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Show highlights include:

  • How to “mimic” what a weight belt does to your body without splurging on an expensive weight belt (2:18)
  • Why using a weight belt can backfire on you and make you weaker (3:04)
  • You should only use a weight belt at this specific percentage of your one rep max (3:20)
  • The powerlifter’s trick to lift heavier weights with ease (6:06)
  • How to reduce pain and swelling in your knees so you can recover quicker and perform better (8:24)
  • How insurance agencies fundamentally sabotage the relationship with your personal trainer (12:11)
  • The ugly truth about why you wear a weight belt that will sacrifice your results over time (19:37)
  • The absolute worst time to wear a weight belt (21:21)

If you want to schedule a virtual appointment with Sami Herbster or learn more about how she can help you, visit her website at https://www.posturalsolution.com/ or send her an email at sami@samihersbterpt.com.

If you’re ready to become the best version of yourself, head over to https://RedHShop.com to find the best supplement solution for you. And you can save 20% with the coupon code PODCAST20 at checkout!

Read Full Transcript

Hey y'all and welcome to the everyday athlete podcast recorded live from Omaha, Nebraska and I'm your host, Katie danger U S army veteran and founder of Red H Nutrition providing everyday athletes just like you, clean, effective nutritional solutions, custom formulated to help you reach your absolute potential every single day.

Hey athletes, how's everyone doing today? We're getting after today with episode number 21 and today I'm going to be talking about the devices and weightlifting. Now most of you are already probably using assisted devices in your training and those could include weight belts, knee sleeves, knee wraps, wrist supports, that's just to name a few. The most common though, the ones that we're going to focus on today are weight belts and knee sleeves and they're going to be the highlight of the episode today. Now essentially any piece of gear that adds support or integrity to a join or lever system for your anatomy is an assisted device. The idea is that we're creating stability, whether it's in the core with a weight belt or the knees, wrists, or any other joint in the body. Athletes are going to use wrist wraps and belts to give them the added support during maximal lifts and athletes are also going to use more flexible options like sleeves where they're providing some stability, but it still allows for full ranges of motion through the joint.

(01:14): Then you've got athletes like your powerlifters. They want maximum strength and maximum stability through the joint and typically under maximum or near maximum loads. And these reps, they're tight and they're stiff. They restrict joint movement to a single intended plane of motion for any athlete of any level. Assisted devices offer both advantages and disadvantages. Today I'm going to be discussing those pros and cons as they relate to weight belts, knee sleeves and reps, plus bringing our very first guest to the podcast. Physical therapist, dr Sami Harpster, weight belts. We all have them. Some of us have even splurged on some really fancy ones. They're custom. They got all the bells and whistles, you know what I mean? These things are like they're built like a brick shithouse. Some have metal claps that they secure and others use Velcro. The purpose of a weight belt doesn't change though.

(01:59): No matter the level of the fancy. The goal is to create intra abdominal pressure or pressure in your abdomen during heavy or strenuous weightlifting. This pressure creates a rigid core. It stabilizes your spine and it helps you increase your maximum power. This pressure also keeps your spine from collapsing under heavy weight. You can create your own intraabdominal pressure without a weight belt, and what you do is it's called the valsalva maneuver. You breathe in, you hold your breath, and you push out with your stomach muscles and this like a pseudo weight belt, this Valsalva maneuver. It gives your stomach something to push against, which increases your intra abdominal pressure. Now, there are some disadvantages to weight belts and a common misconception about the weight belt is that it supports your spine during normal moderate weight training. However, the weight belt is too narrow and rigid. No matter if you're using the really heavy duty one or a Velcro lighter support, one the way build is too narrow and rigid to provide proper spinal support.

(02:54): In this case, if you have a previous injury or if you feel you need spinal support, I really recommend that you talk to your doctor or physical therapist about an inappropriate back brace for training. Now when you use a weight belt incorrectly, incorrectly, it discourages the use of your own core and abdominal muscles and these muscles are necessary to build and help protect your spine. When they're used as a crutch, they can actually weaken your abdominal muscles and give you a false sense of security. Here's some best practices for you. Utilize a weight belt during heavy lifting workouts at or above 80% of your one repetition maximum. You can also use them for spinal support during heavy squatting and deadlifts. As your strength improves, I want you to discontinue wean yourself off the use of that weight belt, especially if you're lifting under that 80% max.

