belt for squats/deads?

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    belt for squats/deads?

    does any one have any opionions on wearing a belt vs. no belt i've never worn one and havn't had any back issues but my coach is always on me about it. is it unsafe to squat and deadlift without one? even though it hasn't given me any issues

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    I use one but as long as you are using good form you don't need it.

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    I only use them if I'm going heavy. Less than 3 reps or something.
    -I know your words, just not together.

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    You should use one if you have a problem with your back, but you can adjust the belt to fit looser if you prefer.
    Always believe.

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    I never worn one since I never thought I needed one until the day I needed one... now I wear one everytime I do squats and deadlifts.

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    the jury is usually split on this one. some say dont use it ,but rather perform exercises with the appropriate weight and form and that it also can "weaken" your back by taking away alot of the work. others will tell you to use it in order to prevent injury. IMO you shouldnt be dealing with weights you cant handle.

    couple of sets of 1-3 reps might be a diffirent story, where you are using it more as a safety-backup kind of thing than actual support. the way i was raised though is that the belt falls in the same category as the padding that goes around the bar and the gloves with the cut off fingers (whatever you call those things)

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    40 years old and I use one now when I do squats, bentover rows or deads.
    I don't play around when it comes to back...once it's bad thats it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by min0 lee View Post
    40 years old
    You're 40?
    -I know your words, just not together.

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    Belts are a useful tool when performing maximal or sub-maximal lifts. They increase Intra-abdominal pressure to help keep the back in alignment and also offer support on hyper-extension. I wouldn't advise wearing one for every set of deads/squats, just the aforementioned two.

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    Wonder if it also helps protect you against getting a hernia also. I wear mine on heavy deads, squats, and heavy leg presses so my guts dont fly out my belly. Feels like it holds everything in there better. Maybe its the placebo effect. I really dont know.
    Everybody wanna be a bodybuilder but dont nobody wanna lift this heavy ass weight. R.C.

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    i never wear one.. even on ME days. buncha pussies
    P-side Inc.

    "the post-workout high is more profound than any drug-induced rush imaginable." -Dante B.

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    Only for 1RMs.
    http://www.getlifting.info

    Disclaimer: All health, fitness, diet, nutrition, anabolic steroid & supplement information posted here is intended for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for proper medical advice from a medical doctor. We do not condone the use of anabolic steroids (AAS), all information about AAS is for educational and entertainment purposes only. If you choose to use AAS it's your responsibility to know the laws of the country that you live in. Consult your physician or health care professional before performing any of the exercises, or following any diet, nutrition or supplement advice described on this website.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silentbob187 View Post
    you're 40?
    45

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    Never used one but they seem to be popular in my gym. I've contemplated getting one but haven't pulled the trigger yet. I'll be following this post to read everyones opinions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ihateschoolmt View Post
    as long as you are using good form you don't need it.
    If we are going along those lines, all those professional strength athletes, bodybuilders, and olympic lifters just wear it to hold their pants up?

    Quote Originally Posted by joboco View Post
    You should use one if you have a problem with your back, but you can adjust the belt to fit looser if you prefer.
    I don't see how any of those statements are purposeful. An improper fitting belt is just a nuisance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gissurjon View Post
    the jury is usually split on this one.
    Really? Who's contesting that one shouldn't wear a belt while deadlifting and squatting?
    Quote Originally Posted by Gissurjon View Post
    some say dont use it
    Who?
    Quote Originally Posted by Gissurjon View Post
    it also can "weaken" your back by taking away alot of the work.
    How does it weaken your back to any degree? The belt does not act as a substitute for supporting your body, rather, it enhances the pressure that you can create internally. One may not necessarily get stronger (one may) but it won't make one weaker.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gissurjon View Post
    others will tell you to use it in order to prevent injury.
    This is not the purpose of a belt -- what kind of injury would you be preventing, anyways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gissurjon View Post
    couple of sets of 1-3 reps might be a diffirent story, where you are using it more as a safety-backup kind of thing than actual support.
    It's not about safety backup. It's about increasing intra-abdominal pressure.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gissurjon View Post
    the way i was raised though is that the belt falls in the same category as the padding that goes around the bar and the gloves with the cut off fingers (whatever you call those things)
    Unfortunately, you were misinformed. The belt enhances your lift, it does not take away from it to increase comfort, as the padding and the gloves do. The padding and gloves are a definite detriment to the lift. The padding makes it very difficult to place the bar in the proper place on the traps and having material between your hands and the bar (gloves) decrease one's ability to maximally squeeze the bar.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2B1 View Post
    Belts are a useful tool when performing maximal or sub-maximal lifts. They increase Intra-abdominal pressure to help keep the back in alignment and also offer support on hyper-extension. I wouldn't advise wearing one for every set of deads/squats, just the aforementioned two.
    The belt increases intra-abdominal pressure by pushing back on your belly as you push your belly out against the belt. Without a belt, it's nearly impossible to push your belly out and be able to hold it throughout the lift.

