Training Based on Beltlessness Training Based on Beltlessness

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Thread: Training Based on Beltlessness

  1. #1

    Default Training Based on Beltlessness

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    So I'm wondering...

    Pavel is the one who popularized the Smolov on which I'm embarking yet again.

    Pavel says no gear in the base phase--not even a belt!--and base your percentages off the your beltless max. The intensive phase is the one where you use your competition gear and base your percentages off your competition gear max.

    Jack Reape whose thoughts I take very seriously also says that most training should be done without a belt.

    So I'm thinking about this Smolov phase and about my first Smolov. First time I trained it without a belt or any knee support. Took my SQ from 245 to 295 and then I got to 315 after a couple weeks of PTP-style daily training.

    I've since been training with a belt for all heavy work and have also since pulled off one more Smolov base phase and got 40 lbs out of it.

    Anyway, I'm here wondering if maybe, possibly the Smolov would be more effective if I used my beltless max and trained it beltless. I know, I know, this seems to go against all those defenses of belt use that I've written. But I've also said that gear use (and the belt is "gear" as much as wraps or a suit or a shirt) has its places and that it's up to the lifter to be smart about when to use it.

    Maybe the Smolov loading is best done with a max that reflects absolutely no external aid..? I do believe it's good to expose the body to some submaximal loads with absolutely no supportive equipment...I just think the hard training should usually be done with some support that increases lifting efficiency and safety.

    But I wonder if this is one of those times to go entirely raw.

  2. #2
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    I'd say give it a shot and see what kind of results your get, but I personally don't see any reason as to why it would spurn more progress.

    -Hat

  3. #3
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    I'm currently training in a moderately insane style (daily heavy singles and backoff work in all lifts) that is netting large PR's, and I have thought about this subject as well.

    I don't really buy that beltless = more rapid strength gains than belted, but I could probably buy that, since the absolute loading is higher with a belt, you're more likely to overwork yourself when training frequently in a belt. I.e. even if unbelted/belted gains were comparable-ish, unbelted might be better at times simply by virtue of netting those strength gains without quite as much loading on your body.

    Of course, this depends on a whole lot of stuff, including the interaction between belt use and mechanics. For some people, their form is tighter in the belt, and this argument is less applicable. For others, they kind of "exploit" the belt to some degree and use mechanics which might be a little less conducive to not exploding (a little more GM-y/roundback-y).

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by blowdpanis View Post
    I don't really buy that beltless = more rapid strength gains than belted, but I could probably buy that, since the absolute loading is higher with a belt, you're more likely to overwork yourself when training frequently in a belt. I.e. even if unbelted/belted gains were comparable-ish, unbelted might be better at times simply by virtue of netting those strength gains without quite as much loading on your body.

    Of course, this depends on a whole lot of stuff, including the interaction between belt use and mechanics. For some people, their form is tighter in the belt, and this argument is less applicable. For others, they kind of "exploit" the belt to some degree and use mechanics which might be a little less conducive to not exploding (a little more GM-y/roundback-y).
    Yes! Exactly! This is the point I was trying to make. Smolov is controlled overreaching, but maybe using the belted max and training with the belt really does push it toward overtraining territory. The whole point of the belt (and even knee sleeves and relatively light knee wraps) is to allow you to load a little heavier and still work harder; this amount of gear allows you to work harder and doesn't really "give" you any extra pounds (no gear just "gives" pounds; you have to work for them).

    You could maybe get the same effect when using a belt and wraps by dialing your percentages down. That's what I ended up doing this Smolov cycle after Brett told me of his experiences with slightly dialing down the target percentages in his training. I found my fairly hard training max in just a belt, then got the percentages, dialed those down 10 lbs and added knee wraps because a) I had to with the way my left knee has been feeling and b) they give about 10 lbs of rebound out of the bottom which essentially brought my training loads down another 10 lbs. So I'm really training with closer to 65, 70, 75, and 80 this first week instead of 70, 75, 80 and 85.

    I suppose I could have just found my beltless training max (about 90% of my belted training max) and used the percentages based on that and trained without a belt or anything heavier than knee sleeves.

    And by the bye, my form is very much tightened by belt and knee wrap use. I go deep every time when I have wraps on because I'm not limited by knee pain at the bottom and bracing hard against the belt with my abs helps me maintain the back angle much, much better. I tend to get bent over much more easily without the belt.
    Last edited by Gary Gibson; 06-02-2010 at 11:15 PM.

  5. #5
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    Gary, sorry to hyjack but I have a question -

    I've also wanted to ditch my belt at times, but I'm concerned I'll be more prone to back injury abdominal hernia. what is your opinion of that, especially considering you're about to drop the belt?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by cannibal.horse View Post
    Gary, sorry to hyjack but I have a question -

    I've also wanted to ditch my belt at times, but I'm concerned I'll be more prone to back injury abdominal hernia. what is your opinion of that, especially considering you're about to drop the belt?
    Not about to drop it. Just wondering if training harder with it on this deliberate overreaching program is ideal. I would definitely NOT ditch it in your case, just like I won't ditch my knee wraps or sleeves because both my knees are tricky.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Gibson View Post
    Not about to drop it. Just wondering if training harder with it on this deliberate overreaching program is ideal. I would definitely NOT ditch it in your case, just like I won't ditch my knee wraps or sleeves because both my knees are tricky.
    part of me likes the idea of not training with a belt - its just something between me and the barbell you know? plus I'm actually from the same forum of kyle aaron - its hard to justify your lifts when people think your not worthy because you wear a belt.

    I just dont want to fuck my lower back.
    Last edited by cannibal.horse; 06-03-2010 at 07:28 AM.

  8. #8
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    I think in a concentrated loading cycle (like smolov), you also have give some weight to the injury prevention potential of wraps, belt or whatever...you know whats its like toward the end of a cycle like that...you are bumping up against the injury/overuse limit...is it worth the risk? It's a risk/reward trade off to a degree

  9. #9
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    Interesting. I only started using a belt and knee sleeves this year, and now I feel like I can't train without them. Just last week I felt the need to wear my belt while I bench because my lower back was cramping..and now I cant bench without a belt.
    I dont think there is any way I can squat without knee sleeves anymore.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAD9692 View Post
    Interesting. I only started using a belt and knee sleeves this year, and now I feel like I can't train without them. Just last week I felt the need to wear my belt while I bench because my lower back was cramping..and now I cant bench without a belt.
    I dont think there is any way I can squat without knee sleeves anymore.
    thats kinda how I feel. Theres a gym down from my gfs and its not like i can hit it up when she gets all narky because I dont have my belt.

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