There are definitely benefits to using a weightlifting belt:
Increased awareness or proprioception of the core by having something to press against
Can help to increase the pressure in the abdomen to support the spine during maximally loaded movements
Even the psychological benefit of the feeling of something supporting you
In this way, the belt can be utilized as a great tool.
The trouble comes when we start “needing” and create a dependency on the belt to complete sub-maximal movements in strength training, or to use the belt to mask weakness, discomfort, or pain.
If this is you, but you love CrossFit so much and putting on a belt takes the pain away and allows you to do a WOD, I think you’ll love CrossFit a whole lot more when you can trust your body to support itself and you can move pain-free. A weightlifting belt should not be doing the bracing work for you.
This is a vicious cycle that is very hard to get out of unless we put the belt away for a little while.
The recovery process begins with awareness. Can you differentiate bringing a breath into your upper lungs to raise your chest, or to your lower lungs to fill your belly?
What does it feel like to “brace”, or create tension in the muscles of the abdomen (including the diaphragm and pelvic floor)? Can you create an active brace while having a conversation or going for a walk? We need to be able to brace our abdomens without load before we can expect it to create support with load.
This is not sexy.
It’s not exciting or entertaining. But by being able to harness the natural strength and support of your core to perform all of your movements in the gym, your body will show you strength and capacity you’ve never seen before… And you can be strong just like Coach Tia! ;)
Use your belt as a tool, not a crutch. Stay tuned for part 2 on what to do next!
Sara Vis, RMT
The Athlete Centre
Sara Vis - RMT, BSc
The Athlete Centre
Coach at CrossFit Vic City
EMOM rotations x 3 rounds - Row 45 sec, 5 pushups + 10 squats amrap 45 sec, 6 double crunch + 3 inchworms amrap 45 sec
TEAM SPRINT INTERVALS
Both of these wods are for time, and you will get a score for each one :)!
With a team of 3 -
Part 1: 4 rounds each of 25' burpee broad jump, 5/8 ttb, 25' burpee broad jump. (SCORE 1 for total team time).
FG: Hanging Knee raise
CP: double reps of TTB (10/16 per round), 50' burpee broad jump on both ends
Rest as needed
Part 2: 4 rounds each
Assault bike 6/9 cals, box sled push 50'
- push a 16/20/24 box from behind one blue end line to over the far one and back. Box must stay level (i.e. full side is on the ground)
FG: sled push 25'
CP1: 9/14 cals. (SCORE 2 for total team time).