Many trainers and gym goers insist on using a belt for every exercise they do even to the extent of using it for doing cardio! I have witnessed that before so it does happen. But choosing the best deadlifting belt should be a mainstay if you are serious about taking your deadlift workouts to a higher level.
There was one article that really captured my interest and hammered on the differences between your plain old lifting belt and a deadlift belt. They are essentially the same with a lot more emphasis on what it does primarily. Here’s a rough breakdown of what the best belt would encompass.
The Best Deadlifting Belt Allows Maneuverability
This should be common sense, but a loose belt can have all sorts of complications which for one, it can prevent you from benefiting fully from the use of the belt in the first place and two, some serious back pain from the deadlift.
The article by Mark Rippetoe on T-Nation also indicated that a 4-inch wide belt would hinder lumbar positioning when starting the deadlift exercise. Positioning yourself incorrectly would mean your initial pull would suffer greatly from the start as well. So when choosing the deadlift belt that is best, lean more with a belt that fits securely but allows a bit of range of motion.
The Deadlift Belt Makes Muscle Contractions More Forceful
Essentially the deadlift belt is necessary to correct improper form and protect from injury when used correctly; however, the belt does not work on its own. “One of the ways the belt works is by allowing you to produce a harder muscular contraction against it than you can without it,” as stated by Mark Rippetoe of T-nation.
So what does this mean? Combining more forceful contractions of the trunk muscles along with the aid of heavier weights allows you to lift heavier weight and get stronger in the process.
A Ideal Lifting Belt Fits Snugly
Tied with the ability to be able to move freely a bit with the belt on, the deadlift belt should fit correctly and snugly. What happens if the belt is to tight? You prevent yourself from being able to make effective isometric contractions because of it. How about if the belt is to lose? Then there’s nothing to push against,” Mark states.
One Belt For One Exercise?
Mark makes another point as well as to stop thinking of your belt as a one-stop shop for all your exercises. Your squat belt will not work for your deadlift movements. I agree as I have two belts that state on there “Y U No Squat?” and my deadlifting belt that says, “U B Mirin.” So the take home message is, use a specialized belt for your deadlift, preferably one that is thick, but around 2-3 inches wide.
Basically these were the key points in the article. You can have a looksy here. The article is an interesting read and makes great points from a very well known source in the industry of strength training & conditioning. This should serve as a starting point in picking out your perfect deadlift belt, hell!
I might later on do a feature on the belts out there and find out which can protect your innards from taking a beating and which just downright suck!