WATCH: Why Do I Always Wear a Belt?

TAGS: pain management, belt placement, belt, briefs, clint darden, abs, strongman, powerlifting, training, Video

COACH

Listen. Normally, I love answering your questions. But some questions make me want to bite a person’s head off. And yeah, this is one of those questions:

"Clint, why do you wear a belt all the time, even on your warm-ups? Don’t you want stronger abs?"

But then I remember it’s one of those questions that also requires me to take a step back and reflect on how I got to where I am today. That’s an extremely valid question and one I haven’t answered in many years.

I’ve gone in circles over the whole belt thing. Then I started trying with guys at the gym, and they wore them. So I grabbed them off the wall and you know, you kind of felt like someone. It was more of an accessory, like how gold earrings and gold chains used to be. You just wore one because everyone did.

When I got involved in strongman, I was more involved in what I thought was functional training — getting stronger and doing cool stuff. I didn’t wear a belt at my first couple events until a friend of mine talked me into wearing one.

I didn’t perform any better with the belt, but I had less pain for several days after when I wore a belt. It’s the same thing with sleeves and wraps. It’s not that I can perform better with them on; it’s just that the next few days, I can go back into the gym and train and have less pain than when I didn’t wear them.

Now, onto the abs. I train my abs separately. I don’t do as much ab work as I used to, and I don’t usually do it on video. I do have a squat rack at home and bumper plates and barbells and bands — I do a lot of stuff with bands. But basically, I don’t do a lot of stuff on video.

As for the stuff you see on video, I use the belt to keep my briefs in place so they don’t slide up and down.

More importantly, I put my belt on about two notches looser than when I would use it for a max-rep lift. Loosening it up is a warm-up for my abs and lower back. It reinforces how you’re supposed to use your abs when you lift.

Weightlifters, on the other hand, seem to think a slinky, thin leather belt that’s got a buckle in the front and the wide pad in the back will protect their back. It hurts to think about.


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Your abs — your core, front and back and all the way around — need the support all the way around. The belt adds an extra thick layer, a wall, of abdominal material. You have to press out to create that tension in your abs.

When you see me warming up with my belt on, the belt’s loose enough for me to completely spin it around. I usually pull it up high to the position to where I’m pushing my belly out as hard as possible to keep it out of position. What you don’t see is when I walk off-camera, I push my belt down a little bit and it falls to the bottom of my waist and hips, which make up a narrower portion of my belly area.

I have my athletes wear belts while warming up and loosen it by one hole, maybe two. It teaches them how to use their core before going in for that big final lift.

I hope that gives you a good idea about why I put my belt on first thing. It’s a process of learning and priming. Put them on first, just like you would a pair of shoes before you go outside.

Never be afraid to put one on and try it. Trust me, I wouldn’t be wearing it unless it had a purpose.

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