View Full Version : Training with and without belt

09-12-2013, 02:11 PM
Without getting too far off track here, I just competed in my first meet last week(trained using an upper/lower texas method split) and am now getting ready to start training for another one. I have 12 weeks (which gives me 2 standard rts cycles from the manual). My question comes from when or how often do most of you guys program in work with your belt?

I know I rely on it a bit too much so my plan was to make my main squat and dead for the first 6 weeks beltless then add it back for the 2nd cycle, making my squat and dead exactly to how I will compete. Was also just looking around on the blogs and such and had the idea of doing both volume blocks beltless and both intensity blocks with belt? I realize that the answer for me will probably have to come from trying both and seeing, but just curious as to what everyone's thoughts are.

09-13-2013, 03:21 PM
I know I rely on it a bit too much...

Before I say anything: why do you feel this way? I'm not saying you're wrong / right; I just want to make sure I understand where you're coming from on this.

09-13-2013, 05:05 PM
Thanks for the reply Bob,

I think the main reason I feel this way is because for the most part my training has revolved around constantly wearing the belt. Prior to my meet preparation I was wearing the belt anytime I squatted and deadlifted. When I took the belt off for my volume day squats I noticed that squatting anything above 300 for 3x5 became difficult due to what I assume was either a weakness without the belt or possibly just the lack of the belt didn't give me that proprioceptive aid to get tight before I squat.

I feel that the squatting without the belt did help me make my form better while also improving my midsection strength. I've also never really done any sort of ab assistance so that might have played into the original weakness without the belt.

Hope that clears things up

09-13-2013, 09:35 PM
Here's my take on belts - who cares? I typically train with a belt all the time. I went through a period in 2009 where I ditched the belt for a while, and sure, my lifts took a hit, but they quickly rebounded, I want to say within 2-3 months at the most.

I'm going through a similar phase now; decided to ditch the belt, and within, oh, 3-4 weeks I pulled 4x500. So the strength seems to quickly come back.

Except for, in my case, overhead pressing - especially pressing with the 12" log. There, I really notice a difference that's hard to make up.

I'm training without a belt for health reasons: I have pretty severe radiculothapy at L2-L3, L4-L5, and L5-S1. I decided to basically do a core extensive rehab block, and not only dropped the belt, but am training core 2x/day 6x/week. Unless you have a health issue, I personally think that's overkill - it's a page straight from the NFL lineman training manual.

So, I agree: training without a belt can do something to increase core strength. Probably not significantly, in and of itself; as part of more comprehensive core training program, absolutely good stuff if you need it.

However, as you know, you can't do everything. So, to some degree, you're going to compromise your performance on the competition platform by focusing on lifting without a belt. I think you know that already, and I think you know you're going to have to search for the right balance for yourself.

As a starting point: I suggest that rather than looking at breaking up your 12 week blocks prior to a meet into training with and without a belt, take a longer term view. So, if I had a meet in 12 weeks I was prepping for, I'd keep the belt integrated into all my training, all the time.

I would, however, program some offseason work: maybe 3 weeks, maybe 4 weeks, where I trained with higher reps; maybe doing front squats instead of back squats, but this block would not have a meet as a goal. During this block, I would not put a belt on. I'd spend this time focusing on other skills, techniques, and weaknesses.

I hope, if nothing else, the above puts the thought in your head: "That's really effing retarded" and gives you a better, more concrete starting point to begin your experimentation from. Please do let us know your thoughts on this topic and what you end up doing.

Mike Tuchscherer
09-14-2013, 05:56 AM
I think Bob's right. At this point in your meet prep, I'd keep some of it belted at least. Another option would be to do your main work with a belt and your assistance and supplemental work without one. Or you could wait until after the meet to worry about it. It's not likely a big issue right now and you're probably better off training with heavier weights in preparation for your contest. But I also agree that this isn't something you want to ignore forever.

09-16-2013, 09:14 AM
Thanks for the help guys. I'm going to keep the belt on for my meet prep and I'll worry more about this after the meet.