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STENDEC

The great belt debate

Emperor G_D

It's oft-discussed and only rarely delved deeply into, but we have had a resurgence in belt-doubtery in 2018. So what would be better than another discussion of belts for 2019?

Message added by Emperor G_D

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Posted (edited)

No game....just thought it was notable...seems like we are seeing more really strong young Asian lifters without belts actually...although it looks like we are not the only people talking about it.

 

 

Edited by STENDEC

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No, this feels like a game to me.

 

Also, I'm pretty sure they're both wearing belts. You can see the line between his obliques and hip in the first(it's under his shirt), and as noted in the comments of the second, he starts to remove a belt as he leave the platform.

 

Either way, belts are ubiquitous, and many of us use and don't use belts. All the time. 

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Tonishiki wears his belt under his shirt when squatting, and over his shirt when he is oly lifting:

 

 

 

 Whether they use belts or not, their strength is incredible. Same thing goes for belted lifters in the US...since belts don't improve lifts, right?

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44 minutes ago, Emperor G_D said:

 Whether they use belts or not, their strength is incredible. Same thing goes for belted lifters in the US...since belts don't improve lifts, right?

 

If he's wearing a belt under his shirt during those squats, it is a mighty thin one....lol

 

Here he is squatting with belt...over shirt.

 

 

And the Chinese guy appears, to me, to be just putting his singlet back up.

 

But I agree, they are incredibly strong regardless of belt use.

 

As to whether or not the belts actually improve anyone's lifting ability, the jury appears to still be out although I would also agree that people who routinely train with a belt can likely perform better wearing one than without.

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31 minutes ago, STENDEC said:

As to whether or not the belts actually improve anyone's lifting ability, the jury appears to still be out although I would also agree that people who routinely train with a belt can likely perform better wearing one than without.

 

This is a conspicuous admission; given the last 12 months of debate...but I think you're probably right, with one change:

 

As to whether or not the belts actually improve anyone's lifting ability, the jury appears to still be out although I would also agree that people who routinely train with a belt can likely perform better wearing one.

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Shit, I almost got sucked in and went all Trouble. I think we all understand what a belt does and doesn't do. The thing is, I don't want someone telling me I should wear one and I won't tell someone they shouldn't. Since wearing a belt does change the ability of a lifter trained to use one, I do think it should be mentioned when posting a huge lift. But it doesn't make sense to take a jab while mentioning it either. Can't we all just dial our TRT down a bit?

 

Love,

Nephew

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1 minute ago, mwarren said:

Shit, I almost got sucked in and went all Trouble. I think we all understand what a belt does and doesn't do. The thing is, I don't want someone telling me I should wear one and I won't tell someone they shouldn't. Since wearing a belt does change the ability of a lifter trained to use one, I do think it should be mentioned when posting a huge lift. But it doesn't make sense to take a jab while mentioning it either. Can't we all just dial our TRT down a bit?

 

Love,

Nephew

 

Actually, this is the crux of the issue. Father time claims that we do not know what belts do and do not do. Though I feel it's quite well established what they do-outside of a convincing EMG study or something. 

 

Perhaps I'll move this to a new thread so we can try to do this right.

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2 hours ago, Emperor G_D said:

Perhaps I'll move this to a new thread so we can try to do this right.

 

I thought we had a thread on this someplace already....maybe just my aging, slipping memory...

 

I think we all agree what a belt does....gives the lifter something to push against which, in theory, should make bracing the trunk more effective and, in turn, lead to better lifts while wearing a belt and make back injuries less common.

 

The problem is, that in a half dozen studies over 30 years, no study has been able to quantify this improved lifting in terms of better or more muscle EMG activity, higher 1RM or anything else...some studies have demonstrated increased IAP with belts vs. without belts but this did not translate into better performance and these studies were also done using subjects who were previously training with belts.

 

Secondarily, large well-designed studies have also been unable to show that wearing a belt reduces the incidence back injuries, at least in a work environment. To my knowledge, nobody has determined whether belts make any difference in injuries in weightlifting/powerlifting.

 

And I actually don't disagree that a belt probably does make bracing easier and  that lifters who train with a belt can consequently lift better while wearing a belt than without.

 

We also agree that people lift impressive amounts of weight both with and without belts although belted lifting is far more common than unbelted.

 

The only place I think we disagree is whether or not a lifter who trains without a belt can train himself to brace just as effectively, and can therefore lift as much without a belt as he would have been able to lift if he had trained with a belt and lifted with a belt.

 

IOW, I train without a belt, I brace without a belt...so if I started wearing a belt tomorrow, all other things being equal, would I be able to lift more, or lift more safely in the future than if I did the same training without the belt?

 

In the end, this is probably a question that is impossible to study because there is no placebo belt....and removing the belts from lifters who have always trained with them would be like suddenly asking marathoners who have always worn shoes to run without them...performance would suffer but it wouldn't necessarily tell us if people run better with or without shoes...just that people who habitually run in shoes run less well without them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The study that would have to be done to answer the question of whether or not a belt improves lifting performance would be to take two groups of matched subjects, untrained, and have one set train with a belt and have the other set do the same training but with no belt and then see how they all did 26 weeks later.

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3 hours ago, STENDEC said:

The study that would have to be done to answer the question of whether or not a belt improves lifting performance would be to take two groups of matched subjects, untrained, and have one set train with a belt and have the other set do the same training but with no belt and then see how they all did 26 weeks later.

Then do a crossover design so that those who train with a belt now do without and vice versa. This sort of controls for hidden differences in the 2 groups.

Follow for another 26 weeks.

I wonder if a placebo would be a belt-like thing you wear that you can feel, but which offers no actual support.

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But would you actually train them on how to lift with a belt? How to manage iap? How to properly engage their obliques? 

 

Or would you just throw a belt at the belt group? Proper belt usage requires time and training to be effective (if it is indeed effective, of course). 

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2 hours ago, Emperor G_D said:

Proper belt usage requires time and training to be effective (if it is indeed effective, of course). 

 

How do we know this?  How do you quantify whether the belt is being used properly? Is an improperly used belt more, or less effective than no belt?

 

See what I mean about this being a very hard subject to study? 

 

 

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1 hour ago, STENDEC said:

 

How do we know this?  How do you quantify whether the belt is being used properly? Is an improperly used belt more, or less effective than no belt?

 

See what I mean about this being a very hard subject to study? 

 

 

 

I have seen people put a belt on without proper usage and it's a mess. Once you teach people how to use it, it's less of one. Sure, it's just anecdote, but a dozen years around lifters and I think I have enough of those...

 

If it weren't hard to study, we wouldn't be discussing this at all.

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I feel like someone on this forum needs to go to grad school.

 

I nominate Kim because he's Asian and Asians are good at school.  /Racism

 

Or Michael because he's pretty.  /Hog out or log out

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The best thing to do would be having groups of lifters that are experienced with and without the belt for many training cycles. Then, make your experiment and trend the strength changes gained with and without the belt over the same time period, and with the same training. Then to top it off, take the belts off the group that had them for another block and see what happens. Only problem is, they'd have to be advanced lifters at this point. And advanced lifters aren't going to make appreciable strength gains regardless. So the sample size would need to be hoooge..

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