How to Use and Wear a Lifting Belt
When you look in a gym-goers bag, you may find a couple pieces of equipment. There are usually some wraps or sleeves, but there is also often a belt of some sort. Lifting belts are a classic piece of gym equipment that have been used for decades. They aren’t just for show either. They can help make your lifting safer, and more effective.
However, you may be wondering if you need a belt too.
Belts can be used by people of all experiences and are a great tool when you know how to use them. In this post, you’re going to be learning the benefits of a lifting belt, how to wear one, and the best kind you can find.
What’s the Point of a Lifting Belt?
So, belts may look cool, but they serve an important purpose. They help to protect you from injury, as well as improve your stability for heavy lifts. When you go to squat, bench, deadlift, or really do any movement with weight you need to keep your spine rigid. A rigid and stable spine won’t move, which allows for an even distribution of weight. If you were to put all the weight unevenly across your body, you could get out of position and cause an injury.
To ensure a rigid spine, naturally, your internal abdominals would turn on. Yes, you have a set of abs on the inside of your stomach too. These abdominals work to create something called intraabdominal pressure by pressurizing your breath. You breathe in, tighten these muscles, and boom your spine is locked in. This is often referred to as bracing. You could do all of this without a belt, but the belt is helpful once you start to lift some more challenging weights.
That belt acts as a second set of those abdominals. You breath in and brace, along with the pressure from the belt this creates a really stable midsection. The belt isn’t moving as you lift, thus allowing you to maintain that pressure throughout the entire rep.
So, is the belt supporting your back? Not as directly as you might think. It’s just helping your core do its job.
How Do You Wear a Lifting Belt?
So, you’ve decided to use a lifting belt, but how do you wear it? Lifting belts are worn wrong a lot. Due to the idea that the belt is supporting your back, most people will wear it around their waste to “cover” the lower back. This is a less than optimal place to get the true benefits of a lifting belt.
To wear a lifting belt, you need to have it in place to brace your stomach into it. The best place for this is just below the rib cage. This can vary for most, but it needs to be placed no lower than the middle of the stomach. If you focus on breathing into your stomach, you should feel it press into the belt. If you breath into your stomach and your stomach goes over the belt, you’re in the wrong place.
It also needs to be tight. It should be so tight that you can’t breathe, but you need it to be locked in. If you don’t feel the belt during your lifts, then it’s not on tight enough.
When it comes to wearing the belt, you now know how to put it on. However, when, and how often should you wear it? The belt is best used when you start to do some challenging weight. You want to build some strength in the abdominals without the help of that belt when you can, and this means only wearing it when you need it. You totally could, but there isn’t much of a reason to wear it while warming up. You also won’t need it much for isolation exercises like preacher curls. To put it simple, bring out the belt when you need it.
Are They All the Same?
Not all lifting belts are going to be the same. Your gym may even have some lying around, and you’ll notice a difference in them. Some are made from leather while some may be made from nylon. There are some with different buckle systems, and some that are thicker than others.
All in all, you need something that’s going to support you and the exercises you’re doing. If you’re going super heavy, you may want a thicker sturdier belt. You see this with powerlifting belts. If you’re moving between heavy exercises and something more movement based, you might want something that you can easily adjust like a Velcro belt. It just depends on what you need.
You also want to take quality into consideration. Some belts are made cheap and can break on you, which increases your risk for injury. You’re going to want something you can rely on. This is where a company like Inaka Power comes into play. They make lever and prong belts that are just the right amount of thickness and comfort. They come in various sizes/designs so that you can find something perfect for you. These belts are sturdy and unique, so, you look good, and you’ll lift good. You can check them out here and save 10% with code “LUKAS”.
Lifting belts are a great piece of equipment to have on you for the gym. They can decrease injury risk, and help you feel stronger for your lifts. Think of them as second set of abdominals that can help you brace during those heavier sets. You now have a guide for putting yours on to ensure a safe lift.
A lifting belt also isn’t a purchase to go the cheap route on. Always focus on quality when it’s something keeping you safe! Check out some sturdy, one-of-a-kind belts at Inaka Power. Don’t forget to use code “LUKAS” to save 10% on your purchase!