    The increased pressure aides in increasing "tightness" throughout your body as well as providing some support from your back. To reiterate, it's not the belt itself that is creating the support, it's the pressure created when you push your belly out against it. If one was to just put on a belt and not push their belly against it, the belt would just become a nuisance and probably detract from the lift.

    In regards to when to wear one, one is to wear it during the working sets of the main lifts (i.e. squat, dead, bench, olympic lifts).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marat View Post
    If we are going along those lines, all those professional strength athletes, bodybuilders, and olympic lifters just wear it to hold their pants up?
    He asked if he needed to wear one, no he doesn't if he uses good form it can help you lift more weight but that's not what he asked. I wear a belt for main lifts, I did not say it was useless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ihateschoolmt View Post
    He asked if he needed to wear one, no he doesn't if he uses good form it can help you lift more weight but that's not what he asked. I wear a belt for main lifts, I did not say it was useless.
    I'll argue that he's not using optimal form if he's not wearing a belt...


    I'll concede that for lifts in the higher rep ranges, a belt may not be prudent due to the duration that the lifter would be under 'high pressure'.

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    I wear a belt for heavy squats and deads. The last thing I want to do is f**k up my back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by min0 lee View Post
    45
    Children
    Rules? You mean we have RULES for that???

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    Issues of Back Belts
    The average person must be confused when they observe both Olympic lifters
    and back-injured people wearing back belts. Several years ago I conducted a review
    of the documented effects of belt wearing in occupational settings (McGill, 1993).
    The opinions that I formed were as follows:
    • Those who have never had a previous back injury appear to have no additional
    protective benefit from wearing a belt.
    • Those who are injured while wearing a belt seem to risk a more severe injury.
    • Belts appear to give people the perception they can lift more and may in fact
    enable them to lift more.
    • Belts appear to increase intra-abdominal pressure and blood pressure.
    • Belts appear to change the lifting styles of some people to either decrease the
    loads on the spine or increase the loads on the spine. 2
    In summary, given the assets and liabilities of belt wearing, I do not
    recommend them for healthy individuals either in routine work or exercise
    participation. However, the temporary prescription of belts may help some individual
    workers return to work. The exception is for extreme athletic lifting where belts
    appear to increase torso stability to reduce the risk of buckling and provide some
    elastic extensor recoil to assist with the lift. But the possible liabilities underscore the
    counterpoint to this proposition.
    Many claims have been made as to how abdominal belts could reduce injury,
    although few hold up to scrutiny. For example, some have suggested that belts
    perform the following functions:
    • Remind people to lift properly
    • Support shear loading on the spine that results from the effect of gravity acting on the
    handheld load and mass of the upper body when the trunk is flexed
    • Reduce compressive loading of the lumbar spine through the hydraulic action of
    increased intra-abdominal pressure associated with belt wearing
    • Act as a splint, reducing the range of motion and thereby decreasing the risk of injury
    • Provide warmth to the lumbar region
    • Enhance proprioception via pressure to increase the perception of stability
    • Reduce muscular fatigue
    • Provide stiffening to the torso to enhance performance
    http://stronglifts.com/files/weight-belts.pdf

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    I mostly wear a belt on the stairmaster or when I'm doing curls in the squat rack.

