Should you Wear a Lifting Belt When Doing Deadlifts? What You Should Know

A lifting belt is an incredibly valuable gym accessory that levels up your weightlifting game. In addition, it helps minimize the risk of injuries. Most powerlifters can be seen using this gear to lift heavy loads while deadlifting, while some ignore using belts at all.

So, now the big question is whether you should go belted or beltless while performing deadlifting.

To deal with all such kinds of confusion, we have come up with this article that covers all the necessary aspects surrounding belt deadlifts.

In this article, we will answer whether wearing a belt really helps with deadlifts, and whether or not you can lift heavier with a belt. Furthermore, we will also weigh the benefits and drawbacks of wearing a belt during deadlifts. Stay intact to vanish all the confusion surrounding this subject.

Does Wearing a Belt Help Deadlift?

Does Wearing a Belt Help Deadlift

Yes, wearing a belt helps with deadlifts as it reduces the stress on your spine and enhances your performance.

Belts increase the amount of intra-abdominal pressure, providing support to the lower back. This pressure expands your core area and strengthens the same to prevent potential spine injuries. However, you shouldn’t rely on a belt at the very beginning of your weight training journey.

Experts suggest that when you begin weight training, you should spend the first couple of months learning to deadlift without a belt. Without the belt, you will learn the right way to brace your core without assistance, which is equally important to strengthen your core, especially the rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscles).

Can you Deadlift Heavier with a Belt?

Can you Deadlift Heavier with a Belt

When you use a lifting belt properly, it can help you pick 5-15% more weight than usual.

Experts who have analyzed weightlifting belts claim that when you use this gym accessory properly, you can capably carry 5-15 % more weight for the same sets and reps. In addition, the use of a belt will help you perform a couple of extra reps with the same weight.

Therefore, wearing a belt will help you lift more weight and perform more reps, pushing your body to progressive overload (body improvement that comes with lifting heavier loads). Furthermore, in the long term, you’ll notice more mass and strength in your muscles.

4 Benefits of Deadlifting with a Belt

Deadlifting with a weight belt helps increase the use of the abs and lower back muscles. Besides, using a weightlifting belt has also shown a solid increase in the muscle activity of the rectus abdominis.

Let’s discuss the other prominent benefits of using a belt for deadlifting.

Stabilization of the spine

Various studies have revealed that wearing a lifting belt during deadlifts increases intra-abdominal pressure by 40-50 %, which stabilizes the spine and reduces the risk of injury. In addition, another study revealed that gym belt also reduces the compression of the intervertebral discs, reducing stress on the spine.

When the belt increases this intra-abdominal pressure, it inflates air inside your abdominal cavity that pushes the spine to support it from inside. On the other hand, the muscles in the abdominal wall and lower back push on the spine from the outside to keep the spine protected and in place.

Reduced risk of injury

Deadlifting with a belt increases intra-abdominal pressure, which supports our positioning and reduces the stress on the spine.

Checking on the risk of injury is important to ensure the long-term growth of the muscles. Therefore, if you are lifting heavier loads, 80% or more of your one rep max, you should use a belt to reduce the forces that will act upon your spine.

More volume at heavier loads

When weightlifters deadlift with a weightlifting belt, they perform more sets and repetitions at heavier loads without feeling fatigued. The lifting belt provides confidence and makes us comfortable accomplishing higher volumes at heavier loads. As a result, our muscles gain mass and become stronger with time.

If you use the belt appropriately, you feel more active throughout the workout, and that brings you noticeable results in minimum time.

Creates better body biomechanics

Research indicates that when you wear a belt during deadlifting, it reduces the amount of spinal flexion (forward bend at the spine), spinal extension (bending back of the spine), and lateral flexion (side bending of the spine). At the same time belt increases the amount of flexion at the hips and knees.

With these changes, a belt allows you to lift more with your legs than your back, preventing unnecessary stress on the lower back.

Provides mental support

When you work out with loads, your mental strength is as important as your physical strength. Bodybuilders claim that when they lift with a belt or any other supportive accessory, they feel more confident in increasing their weights. This enhances your performance and keeps you going even in demanding times.

