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Muscle-Building Workout and Diet

What’s going on, guys? Sean Nalewayj here
at The question today is should you use a weightlifting
belt? So, is a weightlifting belt necessary and what are the pros and cons? So, first
off, what is the purpose of a weightlifting belt? The central purpose of a weightlifting
belt is to help you increase intra-abdominal pressure. So on the plus side, that extra
pressure increases overall core stability which helps to support your spine and lower
back and it also allows you to lift more weight. On the negative side, it can reduce the development
of your core which in the long run can increase your chance for injury and on top of that
it can also end up becoming a crutch that you rely on and that you can’t lift properly
without. So, who should actually use a weightlifting belt? It’s not a black and white thing,
but the simple overall, sort of bottom line answer that I’d give is that the majority
of lifters don’t need to be wearing a weightlifting belt the majority of the time. A weightlifting
belt should only be looked at as an extra tool that some lifters will benefit from in
some situations. So, first off, if you’re still in the beginning stages of training
and you’re otherwise healthy then I definitely don’t recommend the use of a weightlifting
belt. As a novice your goal should be to focus on building overall size and strength foundation.
You’re not going to be lifting very heavy weight at that point. And so there’s no
good reason to be wearing a weightlifting belt, because it’s only going to interfere
with the development of your core strength. So bottom line if you’re a beginner, or
even a beginner/intermediate, don’t even think about lifting belts and just focused
on proper form and on gradually increasing your overall raw strength. Secondly, if you’re
an athlete who’s training for a non-weightlifting sport then you’d also want to use the belt
very sparingly because your goal with athletics is to build an overall balanced and functional
body. And if you’re wearing a belt, sorry if you’re not wearing a belt in you sport
then frequently using a belt in the weight room is not going to be a good idea. Third,
you don’t need to use a belt on every exercise or even on a large percentage of exercises.
So you’ve probably seeing guys like this in the gym, who walk in, wearing a weightlifting
belt right from the start and they keep it on for the entire workout during every exercise
whether it’s a deadlift or a triceps kickback. Again, you only want to use a belt when it’s
absolutely necessary. You definitely don’t want to be using it on exercises where you’re
sitting or lying down and wearing it for your entire workout isn’t helping you either.
If anything it’s having the opposite effect, you think that you’re protecting your lower
back but you’re actually just making your core weaker and weaker, because it’s never
being worked naturally. So if you are going to be using a belt, then the only exercises
where I’d recommend using it would be on the squat, the deadlift or the overhead press.
Not even necessarily all three, but those are the main lifts where a belt can assist
you. And number four, don’t bother with a belt if you’re only using light to moderate
loads in medium to higher rep ranges. So if you’re training with something like a 70%
of your one-rep max for say, eight to ten reps, you don’t need a belt in that situation.
Focus on correct technique and leave the belt alone. So those are the main situations where
I wouldn’t recommend using a weightlifting belt. Remember that when you engaged your
core properly it already acts like an internal weightlifting belt. So you want to use that
natural belt and build up its strength as much as you can first before moving on to
using any sort of external belt. And the way that you use your internal weightlifting belt
is by bracing your core during those big compound lifts. I won’t go into huge detail here,
but basically it just means drawing a big breath into your belly before each rep, locking
that air in and then pushing your abs outward. And a good cue for this is too perform the
same movement that you would as if someone was about to punch you in the stomach. And
you want to be doing that whether you’re using an actual weightlifting belt or not.
Now, with all of that out of the way that leaves us with the situation when a weightlifting
belt could be useful. And that is if you’re an intermediate or advance lifter, you’ve
naturally progress without a belt to lifting fairly heavy weights, so you’re squatting
at least three plates or deadlifting at least four. You have a proper lifting technique
and you’re performing heavy sets around 85% or more of your one-rep max. Okay, with
those factors in place a lifting belt can be used as an extra tool to help you complete
the lift and to reduce the chances of injury. And even then it’s definitely not mandatory.
If you’re consistently progressing in weight and your form is on point and your lower back
feels fine, then I would say to just continue without a belt and only start using one if
it becomes absolutely necessary to really help you pushed out to those higher numbers.
Just make sure that you’re using your belt properly, which means that the belt is tight,
but also loose enough that you can get a full breath into your stomach and brace your abs
and your core against the belt. If you’re wearing your belt so tight you can’t breathe
properly then you’ll definitely want to loosen it up. And the one other exception
here is for people with pre-existing lower back injuries. As long as you’re taking
steps to actively improve your lower back health whatever the issue might be, so you’re
working on building up your core strength and as long as you’re not using the belt
as a band-aid fixed to lift really heavy weights then a belt can also be used in that situation
if you find that it reduces the stress on your lower back. So bottom line guys, a weightlifting
belt is an optional extra tool that can be used by more advanced lifters to lift heavy
loads or by people with lower back issues. But it’s not going to do the work for you,
it’s not going to make up for bad form and you still need to be incorporating separate
direct core training in your plan regardless. So thanks for watching guys. If you found
this advice helpful and you want to get all the tools you need to gain muscle and loose
fat as effectively as possible, the workouts, the meal plans, the supplement guides, as
well as one-on-one coaching then you can download my Body Transformation Blueprint by clicking
here or by heading over to using the link in the description box. If
you enjoyed the video, as always make sure to hit the like button, leave a comment and
subscribe to stay up to date on future videos. You can also check out my official blog over
at for all of my latest updates. And you can follow me on social media here
if you aren’t already. Thanks for watching guys, and I’ll see you in the next video.

