We get this question often over at Gunsmith HQ, should I be wearing a weightlifting belt? Do I need a weightlifting belt? Well, let’s dig in shall we:
Whilst wearing a weightlifting belt while working out can provide some benefits, they are not necessary for everyone. A weightlifting belt can help support your lower back and can help you lift more weight by providing a more stable base. However, it is important to remember that a weightlifting belt is not a substitute for proper form and technique. If you are new to weightlifting, it is especially important to learn proper form and technique before using a weightlifting belt. Additionally, some people may find that a weightlifting belt is uncomfortable or unnecessary, and it is perfectly fine to not use one. Ultimately, the decision to wear a weightlifting belt or not is a personal one and should be based on your own comfort and needs.
A weightlifting belt can provide several benefits for strength training, including:
- Support for the lower back: A belt can help support your lower back and reduce stress on the spine during exercises like squats and deadlifts.
- Increased intra-abdominal pressure: Wearing a belt can help increase intra-abdominal pressure, which can help you maintain proper form and potentially lift more weight.
- Improved awareness of form: A belt can help you become more aware of your form and technique, which can help you lift with proper form and reduce the risk of injury.
- Enhanced performance: Some people find that a weightlifting belt helps them lift more weight, which can lead to improved performance and muscle growth.
It's important to note that a weightlifting belt should not be used as a substitute for proper form and technique. It's also important to gradually work up to using a belt, rather than relying on it too heavily from the start of your training. Whether or not a weightlifting belt is helpful for you will depend on your individual needs and goals. It's always a good idea to consult with a qualified fitness professional for guidance on whether a weightlifting belt is appropriate for you and how to use it correctly.
Here are some general guidelines for using a weightlifting belt:
- Wear the belt around your lower back, with the top edge of the belt sitting above your hip bones. The belt should be snug, but not so tight that it is uncomfortable or restricts your movement.
- Fasten the belt using the buckle or Velcro closure, and adjust the tightness as needed. The belt should be tightest when you exhale, as this will help increase intra-abdominal pressure.
- Gradually work up to using the belt. It's important to build up the muscles in your lower back and abdomen before relying heavily on a belt for support.
- Use the belt for heavy compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses. These exercises place the most stress on your lower back and can benefit the most from the added support of a belt.
- Don't rely on the belt to compensate for poor form. A weightlifting belt should be used to supplement proper technique, not replace it.
- Don't wear the belt for every exercise or every workout. Wearing a belt all the time can lead to a reliance on the belt and potentially weaken the muscles in your lower back and abdomen.
- Consult with a qualified fitness professional for guidance on whether a weightlifting belt is appropriate for you and how to use it correctly.
There are a few key characteristics to look for in a good weightlifting belt:
- Durability: A good weightlifting belt should be made of high-quality materials that are designed to withstand the stresses of heavy lifting. We use vegetable tanned leather on the inners to ensure longevity and upholstery quality leathers on the outer. Our competitors are using cardboard and poor quality split leathers in the middle of the belt, you don’t want that!
- Comfort: A belt that is too stiff or too bulky can be uncomfortable to wear. Look for a belt that is made of soft, flexible materials and has a contoured design that follows the shape of your body. Our 6/7mm belts are SUPER comfortable, if you want a bit more support, then 10mm and 13mm can give you that.
- Proper fit: The belt should be snug, but not so tight that it is uncomfortable or restricts your movement. Make sure to choose a belt that fits your waist size correctly.
- Adjustability: A belt with a buckle or Velcro closure allows you to adjust the fit to your liking. This can be especially helpful if you are wearing the belt over layers of clothing. Some people prefer prong belts, others prefer levers for the speed of setting up and unlocking
- Support: A good weightlifting belt should provide adequate support for your lower back and abdominal muscles. Look for a belt that is at least 4 inches wide and has a sturdy construction. We regularly get requests for 3” belts for smaller frames, it’s important you opt for a configuration that suits you.
- Quality: Choose a weightlifting belt from a reputable manufacturer that has a track record of producing high-quality products. Ahem… US!