Don’t miss:

Should I Wear a Belt When Squatting
Why Do Weightlifters Wear Belts
Can You Squat And Deadlift On The Same Day
Deadlift Technique Tips

3 Drawbacks of Deadlifting with a Belt

There’s a reason why it is always advised that you use the lifting belts at the right time and in the right way. The lifting belts can undoubtedly provide you with the required support, but if you over-rely on them, they can hamper your long-term growth.

Let’s look at some drawbacks that come with the use of belts for deadlifting.

Belts can obstruct the development of proper form

When a weightlifter wears a belt, they rely on it mentally and physically to lift heavier loads with the barbell. As a consequence, these athletes sometimes forget to properly brace their core, which might disturb the positioning of the spine and increase the risk of injury.

During deadlifting, it is vital to maintain the right form as you are already putting your muscles and spine under heavy stress. Therefore, if you use the belt too often, your core won’t develop the required strength and this might disturb your positioning during the exercise.

Belts can limit the development of core strength

When you work out without a belt, your core does the job of bracing your spine. This is the reason you are repeatedly advised to use a belt only when you lift heavier loads.

Too much reliance on a lifting belt will compromise your strength, especially in the core area. This compromised core strength will hamper your workout and you’ll lose your lifting confidence in the process.

Notably, core strength is not just necessary for weightlifting, but core strength is equally essential to provide better support for most upper and lower body workouts. The core is the center part of the body and you can’t afford the weakening of this body part if your goal is to attain long-term benefits.

Creates false security

When you deadlift with a belt too often, you rely on it completely. This over-reliance obstructs the development of proper form and strength, creating a feeling of false security.

The weight and volume that you lift with a belt aren’t the same as without this gear. And, when you try to lift more weight without a belt, you put your body at risk of injury. Belts can create false confidence, which might lead to injury.

Should I Wear a Belt When Deadlifting?

Should I Wear a Belt When Deadlifting

Yes, you should wear a belt when deadlifting with heavy weights, as it helps reduce stress on your spine.

Bracing a belt when the weight gets heavier increases intra-abdominal pressure, reducing stress on your spine. As a result, you can increase the load with good form. A belt helps maximize your performance as you perform more sets and repetitions at heavier loads without feeling fatigued.

When Should you Wear a Belt When Deadlifting?

You should deadlift with a belt only if you are performing maximal or submaximal lifts. You should never use a belt during warm-ups or lifting lighter weights.

Whether you should wear a belt or not depends on your goals. If your goal is to maximize the amount of weight you are lifting, wearing a belt would help. However, if you have just begun weightlifting and your goal is to fortify your core, wearing a belt isn’t advised as your body might over-rely on the belt.

In general, if you are preparing yourself for a competition, you should use the belt more often. On the other hand, if you are not a professional powerlifter and you practice with lighter loads, then going beltless would be better.

At What Weight Should I Use a Belt For Deadlifts?

You should gear up with your weightlifting belt when deadlifting at or above 80% of your 1RM. Similarly, you should also wear your belt when lifting at or above a 7 RPE. In simple words, you can consider using a weight belt when you are able to deadlift with 1 to 1.5 times of your body weight.

How Heavy Can you Deadlift Without a Belt?

You can lift as heavy as 80-85% of your 1 rep max without a belt. The most important thing while working without a belt is maintaining the right position.

If you are confident that you can lift a certain weight without causing harm or stress to your spine, go ahead without a belt.

Don’t miss:

Ed Coan Deadlift Program
Different Types of Weights with Names
Are Bumper Plates Lighter
Mag Ort Deadlift Program

Final Thoughts

Using a belt while deadlifting has its pros and cons. Considering all the aspects, it is clear that you should not over-depend on this workout gear, and it is extremely important to use it responsibly.

A belt is undoubtedly the best support when you switch to heavier weights. However, it can also make your body dependent if you don’t check its use.

Therefore, make sure to use a belt only when you are lifting 80-85% or more of your current rep max. Also, if you are a beginner, avoiding the use of a belt is recommended to make the core stronger.