We often see weightlifting belts being used by many professional bodybuilders, CrossFit practitioners, and other gym enthusiasts. Still, there is a lower number of people using these accessories each year, and that is because they don't quite understand how does a weightlifting belt work.
People tend to believe either that wearing a belt will allow them to lift heavier weights somehow, or that wearing a girdle will protect them from any and all injuries. Neither of these is actually true.
In this article, we will talk about the way that weightlifting belts work, and why you should use them.
What is the Purpose of a Weightlifting Belt?
If wearing a weightlifting belt doesn’t give you more strength nor does it protect you from injuries, why wear one at all? Now, this might sound extremely contradictory, but, in truth, it does both of these things. However, you will only be able to reap the benefits of these belts if you're already an experienced gym member.
The explanation for what we are talking about is quite simple. A weightlifting belt enhances your performance and strength based on your technique and proper body posture. Read on, and we will explain just how this process happens.
The Science Behind Weightlifting Belts
People, at least the ones we notice talking about the subject on the internet, tend to believe that weightlifting belts somehow support your spinal structure. Others think that these accessories are holding your back muscles while you're working out.
Again, none of these are true. In reality, weightlifting belts are supporting your abs, and through that, the core of your body. If you don't know what your core is, it's the combination of muscles in your upper body, with the abs being the most critical group. These muscles are the ones that give you real strength to do the hardest exercises out there, such as variations of pull-ups.
If you have proper techniques, and already have a strong core, weightlifting belts will act as an additional layer of this base strength for you. It all sounds a bit abstract, so we will use a real-life situation as an example since it might be the best way to explain this phenomenon.
If you're planning on lifting the maximum amount of weight you can handle at that moment, the proper technique would be taking a deep breath and tightening your abs and the rest of your core. Doing this will allow you to hold more weight than you would usually be able to. However, if you do the same thing while wearing a proper weightlifting belt, you will be able to lift even more, thanks to the additional core support.
Afterward, if you tried lifting the same amount of weight without using a belt, you could probably hurt your spine or some of your muscles. Through that practice, it can also be established that weightlifting belts serve as a form of protection from injury.
After reading this text, please don't just get a weightlifting belt, take a deep breath, and try to lift more than you ever did, as you will probably hurt yourself. Talk to your personal trainer or some of the more experienced people in the gym about learning proper technique.
Why? Proper technique doesn't only apply to taking in deep breaths before lifts. You will also have to be careful about various things, such as muscle-mind connection, grip, and many others.
When Shouldn’t You Wear a Weightlifting Belt?
If you're perfectly healthy, there aren't many reasons not to wear a belt since it cannot hurt you in any way. However, there are some situations where it would be advised against, and some others where it's completely unneeded.
If you have problems with your blood pressure, or similar heart-related conditions, you should never attempt to lift more than you can, even when using a weightlifting belt. This can cause dizziness, heart palpitations, and even more severe issues. We recommend consulting your physician about this if you're unsure about whether you should do it or not.
If you are a complete beginner and you don't know anything about lifting, then weightlifting belts won't help at all. Most personal trainers and professionals will first try to help you learn the way to support your own body and not hurt yourself. This process won't last more than a few weeks, and once you're entirely ready, you can think about the belt.
We have cleared some common misconceptions about weightlifting belts and explored the science behind it. Now that you know how does a weightlifting belt work, you should be ready to start using it, or at least ready enough to practice your technique and body posture until the right time comes.
Remember not to overwork yourself, or try to perform some more serious achievements, if you're having health troubles. Trust us; it is not worth the cost.