Wearing a weight lifting belt may appear to some people as being a show off; but the truth is that it can have a lot of benefits. Without a doubt, the main advantage of wearing one is that it supports the spine while you lift weights. It can also enable you to get more power from your core muscles instead of relying on your back when lifting weights.
Wearing a lifting belt is necessary when you are doing compound lifts, or lifts that use multiple muscles at the same time. However, a weight lifting belt is not necessary when you do exercises like bicep curls, and certainly not when you are on a bicycle.
When to put it on?
Many gym goers are a lost as to when they should wear a weight lifting belt. They may feel embarrassed because other people in the gym may see them as arrogant or a show off for wearing a belt. But as mentioned earlier, there are several good reasons to wear a lifting belt.
Aside from the fact that lifting belts are best used when doing compound lifts, there’s really no rule on how heavy the lifts are for you to wear a lifting belt. Some pros even wear their belts during warm ups and even when lifting light loads. While the belt may not give enough support, it does help in warming up the back.
But this doesn’t mean that you should be wearing your belt all the time that you are in the gym. This is a big no-no. Wearing your belt for every exercise is hampering the ability of your back and abdominal muscles to normally function. You should remove the belt when you are to perform other exercises where you don’ really need it, like bicep curls or when you’re doing aerobic exercises.
Wearing the belt
In wearing a weight lifting belt, you should wear first some kind of shirt. It could be a tank top or just an undershirt. The purpose of this is to reduce the friction from the belt rubbing against the body.
Similar to a standard belt, there are little holes in weight lifting belts. But unlike in using a standard belt, you should not fasten the belt as tightly as it can go. The belt should be a bit loose. Some pros suggest putting two fingers between the belt and the abs to be able to determine the right fit of the belt.
You’d want the belt to make contact with your abs, but not too tight to the point that it would constrict movement of the core muscles as well as reduce blood flow.
Weight lifting belts are designed to be worn slightly above the hip bones. It’s that spot where the belt is not compressing the hips and the ribcage. You can try putting it on a few various spots along the torso.
If you can’t find that spot, here’s a tip that you can try. Simply put on the belt around your belly. Put it on tight enough so that it would remain in the same area when you lift. Then assume a squat stance and make a few squats. The belt should eventually move into the position that is most ideal for you.
To get the most out of wearing a weight lifting belt, you should use the valsalva maneuver. This breathing technique is pretty simple. You need to take a huge gulp of air into the belly instead of attempting to exhale forcefully. You’ll be able to create pressure that would push your midsection into the belt and force your lower back into an arch.
You may have never used a weight lifting belt before but this should not be an excuse at all not to get one. If you’re serious about pumping iron and seeing its effects on your physique, you should really get a weight lifting belt. It can stabilize your spine and enable you to get more power from your core.
Wearing a weight lifting belt isn’t really that complicated. As long as you follow the tips discussed in this article, you should be able to wear a weight lifting belt properly.