Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Metalheadbikerider
Joined
·
2,904 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Being the skinny cyclist I am, I have always been reluctant to use a weight belt for squats since I am not using 10 plates! Well, that has changed as of yesterday. I decided that I would give one a try, even though I am still in the hypertrophy phase of lifting, to check it out before I got the really heavy weights. The belt was awesome. Last week I found myself losing form on the 5th and 6th sets, and doing less reps as a result. Yesterday I did 12 reps for every set, and could concentrate more on really using the legs and not being afraid of pushing it too far for my lower back. Also, it might seem strange, but it has also worked as a small motivator for me to look forward to hitting the squat rack again.

If you don't already use a belt, give it a try. You'll be pleasantly surpised.

:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,905 Posts
free-agent said:
Being the skinny cyclist I am, I have always been reluctant to use a weight belt for squats since I am not using 10 plates! Well, that has changed as of yesterday. I decided that I would give one a try, even though I am still in the hypertrophy phase of lifting, to check it out before I got the really heavy weights. The belt was awesome. Last week I found myself losing form on the 5th and 6th sets, and doing less reps as a result. Yesterday I did 12 reps for every set, and could concentrate more on really using the legs and not being afraid of pushing it too far for my lower back. Also, it might seem strange, but it has also worked as a small motivator for me to look forward to hitting the squat rack again.

If you don't already use a belt, give it a try. You'll be pleasantly surpised.

:D
I found them to be constrictive and sometimes hamper my form. And I even have a narrow one. But I do hear you about the peace of mind aspect.

But I will always use one when in the strength phase.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
I think weight belts are a personal preference. I have read that a belt can develop into a crutch in that you are inhibiting the development of the core muscles that stabilize the spine. The only time you definitely need a belt is when you're lifting your max. IMO, I think the belt takes away from the many benefits you get from doing squats and if you are losing form, then you need to decrease the weight.
 

·
Metalheadbikerider
Joined
·
2,904 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I disagree....

kruegs35 said:
I think weight belts are a personal preference. I have read that a belt can develop into a crutch in that you are inhibiting the development of the core muscles that stabilize the spine. The only time you definitely need a belt is when you're lifting your max. IMO, I think the belt takes away from the many benefits you get from doing squats and if you are losing form, then you need to decrease the weight.
Doing 6 sets of squats gets tiring for the lower back towards the end, and the most important reasonfor me for doing them is leg strength. Core strength is an added benefit (which doesn't go away with the belt), but I also do separate work for the core.
If my legs can handle the weight I am doing, then it is an appropriate weight for this stage of lifting. Keep in mind, I am only lifting for roughly 6-8 weeks.
The belt brings some necessary piece of mind, and I wish I would have had the smarts to pick one up years ago when I began training for racing.
Thanks for the reply though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
This topic gets tossed around in the strength and conditioning circles along with the sports med folks. The trend lately is against using braces, belts and other protective devices since as mentioned earlier they can become "crutches." For example it is common practice by many college basketball teams for everyone to have their ankles taped before games/practice to prevent sprains. The general knowledge now supported by research shows that taping ankles can actually weaken ankles since the body doesn't have to rely on the muscles and ligaments that actually support and stabilize the ankle. Sort of a robbing Peter to pay Paul situation.

With lifting belts it is proven that by wearing one, intraabdominal forces are increased which has a stabilizing force on the lumbar spine. This can be useful when using heavy weights such as in power lifting or for someone with a previous back injury, but I have to question the use of a lifting belt for someone training for biking assuming they don't have any previous back injuries or are not training for something that is more back intensive.

Often in seeing people use belts, it is used to make up for improper form when doing a squat. I see people load up the bar with a ton of weight and go through a very small range of motion with the bar maybe moving up and down 6 inches at best. They use so much weight that their back gets tired before their legs have even gotten a workout and then they think they need a belt to help out. The problem can be corrected by lowering the weight and going through a fuller range of motion that actually targets the legs.

I would seriously question the safety of using a weight heavier than the back can handle without a belt. To me a more prudent way of going about this would be to strengthen the core to handle the weight used in squatting and to work on proper form. I don't know your particular situation though so I'm just throwing out some ideas here. Hope this helps!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
"I would seriously question the safety of using a weight heavier than the back can handle without a belt. To me a more prudent way of going about this would be to strengthen the core to handle the weight used in squatting and to work on proper form."

Ditto. Especially for cyclists who really do not need to explore the limits of their one rep (or three, or six, etc.) max.

Larry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,905 Posts
lghbnr said:
"Ditto. Especially for cyclists who really do not need to explore the limits of their one rep (or three, or six, etc.) max.

Larry
The original post was in reference to a periodized cycling specific strength training program. This program includes periods of Hypertrophy and two periods of strength. It then transitions to power and then on bike workouts.

In the 1st strength period sets of 6 are performed and in the next strength period it goes 5,4,3,2

A lot of people here and other amateur, elite and professional cyclists have seen great success with strength training programs like this in terms providing a foundation of strength prior to on bike workouts like sprints, and muscle endurance intervals to improve their cycling specific strength/power

So in this case there is need to explore the limits of low reps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
363 Posts
free-agent said:
Doing 6 sets of squats gets tiring for the lower back towards the end, and the most important reasonfor me for doing them is leg strength. Core strength is an added benefit (which doesn't go away with the belt), but I also do separate work for the core.
If my legs can handle the weight I am doing, then it is an appropriate weight for this stage of lifting. Keep in mind, I am only lifting for roughly 6-8 weeks.
The belt brings some necessary piece of mind, and I wish I would have had the smarts to pick one up years ago when I began training for racing.
Thanks for the reply though.
IMHO a weight belt should never be used unless your carrying 75lb boxes and its being held below the waist. Yes a belt is good for hoisting weight up such as dead lifts but even then it is a crutch and your form will depend on it exposing you to injury when that belt is not there for you.

