The Truth About Belts and Straps In Gym
What is a belt and a strap? Are they good tools or are they more harmful than good?
Many functional coaches will advise against using them. On the contrary, many power trainers will tell you they are essential for training.
What does that mean? Unfortunately, the answer is not as clear as true or false.
Wristbands reduce the grip of some weightlifters. Avoiding straps in heavy practices like deadlift, rows, and pulldowns can be good for building strength for your hands and forearms. But there are also strategic uses where straps are ideal.
Straps should be used primarily in practice styles where grip is a constraint, or in doing exercises designed to create a connection between the muscles and the brain in a specific muscle group.
Below is the information you need when you should use the strap and when you should use your bare hands.
When to use the strap
To make progress in the gym, you will need to get heavier exercise each time, longer and more continuously.
But once you are close to reaching your physical potential, weaker links will be the main purpose of the training. And it will be harder to keep lifting the weight in heavy pushes.
Using strategic straps throughout your maximum training session may be advantageous. It will keep you from being limited by your grip and allow other muscle groups of the body to be burdened more.
The hands, wrists, and muscles of the forearms predominate slowly, which means that its designed to withstand long periods of stress. Your grip is built to ensure durability, but there are many advanced workouts in which the total stress time (TUT) may be limited by your grip.
In an intense muscle-related exercise program, like doing more beats and keeping your muscles relaxed, your grip is not the limiting factor if you want to reap the benefits of lifting heavier weight.
For pull movements, where intense techniques are performed, straps are actually a preferred setting to maximize the challenge of each set.
You can also use the strap in more isolation movements to emphasize the actions of the muscles in the back, shoulders, or even the lower muscles.
Using the lat pulldown as an example, the first main muscle part is pushed. However, the forearms and biceps can bear a heavy load on the muscles of the buckets, making it very difficult to create strong, high-quality contractions for the muscles of the bucket.
By using straps, the handle can relax and the biceps are not under-stressed, making the load of the bucket load more.
The same principle can apply to high deadlift cases with emphasis on the back, direct shoulder burdens such as flexing the muscles, and even lower body muscle movements such as dumbbell lunges.
When not to use the strap
If you are new to strength training, you should not use a strap. You are improving your motor skills and learning to put pressure on your whole body.
Not wearing a strap for the first one or two years will strengthen your joints and prevent unnecessary shoulder, elbow, and spine pain.
Lift weights with your bare hands to improve the irradiation effect, transferring the force from your hands up in the dynamic sequence. Sure, it limits the weight you can handle, but this is a good thing when sample movements are first developed.
What about the pros? While the pro is entitled to heavy training. You still need to be careful with the strap.
Sure, the strap will allow heavier weights to be lifted, pushed, especially when your fingers and hands are weak and unable to hold heavy weights.
But even the pro should not use straps frequently. Only used when doing extremely heavy sets. All start and end sets must be rough. And most of the training sessions should also not use straps.
Finally, if the strength of your grip or biceps is weak, use strenuous physical work with your rough hands to make them stronger. Then, when the grip and forearm are emphasized more during exercise, your biceps will also be used at a higher rate.
Although its a good thing to get this done for pros, having your hands and biceps fully owned in drag exercises can be challenging. Use the strap wisely.
This accessory is abused and used in the most improper way. Be polarized with topics on the strength of your abs and back problems. This accessory is right at the heart of a hotly debated question:
“Will regular use of belt weaken abdominal muscles?”
The best answer is almost in the middle of the polarizing view. And in this case, it very much depends on the user and the unique factors of each person.
When to use a belt
Everyone wants a specific answer when it comes to using belts for heavy lifting and weight lifting. Should you start using it once you lift the deadlift at 180kg? Or should you use it every time you intend to raise your maximum of 90%?
But each weight lifter has a different individual body structure, purpose, training history and injury. There will be no precise rules for the use of belts for squats and deadlift.
The best indicator is a combination of training experience with heavy workouts and the ability to create a strong and durable frame through the cylinder (shoulders, hips, and abdomen).
High-end strength training – including regular weight lifting exercises for two years – is at a time when the trainee is experienced enough to use a belt to perform well.
If you have not exercised enough time, then you have not experienced enough to use a heavy belt to lift. The technique for you to create a strong and durable frame during lifting, pushing heavy dumbbells, and mixed movement takes years. If not to say it took a decade to fully master the process of using heavy training belts.
It is an ongoing process. This leads to the next standard when exercising with your belt: the hard and rigid frame (you must meet this standard to use a belt)
The rigid and durable frame creates maximum thrust around the hip joints and joints combined with the 360-degree expansion of the operation through the legs, arms, abdomen, and chest. It is a prerequisite when using the belt in the training equation.
Losing strength or stress to those who lift without creating a strong frame will be more severe if the belt is used. You do not add weight when you feel you are practicing the wrong movements. Similarly, you should not use a belt when you have not created a standard frame, strong and rigid.
Once you have created the standard chassis, and you decide to implement the belt strategy. The next question is when to use it for maximum benefit.
Most experienced professional weight lifters will achieve success by using belts for competition or training sets (not for starter sets). So, if you are exercising at a high level, or relative intensity in weight lifting types such as squat or deadlift, use the belt to enhance your performance and maximize your belt use.
When not to use the belt
Most weightlifters who use a belt do not know what it is and how to use it. A large number of people who are not aware of the dangers of using a belt. They put on a belt and they hurt their backs.
If you are a beginner, or have back problems, make sure you know how to do it properly, stabilize and maintain tension through the middle area. Lack of basic experience to hold your body through your abs is the main reason for back pain, even when using a belt.
The belt is an advanced training tool for professional athletes. They have enough experience to apply it to their workouts to improve efficiency and stability when lifting large weights. It is not a fashion accessory.
Even for professional weightlifters, there are times when 100% lifting without accessories is still the preferred method. If an exercise focuses on the strength of your abs, do not use your waistband.
For upper body exercises such as pushing, sitting, pushing buckets, down on one leg, arms training, or cardio exercises, do not use a belt.
You should carefully assess your technical ability, experience, strength, and purpose before using the above tools.