Work up to a max effort single. Feet must stay flat on the ground and knees must stay locked out. Both arms must lock overhead out simultaneously.
Work up to a max single. Feet must stay flat on the ground, no hitching, knees may not re-bend to complete the lift. Maintain a neutral spine throughout each attempt.
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Be careful not to let your warm-ups fatigue you too much for your heavy singe attempts. Example warm-ups and attempts are below. However, these are just examples, and you should adjust according to how you feel and what’s worked for you in the past. Understand that not every testing day will result in PRs. The takeaway in this example is doing only a few reps (singles or doubles) so as not to be too fatigued for their heavy attempts. Leave yourself at least 2 minutes between your last warm up and your first attempt, then between each heavy attempt as well.
Press (Previous 1RM of 115, goal of a new 1RM ~120)
45×5, 75×5, 95×1-2, 105×1
Deadlift (Previous 1RM of 270, goal of a new 1RM ~280-285)
135×5, 185×5, 225×1-2, 255×1
Tabata Row for Calories
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Coach Jeremy getting set to squat. | We’re in the eighth and final week of our programming cycle before Crush Week, which means we’ll be hitting 1 Rep Maxes (RMs). Make sure to tell us all about your new Personal Records (PRs) in the comments!!
Should I Use a Belt For My Lifts?
By Chris Fox
A weightlifting belt can be a useful tool to help you get stronger. It can also be a crutch that a weak lifter relies upon to move more weight than they should. How do you know where on that spectrum you lie? Read on…
Why would I use a belt? Does it protect my back?
The short answer is that when properly used, a weightlifting belt will help stabilize your spine, and a more stable spine will move more weight. In terms of getting stronger, more weight is better. It’s no coincidence that all of the biggest weights moved in competition are moved by a lifter wearing a belt. Thus, a weightlifting belt can be a useful tool in a lifter’s quest to get stronger. The following quote from the 3rd Edition of Starting Strength sums it up very well:
A belt protects the spine by increasing the amount of pressure that can be applied to it by the muscles that support it. The belt itself reinforces the “cylinder” of the ab muscles around the spine. At the same time, the belt acts as a proprioceptive cue for a harder abdominal contraction: you can actually squeeze harder with a belt on than without one, just as you can push harder against a loaded barbell than you can against a broomstick.
It augments the lifters ability to use their abs and other trunk stabilizing muscles to stabilize the spine. A more stable spine can move more weight. A lifter who moves more weight becomes stronger. You can see the logic there. The belt alone does not protect your back. It constricts the abdominal cavity. When you take a deep belly breath and contract the muscles that stabilize the trunk, they now have a smaller area to push out into, thus creating more pressure, which helps to stabilize your spine. Yes, when you use your abs effectively they actually push your belly out. We do not “draw in” when we want to use our abs to stabilize our spines! Think about when you were a small child and someone asked you to “make a muscle,” usually meaning to flex your biceps. Did you strive to make the muscle look smaller? No, you pushed it out as hard as you could. The same goes for your abs.
Put another way, the belt is not a passive stabilizer of your spine. The belt enhances the effectiveness of the Valsalva Maneuver. When you have less area to breath into and push your abs into, that air and the contraction of the abs creates more pressure. It’s like putting 13 ounces of soda in a 12-ounce can and then shaking it up. The pressure inside makes it harder to crush. The opposite effect could be achieved by simply opening the tab on the can. It would be easy to deform the can. This is why we don’t inhale or exhale when we are exerting ourselves to move a heavy weight. We hold our breath and stay tight to move it. The belt assists that effort, and as you move heavier weights your abs get stronger in response to the harder isometric contractions they are producing.
Novice lifters SHOULD NOT use belts to assist their lifts.
A novice is any person new to lifting or coming back to lifting after a significant layoff from lifting, and they should not be using a belt. A novice lifter starts light enough to not hurt themselves as they are perfecting the lifts. As your “mover” muscles get stronger (i.e., the muscles that articulate your arms/shoulders and legs/hips) so do your stabilizer muscles (i.e., the muscles that keep your spine rigid). If you use a belt too soon, you can stunt the strength development of the muscles that stabilize your spine. The problem there is that your “mover” muscles become disproportionately strong compared to your stabilizing muscles. When this happens you’re at increased risk of a spinal injury.
Furthermore, if incorporated into training too early on, a belt can help compensate for poor movement patterns like an asymmetrical shifting of the hips in the squat which can lead to hip injuries. The short solution is to let your limbs and your technique catch up with your spine—not the other way around.
When should I start to use a belt?
When you’ve trained consistently for a while—from at least 6 months of regular training up to as long as a year—you’ll have developed significant enough strength and coordination such that you may benefit from using a belt. At this point you should have developed proficiency in the lifts and may have even started to fail on an initial linear progression (LP). I cannot emphasize enough that you should be proficient in the lifts before using a belt. Using a belt as a crutch to work around inefficiencies is a recipe for injury (ask me how I know…).
If you’ve lifted long enough and well enough, then you can enhance your training and get stronger by using a belt to move more weight. If you do it correctly then your rectus abdominus, obliques, transverse abdominus, multifidi, etc. will get stronger as your quadriceps, hamstring, adductors, and biceps, triceps, deltoids, and pectorals, etc. do. You’ll develop balanced strength.
When should I use a belt?
You should use it only when you need it. For most athletes that means your last warm-up set on heavy days and then your heavy work sets. You should not need to use a belt on light to medium (below 85-90%) days and should really never use it on WODs. I really can’t stand seeing athletes doing WODs with very sub-max loads using a belt to compensate for shitty technique. Don’t be that person.
An exception would be an athlete with a history of disc injury who could benefit from the extra stabilization a belt can provide. In that case, use it judiciously and as infrequently as possible.
What type of belt should I use, and where does it go?
There are a few shapes, sizes, and types of belts available out there. For most lifts, a belt with a consistent width are the best. Best Belts make good quality powerlifting belts and there are others available like it. A good belt is made of a few ply of quality leather or suede and has one or two metal prongs to secure it. They generally come in 4” and 3” widths—your individual anatomy will determine which feels better for you. Some lifters prefer a tapered belt for comfort between the ribs and pelvis (Best Belts also makes these). The taper should be relatively small.
Belts such as this ridiculous thing should be avoided. They’re marketed to a population that thinks the belt will do all the work by supporting the back and make it almost impossible for the lifter to properly use the reinforcement a belt can provide.
Nylon belts with a gradual taper and softer sides are popular in weightlifting due to their comfort, and due to the ease of taking on and off as needed during a WOD. I use them for heavy cleans or front squats because they’re more comfortable. Be aware, however—I’ve seen a few of the cheap ones come apart at the bottom of a heavy lift a few times over the years. The velcro closure just isn’t as strong as leather and metal. As far as nylon, I really like the Harbinger Belt I recently borrowed from a member for some heavy front squatting, and coaches Noah and David are really digging on the ones coming from Blitz Belts (bonus points for the cool logo!).
Whatever type of belt you use it should, for the most part, fit snuggly just around your belly button. Some deadlifters like to wear it a bit higher for the comfort it can provide in the setup so you might play around with that. For deadlifts or cleans, I personally only like to use them on heavy singles. Any more than that and it moves around on me which causes me to think more about the belt that the heavy bar I’m trying to separate from the cozy gym floor it would like to lazily rest on.
Hopefully this info helps demystify some of the info about what a belt does and how and when to properly use one. THREE CHEERS TO MOVING BIG WEIGHTS!!!
Addicted to Distraction The New York Times
Do you use a belt when you lift?