When used correctly, a powerlifting belt can be a powerful tool for improving performance.
Here’s how to get the most out of your belt and avoid the common mistakes made by many lifters.
Don’t rely on your belt to get tight for you.
One of the most common mistakes I see being made is wearing the powerlifting belt too tight. It gives you a false sense of tightness and can hinder your movement.
Wear your belt tight enough so you can take in a full breath of air. If you’re restricted from taking your air, loosen it up a notch.
Take a full breath and feel your entire midsection expand against the belt. I like to think of myself expanding into the belt, rather than being constricted by it.
- Neutral spine.
- Big air. Take your air and expand your entire midsection into the belted area. 360° of air.
- Flex your abs hard.
There are advantages to training with and without a belt, so you’ll want to do both.
Your belt increases intra-abdominal pressure, creating stability in your midsection. Basically, this means you can get tighter and move more weight. Breathe and brace the same way you would without your belt.
I like to train beltless because it forces me to be more efficient at breathing and bracing. Master the ability to breathe, brace and stay tight. This is what makes your core stronger, not just the absence of a belt.
Don’t always go for your belt right away. Work up and throw it on when the weight’s heavy. I generally use my belt for 80+% of my 1RM.
Train with and without your powerlifting belt for optimal results. Don’t rely on it too much. Avoid making it too tight or using it too frequently. Master proper breathing and bracing to improve your core strength.
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