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    Keep in mind that the study mainly focuses around occupational use of the belt. Increasing IAP for hours is significantly different than tightening the belt, doing a few reps, then loosening up the belt again. The total time of the tightened belt may only be a few minutes for the strength athlete.

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    The big debate

    Back Strong and Beltless
    By Paul Chek
    Article Excerpt, Full Aricle at CHEK Institute

    Introduction

    When it comes to lifting heavy, a weight belt is more often a fashion accessory than an essential piece of workout gear. How many of you remember the only time anyone wore a weight belt was in the gym and only when they were performing heavy squats, heavy dead lifts, or heavy overhead presses? Now it seems virtually everyone is wearing a weight belt! Regardless of how heavy someone's lifting or what exercise they're performing men, women, Arnold wannabes, weekend warriors, and even the elite few who make the cover of Powerlifting USA are all wearing weight belts.

    You've all heard the mentality. Squats? "You MUST wear a belt." Bench presses? "You should probably wear a belt." Biceps curls? "To be on the safe side, wearing a belt may be a good idea." Getting a drink of water from the drinking fountain? "Hell, you may as well leave it on since you'll be wearing it for your next set." This scenario does not pertain to everyone, but the point I'm making is that a trend we never used to see in a gym, is one we're seeing more and more everyday.

    It's getting ridiculous and way out of hand.

    To make matters worse, the trend to wear a weight belt has extended beyond the gym. Trash collectors, truck drivers, and construction workers often spend their entire workday wrapped in a weight belt. Some companies have gone so far as to make it a mandatory safety policy that all their employees wear a back harness. Visit any Home Depot, Office Club, or take a look at the waist of your local UPS driver. What do these employees all have in common? They're all wearing weight belts! Next thing you know, it will not only be against the law to drive without a seatbelt, it will be against the law to operate a vehicle without a weight belt!

    What's going on here? Do weight belts really protect our back? Will they make us stronger? Can the estimated 35-40% of people reporting back pain each year, or the 70% of the population who will suffer from at least one episode of back pain in their lives (1) find relief, and possibly even avoid surgery, by making a weight belt a habit?

    Before I answer these questions, try to dig up recent pictures of the world's best Olympic weightlifters in competition, but not the American weightlifters who are losing the struggle to achieve international respect. Look at photos of European weight lifters who are continuously breaking records and winning world and Olympic titles. Isn't it interesting that Europeans never use belts when they perform the snatch lift? They're rarely seen using one for the clean and jerk! Even during training, you'll find that many of these lifters prefer to train without any forms of artificial support. In fact, IronMind Enterprises (2) sells videos of these athletes squatting over 300kg (660lbs) without a belt! Either these athletes are asking for an injury, or they know something we don't.


    When Did Belt Use Get Started?

    A look through David Webster's book, The Iron Game, demonstrates that there is a long history of belt use in connection with heavy weight training.(3) Thomas Inch, publisher of Scientific Weight Training (1905), is shown pressing two adult females overhead with one hand, "while wearing a weight lifting belt." This guy was no slouch either. He could clean and jerk 92.5 kilograms (203.5 pounds), perform the "Right Hand Anyhow and Bent Press" lifts with 96.8 kg. (213 pounds), and he could snatch 67.3 kg. (148 pounds). Not impressed yet? Perhaps I should mention that he performed all these lifts using only one hand.

    American Olympic lifter J. Terpak is pictured wearing a weight belt during his gold medal performance in the 1937 World Championships in Paris, France. Later during the 1958 World Championships held in Stockholm, Sweden, an American athlete named Berger is pictured on the Bantamweight winner's platform wearing his weight belt. It's interesting to note however, that even though there are numerous pictures showing winning and highly accomplished lifters wearing weight belts in David Webster's Iron Game, there are even more pictures that don't.

    One has to wonder, what is it that leads a lifter to use a belt? Is it direction from coaches, did these particular lifters have back pain in their lifting history, did they only wear the belts when performing competition or "max" lifts, or was a belt simply looked upon as an insurance policy?

