Back in the day, many noobs started using weightlifting belts during squats and deadlifts under the influence of Mark Rippetoe and his puppies that later on branched out and developed the 70sbig fetish. According to those individuals, the weightlifting belt gives you ”an anchor to push against with your abs”. Those men believe that this technique allows you to get stronger faster.
While it’s probably true that a belt allows you to flex your abs more intensely, people lift more with a belt for other reasons too.
The belt stabilizes your entire waist and acts as an artificial ligament. This is especially true for those large powerlifting belts made out of thick leather.
You can think of belts as wrist wraps for your waist. Most people bench more with wrist wraps thanks to the extra stability. When you put on 2 meters of thick material around the joint, you add another layer of protection that increases the stability greatly. The belt does the same for your waist – it thickens it artificially.
What’s the problem? The problem is that the ligaments are not getting stronger, and the belt becomes a crutch. I don’t care how sore your abs are from pushing against the stupid belt. The ligaments and the obliques actually work less. It’s like squatting with light knee wraps. The stress on the joint is reduced. As a result, the connective tissues do not adapt to the stimulus and remain weaker.
Why would you do that to yourself unless you are injured? It makes more sense to allow the area to develop naturally instead of introducing a belt to the equation.
Many people part of the starting strength community are using belts for 1.5 BW squats without having a prior injury of any kind. Their reasoning is that a belt makes you stronger faster. This is nonsense. You don’t get stronger with a belt. You are simply lifting more weight. Honestly, the belt is a light form of powerlifting gear. There is a reason why many people take great pride in lifting without a belt (e.g. Konstantīns Konstantinovs).
Of course, I don’t expect the brainwashed permabulkers to agree with me because they are too deep into the low bar cult.
How can I recognize members of the low bar cult?
Nice question. It’s simple. You just have to look for a group of fat guys occupying the squat rack in the gym for a few hours in order to do a weird form of squats resembling good mornings. Most of the time those individuals are also wearing T-shirts with the following messages:
”Mammals drink milk. You are a mammal.”
”Join the fight against muscle atrophy.”
”Grown Males > 200 lbs”
After the long squat session, they move to the bench press. During all sets, their hairy, ”manly”, permabulking bellies are sticking out.
After the workout, the strength masters go for a ”real man’s” lunch – five XXL burgers.
Note: They throw the buns away because “carbs make you fat”. Those guys want to ”recomp” (burn fat while building muscle mass).
Ultimately, you don’t need a stupid belt to deadlift unless you have a medical reason to use it. If you are healthy, it’s better to get stronger without wraps, belts, whistles and other ”equipment”.
Honestly, most people are just looking for an excuse to use belts, and guys like Rippetoe give them a ”scientific” permission to do so. My question is why? Does it really matter whether you squat 300lbs with a belt and 285lbs without one? You ain’t breaking records anyway.