Does a Belt Increase Core Activation for Long Limbed Lifters?

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    Does a Belt Increase Core Activation for Long Limbed Lifters?

    I have always heard to stay away from a belt during squats because it "weakens" your core. However, I'm tall and have long limbs, so I lean forward when squatting. I recently started to put a belt really tight during heavier sets and I feel like it helps me stay upright. Furthermore, now my abs are crazy sore after squatting (3 X's a week) whereas before they would never get sore. Could it be that a belt may increase core activation?

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    Squat belts save backs. Trust me on this. I have 3 family members with degenerative disk syndrome. It is in my genetics, and I have had a few back injuries myself, but I never had an injury with my belt on. I don't do heavy squats or shrugs without a belt. All the core strength in the fucking world isn't going to prevent you from rupturing a disc if you have the genetic predisposition for lower back injuries. But, a belt will.
    Fucking Determined!

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    Kelju I agree but with that said I have talked to a few trainers about that exact question. What I get from them is strengthen your core but still use a belt. Heeee is where it gets tricky. The belt is used as a reminder to teach you to activate your core when practicing such exercises. Also you want the belt a little loose. Now if you are predisposed to back injuries than a tight belt might be better. I am 6'-2" 220lbs with no back issues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sneedham View Post
    Kelju I agree but with that said I have talked to a few trainers about that exact question. What I get from them is strengthen your core but still use a belt. Heeee is where it gets tricky. The belt is used as a reminder to teach you to activate your core when practicing such exercises. Also you want the belt a little loose. Now if you are predisposed to back injuries than a tight belt might be better. I am 6'-2" 220lbs with no back issues.

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    No doubt. I train the hell out of my core. I huge part of my back day is just posterior chain work. Push day includes 15 minutes of ab and core work. I am scared to death of another back injury, so I try to keep my core as strong as possible, but I use the belt for added protection. I also think the belt helps to keep your intestines from blowing out of the front of your abdominal wall when squatting over 400lbs.
    Fucking Determined!

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    Quote Originally Posted by svt2001 View Post
    I have always heard to stay away from a belt during squats because it "weakens" your core.
    That not exactly correct. A belt provide different abdominal activation while increasing lower back support

    An electromyographic analysis of sumo and conventional style deadlifts.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11932579

    Compared with the no-belt condition, the belt condition produced significantly greater rectus abdominis activity and significantly less external oblique activity.

    Intra-Abdominal Pressure, IAP

    Belt that provide the best back support increase IAP.

    Belts that are as wide in the front as in the back greater IAP.

    A wider belt in the front allow you a greater surface area to dive push into with you abdominal muscles.

    This increases IAP, stabilizing the lower back...increasing support.


    Quote Originally Posted by svt2001 View Post
    However, I'm tall and have long limbs, so I lean forward when squatting.
    Long Torso

    Individuals with long torso, usually additional core strength training to insure they remain upright.


    Quote Originally Posted by svt2001 View Post
    I recently started to put a belt really tight during heavier sets and I feel like it helps me stay upright.
    The belt definitely helps.

    Quote Originally Posted by svt2001 View Post
    Furthermore, now my abs are crazy sore after squatting (3 X's a week) whereas before they would never get sore. Could it be that a belt may increase core activation?
    Sore Abs

    This means you performing an isometric action (pushing into the belt), increasing IAP/back support and maintaining a more upright position.

    Nice job.

    Kenny Croxdale

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    Kenny's right

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    Thanks to everyone. I'm doing Rippetoe's Starting Strength for about 6 weeks (I like to do this at least once a year), so I am doing 4 sets of squats for 5 reps every workout (3 X's a week). I can do hyper extensions with 2 plates and I can hold a plank for minute with 90 pounds on my back. In other words, I don't think I have a weak core or back problems. I was just curious and I knew there are a lot of people who know more than I do. It's just that everyone at the gym asks me why am I wearing a belt.

    Kenny Croxdale, thank you for your detailed answers. I actually make a point to suck in a bunch of air and push my belly into the belt. My squats just feel better with a belt and make me more confident which has translated to more weight on the bar. Otherwise, my squats feel like good mornings!

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    Tell them to mind their own god damn business and do their own workout.

    Problem solved.


    Warrior

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    Here's some info on "The Valsalva Maneuver" which Rippetoe mentions in his book for anyone who may read this in the future or is struggling with this and reading this now. This is a lot easier to understand and digest since Starting Strength is really technical.

    Too long? Too technical? Need a Cliffnote? Your body is intelligent and knows what to do when you fill your gut with air and push it out into a belt.


    The increase in intra-abdominal pressure prevents your body from folding like a lawn chair, allowing you to move heavy weights more efficiently. If you're not using a belt while training, I suggest you get one. If you are using one, make sure you're using it to it's full potential. Breathe deep, push your belly out (lifting heavy shit isn't pretty, don't make it so), and keep that air in until you complete the lift. Or else suffer my wrath. Yeah, I'll come to where you are and punch you in the gut just to make sure you're doing it right. Or maybe I won't. I dunno, but why take that chance?