    With a long history of corset use in the medical field, particularly for back injury, perhaps the lifters have been influenced by the medical approach to treating back pain. Corsets have been used since the early 1900's for the treatment of Scoliosis (4) and back pain (5) and quite possibly much longer. Therefore it is logical that a lifter, wanting to make the right decision, would choose to use a belt based on the medical establishment's use of belts, especially considering the history and treatment of back pain dates all the way back to 1500 BC!(1)

    Did Developmental Man Wear Weight Belts?

    Regardless of your opinion about the origin of man, if you believe in God, you have to wonder why he didn't provide weight belts as standard-issue equipment.(Figure 1) On second thought, maybe he did, and we just don't know how to use them correctly. Perhaps we abuse our bodies, which creates a dysfunction in our "natural weight belt" and causes us to be reliant on an artificial one.

    A Look at The Belt God Gave You

    Today, our understanding of the stabilizer system is at an all time high, thanks to the works of people like Richardson, Jull, Hodges, Hydes,(6) Vleeming, Snidjers (7) and Gracovetsky.(8) Because of them and others, we have been able to progress beyond the developmental knowledge of medical doctor Robert W. Lovett (4) and Anatomist Raymond Dart.(9) In 1912, Lovett created detailed diagrams indicating how the musculature of the torso worked together to stabilize the spine. Later, in 1946, Dart described the double spiral mechanism of the spinal musculature, expanding beyond the concepts described by Lovett.

    What modern researchers have been able to do is more clearly define two major stabilizer systems of the body, the inner unit and the outer unit.(6,7,8) The stabilizer system considered as our "God-given weight belt" is the inner unit.

    The Inner Unit serves to stiffen the axial skeleton in preparation for work. The Inner Unit muscles are
    A) Transversus Abdominis and the posterior fibers of obliquus internus,
    B) Diaphragm,
    C) Deep Multifidus,
    D) Pelvic floor musculature.

    The inner unit is composed of the transversus abdominis (TVA), some fibers of the obliquus internus (IO), the musculature of the pelvic floor (PFM), the multifidus and the diaphragm.(6) Although there is a definite working relationship among the inner unit muscles, the TVA appears to be the key muscle of the inner unit system.

    In studies of people without back pain, it was found that the TVA fired 30 milliseconds (ms) prior to shoulder movements and 110 ms before leg movements.(6) It should also be noted that though there are slight variations in timing relative to the motor pattern selected or direction of the postural perturbation, there is synergistic recruitment of all inner unit muscles. However, the TVA appears relatively consistent in its activation pattern, regardless of movement plane or pattern.(6,10,11,12) Researchers propose that the nondirectional, specific activation of the TVA relates to the dominant role played by the TVA in providing spinal stiffness. (6,10,11,12,13,14)

    The TVA, in concert with other inner unit muscles,(Figure 2) activates to increase stiffness of spinal joints and the sacroiliac joints.(6,7,15) Activation of the inner unit provides the necessary stiffness to give the arms and legs a working foundation from which to operate. Failure of the TVA to activate 30-110 ms prior to arm or leg movements respectively has been correlated with back pain and dysfunction.(6, 16) The inner unit is part of a system of stabilizer mechanisms, all of which are dependent on the integrated function of all inner unit muscles. To better appreciate how the inner unit creates stability in the body, let's look at each of the proposed mechanisms of stabilization: Thoracolumbar Fascia Gain, Intra-Abdominal Pressure and the Hydraulic Amplifier Effect.

    Thoracolumbar Fascia Gain

    Studying the anatomy of the TVA makes it clear that contraction of this muscle can only produce one action, drawing in the abdominal wall. This is evidenced by movement of the umbilicus toward the spine.

    When activated, the transversus abdominis and posterior fibers of the obliquus internus draw the umbilicus inward toward the spine (see arrow). This creates intra-abdominal pressure and hoop tension, which serve to stabilize the lumbar spine.

