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Minor rib contusion from belt

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  • Minor rib contusion from belt

    Background: I have been on the Novice LP for about 2 months. I am male, 5'10", 162 pounds, 25 years old. Last successful squat session was 220x3x5.

    Wednesday I tried using a 3 inch belt for the first time on the squat, deadlift, and press. (I had briefly experimented with a 2 inch belt before.) I had no pain during the workout. Shortly after I walked out of the gym (perhaps as long as 45 minutes, though I don't really recall), I noticed some minor discomfort while moving my torso in certain positions and coughing. I initially thought I had sore abs, but it was slightly more painful, and some poking around convinced me it was actually my left ribcage, particularly my lower rib. I suspect a rib got knocked into or pinched by the belt Wednesday.

    I tried squatting today (Friday), but the belt was causing discomfort during the bottom of the movement, and it jabbed me in a particularly bad way in the second work set, so I decided to stop. I was able to bench without any problems, though there was a little pain when I laid down on the bench (but nothing during the actual lift). I tried to do some chin-ups and felt moderate pain in my ribcage. The symptoms remain and perhaps are a little worse now (though they were getting slightly better prior to today's squat session).

    I emphasize that the day to day discomfort is quite mild, at a 1 or 2 out of 10 on the pain scale, if that. There is no pain if I am not moving my torso or coughing. Breathing is fine. It's not more than an annoyance, although one that prevents me from training as I would like to.

    Question 1: Would it be appropriate to work through this by squatting and DLing beltless for a while at lighter weights, or would it be wiser to take some time off and let things heal fully? I don't have enough experience to tell if this is a "work through it" or "rest and don't aggravate it" situation.

    Question 2: Would it be stupid to use a 2 inch belt when I do reintroduce a belt? I have a short torso and long legs, and little space between my ribs and iliac crests (not more than 2 inches at the narrowest point). Further, are there any nuances to belt use, besides making sure it isn't too high or too tight, that would help prevent this in the future?

    Thanks for your time and all the wonderful information you provide!

  • #2

    Thanks for the post.

    1) No- I wouldn't advise either. I would train through the pain, wear the belt, continue to gain weight and train. I don't think you have a rib contusion either.

    2) Yes. A 2" belt is nearly useless. You're 5'10 and it's highly unlikely you cannot tolerate a regular belt unless it's an EliteFTS belt (with plastic insert than never breaks in).
    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
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    • PatrickD
      PatrickD commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you! I'll keep at it, then.

  • #3
    I'm not Jordan, so take my comments with a grain of salt.

    I've had an injured rib before. If your rib is actually injured, YOU WILL KNOW IT. Breathing hurts, laughing kills and and sneezing feels like you just got stabbed.

    When I just started using a belt 3-4 months ago the first few weeks were uncomfortable. I had bruising on both sides of ribs and by my hips. Sometimes it would dig in to my rib and leave them a little achy and sensitive. I worked through it at full force. Between getting used to wearing it and figuring out the best positions for me, one day I realize that it stopped bruising and stopped hurting. Now I am able to wear it even 2 notches tighter than when I started. Which seems crazy considering I thought it was tight back then. Every once in a while I still pinch a rib or something dumb by having it on slightly too high or something. But as Jordan said, I worked through it and it got better. Good Luck!


    • PatrickD
      PatrickD commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, this is helpful information!