(03:41): You do not want to be using a weight belt. Now, typical sports like powerlifting usually require really heavy lifting and they're not doing high rep workouts, right? This isn't like barbell cycling. We're talking about clean snatches and jerks and maybe sets of one or two even unsupported overhead lifts like heavy shoulder presses that could warrant the use of a weight belt. As the lifts get heavier as we get fatigued, weight belts are a really great asset to add into your training, to push through fatigue, push through that brief instability we experience because of fatigue and reap the rewards of the stimulus that you place on your body. Here's what not to do. Don't use a weight belt for lifting. It's under 80% of your one rep max. It discourages the use of your own muscles. Do not wear a weight belt for core strengthening exercises like planks, crunches, Trump rotations like the Russian twist.

(04:30): If you're looking for my personal recommendation on what I use, I've got a few suggestions, but it really all starts on what you're training for. If you're barbell cycling like typical in a CrossFit workout under heavy too, like moderate load, 75% or less. I like weight belts that are Velcro. One of my favorite brands is two pood brand and it just goes around the middle of your belly and it's got a metal class that you tighten, but then it secures down with Velcro. I really liked that cause it's not stiff. It allows you to move and breathe through your Bible cycling. Now if you're doing heavy, heavy one rep max slips, like a power lift, really heavy dead lift, or maybe even a heavy Olympic lift where your repetitions aren't as high. I have a sturdy, custom built leather belt because it's cut for my size.

(05:13): You know, you don't really, it's not one size fits all like a lot of these belts are. So if you really want to go all in, get yourself two kinds of weight belts, one for barbell cycling that's less different than a really sturdy custom leather one that's fit for you. So now I want to transition into what is probably the most commonly used assisted device and that is a knee sleeve. And chances are you're either using one or somebody you know is using a knee sleeve in addition to knee sleeves. There's also knee wraps and they're similar in function, but the application and there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both. So first we're going to talk about knee reps and knee wraps are commonly worn by competitive powerlifters and bodybuilders. Knee wraps are made out of the same elastic material that you find in wrist wraps or an ACE bandage, right?

(05:58): It's like one long piece of fabric and it's got lasting material in it. And you can wrap that around as tight or as loosely as you want around the joint. There's some advantages to knee wraps and the reason that knee wraps are so highly valued by powerlifters is that they allow more weight to be lifted in the squat. And how does that work? How on earth can any rep help you get stronger? Well, it is all based in anatomy and physiology and how the levers in our muscles and our tissues all work so beautifully and synergistically together during the East centric or downward phase of the squat. So when you're lowering into the bottom of the squat, the tightness of the reps allow for a high amount of elastic energy to be stored, which subsequently when you come out of the bottom of the squat, it gets released, right?

(06:38): And so you get this elastic energy release and it lets you lift heavier and get out of the hole faster. Further new reps, they're believed to reduce stress on the pulling forces of the quad tendon, the quads attests patella. The patella is a kneecap. So if we can release some of that tension on the patella, it essentially reduces the stress on the tendon, helping you feel better, not as much pain. Now when you consider the monster weights that these powerlifters are lifting the squat, it really makes sense why a power lifter is going to choose a new rep, right? This is like a 1% advantage on top of 1% advantages where at high levels these small incremental advantages really, really start to become apparent. Now, of course, because there's advantages, there's disadvantages. New reps allow you to move more weight, but they don't necessarily help you get any stronger because they are restrictive in nature and typically we're not completely covering the patella.