    The synergistic action of the TVA and IO produce a characteristic hoop tension through the thoracolumbar fascia (TLF),(Figure 4) which has been shown to create an extension force on the lumbar spine.(8,17) This is referred to as thoracolumbar fascia gain. TLF gain is thought to be an important element, buffering the transfer of force between the muscular and ligamentous systems during forward bending or rising from a forward bent position. The point at which the force transfer occurs is called the critical point, occurring at approximately 90% lumbar flexion.(17)

    Contraction of the transversus abdominis and obliquus internus generates lateral tension on the thoracolumbar fascia. The superficial lamina of the posterior layer of thoracolumbar fascia generates tension via its attachments at L2 and L3 (yellow), while the deep lamina generates tension upward through its attachments at L4 and L5 (blue). These mutually opposing vectors tend to approximate or oppose separation of the L2 and L4 vertebra and the L3 and L5 vertebra, creating what is referred to as "thoracolumbar fascia gain". (8,17,21)

    Intra-Abdominal Pressure

    As the TVA is activated, drawing the abdominal wall inward, the viscera are pushed upward into the diaphragm and downward into the pelvic floor, creating intra-abdominal pressure (IAP). The pressure of viscera upon the diaphragm and pelvic floor is referred to by Wirhed, as the piston effect. (18) When the viscera rise secondary to TVA contraction a lift pressure is created under the diaphragm. As you are likely aware, when lifting a heavy object or exerting yourself to throw or move an object such as in work or sports, it is natural to hold the breath. Holding the breath under load is associated with increased tension in the diaphragm. The concomitant elevation of the viscera against a tightening or tightened diaphragm from holding our breath produces a lift force through the cura of the diaphragm, which attach at the L2 and L3 level. Wirhed believes this to be a major contributing factor of spinal stabilization and joint/disk protection by reducing compression of the lower lumbar discs by as much as 40%.(18)

    When lifting any heavy object, the load is transmitted downward through the spine to the legs (A). To stabilize the axial skeleton and minimize compressive loading of the lower lumbar segments, the transversus abdominis and posterior fibers of the obliquus internus should draw the umbilicus inward. The hoop tension created by activation of the deep abdominal wall pushes the viscera upward into the diaphragm and downward into the pelvic floor (B). Because of the innate tendency to hold one's breath while under load, there is increased tension in the diaphragm. Wirhed proposes this mechanism may decompress the L4 and L5 segments by as much as 40%. (18)

    White and Panjabi (19) used an analogy of a football in the abdominal cavity, stating that IAP and thoracic cage pressures may be factors in providing mechanical stability to the spine.

    It is theorized that intra-thoracic pressure created by filling the lungs and intra-abdominal pressure (demonstrated here as a football in the abdominal cavity) work against each other to support the torso when lifting an object. Practical experimentation in the gym will show that the trunk is stiffer when filling the lungs as opposed to not filling the lungs with inhalation.

    More recently, it has been shown that IAP does provide a stiffening effect on the lumbar spine, but that IAP is most effective at stabilizing the spine when applied in concert with co-activation of the erector spinae muscles.(20)

    It has also been suggested that IAP does not stabilize the spine. Standing firmly against the notion that IAP provides any significant stabilizing mechanism for the spine are Gracovetsky and Bogduk.(21 p.122) These experts have sited the following reasons for the ineffectiveness of IAP as a stabilizer of the spine, contrary to previous belief:

    ? To generate any significant resistance to the heavy loads being lifted by athletes and workers, the pressure required would exceed the maximum hoop tension of the abdominal muscles.

    ? Such pressures would be so high as to obstruct the abdominal aorta.

    ? When the abdominal muscles contract to produce IAP, they produce flexion of the trunk, which would negate any extension quality produced by IAP.

    Therefore, it is likely that the stiffness of the abdominal muscles generating the IAP increase spinal stability. In other words, activation levels of all trunk muscles determine the stability of the spine, regardless of the magnitude of IAP.(20) Although, as suggested by Gracoskevetsky, we can not rely on muscles alone because mathematical modeling shows that Olympic athletes would not be strong enough to lift the loads they currently are lifting during competition.(8) We must look to the fascial system of the body for a missing link, the hydraulic amplifier effect.

    Hydraulic Amplifier Effect

    The hydraulic amplifier effect, originallytheorized by Gracovetsky (8) to increase the strength of the back muscles, was later proven mathematically to increase the strength of the back muscles by 30%.(21 p.124-125) The hydraulic amplifier mechanism is composed of the TLF surrounding the back muscles to create a relatively stable cylinder.(Figure 7) (22) As the back musculature contract within the cylinder created by the investing fascia, a hydraulic effect is created, aiding in the erection of the spine from a flexed position.

