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PsychoSlug

Lifting Belt Advice Needed

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I saw that there are already similar topics, but those were very specific questions regarding belt thickness, etc.  I have multiple questions, hence the separate topic.  I just found out that I have two degenetrative discs in my lower back.  My chiropractor has me on a plan to help increase spine flexibility in the lumbar region, which is part of my problem.  While he wants me to keep lifting, he says I should lighten the load for now and definitely wear a belt while squatting and deadlifting.

 

I've become a bit of a Rogue Fitness fanboy, so I was looking at their belts.  I've also seen Best Belts mentioned here.  So, on to my questions.

  1. I've seen video of people using belts that are quick release.  Other than the obvious benefit, are there other pros/cons to this type of belt?
  2. Would I be better served by a single or double prong belt closure?
  3. I'm leaning towards a 10mm, 4" belt based on the responses to other topics on this forum.  I'm 6'2" with a relatively long torso.  Sound about right?
  4. Are there other manufacturers/distributors that I should consider?
  5. Any other words of wisdom for a belt-newb?

The bad news?  There isn't much I can do directly about a disc that is deteriorating.  The good news?  I can continue to build strength around the area to indirectly compensate for the spine weakness.  My chiropractor stated that I'm off to a good start and there is definitely nice protection around the spine.  I just need to keep working on developing it.  My ceiling for squatting pain free was 165 lb. last Spring.  I recently pushed it to 185 lb. before feeling pain again, so I added 20 lb. in a few months.  That isn't much, but it tells me that I can keep raising that threshold.  I may never squat big weight, but it won't be because I'm not trying.

 

Any advice on the belt purchase would be appreciate.

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Lever belt pros and cons:

  • Pro: easy on, easy off when it's the correct size
  • Pro: you don't have to remove the belt between sets if you want to catch a breath.  Merely loosen the lever.
  • Con: difficult to change tightness.  If you like it really tight on squats but a bit looser on deads, you'll have to carry a screwdriver
  • Con: If you are at the edge of fitting in the belt, it can be quite a challenge to unfasten it

Single or double pronged:

  • Single is easier to fasten and more importantly to unfasten.  Most people swear by it.
  • Double is theoretically more secure--though I doubt there's any empirical evidence to support that claim
  • Given the choice, go single pronged

Size of belt:

  • Competition belts are the same size all the way around, 4" wide, and either 10mm or 13mm thick.  You'll only ever need 10mm, particularly as a raw (no gear) lifter.
  • Given your size, 4" belt would be better than a 3" belt (typically for people with short torsos like anyone under 5'6")

As to brands, people definitely have their favorites.  I have an Inzer lever belt, and while I like it a lot, if I were to do it again I'd go for a single prong.  Any recognized name in power lifting will be good like Inzer, Titan, Best Belts (do they still make belts?).  You also may have good success with Rogue belts.  I have had a lot of good experience with their equipment, so it's definitely worth a look.

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I have an Inzer lever belt, and while I like it a lot, if I were to do it again I'd go for a single prong.  Any recognized name in power lifting will be good like Inzer, Titan, Best Belts (do they still make belts?).  You also may have good success with Rogue belts.  I have had a lot of good experience with their equipment, so it's definitely worth a look.

 

Any particular reason why you'd ditch the lever belt, or simply because of a con you listed?

 

It looks like Best Belts still makes them based on their website.

 

I'm definitely leaning towards Rogue, but wanted to consider the convenience of the lever belt, which they don't carry.

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I have the "Prime Cut", single prong, from Best Belts.  I like it so much that I ordered a second one (recently!) because I'm out of holes on this one.

 

I'm 5'5" on a great day with a short torso, and I have no issues with a 4" belt.

 

In my experience, Best Belts is great to work with, fast, and the belt really is a piece of art.  Plus, they're all made in the USA if you're into that sort of thing.

 

They are a bit pricy, but if you get the right size, a Best Belts belt would last a long, long time.

 

The major pro to prong belts is that you can wear it at different tightnesses on the fly.  A con to prong belts is that you can get stuck in them (temporarily) if you go a bit too tight.  I've never had a lever belt, so I can't speak to their pros or cons.

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Thanks Janelle.  Buying a second for that reason had to have been a fun purchase!  The "Athlete" from Best Belts is actually about $20 less expensive than the "Ohio" from Rogue (also US made).  The only downside is that the order would take 7-14 days, whereas I'd probably get it from Rogue tomorrow or Friday.  In the grand scheme, that probably isn't worth the $20.

 

Hmmm....

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If you plan to wear the belt on all of your lifts maybe a bodybuilding type of a belt would suit you also? I mean something like this:

 

schiek-belt-4-3-4-inch-175-p.jpg

I have a Titan Toro belt myself, which is an even 4" 10mm thick one. It can really dig into my ribs and I'm shorter than you, so the 3" might be good alternative too which belt you ever get. I still like it but I wouldn't wear it most of my time at the gym.

