How many times have you gone to the gym and seen people wearing a belt while lifting weights? Some wear them while doing heavy lifts such as squats and dead lifts. Others seem to wear them around all of the time. With all of the questions and confusion about this simple piece of equipment, here is a brief explanation of what, when, how and why about the lifting belt.
First of all the lifting belt can be made of leather, canvas or a synthetic material with a buckle or clasp to tighten. They also range from a couple inches wide to 6+ inches. A weightlifting belt does have its place and uses in the gym. They help to create more intra abdominal pressure which helps to stabilize your spine as you lift heavy weights. With such lifts mentioned before, squats and dead lifts with a weight of 85 percent of your one rep max. Spine stability is the number one health aspect to having and maintaining a strong spine, since stability supports muscles and protects joints and discs while limiting injury.
Whether using a weight belt or not, learning to control breathing and creating intra-abdominal pressure is the first step to protecting the spine. Once you decide to use a belt, fit and size is very important. The belt should fit tight enough so no fingers can fit between the belt and you, but you should be able to inhale fully. Fit the belt 1-2 inches above the hips. The belt should cover as much stomach and spine muscles as possible. If you are still having pain problems, check your technique. No piece of equipment can make up for posture, or lifting form. Using common sense while in the gym is key as well. Just because the other guy is lifting a ton doesn’t mean you must as well. Adding supplemental health boosters such as transdermal skin patches can also ensure your body is getting the right fuel to stay healthy while in the gym or in everyday life.