What Does a Weight Belt Do?

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The two main purposes of the weight belt has. It reduces the stress on the lower back when lifting weights in an upright position and prevents excessive back strain during overhead weight lifting. The belt minimizes waist stress by compressing the contents of the abdominal cavity. This increases intra-abdominal pressure and provides more support in front of the lower back bones.

The spinal muscles that normally support the lower back can produce less force during lifting. The increased intra-abdominal pressure can also reduce the amount of lower back compression the weight lifter experiences during circuit weight training.

A belt can also help beginners learn to tighten their abs properly. Beginners should work with a coach, though, especially if they are unsure of how to stabilize the body without a belt. A belt also does not replace the basic work, stabilization and technical skills needed to perform weightlifting exercises correctly.

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What Are the Types of Weight Belts?

Various on the market weight belts available. Some of the most common are powerlifting belts and traditional belts used for strength training. Velcro straps can be easier to put on and take off than leather straps, and thicker straps can support the spine more when doing weight training.

A powerlifting-style belt that’s the same width all around is ideal for keeping the back from straining and twisting. Otherwise, a conventional belt can be worn with the wide part of the belt at the back.

How to Wear a Weight Belt

weight-belt-how-to-wear
What does a weight belt do? 2

To maximize its usefulness weight belt must be firmly attached. This is physically demanding and should not be done for long periods of time. Research has shown that lifting weights alone can raise high blood pressure, and wearing a tight belt during exercise can increase it even more. Therefore, belts should only be used in two basic situations:

  • When performing maximal or submaximal lifts in exercises such as squats or deadlifts where the weight is supported by the lifter’s back
  • When performing exercises that can cause hyperextension of the back, such as push-ups.
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Loosen the belt to allow blood pressure to return to normal between sets.

When Isn’t a Weight Belt Needed?

For other weight training exercises where the spine muscles don’t work against heavy resistance weight belts it’s not necessary. However, high blood pressure from belt use can increase over time, even with fairly light work or aerobic activity. Weight-bearing exercisers with heart disease and blood pressure problems should be careful when wearing a tight belt for long periods of time.

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