If you visit every gym, you’ll find a guy who wears a weightlifting belt for his workout. Ask him, and you’ll hear it’s for his back support. Whether you are in for bicep curls, pullups, or lifting heavier sets, wearing the belt is really to hold in your belly while you’re going tough, sweaty, and under flesh-crushing loads. Holding the gut is not actually all that the weightlifting belts are for. In this article, we’ll talk on how to wear a weightlifting belt, and also discuss the merits of doing heavy lifting with a weightlifting belt.
Is a weightlifting belt necessary?
Should you wear a weightlifting belt? A weightlifting belt is a simple tool that provides incredible performance enhancement for bodybuilders, boxers and athletes.
Weightlifting belts work like charm. That’s why coaches and athletes recommend beginners learn how to wear a weightlifting belt properly as an effective supplemental muscle training tool.
Athletes that had tried this for two or more weeks often saw their maximum weight grow. The secret is on how to wear a weightlifting belt properly and safely.
If you just buckle your weightlifting belt and hope it works like magic, you’ll see no results. Some athletes can deadlift double their weight, which is something that was never possible when they exercised without a belt.
What is the benefit of wearing a weightlifting belt?
A weightlifting belt has pretty much some two main advantages. First, it reduces stress around your lower back when you engage a heavy lift in an upright position. Secondly, lifting belts keeps your back safe by preventing back hyperextension.
1. Support your lower back
If you’re a bodybuilder, you’re very much familiar with lifting objects that weigh up to 2X their body weights. Under a heavy load, most of upper body muscles plus those around the abdominals get engaged.
A weightlifting belt helps to add an intra-abdominal pressure by 40% which makes your spine more stable to support your lower back muscles for any overhead lifts.
Wearing a weightlifting belt seems to look silly, or just a style as some athletes believe, but its results for weightlifting or powerlifting performance are incredible.
When you make a heavy lift, as much as your arms support the load, your spinal erector muscles and the legs are the ones that provide the greatest support to move the heavy weight.
2. Physical response and feedback
This does not mean wearing a weightlifting belt covers up your weakness. No, it is far from that. The belt compresses the content of your abdominal cavity, which helps to reduce stress around your abs.
Also, the resistance of the belt as your breath during the lifting exercises makes you to be more aware of your lower back position.
If you maintain a good posture while making a heavy lift, the science is that different muscles in your back are activated at different stages and different times. An experienced weightlifter knows when each muscle must be activated to carry up the load.
3. Prevents body twisting
Another good reason from experienced weightlifters is that the belt also helps to prevent body twisting and sideward bending under heavy lifting. Because the weightlifting belts limits your back’s movement, it prevents hyperextension.
Moreover, a weightlifting belt helps a newbie to easily master squeezing their muscles around the abdomen. This is very useful for someone who doesn’t yet know how to stabilize the body when lifting without a belt.
4. Improves your biomechanics
You gain an improved biomechanics, lifting with a belt. Whether you are squatting or deadlifting, a weightlifting belt reduces spinal extension, and flexion and helps your legs muscles to adapt to heavy load and be more involved in the lift than your back muscles.
Some bodybuilders who have deadlifted heavy barbells had confirmed having more confidence working out with a weightlifting belt around their belly.
These benefits may sound very strange and don’t convince you (entry-level weightlifter), this article is not for you.
How to wear a Weightlifting Belt correctly?
When should I start wearing a weightlifting belt? The first step in learning how to use a lifting belt is how to strap it around the middle section of your body. Let us learn right away how to wear a weightlifting belt is few and simple steps.
How do you position a lifting belt on your body?
Grab the belt and place it around your waist. The placement of your belt should just be around your midsection, over your belly button, and above your hip bone.
A well-placed weight lifting belt will make full contact with your back, front, sides and your torso and that’s where you feel comfortable lifting, without the belt obstructing your lift.
You should be absolutely sure the lower side of the weightlifting belt does not get to wedge on your hips when you bend down to pick a barbell. In the same manner, the top end of the belt should not stick against your ribs.
Make sure the weightlifting belts do not create any slight restriction, hurts, or pinches any part of your body. Adjust the tightness and if it doesn’t seem to produce any comfort, try a different belt thickness.
How tight should a weightlifting belt be?
For better experience and performance, your weightlifting belts don’t have to be too tightened. It should just be loose enough to allow your stomach to expand and help you create tension and brace.
If it feels just tight and snug, normal contracting and expanding of your abs against it will provide a stability to your midsection, and add pressure inside your abdomen. You don’t have to make the weightlifting belt too tight.
Relax your stomach and send in your index finger – or thumb between the belt and your belly. If that fits in too easily down the back of the belt, tighten the belt a bit. There is an overly simple way to test if your weightlifting belt is too loose or too tight.
First you should inhale (let air in) so that your belly enlarges, then tighten the belt.
If that fits in too easily down the back of the belt, tighten the belt a bit.
When is the best time to wear a lifting belt?
When should I start wearing a weightlifting belt? When to wear a weight lifting belt is very important, just like how to use it. You don’t just strap your belt all times and for every workout.
Weight lifting belt is a simple but wonderful tool best used when squatting, deadlifts and some compound exercises involving the lifting of tougher loads.