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Any particular reason why you'd ditch the lever belt, or simply because of a con you listed?

 

It looks like Best Belts still makes them based on their website.

 

I'm definitely leaning towards Rogue, but wanted to consider the convenience of the lever belt, which they don't carry.

 

I thought I'd never need different tightness from lift to lift when I bought it.  I was wrong.  Also, the lever belt has two prongs with a bit of a tab to keep the other side of the belt in place.  I've been stuck in it a couple times.

 

When that happens, rest a moment, suck in your gut (breath into your chest), and work the prongs loose.

 

If you have a prong belt, you can use your rack as leverage to get out where on the lever belt that's never an option.

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 I bought a belt from Best Belts in June 2012.  Before that, I did not use a belt.  The one I got was "Athlete Powerlifting Belt Single Prong - Soft"  They custom built it to my waist size and shipped it within a few days of ordering it.  It is very high quality and I have been pleased with it.
 
I went with the single prong because a guy I know said it was just easier than double prong.  I don't know how much quicker "quick release" is...I can unfasten the single prong pretty quick.   I only use it on top sets.  When I have used it for multiple sets, I just opened it up a hole and let it sit on my waist between sets.
 
If you go with any of those brands, you'll be ok. 

 

Good luck with the back Doug!

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Thanks a ton for all the feedback.  @Heino - I'm just going to use this for squatting and deadlifting, and only on the top sets.

 

Based on the feedback, I just placed an order with Best Belts for their Athlete model.  They certainly get good reviews here and across the interwebz. 

 

@Steve - thanks for the well wishes about my back.  It may slow me down, but it won't stop me, at least not anytime soon.  Just need to be smart about it.

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Wow, that was fast! Good that you found what you wanted :)

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Update - received the belt yesterday.  I was a bit worried after never receiving an order confirmation email (other than from PayPal), nor a response to my email inquiry.  The belt is beautifully made and fits great.  This is my first belt, and I can see how this will help with the heavier lifts.  My programming right now is higher volume, so I won't be using the belt right away.  I do look forward to squatting near my max again, but with this to help support me.

 

Thanks again for everyone's input.

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Update - received the belt yesterday.  I was a bit worried after never receiving an order confirmation email (other than from PayPal), nor a response to my email inquiry.  The belt is beautifully made and fits great.  This is my first belt, and I can see how this will help with the heavier lifts.  My programming right now is higher volume, so I won't be using the belt right away.  I do look forward to squatting near my max again, but with this to help support me.

 

Thanks again for everyone's input.

 

I am not familiar with Best Belts, but if it's like any other wholepiece leather belt I've seen, then it needs breaking, so you might as well start doing this already, because it's not entirely useable otherwise.

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I am not familiar with Best Belts, but if it's like any other wholepiece leather belt I've seen, then it needs breaking, so you might as well start doing this already, because it's not entirely useable otherwise.

 

+1.  Best Belts pre-breaks theirs in slightly, but it's going to take a few weeks to get it really broken in.  Rolling it up in the direction opposite to how you'd wear it works well, as does actually wearing the belt while lifting.

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Thanks for the tips.  I'll definitely do that.  I was already walking around the house with it on, which resulted in my wife making fun of me in my fancy new accessory. 

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+1.  Best Belts pre-breaks theirs in slightly, but it's going to take a few weeks to get it really broken in.  Rolling it up in the direction opposite to how you'd wear it works well, as does actually wearing the belt while lifting.

 

Yup...its broken in a bit.  I did this (coil it opposite) for about a month whenever I walked from the locker room to the gym floor.  it broke in nicely very quick.  

 

Way to make a fashion statement.

 

Best of luck and I hope the back is doing well.  

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Didn't think this was worth making a new thread over, but I just got my Best Belts Prime Cut!

 

sSkqGVBl.jpg

(Click to enlarge.)

 

I'm sure I'm not wearing it right in this photo (reading up on a few sources, they all say it should be a bit lower), and I probably should have told them my waist size was 2-3 inches smaller to account for stubborn belly fat (hence it being in hole 5 rather than 4), but I love how tight it braces my abs when I try bodyweight squats with this on.

 

They say it's pre-broken-in, and I'm not really noticing many of the issues people say when they first get a belt (especially 13mm ones like mine), so I'm wondering if I still need to break it in myself? Took a short vid flipping it about willy-nilly, and it doesn't seem stiff at all like a few random articles and forum posts warn about. But this is the first time in my life I've even seen a "real" weightlifter belt, so I'm gonna need you guys to fill me in...

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When I got my belt from them, there were no stiff areas.  They probably worked out the quality control issues from before.

 

Here's my review of the belt and comparing it with an Inzer lever belt:

 

http://youtu.be/GriLBjq6gJ0?t=1m47s

 

(in the for what it's worth department)

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