You are unique and so is your body! Before starting any new health routine, always be sure to talk with your doctor to make sure it is right for your needs.
You may think that workout gear like a weightlifting belt is only for pros like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. T and people lifting tractor tires. But these days more and more men and women are lifting belted to improve their workout sessions and protect their muscles. Here’s some reasons to consider trying out a weightlifting belt.
Reduce Stress on Your Lower Back
One of the key benefits of a weightlifting belt is that it reduces stress on your lower back. The belt compresses the abdominal cavity, creating intra-abdominal pressure (IAP), which provides more support to the front of the bones of the lower back area. The IAP also causes the muscles and abdominal contents to press from the inside out, creating more support on the bones and muscles from the inside. Some studies have shown that belts can increase IAP by up to 40%, reducing vertebrae compression by 50%.
Increased intra-abdominal pressure can also reduce the amount of compression on the lower back spine, something many people are prone to during lifting sessions. It’s important to ensure that you are providing your back and muscles adequate support and that you aren’t overdoing the amount of compression on the lower back and spine. So the belt itself isn’t what is providing the support – it’s the body’s response to the belt that stabilizes the spine and back muscles. Taking these precautions can help you avoid injury and ensure that you don’t cause deterioration of your spine during exercise.
Prevent Back Hyperextension
Not only does a weightlifting belt provide your muscles and spine with the support it needs during a lifting session, but it can also make you more aware of your posture. Form and technique during a workout are as important as how much weight you lift and how many reps you do. It does you no good to set personal bests if your posture is not good. This will only lead to injury! True strength comes from doing exercises well, and a weightlifting belt can help with this by making you more aware of your form.
A weightlifting belt will also help you avoid hyperextensions while you workout. It does this by forming a solid wall around the lower torso area. This creates a connection between the ribs and the hips, making it difficult for you to twist or bend to the side. The result is better form and proper lifting, helping you avoid hyperextending your muscles while increasing flexion where it should be, in the hips and knees. This is the type of lifting that will actually lead to more strength and muscle growth long term.
Types of Weight Belts and How to Wear Them
There are many kinds of weight belts available today. The most popular ones are powerlifting belts as well as bodybuilding belts. They also come in varying levels of thickness (measured from top to bottom, usually between 3-6 inches wide), with the thicker belts offering more support. Or you can opt for the best of both worlds with a tapered belt that is wider in the back and more narrow in the front. If you plan to do general weight lifting, you may prefer to wear a thinner, more flexible belt that will allow for more movement. However, if you plan to lift heavy weights, thicker may be the better choice to ensure you are getting the highest level of support. You can also choose based on closure type (velcro vs. leather). Finding the right belt for you depends on your preferences!
When wearing a weight belt, one of the most important things is to make sure you wear it tightly but not so tight that you can’t breathe or move. This provides the best amount of support and helps ensure you maintain good form. You can loosen the belt in between sets to give your body a rest from the pressure. You should also make sure to breathe properly throughout your workout session to avoid holding your breath while lifting.
Things to Know About Weight Belts
It is important to note that lifting weights has been shown to increase blood pressure, and the intra-abdominal pressure created by a weight belt will only increase that. So if you deal with high blood pressure you may want to consult your doctor on whether wearing a weight belt during exercise is safe for you.
Critics also suggest that wearing a weight belt too much can promote decreased abdominal muscle strength, an important part of not only a strong exercise regimen but your overall health and wellness. So be sure to work on your core strength as well and don’t only rely on a weight belt to keep you strong.
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