When Do You Need a Weightlifting Belt?

Weightlifting belts can be fantastic performance boosters, but they ’ rhenium very normally misunderstood—and often misused. so fifty et ’ sulfur break down what lifting belts actually do, and when you ’ ll very benefit from wearing one.
You ’ ve probably seen person wearing a blockheaded weight-lift belt in the gymnasium and wondered if it helps them lift well, or even more safely. The latter is actually the common perception ; according to a study found in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning a majority of surveyed belt-wearers use one because they think it ’ ll help prevent injuries. It ’ s ill-defined whether this theory holds up in rehearse, since we ’ ve been ineffective to locate any peer-reviewed studies specifically looking at the correlation between the function of weightlifting belts and the incidence of injury events in the gymnasium .Advertisement

however, we can take the tip from studies in manual of arms labor settings, like this one in JAMA, which shows that wearing a back-supporting knock while lifting big objects on the job didn ’ thyroxine seem to reduce incidences of back injuries or lower back pain. In short-change, don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate put on a knock thinking it ’ s going to protect you from bad ideas in the gymnasium. That ’ s not precisely what a lift belt is for anyhow .

How do weightlifting belts work?

In reality, a weightlifting swath primarily supports your acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, and is not intended to immediately support your bet on. It sounds backwards, but here ’ second why : The belt acts like a second typeset of abs to prepare your stallion consistency to lift clayey loads, something we discussed when we talked about bracing your core here. The short interpretation is that when you brace yourself for those super heavy lifts, you should take a deep belly breath and hold it, a method of “ breathing ” called the Valsalva tactic. The Valsalva tactic helps create intra-abdominal blackmail that cushions and supports your spur. And that ’ s where a weightlift swath bestows its powers. Wearing one, you do your trench belly breath into the knock, which pushes back against your acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene. This amplifies the effects of that intra-abdominal pressure, which in turn helps protect your back and helps it handle the try of heavier loads. This study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise confirms that the result pressure is greater and builds faster than it would without a belt. The belt increases your lift efficiency, potentially allowing you to bang out a little more system of weights than you would without one. Of course, that is assuming you know how to properly lift and use proper technique in the beginning place. In the end, you might lift a tad more weight and get more stability where you need it ( your trunk and torso ) .Advertisement

But—and here ’ s a big but—wearing a belt by itself won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate mechanically level up your military capability and revoke ability. There ’ s a memorize curvature to wearing it and lifting with one on ( precisely like there ’ s a teach curve to being able to properly apply intra-abdominal pressure and lift ). Sure, some may reap the benefits properly off, but it ’ ll take most a act of work before things will click.

When you really benefit from a weightlifting belt

quite plainly, it all comes down to your performance goals. If you ’ rhenium serious about lifting heavier and getting stronger, then wear a knock, complain and elementary. If you regularly knee bend and deadlift very close to your utmost weight or want to break through a tableland, try wearing a belt. When you throw on a belt out and use it properly, the skies function, birds sing, and your deadlifts or squats ( or both ) get a detectable boost. In this excellent psychoanalysis of weightlifting belts, Greg Nuckols writes that well-trained knock users can broadly move 5-15 % more weight unit for the like sets and reps, and are able to squeeze in an extra couple reps at the same weight or lift the lapp weight for the same total of reps with less attempt. That ’ south pretty significant ! We can take this to suggest that over time, training with a swath will likely help you get you stronger than educate without a belt out. This makes sense, in the context of being able to do more overall “ work ” ( i.e. lifting more weight and banging out more reps ) and endlessly push your body to improve, a process called progressive overload. In the long-run, you can gain more brawn size and force.

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When don’t you need a weightlifting belt

a far as derive potency and performance in the gymnasium are concerned, it ’ randomness hard to argue against wearing a belt out, but there are a few big wave red flags here. You credibly want to avoid using a knock if :

  • You have high blood pressure or certain medical conditions: If you have health conditions like uncontrolled high-blood pressure or conditions that can be exacerbated by intra-abdominal pressure (like a hernia), you should not be wearing a belt (or even using the Valsalva), period. We’ve discussed this in our breathing article as well
  • You can’t lift heavy weight with good technique, or you don’t know how to stabilize your body without a belt: Belts don’t magically undo poor form. Without bracing
  • You don’t squat, deadlift, or do much overhead pressing: No, you don’t need to wear a belt for bicep curls.

If you do heavy squats, deadlifts, and presses, and you intend to keep doing them, it ’ randomness never excessively early to get a belt, american samoa long as you begin by learning how to use it, preferably than expecting it to solve problems for you. We have a lead here on how to choose your first weightlift or powerlifting belt .

Weightlifting belts are a “sometimes” accessory

A weight-lift belt is not a fashion affirmation ; it ’ s a train tool. You don ’ t need to rely on the belt for every. Single. use. Most lifters prefer using a belt for squats and deadlifts, where a little supernumerary documentation can keep the spur from buckling during these power lifts. many know lifters throw the belt out on for near-maximum efforts, and take it off for even aim and warm-ups. Just so we ’ rhenium clearly, “ near-maximum ” is a burden that is 80 % or more of your utmost lift. The exact share is often arbitrary, so wear it when you think you in truth need the extra documentation on boastful lifts. Some lifters entirely bring it out for their exceed sets ; others do all their work sets with a belt to maintain a consistent feel from set to set. Knowing when you need to wear it and when you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate comes with feel, and can besides depend on your education style ( high volume versus humble volume, for exercise ) .Advertisement

For all other times, when you ’ re not squatting or deadlifting a cosmic sum of slant, you don ’ t need to wear it. In fact, if you can and do wear it all the prison term, you ’ re probable not wearing it correctly. Belts should feel close enough that they ’ ll model in lapp target, but not sol close that you ’ re cutting off circulation. You should still be able to take a wide breath when it ’ s strapped on, but you won ’ triiodothyronine be comfortable wearing it between sets.

not every gym-goer needs ( or will want ) a weightlifting belt. It ’ second useful, but not a necessity. Just keep in mind when they benefit you and when they don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate, and use them accordingly. They ’ rhenium tools—not championship belts to show off in the gymnasium.

This article was originally published in March 2016 and was updated on June 3, 2021 to include update links and to align the content with current Lifehacker stylus.

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