(07:28): They can increase, depending on how you wrap, they can increase the friction on the patella. So you know that could lead to injury too. So once again you have to be smart about how you're applying these to your training. Okay knee wraps. But now we've got knee sleeves. What are knee sleeves? Nice leaves are compression sleeves and they slide over your knees. They're typically one piece. They are one piece and the sleeves are one piece unlike wraps where they're one piece but they go over the knee and multiple directions or multiple times. And the sleeves are generally Mount of a neoprene material, some thicker, some thinner than others. They are advantages to knee sleeves and those include protecting the knee from future injury of risks or damage. They're not knee braces though. And you've probably seen the braces in the gym too. I mean it's kinda like a cast, just a little less restrictive.

(08:14): This generally is to protect previous injuries from getting further damaged and these leaves, they're not intended to be worn to fix an already damaged or unstable name. So here's what knee sleeves do provide. However, they provide very, very valuable compression. This compression helps to increase blood flow and it reduces pain and swelling in the knee joint during an after workout. This is ultimately gonna help you recover quicker. It allows you to perform better on a day to day basis if you're doing two-a-days, really keeping that inflammation down or that compression certainly helps you hit those two days as hard as you want to. And now while knee sleeves do add warmth and compression, they also help the mechanics of a given movement by limiting movement. They provide lateral stability and can increase your proprioception. And what I mean by proprioception is when you have that knee sleeve on, it gives your brain feedback.

(09:03): You have that sense and relative position of the neighboring parts of the body. And in this case with a knee sleeve, you start to realize where your knee joint is and how it moves throughout space. It helps you employ better strength and effort as you work out. Now, just like knee wraps, just like weight belts, just like any assisted device, there are some disadvantages to knee sleeves and the first are pretty superficial. It's that they can be a little bit pricey. I'm really surprised with the amount of competition and number on the market today that they're not cheaper. However, they can be pricey and if you don't wash them, they get really, really stinky. So let's just move on and let's just assume that I'm, you're an athlete out there and you wear your knee sleeves because it makes you feel stronger, right? You don't have pain when you move when you wear a knee sleeve.

(09:49): Well, athletes often make the mistake of assuming that if you wear a knee sleeve, it's automatically going to improve you and make you a better lifter. And this is false. It is flat out false. You still need to be diligent with regards to your mobility. You need to refine the mechanics of your lifts and you need to take care of your knee joint and your body the best that you can. When you start to move heavy weight and high volume, then it's time to put on the sleeves to help protect your knee from the stresses and strains that over and over clean, snatches and squats place on your body. Ultimately, the type of knee accessor you choose to wear will come down your particular fitness goals and concerns over the health of your knees. There is a reason knee wraps are preferred by power lifters as their goal and competition is to move as much weight as possible and there is a reason that the functional fitness community loves their knee sleeves.

(10:34): It's because it's really almost impossible in knee wraps, really, really sturdy knee wraps to cycle a barbell or or to do multiple repetitions of a squat. They're very restrictive. Now if you do decide to go with sleeves or a belt or whatever, just don't rely on them too much and fall away from your mobility, your technique, because all of these assisted devices have to do with movement. They have to do with moving heavy ass weight and getting on a period ice progressive program. And because all of this is about movement, I really thought it was important to bring on a doctor of movement to talk about how you can maximize your returns and training and when you should and should not be using assisted devices. So athletes, that brings me to our first guest on the podcast, Dr Sami Harpster. Hello, dr Sami. Hello. Hello. Welcome to the show.

(11:22): Hey Katie. Danger. This is so awesome. I being first on the podcast here, I was expecting that crazy awesome music and tree that we always get. I'm on the everyday athlete podcast and I guess that's a behind the scenes thing, so I'm anxious to hear this as this comes out because that music is pretty sick on your end. Thank you for the compliment athletes. Dr Sami is a graduate of Creighton's physical therapy program and great universities here in Omaha, Nebraska. And since graduation, instead of going into the typical clinic work, she is actually launched her own cash based

(11:54): Physical therapy clinic called postural solution. And Sammy, I want you to tell everybody about postural solution. Why did you choose this path? Why go cash based versus going the typical clinic route that 99% of your classmates chose?

