If you are a weight lifter or have ever tried lifting weights, you know the challenge involved in powerlifting. And with that comes the importance of having a belt to help brace your core and protect your spine from being put under too much strain. Reaching the next level in weight lifting requires dedication and the right gear. That’s where the weightlifting belt comes in!
It may seem like a minor detail, but when you’re in the middle of a challenging set, this small piece of equipment can make all the difference. Whether you are dealing with heavier loads or just want to ensure you’re taking all possible precautions, this belt gives you the assurance that you are securely locked in as you move through your reps.
Weightlifting belts are flexible pieces of material, usually made from leather, nylon, or neoprene. The belt wraps around your midsection like a snug corset to support your lower back during heavy lifts.
They help to stiffen the core and provide additional abdominal pressure for the lift’s initiation before giving way for the movement. In other words: weightlifting belts can give an extra edge when it comes to pushing those hefty weights! In today’s fitness-obsessed world, it’s no wonder that these simple little gut busters have become a part of our workout wardrobe.
This article will provide a detailed guide on choosing the right size and usage of a weight-lifting belt. So, whether you’re new to lifting weights or a passionate veteran of the squat and bench rack, grab your belt, and let’s start lifting!
Why Do We Need Lifting Belts & How Do Weight Lifting Belts Work?
Weightlifting belts are an essential tool for anyone who is serious about weightlifting, but how do they work? Well, these belts are designed to help protect your spine and internal organs by providing additional support when lifting heavy weights.
Plus, holding the core muscles into position can help reduce the risk of strains and nagging spinal pains that so often plague lifters who neglect their belt. A lifting belt ensures to maintain better balance for a straight lift.
The stiffening effect of the belt also helps you produce more power in your hips, glutes, and quads as you lift. It doesn’t only make your lifts more efficient with better stability and less strain on your spine, but you can also lift heavier weights than before.
In a nutshell, weightlifting belts act like an intramuscular corset – providing extra structure and stability to your core muscles by compressing them together with tension. This helps you maintain proper technique during squats, deadlifts, and other rotational exercises, properly activating the muscles of your lower back and abdominal region.
How to Wear it Properly?
Lifting belts are often treated as an afterthought for people who want to take their weight training to the next level. While it is wear-and-forget equipment, knowing how to properly wear it can make a huge difference in your results.
Wearing it too tight can limit your breathing and movement while wearing it too loosely could make the belt ineffective when lifting higher amounts of weight. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
- Start by simply placing the belt around your midsection easily and comfortably. The belt should rest above your hip bone. Make sure it doesn’t make you feel restricted. If it makes you feel that way, it signifies that you haven’t placed the belt correctly.
- After you have adjusted the belt, slightly inhale to tighten the belt. It should be tight enough to allow your stomach to expand. Since you have to brace your core and create tension, but there should also be enough room to be able to do that. You can check the tightness by sticking your index finger down the back of the belt. If you are able to do that, you’ve done it right.
- The third and last step of the process is to breathe and expand into the belt. For that, brace your core muscles to ensure you are tight. Take a deep breath and flex your abs and lower back simultaneously until you’re tight and secure. Keep this engaged position throughout each lift, and you’ll be hitting those numbers with confidence, support, and utmost safety!
When to Wear a Weightlifting Belt
Lifting belts should be worn during compound movements, such as any type of lift that involves using multiple muscle groups at once (e.g., squats, deadlifts). It’s important to use them in order to improve safety, maintain proper technique and form, and progress with heavier weights safely.
But despite their ubiquity in the gym, there are instances when wearing them can actually be detrimental to your workout. Lighter weights don’t require the extra support a belt provides, so if you wear it all the time, your body may get too used to depending on it.
Imagine the horror of having much weaker core muscles than if you had gone without a belt! Instead of using a crutch, take off the belt while you lift smaller loads and challenge yourself to rely on your own strength and grip. Not only will your back and abdominals become more supportive with this routine, but you’ll also be giving yourself an ego boost when conquering those exercises that don’t require additional hardware.
Similarly, individuals who have injuries suffered from hernia or have high blood pressure should avoid wearing a weight-lifting belt for training. It can aggravate the issues and flare up existing injuries.
Related Article: Top 4 Reasons to Start Using Weightlifting Belts Again!
How to Choose the Right Size for a Weight-Lifting Belt?
Choosing the right size of fitness lifting belt is essential. With so many different sizes and styles out there, shopping for a good-fitting lifting belt can be a daunting task. Before you hit the store, though, here are a few tips that can help guide you in making your selection.
1. Measure Your Waist
It’s important to make sure you measure your waist correctly, so you get the perfect fit for the job. Don’t suck in your stomach when measuring since this will give you an inaccurate size. Instead, take a deep breath, relax and allow the measuring tape to wrap comfortably around your abdomen just above your navel. Wear your workout attire when taking measurements too: after all, you’ll be wearing it when lifting! You’ll want to be sure that your belt fits properly over that as well.
2. Check the Width
When it comes to picking a weightlifting belt for workouts, the size matters. Depending on your height, you may need a 4-inch or 6-inch wide belt. Shorter individuals should aim for the 4-inch version so that the belt can offer optimal stability and support, while taller folks would benefit from extra coverage and therefore should consider picking up a 6-inch model. Whatever size you choose, having a trusty weightlifting belt is an essential part of every workout routine!
3. Evaluate the Material
It’s important to choose a belt that will give you added support and safety during exercises. You have three main material options when choosing your belt: leather, neoprene, or Lycra.
Leather is a timeless classic, providing a more secure hold that won’t budge – ideal for heavier workouts like squats and deadlifts that require maximum stability and power. On the other hand, Lycra offers some give to it which might be preferable for lighter strength circuits that don’t need the same level of rigidity. On the other hand, a neoprene belt allows you to maximize your effort by providing support for your back and core, allowing you to lift heavier weights with increased safety.