    Gracovetsky (8) has demonstrated with mathematical modeling that the extension force produced by expansion of the erector spinae muscles within the compartment created by the thoracolumbar fascia and lamina groove of the spine is a significant contributor to one's ability to lift a load. The expansion of the muscles within the thoracolumbar fascia produces intra-compartmental pressure (ICP). The cylinder is stabilized by synergistic activation of the transversus abdominis (TVA) and posterior fibers of the internal oblique (IO).

    To better understand how the hydraulic amplifier effect works, imagine taking a spine model and gluing a bicycle inner tube along each side of the spinous processes in the lamina groove. Once adhered, if you were to begin pumping up the tube (back muscles) inside a stable cylinder (TLF), it would begin to erect the previously flaccid spinal column This is the basic premise of the hydraulic amplifier.

    As demonstrated by this junior scientist, a bicycle inner tube pumped up inside a cylinder representative of the thoracolumbar fascia will create an extension force.

    The Outer Unit

    The outer unit consists of many muscles such as the obliquus externus, obliquus internus, erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, adductors and hamstrings working in concert with the inner unit musculature and fascial systems.

    While the inner unit muscles are responsible for developing and maintaining segmental stiffness, the bigger muscles….are responsible for creating movement.

    As you can well imagine, if the inner unit were to fail or even suffer altered function under the load of outer unit functions, the mast (spine) could easily buckle, resulting in spinal injury. Judging by the statistics on spinal injury, and the authors of clinical experience, it is evident that the population at large commonly suffers from an imbalance between the inner and outer units.

    When the inner and outer units are functioning synergistically, there is a characteristic look to the abdominal wall. There is a noticeable oblique line and the umbilicus moves toward the spine as the torso moves through the zone of the critical point.(23) Although an explanation of the outer unit is beyond the scope of this article, a reader interested in more information may review "The Outer Unit" (24) as well as references (7), (15) and (23) for a comprehensive understanding of the outer unit system.

    A) If your outer unit is dominant over your inner unit, as you bend forward to pick up a load, a string placed around the waist will become tighter as you pass through the critical point (~90% lumbar flexion). If the load is significant enough to require activation of both inner and outer units, the string will have become loose as you bend forward and tight as you lift the load.

    B) When the inner unit is strong enough to provide adequate stabilization, you will stay under the stabilization threshold as you pass through the sticking point. Staying under the stabilization threshold is indicated by the fact that the rectus abdominis and external oblique musculature have not shortened and thickened, pressing on the string.

    Now that you have a better understanding of how our own internal weight belt works and how it functions to stabilize our spine, Part II of this article will analyze some commonly sited reasons and supposed benefits for using a belt. I will show that the reasons most people use belts may actually be providing a false sense of security and potentially setting the belt user up for injury.

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    I will always weaar one

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    Several folk have requested that I review a few articles that Paul Chek wrote
    for Testosterone magazine on “How to be Back Strong and Beltless”, as
    published on the following webpages:

    < T NATION | How to be Back Strong and Beltless - Part 1 >
    < T NATION | How to be Back Strong and Beltless - Part 2 >

    He has not submitted Part 3 of this series, so, if he is still working on it,
    it will be interesting to see if my review influences what he submits. These
    two article already suggest that he has taken some of our earlier criticisms
    to heart, because he is now admitting in this series that breath holding does
    indeed stabilise the trunk.

    HOW TO BE BACK STRONG & BELTLESS

    PART 1

    <<Regardless of your opinion about the origin of man, if you believe in God,
    you have to wonder why he didn’t provide weight belts as standard-issue
    equipment. On second thought, maybe he did, and we just don’t know how to use
    them correctly.>>

    *** Exactly the same remark may be applied to the wearing of shoes and it is
    entirely spurious. We might even have said that we should have retained a
    hairy cover all over our bodies to protect us from the sun and other extremes
    of climate. Why we should have evolved to lose something that protects us
    from our environment is anyone’s guess. A remark like that has been used by
    Luddites, the Amish folk, the Taliban and others who reject many
    technological advances on a similar basis.