    Article written By Jay Stadtfeld for LiftBigEatBig.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by svt2001 View Post
    Here's some info on "The Valsalva Maneuver" which Rippetoe mentions in his book for anyone who may read this in the future or is struggling with this and reading this now. This is a lot easier to understand and digest since Starting Strength is really technical.
    Starting Strength

    This is a good entry level program to build a foundation on.

    It does get into some technical information.

    However, the name of the program clear identifies it...

    Starting = Beginning

    While it does an good job of teaching and developing strength with novice lifters, it will only take you so far.

    It the "Elementary School" of training. You learn you ABC and how to multiply.

    To dramatically increased strength and move on to Junior High and High School to learn/grow into more advance systems and techniques to move up.

    Starting Strength Forum

    While there are some individuals on the this form with knowledge.

    The majority of individuals posting lack the experience or knowledge to provide reliable answer to training questions.

    In plain English, the form is the near sited leading the blind.

    Snapshot

    The Starting Strength Form provide answer off of snapshots, which NEVER give you the whole picture.

    Ironmagazine

    Overall, this site has a greater number of knowledgeable individuals.

    With that said, the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) mandates that each organization, work place, school, etc. have a certain number of idiots.

    If not the will "bus" them in.

    So, this site certainly has it EEOC share of idiots.

    Kenny Croxdale

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    I'm sure that there are better programs out there. Starting Strength is just the first one I came across when I started lifting, so I gravitate back towards it at least once a year. I find it enjoyable to lift less often and just focus on getting more weight on the bar. I'm usually miserable doing bodybuilding splits now. I used to love "arm day," now I dread it.

    It's like if your mom bought you Lucky Charms as a kid, there may be a better cereal out there, but you aren't going to trade their magically deliciousness for anything . It's mostly nostalgia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by svt2001 View Post
    I'm sure that there are better programs out there. Starting Strength is just the first one I came across when I started lifting, so I gravitate back towards it at least once a year. I find it enjoyable to lift less often and just focus on getting more weight on the bar. I'm usually miserable doing bodybuilding splits now. I used to love "arm day," now I dread it.

    Starting Strength

    Let me reiterate my message.

    Starting Strength is a good entry level program.

    However, it will only take you so far.

    So, for those interested in moving higher, other method need to be employed.


    Quote Originally Posted by svt2001 View Post
    It's like if your mom bought you Lucky Charms as a kid, there may be a better cereal out there, but you aren't going to trade their magically deliciousness for anything . It's mostly nostalgia.
    Better Cereals

    I understand liking cereals like luck charms.

    However, Chereeios (Lucky Charms) etc, are far from the "Breakfast of Champions".

    There are infinitely better choices.

    Objectives

    It all depends on how far up the ladder you want to climb.

    Kenny Croxdale

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    Kenny,
    You have swayed my opinion to a point. Very educational and thank you......
    ?This message was sent using true power!!!

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    Better Cereals

    I understand liking cereals like luck charms.

    However, Chereeios (Lucky Charms) etc, are far from the "Breakfast of Champions".

    There are infinitely better choices.

    Ha, it was just an analogy I don't actually eat Lucky Charms or cereal for breakfast. I'm in the Ben Pakulski camp of no carbs pre workout and only post workout.

    However, for a cheat meal that includes cereal, Lucky Charms would be my choice.

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    Kenny pretty much covered everything in this thread.
    fufu's 1337 Journal

    Your diet will set you free.

    I hate exercise, I love training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by svt2001 View Post
    Better Cereals

    I understand liking cereals like luck charms.

    However, Chereeios (Lucky Charms) etc, are far from the "Breakfast of Champions".

    There are infinitely better choices.

    Ha, it was just an analogy I don't actually eat Lucky Charms or cereal for breakfast.
    Most people eat stuff like that because of the taste...the lure a sugar treat.

    Sugar Pops

    I use to be a Sugar Pops addict. For that matter anything with sugar.


    Quote Originally Posted by svt2001 View Post
    I'm in the Ben Pakulski camp of no carbs pre workout and only post workout.
    No Carb Pre Workout

    The research data doesn't support working out in a fasted state as being a good idea.

    A great research resource on this is...

    Nutrient Timing

    This book by Dr. John Ivy (sport nutrition) provide some great information on the benefits of a Pre, Peri and Post Workout Training Beverage.

    The book is a quick, easy read and you can get it for about $12 use on amazon.

    Analogy

    Waiting to ingest carbohydrates until after your workout is tantamount to knowing your going to have a heart attach before you do.

    Instead of taking medication before (Pre) to slow it down, during (Peri) while having it, and then after (Post)...

    you opt to have the heart attack and then take something.

    Action Beats RE-ACTION

    It better to be pre-active and get ahead that re-active and work from a deficit, be behind.


    Quote Originally Posted by svt2001 View Post
    However, for a cheat meal that includes cereal, Lucky Charms would be my choice.
    Lucky Charms

    There a time a place for them.

    Kenny Croxdale

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