What Is a Weightlifting Belt?
A weightlifting belt is a type of belt used when lifting weights. Before, almost everyone who lifted weights in any form or shape used a weightlifting belt. However, in the present time, only a few people use them in the gym. It’s because a lot of “experts” claimed that using a weightlifting belt is a crutch that can weaken the lower back muscles, and as well as core strength in general.
If you think that weightlifting belts act as a brace to support your torso so that your muscles don’t have to, well, you’re wrong. It’s because weightlifting belts are used to help you increase the use of your abs and lower-back muscles. According to research wearing a belt while lifting either has little effect on the use of the lower back muscles, or it can actually increase their use by up to 25%.
If you are curious about weightlifting belts and you really want to know more about them, if they are good or bad, then you’ve come to the right place. Today, we are giving you more information about weightlifting beltsand their positive and negative effects when used.
Powerlifting Belt: This type is used by powerlifters because it allows them to squat and deadlift more weight. Another concern is its potential safety benefit. It is designed specifically for the sport of powerlifting, making them heavy-duty and stiff. A powerlifting belt also has more surface area on your abs, and it has a buckle that you can pull as tight as you want for a remarkable amount of internal pressure build-up.
Traditional Weightlifting Belt:
Most traditional weightlifting belts are made of leather. They are also thicker in the back than in the front part. A traditional weightlifting belt is only as thick as the belts that hold up your pants. The way they buckle and fasten is the same as powerlifting belts. However, they are not as strong. They can provide less internal pressure, as well.
It can stabilize and reduce stress on your spine.
Wearing a belt during weightlifting can increase intra-abdominal pressure by up to 40% based on some studies. There’s also one study that reported that compression of the intervertebral discs was reduced by 50 percent when a weightlifting belt was used.
It can help create better body biomechanics.
According to research, wearing a weightlifting belt when lifting boxes can reduce the amount of forward-bend at the spine, bending back of the spine, and bending side to side. But it can increase the amount of flexion at the hips and knees. This means that a weightlifting belt forces you to lift more using your legs and not your back. This is the biochemical position that is best used when lifting something from the ground, which is also the one you want to use during squats and deadlifts using a barbell.
You can get better performance with a weightlifting belt.
Based on studies, wearing a weightlifting belt can actually increase your strength, power, and muscle growth for lower body exercises like the squat. Aside from that, researches showed that wearing a weightlifting belt during squats can help in increasing the muscle activity of the quadriceps and hamstrings muscles.
It can mess with motor learning.
One of the concerns when it comes to wearing weightlifting belts is it might prevent proper motor learning. A lot of exercises in the gym require a correct pattern of recruitment of the abdominals. If you are a beginner, wearing a weightlifting belt might circumvent your learning of how to squeeze your abs tightly and in the right way during a heavy lift. It’s because the weightlifting belt just takes over.
It can make your lower back wimpy.
Another concern about using a weightlifting belt is that it is going to cause you a weaker lower back. It’s because when you wear one, the stress will be taken off the back, and stress is what drives adaptation. However, if you come and think about it, almost all of the strongest weightlifters in the world wear belts all the time in competitions and as well as training. Do you think they have weak lower backs?
Things to Consider Before Using a Weightlifting Belt
If you are determined to strap a weightlifting belt the next time you hit the gym, there are certain things you need to learn and consider. The first one is how to breathe correctly to be able to make intra-abdominal pressure. If you cannot do this, then you will have a difficult time stabilizing your spine, which can lead to back pain.
Another thing you need to consider is the fit of the weightlifting belt. Make sure that it fits you well and that it sits right. It should be tight enough that you will not be able to stick your hand between the belt and your skin. However, you also need to ensure that you can still expand your torso when taking a deep breath. When wearing a weightlifting belt, position it an inch or two above your pelvis. This way, it will cover more of your abdominal and spinal erector muscles.
Wearing a weightlifting belt will depend on your preference. There are many lifters who wear a weightlifting belt, while many also never do. If you decide to wear one, it is better to stick to the simple Velcro kind, especially if it’s only for workouts, and if you are not a powerlifter. The hard leather variety might look cool, but they should only be used for the specific purpose of performance enhancement.
It is a highly personal decision, whether you are going to wear one or not. Just go with what will make you feel more comfortable when lifting. We hope that the information we shared gave you ideas on what a weightlifting belt is, and what it can offer.