    <<Today, our understanding of the stabilizer system is at an all time high,
    thanks to the works of people like Richardson, Jull, Hodges, Hydes, Vleeming,
    Snidjers and Gracovetsky. >>

    *** This is misleading, because no theory of spinal function has been
    regarded as pre-eminent over any others. In fact, there is even more
    disagreement over spinal function than there has ever been. The number of
    theories about spinal action may be at an all-time high, but our
    understanding is certainly not yet at an all-time high. It is still highly
    theoretical and by no means definitive, though it is very exciting to try and
    decode some of the complex biomathematical models (which Chek, unfortunately
    is not trained to be able to do).

    <<As you are likely aware, when lifting a heavy object or exerting yourself
    to throw or move an object such as in work or sports, it is natural to hold
    the breath. Holding the breath under load is associated with increased
    tension in the diaphragm. …

    Practical experimentation in the gym will show that the trunk is stiffer
    when filling the lungs as opposed to not filling the lungs with
    inhalation….>>

    ***These remarks are most revealing, because Chek has constantly disagreed
    with me and several others (in several Internet exchanges that still exist in
    the archives of several user groups) on breath holding as a perfectly natural
    concomitant to spinal stabilisation. He has always been vigorously opposed to
    breath holding to stabilise the spine. Instead he has placed an exaggerated
    emphasis on “pulling the abs in” and trying to voluntarily activate
    transversus abdominis (TVA) during all stages of squatting and lifting. It ap
    pears as if our criticism of his views may have caused him to change his mind.

    <<More recently, it has been shown that IAP does provide a stiffening effect
    on the lumbar spine, but that IAP is most effective at stabilizing the spine
    when applied in concert with co-activation of the erector spinae muscles…..

    Although, as suggested by Gracovetsky, we can not rely on muscles alone
    because mathematical modeling shows that Olympic athletes would not be strong
    enough to lift the loads they currently are lifting during competition. We
    must look to the fascial system of the body for a missing link, the hydraulic
    amplifier effect…

    It has also been suggested that IAP does not stabilize the spine. Standing
    firmly against the notion that IAP provides any significant stabilizing
    mechanism for the spine are Gracovetsky and Bogduk…..>>

    ***Note well that the models of Gracovetsky and others whom he mentions,
    though compelling in some respects, are by no means unopposed by other
    theorists and researchers, especially some of the world’s most erudite
    biomechanists. What Chek has done is a commendable cut-and-paste collage job
    of information from various sources, but he has failed to go beyond a
    literature retrieval stage of the literature review. A true review retrieves
    the necessary information, then compares and analyses it, then, if the author
    has specific scientific or research skills, he offers his own views and
    models. Anyone can cut and paste from books, articles and Medline, but not
    anyone can intelligently analyse the material and go beyond the obvious.

    <<The hydraulic amplifier effect, originally theorized by Gracovetsky to
    increase the strength of the back muscles, was later proven mathematically to
    increase the strength of the back muscles by 30%…. The hydraulic amplifier
    mechanism is composed of the TLF (thoracolumbar fasciae) surrounding the back
    muscles to create a relatively stable cylinder…. >>

    ***While Chek has given a reasonable summary of how some of the trunk
    musculature can act like an hydraulic lift, he has not shown that he
    understands the significance of the “amplifier” part of the spinal model.
    This is a very significant omission, because a knowledge of the dynamic
    process of mechanical amplification (including amplifier “gain” and feedback
    control) is vital to an understanding of lifting, stabilising and injury.

    <<What modern researchers have been able to do is more clearly define two
    major stabilizer systems of the body, the inner unit and the outer unit. The
    stabilizer system considered as our “God-given weight belt” is the inner
    unit…..

    The Inner Unit serves to stiffen the axial skeleton in preparation for work.
    The Inner Unit muscles are A) Transversus Abdominis and the posterior
    fibers of obliquus internus, B) Diaphragm, C) Deep Multifidus,
    D) Pelvic floor musculature….

    The outer unit consists of many muscles such as the obliquus externus,
    obliquus internus, erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus,
    adductors and hamstrings working in concert with the inner unit musculature
    and fascial systems. …..