(12:07): Yeah, that's a really good question. And I'm really, really passionate about this answer because I think that there are an infinite number of ways that we can help people. And as physical therapists, the lines are drawn when insurance is involved based on diagnosis and different parts of the body. And I think really looking at the whole entire body is super important. So what cash base means is that I don't go through insurance companies. And so I don't bill your insurance. We don't have diagnostic codes and I don't need a doctor's prescription in order to see you or treat you or try and figure out what's wrong. So in saying that without the insurance, I'm able to spend a lot more time with my patients and be determined by you and what our needs are. So 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes, it's kind of up to us.

(12:51): And then another great caveat of this is that I also can provide services that may not be billable typically from insurance. And what that means is in the fitness and movement industry, there's such a large spectrum of what movement means to someone and sometimes it's not always prescriptive and prescriptive means I can charge the insurance company for it. But non-prescriptive means like, I think it'd be really great if we worked with other healthcare professionals to see how we can get you moving better. And then maybe personal training and maybe a different movement practice or maybe other goals. And so it kind of blurred the lines of how I could help people in the way that like it opened a lot of doors for me. So in saying that the cash based model is a model that basically,

(13:32): Okay, I can just listen one-on-one to patients and be able to a coach and a guide when it comes to ever heard. The same. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. A major component to your competitive success will be your nutrition prep. And I create a competition nutrition guide to help you utilize pre-internet and post-competition nutrition protocols, boost your confidence heading into a competition, recover quicker post comps you get right back to training and increase your power output and max capacity so you can own that podium. I created this guy just for the everyday athlete and you get your free copy at competitionnutritionguide.com. I'll say again, competitionnutritionguide.com

(14:09): dr Sam you're on the everyday athlete podcast and the audience consists of athletes who have lots of Priorities in life. One of those is fitness and finding optimal fitness through these tiny advantages that ultimately are a catalyst for big change. So what does a postural solution do for the everyday athlete specifically? Why and when would someone need to see a physical therapist?

(14:38): Okay. So I think that our main main ideas of when we need to see a physical therapist is when something's broken, when you've had surgery or when you have extreme pain or pain with any kind of movement. And yes, yes, yes, let's check all those boxes. I totally agree with that. But in being a movement professional and a movement enthusiast, there are so many different ways to skin a cat and being creative as a physical therapist and a movement professional. But we can tailor things to the individual that maybe aren't as cookie cutter per se. So postural solutions was evolved on the basis of really truly understanding exactly where that person is or that athlete is in their journey, in their day, in their life. Because an everyday athlete is not always at a competitive level. It's not always we're trying to peak, we're always developing and always moving variables through life with a lot of different other interests.

(15:35): So the everyday athlete I think is a really unique and capable individual that sky's the limit on solutions to these quote unquote movement problems or pain problems. And a lot of times it just takes making meaning to what you're already doing to solve those problems. And I have to meet you exactly where you're at. So it's a pleasure to work with the everyday athlete because they all have the everyday athletes. Everyone listening here is somewhat interested in movement and it's some part of their life that helps fulfill them in some way. And when we take that away because of pain or dysfunction or things aren't feeling good, then we lose a little bit of part of ourselves. So hopefully I can add some value to maybe the pain in the movement side of things because I think it's very therapeutic and cathartic for us to move and feel our bodies.

(16:22): That's good stuff. I personally have had amazing results working with postural solutions. In my fitness and training, I have weaned myself off of a lot of assisted devices. So this stuff works. If you find yourself a physical therapist who works outside of that insurance model, you're probably going to find that a physical therapist fits into your routine. Just like Cairo does. Just like a massage. So Sammy, I want to tackle the meat of this week's episode. Assisted devices for athletes, knee wraps, knee sleeves, weight belts. You heard me talk about them. What are your thoughts on those? Is there a useful purposeful application for these devices in the training routine for the everyday athlete listening?