With that being said work on your core and on days when you do squats warm up on a fitness ball doing 2-3 excercises that focus on the inner lower back muscle around the spine. I do the bird-dog and hip raises on the ball and then when I get to squats my lower back holds up great.

Carl
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
176 Posts
Weight belts

The post above is correct that there is a move in the S&C bunch away from such protective equipment. But, for those who are doing a fairly short weight training cycle [as opposed to FB players who tend to lift year round], to develop MAXIMAL motor unit recruitment, you DO need VERY HEAVY weights. The post is incorrect about there being no place for this type of training in a cyclist.

Anyway, heavy efforts in a healthy, young athlete should still include the protection/support of a belt. For us old guys [nearing 50] it IS necessary for most of this type of lifting, at least if you are prone to lower back problems. I have a very good 10 min core workout I do every morning...in fact, I've shared it in the past on this board...still, my back is sore quite frequently. This year I am altering my lifting as I am just not focused on racing next year. Don't know if I will or not. So: I will go through 2 cycles of hypertrophy/recruitment/maximal power lifting, AND overlapping with some recreational rides. Definitely using the belt.

Free-agent: I TRULY hope you are giving your utmost in your training this season. Every single workout in a structured plan needs to be done TO THE MAX! Remember, you shouldn't have the ability to hammer a bicycle commute if you are training with sufficient intensity! Best wishes and Merry Christmas!
 

·
Metalheadbikerider
Joined
·
2,904 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Merry Christmas....

and Happy New Year to you as well.
I went back to the same hypertrophy workout sans belt (after a week off due to a trip to FL) and did well without it. I plan to do one more week of hyp, and then two weeks of strength. I am going much deeper into my exercises with less weight and feel really good. I also recently bought a SS and plan to do a bunch of riding on that this Winter. In fact, I'm dying for a ride so I am waiting for the sun to pop up so I can do some miles right now.
My goal is to find a balance between being a racer and being a mtb'er. It's a delicate balance for me, but I think I can be competitive in expert and still enjoy mtb vacations and fun rides with non-racing friends. I may not be at my peak, but it's what I enjoy
Sounds like you might be in a similar position? No matter what I do, I will be hitting each workout with the intensity of a rabid pit-bull and will be my strongest ever!
Good to hear from you-take care Doc.
 

·
bikerbert
Joined
·
1,082 Posts
Belts are VERY dangerous

free-agent said:
Being the skinny cyclist I am, I have always been reluctant to use a weight belt for squats since I am not using 10 plates! Well, that has changed as of yesterday. I decided that I would give one a try, even though I am still in the hypertrophy phase of lifting, to check it out before I got the really heavy weights. The belt was awesome. Last week I found myself losing form on the 5th and 6th sets, and doing less reps as a result. Yesterday I did 12 reps for every set, and could concentrate more on really using the legs and not being afraid of pushing it too far for my lower back. Also, it might seem strange, but it has also worked as a small motivator for me to look forward to hitting the squat rack again.

If you don't already use a belt, give it a try. You'll be pleasantly surpised.

:D
The reason being is they put severe stress on the thorcal lumbar fascia, and cause your abdomen to work in the exact OPPOSITE way it is supposed to as you move. A belt will cause your belly button to push against the belt as you come up. It should actually be drawn in toward the spinal column as hard as possible to not only protect your lumbar spine, but to get the glutes more involved in the standing process.

A belt will also keep your hips from tucking underneath you as you stand up, keeping them tilted anteriorly which is dangerous over time.

Find any articles by Paul Chek on weight belts, and you'll never use one again.

Al Painter, NASM
2005 CitySports Magazine Best Bay Area Personal Trainer
 

·
bikerbert
Joined
·
1,082 Posts
If you want to load your legs heavy safely without a belt....

free-agent said:
Doing 6 sets of squats gets tiring for the lower back towards the end, and the most important reasonfor me for doing them is leg strength. Core strength is an added benefit (which doesn't go away with the belt), but I also do separate work for the core.
If my legs can handle the weight I am doing, then it is an appropriate weight for this stage of lifting. Keep in mind, I am only lifting for roughly 6-8 weeks.
The belt brings some necessary piece of mind, and I wish I would have had the smarts to pick one up years ago when I began training for racing.
Thanks for the reply though.
Do single leg dumbbell squats. If your forms starts to break down, all you need to do to be safe is pitch the dummies. I've got a Cat 1 road racer that work with, and he did these in his hypertrophy phase and accomplished more stability, size and strength all at the same time. A single squat is one of the single most effective exercises for cycling power/strength. Leg presses will trash your lumbar spine because they inhibit the nervous system's ability to move the pelvis naturally.
 

·
Metalheadbikerider
Joined
·
2,904 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Good one Nat-how's Bend?

Nat said:
Where is that, somewhere between the SoCal and NorCal lumbar fascia?
Been riding much now that winter is here?
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top