A weight lifting belt can be a great asset when it comes to strength training. Used correctly, you will see your performance improve, and make noticeable gains compared to when you were not wearing one. When should you wear a workout belt though? Read on to find out more.
You may have seen people at your gym wearing a workout belt, and wondered why exactly they are wearing it. Is it because they have a bad back, or does it help them lift more? Why do strong powerlifters almost always wear a workout belt without exception when they train?
Weight Lifting Belts And Bad Backs
While some people do wear a weight lifting belt because they have a bad back, this is not its primary function. In fact, a workout belt has just one real use, and only in specific exercises. These are the ‘big’ exercises such as squats and deadlifts. Far from supporting the back by bracing it, a workout belt actually helps to increase intra-abdominal pressure, which then leads to greater spine stabilization. In effect, a workout belt is designed to prevent you from suffering from a bad back in the first place.
Using A Powerlifting Belt
You don’t just put the powerlifting belt on and leave it to work by magic. There is more to it than that! There is a unique breathing and lifting technique that has to be used in order to maximize the benefits of using a workout belt.
This involves exhaling against a closed glottis in the upward part of a movement, while pushing the abs out against the front of the belt. This has the effect of increasing the amount of pressure in the abdominal area, and by consequence, stabilizes the spine. With the spine more stable, you may be able to lift more and in a safer manner.
Of course, you still need good form and technique. Without these, you may still run the risk of injury. By wearing a workout belt though, you may be better able to maintain good form when lifting heavy weights.
The Best Weight Lifting Belts
There are a number of things which the best weightlifting belts have in common. The first is the material it is made from, and the best are almost exclusively made of leather. This is because leather is a very reliable and durable material. Many powerlifters find they rarely if ever need to replace their workout belts. We know people who have owned the same one for decades!
Find Out More About Workout Belts
We have created a very useful guide to workout belts which you might like to refer to before choosing a belt to buy. Inside, we include a range of weight belts to suit all budgets, go into their standout features, and compare them side by side. To find out more, please take a look at our workout belts guide here.