I will use the belt for many lifts 85-90% of my max and higher. It helps me maintain my intra-abdominal pressure and protects my back so I don't get hurt...longevity in this sport is the untimate goal right? For someone to tell me that my max DL doesn't really count as legit because I had the belt on is bullsh*t...yeah that's right..this blonde beyotch takes her DL's seriously. Ok, so train primarily without the belt, but when going for max lifts why wouldnt you want to do everything you could to help prevent injury? Where do you draw the line? People will often tape their wrists when going overhead, or their hands for pullups...should these WODs be marked with an asteric even if performed at RX weight?

Brian
Brian

I need to wear a belt all the time since I started Crossfit. If I don't put it on in the morning my paints will fall down.

Pamela
Pamela

This is probably the earliest I've posted but I wanted to see what the opinionated post was all about! To me the decision to put a belt on an athlete depends on the athlete's goals and my assessment of how best to get them there. I do like the belt for certain things. That said, one of my sweetest CF moments recently was moving a weight -- for two reps-- without a belt that I could only previously lift for one rep with a belt. It just makes me happy to know I can do it all by myself. And David: I hear ya on the shoes. About a month ago I back squatted without lifting shoes just to see where I was at and it was a different experience.

lisbeth
lisbeth

Drat! You went to the shoe analogy right away! Hmmm. Let me counter with the many types of shoes - lifting or not - that are worn during lifting. Some might like Vibrams, boots, or wl shoes, etc. Many (most?) wear shoes. But many (most?) do not wear belts.

David
David

I could go on and on but i choose not to lest Arell think I don't have moe productive things to do.

David
David

Oh and BAM muthas

David
David

Ok I get what you say about opinionated... My addition is, that's well and good, but take off the lifting shoes, go barefoot or go home.