40 thoughts on ““Should I Wear A Weightlifting Belt?” (Pros And Cons)

  1. I must say it again, I am an advanced lifter from Argentina, and I don't know why you have just a few subscribers? Every video you make is on point, people trust you I really really want to congratulate you for all your work! You are awesome! Sorry for the english!

  2. Excelent video sean, and What about wrist wrap, do u think that can make your wrist weaker and stay dependent?

  3. Great videos as usual. I have a request: could you cover a video on footwear when it comes to big movements such as deadlifts, squats, and/or bench press for example?

  4. according to greg nuckols article called the belt bible, it doesnt decrease abdominal strength and infact increases it, more contraction was shown with emg. he says that there no reasons not use one in the article.

  5. Great vid Sean. Hate seeing people use a belt on every exercise like they won a WWE championship or something.

  6. Definetely the most educational fitness channel i have ever seen on youtube. Too bad i saw it kinda late but better late than never i guess. Keep it up, man!

  7. Great advice as usual. Occasionally someone will approach me in the gym with the "why don't you wear a belt?" question, like I'm going to break my back. Gets annoying after a while everyone thinks you need a belt.

  8. Great vid dude but it begs the question….do you wear a weightlifting belt?
    Also I've noticed in a few of your vids people saying that you have a relatively small subscriber base and I just wanted to comment on it. 70K is an extremely respectable amount which is growing at a healthy rate! You'd rather have a gradual increase of mature and sincere subscribers than one video going viral and get a bunch of 'dead' subscribers who'll stop watching your videos after a while. Keep up the good work and please don't stop posting these informative videos! There's enough buffoonery on youtube! XD

  9. How about using a weightlifting belt to reduce core activation during heavy lifts to prevent growth of core muscles when the goal is more about V-taper aesthetics than athletics?

  10. haha I was just wondering about this. I did a deadlifts of 455 and my friend was making a big deal about not using a belt.

  11. Hey Sean. I came across one of your videos a couple of weeks ago and i would have to say i watched at least 20 videos since that time. You seem extremely knowledgeable and i have used your tips which make alot of sense. You should have more recognition on youtube. 69k subs, unacceptable! you're awesome dude. keep it up

  12. Thank you for a very informative video! Since you've talked about stretch marks recently, will you be talking about loose skin?

  13. Oh gosh… I've been keeping my belt on most of the time… Ten years ago I had a compressed disc and I really like the belt because I feel safe with it. I had a double hernia at the age of three, and I'm super paranoid to get another one because I'm 32 and I still see the scar on my stomach. Gosh am I a gym douche bag? If it is leg day I pretty much keep my belt on the whole time. Shoulder day also… = oh gosh okay also for bench press :/

  14. What's the difference between gaining strength and muscle mass? Like can you build strength and muscle mass in a slight deficit? Or do you HAVE to be in a surplus? Bc they say you can't build muscle without a surplus but can't loose fat without a deficit? Doing both has to be possible

  15. I am at 6months of training, and I am at 435lbs on my dead lift. Should I start using a belt or not bother because I am still in the beginners stage of less then a year of training. Some people have told me that I should start wearing my belt at 405lbs. Thanks.

  16. Great video Sean as always. I still cannot understand why you only got 70k subs you are one of the most informative fitness guys on the net.

  17. Totally agreed.
    My rule is, if you are not a powerlifter or some other competitive strength athlete, you should not be wearing one. I see guys who are like 150lb wearing belts squatting 200lb. Belts are for people trying to put up high numbers like weightlifter and powerlifters. They are not for bodybuilders.

  18. Wrong. It does not weaken your core. Think about how a belt works. You can brace even tighter with a belt on, much tighter than without it. You think that'll make your core weaker?

  19. I wear one everyday no matter what and it has kept my waist extremely small which has worked well for me since I compete in Physique

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