Make it a practice to wear weight lifting belts when building strength and when performing continuous repetitions lifting heavy sets.
Learn how to use weightlifting belt, because it will help you move maximum weight and reap the greatest benefit.
How to use a Weightlifting Belt
You have seen that lifting belts are absolute necessity, so if you haven’t started incorporating them into your training, you have to get started. Leaning how to use it is pretty simple.
You just have to first secure the weightlifting belt around your waist- precisely your abs and flex your stomach against it when lifting a heavy set.
Breath and let your stomach expand into the belt.
Remember, one benefit of wearing the belt is to make a weak back more stable, stronger, and powerful.
As you breathe and brace against the belt, it creates intense torsion around your torso, and that is why your back will feel rigid and safe when you’re at gym weightlifting or powerlifting.
But that won’t happen unless you breathe into your belly and flex your abs. If you brace your more muscles correctly inside the belt, you are gonna feel tight restriction and more support on your back.
Make a deep breath (let air in) so that your stomach expands against the weightlifting belt tightly. Maintain this position while you lift your heavy set.
How to brace while wearing a lifting belt
You won’t be able to create a secure and stable back without mastering how to brace when wearing a weightlifting belt. Bracing and breathing under heavy weight is key to effectively using the weightlifting belt as performance enhancement.
You can practice some breathing exercises like Lying Pelvic Tilt, weighted side plank and hip raise with neutral pelvic tilt. Learn to lift without weightlifting belts, so that you allow your natural body’s capacity to create abdominal pressure.
If you train your body to brace without a belt, you will be wearing the belt during weightlifting or powerlifting competitions with confidence.
You would have mastered the right breathing mechanics without any training belt.
How to create intra-abdominal pressure
Bracing while lifting is a technique you will use to create intra-abdominal pressure. If you can’t brace, your weightlifting belt is of no use absolutely. Fitness enthusiasts and athletes who have tried lifting a heavy-weight barbell without strapping a belt will understand better.
Bracing to create abdominal pressure
- Take a standing position
- Place your hands on your rib cage.
- First exhale(breath out all the air) to normalize your rips
- Inhale air through your mouth and nose
Your midsection expands as you start breathing into your belly. Your abs, obliques, and low back also expand too and a great pressure inside your midsection.
You should practice breathing without losing your brace’s tension. You’ll soon be able to create more expansion for more pressure.
When lifting a heavy weight load
- Quickly exhale all air.
- Make an inhale(nose) into your body core
- Maintain that pressure throughout the duration of your lift.
The way the intra-abdominal pressure works is that it helps you create rigidity to transfer force that will support your load. Unless you keep this core pressure tight, you can’t resist gravity or maintain a tough posture with the back straight up.
Does weightlifting belt thickness matter?
If you shop around, you’ll discover weightlifting belts are designed in various shapes and sizes, from different materials, of varying thicknesses.
A thicker weightlifting belt makes your spine more rigid and ready for heavier lifts, although they may not be nice for some exercises. The weightlifting belt also has a width, which is the measure of how high the belt fits to your torso.
If lifting belt width gets too big, it may bruise your rips, get stuck under your rips. The lower end may stop on your thighs, when you bend to lift.
You need experience fitness experts to guide you on how to pick the right weightlifting belts, with the correct thickness and width for you.
What is the best weightlifting belt to use?
If you are tight on budget, go for weightlifting nylon belts which are a bit cheaper, and easier to carry inside a small gym bag. The weightlifting belts with Velcro fastener can be the suitable ones if you want a personalized fit.
A more flexible with more support for your back and offer effective lift could be your ideal choice, so go for a quick-locking belt , which is commonly called self-locking weightlifting belt. This category of weightlifting belts have widths about 4-inches round, has quick-locking buckle and look very sturdy.
Leather weightlifting belts can provide your midsection with a firm support. Look around. You can find a good-quality leather lifting belt with stronger buckles and double stitching. They are really ideal because they make your back muscles feel better during heavier lifts.
Good Olympic belts are thicker at the back and thinner in front.
- Self-Locking Weight Lifting Belt – premium weightlifting belt for Olympic men and women
- Weightlifting Belt for WODs/Olympic Lifts – Lifting Belt w/ 4 Inch Back Support
Powerlifting is for strongmen and a good power belt has same thickness round, for a more intense bracing.
- Genuine Leather Weight Lifting Belt for Men gym weight belt lumbar back support
- ProFitness Genuine Leather Workout Belt (4 Inches Wide) – proper weight lifting form
- DMoose Fitness Dip Belt with Chain for weightlifting, pullups, powerlifting, and bodybuilding workouts
If you are just a fitness enthusiasts, there are less stiff weightlifting belts you can also try.
- Iron Bull Strength Weightlifting Belt for Men and Women – 6 Inch Auto-Lock
- Schiek Sports Model 2004 Nylon 4 3/4″ Weight Lifting Belt
- RitFit Weight Lifting Belt – Great for Squats, Clean, Lunges, Deadlift, Thrusters
How to use weight belt for pull ups
Should I wear a belt for pull-ups? Yes, a dip belt is a great tool you can use to add weight plate when carrying out body weight exercises including pull up, dips, squat, chin up.