4. Size Chart
The size of your lifting belt is critically important and should not be overlooked when selecting your lift. To find the right fit, always make sure to check the size chart before you place an order online. Lifting belts fit differently than other clothing, so it’s important that you try them while purchasing or after receiving the belt and ensure that it’s snug yet comfortable – no digging into the ribs!
Here is a gym belt size guide. Consult the following lifting belt sizes for reference:
Key Benefits of Lifting Belt?
Here are four key benefits of using a fitness lifting belt.
Reduces Spinal Stress
Whether you’re curling, deadlifting, or squatting, wearing a lifting belt reduces spinal pressure and stabilizes your entire core during workouts. Lifting belts secure the abdominal cavity, providing extra support for the spine during heavy lifts. This helps you lift with more strength and stability, leaving behind those dreaded back twinges.
Lowers Injury Risk
Lifting heavy weights isn’t easy and comes with a risk of damaging your spine. That’s why weightlifters should always equip themselves with a weightlifting belt – it can lower your chances of injury by helping you maintain good posture and providing support for your spine.
Ensures Muscle Growth
Wielding one of these gym staples ensures that you are harnessing the full potential of your lower-body muscles, allowing them to expand and grow while keeping your spine safe from strain.
By wearing a lifting belt, you can target muscle groups like the quads and hamstrings for optimum results when training. By strengthening these particular muscles in your lower body, not only will you make leaps and bounds in terms of muscle growth and improved strength.
Improves Gym Performance
Gym belts offer more than just essential protection during heavy workouts; they enable gym-goers to take their performance to the next level. By fitting in and supporting your core, you can activate your power muscles to lift heavier weights for longer and see dramatic progress in a matter of weeks.
In fact, research reported that people who used lifting belts for workouts felt more secure and comfortable which was reflected in their workout results.
Related Article: Rest-Pause Training For Muscle Growth And Torched Fat
Weight Lifting Workout With Lifting Belt
Here are some of the top 5 workouts that you can perform using a lifting belt and up your game in the gym:
Gym belts are essential for any weightlifting routine – and the deadlift is no exception! Deadlifts place a lot of pressure on your core, so wearing a lifting belt is an easy way to protect your spine. It also provides extra support and stability during the lift, allowing you to lift more weight with good form.
- To properly execute a deadlift, begin by stepping up to the bar with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes angled slightly outward beneath it.
- Keep your spine extended and hips below shoulder height
- Reach down with an overhand grip and wrap your hands around the bar.
- Once your hands are firmly in place, take a deep breath in then exhale as you stand up tall while squeezing your glutes.
- Make sure you stand up straight rather than leaning backward
- Revert to the original position and put the bar down
2. Barbell Squat
If you’re looking to gain strength, improve your muscle growth, and build a toned body, then barbell squat is the perfect exercise for you! This amazing workout will help your legs feel worked more than ever before.
- Start by positioning the barbell behind your neck.
- Exhale as you lower yourself until your thighs become parallel with the ground. Make sure to keep the tension in your torso intact.
- As you begin to lift the weight back up, keep your back in an upright position and inhale as you do so.
- Count it as one rep.
3. Overhead Standing Press
If you’re looking for the ultimate upper body workout, the Overhead Standing Press is your ticket to toned arms and a chiseled chest. Not only will this exercise sculpt your physique, but it will also engage and strengthen other muscle groups around your shoulder girdle, such as the trapezius, serratus anterior, and deltoid heads.
- Start by standing shoulder-width apart and holding the barbell with your knuckles inwards and facing towards you.
- For added safety, consider wearing a lifting belt if you’re doing multiple reps or increasing the weight significantly.
- Put the bar on your chest and keep the elbows forward while you take a deep breath and brace your torso.
- Squeeze your glutes, keep your back straight, and lift the bar over your head until your elbows are locked.
- Tilt your head slightly forward when lifting the bar above.
- Hold this position for two seconds before slowly exhaling as you lower the bar to rest it on your chest once more.
4. Barbell Bench Press
Lifting a barbell during the bench press can be daunting, but with the right technique and a reliable lifting belt, you can execute your squat flawlessly. Lifting belts help keep your obliques strong for extra stability, not to mention that it offers additional support for your serratus anterior muscles and shoulders in general. Make sure to always secure the belt on your trunk firmly before lying flat on the bench.
- Keep your feet firmly placed on the floor and take a deep breath before bracing your torso to raise the bar off of the rack.
- Bend your elbows outward and slowly lower the bar towards your chest.
- Push firmly against the ground with your feet as you gradually press back up to complete one rep – but don’t forget to keep breathing!
- Once you get comfortable with this exercise, you’ll see great results in no time at all.
5. Barbell Rows
Lifting your way to a stronger, wider back can be made easier with barbell rows. For those of all fitness levels, this exercise effectively increases strength and works to improve posture as well. With the help of a lifting belt for workout, you can ensure your safety and stability as you move through this exercise.
- Stand at a medium stance and grab the barbell with a neutral grip.
- Then do a rowing motion with the barbell up until it reaches your chest level.
- Remember to stay focused on keeping the core tense and pay attention to proper form throughout each rep for the best results!
Choosing the right size and use guide for a leather weightlifting belt can be an intimidating task – there are a whole lot of sizes, materials, and other factors to consider! But with a bit of research and some savviness, you can find the perfect lifting belt that meets all your needs.
Whether you’re looking for something to help you power through those heavy sets or add more stability during big lifts, a good weightlifting belt is essential for any serious workout. So don’t hesitate – pick up a high-quality leather belt today and take your workout routine to the next level!