(17:03): Oh, I absolutely love this topic. I absolutely love this topic and you are consistently using the word assisted device and I think I'm going to switch it to tool or using tools. They are tools to get us from A to B and for some reason you or the everyday athlete has decided that like we can gather these tools to give us performance advantages. And as a therapist we look at the human body and I truly believe that everything that we need in our body, it's already built in. So if you need a belt for inter abdominal pressure, then what that's telling us is that maybe your inter abdominal pressure is not strong and stable enough. So you found a way or a tool to help you out with that. Congratulations on being ingenuity and zigging and zagging and being resourceful. But why don't we use that a little bit to our advantage to say, okay, this belt helps me lift heavier back squat once I hit 200 pounds.

(18:01): Why does it do that? Oh, it provides more stability through pressure. Oh, okay, well what happens if I don't have the belt? Well, something breaks. It's like the weak part of the link, the weakest link breaks. Well, cool. We found a tool that's basically uncovered this instability is the tool, our solution, and that's where I go, Whoa, I don't know if the tool is necessarily the solution. Depends on what your goal is and when. I inherently believe that the body is equipped with everything it needs to provide and support for itself and maybe not currently at this time. Maybe your left knee isn't as strong as your right knee, so it's more quote unquote unstable. So we use these as tools and I think that's the really important takeaway message that I want to say here is a tool to one, let us know maybe where we have weak links, but then how do we bridge that gap?

(18:52): Because my ultimate goal for everyone is can you perform exactly the same load conditions and range of motion without your tool? Because then we know we've changed the body, we've changed the body in a way that let's say maybe you need a weight belt to do deadlifts. And I love the way that Katie said the 80% that 80% of one rep max, if you're using your weight belt every time you do deadlifts is are you always doing deadlifts at 80% of your one rep max? So my big question to you guys that we love our tools, we love collecting things, we love all of these gadgets as we're working out. It makes it fun and interesting and gives us those 1%. But my question to you is why are you using them? And let me ask Katie here, we'll break this up a little bit. So Katie, why do you use a belt and when?

(19:40): Well I used to use it because I had shit form and I needed to make up for my shit farm. But I have progressed and matured as an athlete and I use it now specifically when I am getting close to a near maximum weight. 85 plus. I mean I know we talk about 80 but I've just kind of said a different personal Mark for myself cause I'm a go getter. But yeah, I use it now because I want to lift heavier and kind of overcome some of that brief instability that comes when you load your body up under intense weight. What would happen if you didn't use the belt? I would not feel confident that I could execute the lift properly.

(20:19): Okay. So in listening to Katie and the reasons why she's using her weight bell and when she's using it. The next question I'm going to ask her kitty, what are your goals with lifting to get strong as hell? It's strong yourself. Are you doing any competitions? Do we have a timeline on any of this? No. No. I want to be better than I was yesterday. Perfect. So we're not under tight constringent timelines of competition or any kind of periodization. So we've got to let the body adapt over time. And in adapting over time, what she's saying is that at high loads, her midline feels a little unstable. So she throws that belt on, it makes her feel kind of like superwoman and then she trains a little bit harder and then she'll come back to where she trains probably without a weight belt with lower weights.

(21:02): Am I correct? Yep. Okay. So, and her goal is not to like break, I don't know, a thousand pounds in a powerlifting competition in may. Well because it probably got canceled anyway. But in any case, we're training for life and we're training for longevity. So those are the questions I ask people. Now we can say, Katie, somebody different. And I say Katie, I've noticed at the gym that every single time we do barbell work, you throw on your weight belt, quiet. How come you ask me that question? You're going to say, cause my back kind of hurts. So when I found when I wear this belt, then I can train five days a week, three instead of three. And I also noticed that I don't have to do as much stretching and all that other kind of stuff and it's not miserable at work. And then I'm like, okay, so then I'd say, what are your goals? And I'm like, well, I want to be able to work out, okay, well maybe you're using that as a crutch. And that's where we get into like now it's not a tool, it's a crutch. It becomes the solution to your pain problem.

(21:56): Okay. Okay. So even though I have more work to do as an athlete, I understand this. So I guess for me too, if there's an athlete out there who's using their assistive device to overcome pain, what would you say to them? Like how do we work around this? Then? What's the next step? If we realize and we are committed to like, okay, I want to fix the foundation because if your foundation sucks, you could crumble. Right? It was kind of what we're doing. What's the next step? Then where do we go?