    A simplified version of the inner/outer unit systems, seen in Figure 9,
    depicts a pirate ship’s mast as a human spinal column. While the inner unit
    muscles are responsible for developing and maintaining segmental
    stiffness, the bigger muscles, shown here as guide wires, are responsible for
    creating movement. >>

    ***The accompanying figure depicted the spine as a system of guy wires
    supporting the mast of a ship. Significantly, this model excludes any
    transverse members on the sails or the fact that the hull, like the rest of
    the human body, does not provide a stable base. This incomplete spinal model
    allows us to understand in part why it is nowadays so fashionable to talk
    about “core stabilisation”. The latter misleading concept is based upon a
    system which excludes the role of peripheral stabilisation (of which I have
    written elsewhere) and the systems nature of motor control. One of the
    problems with models and analogies is that, in attempts to simplify complex
    processes, they can omit details which can lead to some very defective
    conclusions.

    Division of the muscles of the trunk into “inner” and “outer” systems, while
    often being convenient for the sake of simplifying the complexity of the
    spine, sometimes proves to be a rather limiting model of trunk functioning.
    Interestingly, Chek, while sketching this model in a superficially
    attractive way, has not explained if this mast and guy rope depiction of the
    spine or Gracovetsky’s model constitutes a frame, truss or machine (recalling
    that frames are designed to support loads, whereas machines are designed to
    transmit or amplify forces or couples).

    Chek, in previous discussions, has always evaded my attempts to make him
    understand the difference between moments, couples, force couples and related
    mechanical concepts with some entirely irrelevant personal retorts. This
    latest article makes it very apparent that he really should have attended to
    this deficit in his knowledge base. He might then have come across
    biomechanical models of the spine which rely on a systems theoretical
    approach which does not regard the spine a system of guy ropes and rigid
    members and which do not implicate the fasciae in the role suggested by
    Gracovetsky and others.

    Other models regard the spine as a cantilever system, while yet others
    examine the spine as a suspension system. In these models, there is no
    necessity to divide the muscles into inner and outer units, but as an entire
    system which stabilises the spine in terms of the least energy principle.

    By selecting only one favourite model of the spine, he has been biased to
    make some misleading and unjustified conclusions and applications in the rest
    of his material, especially the practical applications.

    Dr Mel Siff

    The next post discusses Part II of Paul Chek’s Article!

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    minO lee,
    What can I say it took me all night to read that lot.

    At the end of the day if a belt gives you some support and comfort whilst doing heavy lifts I say why not.

    Personally I find that adjusting the belt tension for different lifts works well for me. If it's too tight it pulls on my back, if its too loose it does not give enough support. Also adjusting where it sits on the back is important, some would say I wear it a little high but that's because that's a weak spot.

    If it helps use it.
    Always believe.

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    you should only "need" a belt when you are using loads at/above 80% of the 1RM. using a belt with lighter loads doesn't allow the core to to strengthen as well as the other body parts under load and tension.

    basically using a belt when you don't need it helps to create a weak link in the low back, setting yourself up for injury in later years...
    Last edited by LAM; 02-17-2011 at 05:41 PM.
    William F. Buckley describes a conservative as, "someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop." - and then proceeds to drag civilization back to times best left in history's dungheap.

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    good articles mino. i like how people just make statements saying its pretty much a 'definite if your lifting max/sub maximal weights'. or especially the clown saying "I'll argue that he's not using optimal form if he's not wearing a belt...".

    personally i'd rather have functional, real world strength that i can use if needed. i never use a belt, and rarely use straps.
    P-side Inc.

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    The tighter one can get the better served they are. A belted lifter can get tighter than a non-belted lifter.

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    That's why we see the people with world record lifts, shirted, in trunks, and with belts on. However I you want to look at the most powerful people they forgo these items

    edit(sorry was at the gym):

    to back what im saying look at the formula for power: power = work/seconds

    based off the amounts of weight used, and time it takes to move it, olympic athletes and strongmen are the most powerful people. and like i said personally id rather have real world strength than one insane lift fully geared.
    Last edited by PreMier; 02-17-2011 at 09:21 PM.
    P-side Inc.

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