Shakespeare could have questioned whether or not to belt if he had been writing now as opposed to 400 or so years ago. Any severe lifter will sometimes pose this query throughout their hunt for iron.
You’ve found the best spot to look for the solution. By the conclusion of this post, you’ll be able to decide if this tool is best for you after I go through the most often-asked questions concerning belts.
Additionally, you’ll earn bonus points for using the belt effectively instead of idly parading around the gym in one.
Let’s begin, then. Once you know what you’re doing, making judgments concerning lifting belts is simple.
Who Should—And Shouldn’t—Wear A Belt?
A weightlifting belt is designed for anyone who aims to squat or deadlift as much as possible. Pretty simple.
A weightlifting belt is designed for anyone who aims to squat or deadlift as much as possible.
Don’t use a belt if you find it hinders your movement. If a belt affects how deep you can catch a clean or snatch, you’d probably be better served to build your strength without a belt. In weightlifting, the low man usually wins.
Avoid using a belt if you have a heart ailment or any medical issue that might worsen by the elevated blood pressure and intra-abdominal pressure brought on by wearing a belt. Most individuals are unaffected by this sudden increase in blood pressure. Still, those with health issues or a history of hernias should generally avoid wearing belts (or use the Valsalva manoeuvre to forcefully exhale air with a closed glottis, for example). Your doctor is your best bet to start with.
What Functions of a Weightlifting Belt?
Because the belt is wrapped around your abdomen, it prevents your stomach from expanding too much when you take a deep diaphragmatic breath. By purposefully increasing intra-abdominal pressure, this limitation also enhances spinal stability.
The more stable you are, the harder your prime movers can contract, like your legs and hips in a squat. Your neurological system usually doesn’t like cutting off your spinal cord, so when it detects that your back is in danger, it prevents your legs and hips from constricting as tightly.
In the same manner, the belt enables these primary movers to contract more forcefully. In addition, numerous studies demonstrate that wearing a belt allows for you to complete your squats more quickly, lift heavy objects with a faster average bar speed, engage your quadriceps more during the sticking point of a squat, and fire your hamstrings more vigorously as you exhaust yourself during a set.
By combining all of these factors, you may lift a little bit more weight and engage more muscle fibres, which will improve the effectiveness of your training.
Will using a belt while exercising weakens my core?
This is a typical worry that is nearly totally unfounded.
When doing exercises like the squat and deadlift, wearing a belt has little to no impact on how much your rectus abdominis and external oblique muscles contract.
Most research shows modest increases, whereas a few show modest declines. When the difference is considered as a whole, it is likely insufficient to be physiologically significant for two reasons:
- When someone is wearing a belt, it is challenging to observe the activation of deeper core muscles like the transversus abdominis and the internal oblique. There might be variations that we can’t see.
- The literature has not yet described how such contractions work together to support the spine.
But in the grand scheme of core training, this is unimportant. Even squats and deadlifts don’t train your core particularly hard compared to core-specific workouts like planks, crunches, and leg raises.
Squats and deadlifts with and without a belt are comparable to standing and sitting dumbbell curls for developing the quads. Unless you altogether forgo core-specific exercise, the difference is so negligible that it is unimportant.
What Should I Consider Before Purchasing a Belt?
Don’t be afraid to spend $60 to $100 on a quality belt made of durable leather, especially if you’re a powerlifter, bodybuilder, or general strength enthusiast.
The majority of the time, belts are uncomfortable. Belts can take time to become “broken in” because they are initially reasonably rigid. The waistband will likely dig into you throughout this procedure, causing minor bruising around your ribcage or the top of your hipbone.
Generally speaking, belts 10 centimetres wide and 10 to 13 millimetres thick work well for squats. Wider straps may prevent some people from getting into a solid deadlift starting posture. A tapered leather belt in the front (10 cm in the rear and 5-7 centimetres in the show) will help with that problem if you’re a competitive powerlifter. It could be wiser to get two belts: one for deadlifts and the other for squats.
How Should a Weightlifting Belt Be Worn?
Setting the belt is the first step. Many people’s straps lay right over their iliac crest (the top of the hip bone). Other people have their belt angled up (above the belly button), some running straight across, and some angled down when squatting (below the belly button). To get into a decent starting posture for deadlifts, the bar is often straight across or inclined up.
In essence, this is more of a comfort issue than anything else. Start in whichever posture seems most natural to you. As you learn how to use it better, you may want to play around with different heights and angles to see what allows you to get your torso the tightest.