(22:22): Well, and this is where I really heavily rely on our fitness professionals that you're working with on a daily basis, but seeking a healthcare professional such as myself to go, Hey, I've always got to wear a weight belt when I deadlift, and that's the only way I can work out. I didn't know that that was a problem until I listened to this podcast. And now it's like, Oh wow, should I be doing it without a weight belt? How do I bridge the gap? And bridging the gap is where you need to help maybe reach out to your coach or reach out to your Cairo or your physical therapist or another personal trainer or, or dr Sammy or Katie danger. And we can kind of figure out what that means because a lot of the time, like when you're seeking a weight belt for stability, we're lacking core stability. But of course stability is pretty dynamic and, and comes a lot more complex than just doing planks or hollow holds or crunches. So it tells us something, but the body's so adaptable. Once we put in place a set of goals and start working towards it towards exercises, we should see a change. And how cool is that you only have to wear your way belt for your max lifts now instead of every time you grab a barbell. And that's where we're really building resilient everyday athlete,

(23:27): Resilient physically and resilient mentally. Because I know people out there when you've had a bad day at the gym, when you have not been able to lift what you know you're capable of, it affects your emotions too. Man, we get moody. So dr Sami, thank you so much. This was incredible information. I'm really excited for my, the

(23:46): Listeners of the podcast hear this, to digest it, to apply it. If somebody wants to get in touch with you, how can they reach you? Yes, perfect. So during this time, as we're all kind of adjusting to the new things in life and contact rules and so on, I am doing virtual appointments. The really cool thing about virtual appointments is my whole philosophy is to empower you to do all of these things on your own. So in my normal everyday evaluations and treatment sessions, we're doing probably about 75 or 80% of work that you're doing and about 20 to 25% of what I'm facilitating or actually hands on work. So virtual consultations are nearly the same. The backdrop just looks a little bit different, but the best way to contact me is I have a website. It's postural solution.com singular postural solution.com my email is also Sami S, a M I at Sammy Harpster, pt.com it's all on the website. I've got a button click schedule now and you will see some virtual options as we kind of move through this time, but I've got a consultation. We just sit down and chat and we talk a little bit about what you're using, what you're doing and what your goals are, and then we figure out how to move some of the pieces around. This was really fun for me. You guys and athletes are my favorite.

(24:57): All right, athletes. That was dr Samiand thank you. Thank you for tuning in to episode number 21. I hope you're able to take this information and apply it to your very next training session and keep on improving and taking another step towards your goals. Remember, send dr a message. If you want more information, you go to her website, postural solution.com Sammy, Sammy, harvester pt.com she's got a button, she's doing tele-health. She is available almost 24 seven for you to help you reach your goals. Her contact information will be in the show notes as well. Heck of an episode today. You guys, first guest ever on the everyday athlete podcast. I am looking forward to bring on more guests and hopefully there's more subjects and topics that come up. The dr Sammy can give us her insight on as well. Remember if you have a topic you want discussed or if you have questions, send me an email, katie@redhnutrition.com and we can chat next week.

(25:50): Episode number 22 I have another great episode. Planned anti nutrients. You know we talk a lot about nutrients, vitamins, minerals. We talk about all these things in our food in a positive light, but you guys, you got to know about the things lurking behind the scenes, these food additives, these genetically modified things that are getting added to our food and information is power. Knowledge is power and it is time to get woke. I'm going to talk about these additives that are in food and that can really set you back. Also, remember red ate shop.com podcast 20 coupon code will save you 20% on any of your nutrition needs. I know we are balancing and juggling life and especially right now with a new circumstance in our social and emotional world, there is no better time than now to take an active approach in your wellness and nutrition, so that's what ready for nutritionist here for red eight shop.com check out our micronutrition solution to help you bridge the gap between performance and wellness, optimize

(26:44): You and help you live your best life. You guys, until next week, this is Katie danger over and out.

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