Wearing a weightlifting belt might seem like a good idea if you ever decide to engage in some physical activity. It will undoubtedly make you look more like a professional bodybuilder to someone who doesn't know much about lifting weights.
However, there are some unspoken rules to this practice, and you should learn them unless you want the more experienced guys at the gym looking at you like a complete amateur. Don't worry. In this article, we’ve got your back.
Today, we will explain to you just where to wear lifting belts, and where to avoid sporting this accessory.
Where to Wear Lifting Belts?
There have been many discussions on this topic since the weightlifting belt was first invented. You would be surprised at the fact that literally everyone hitting the gym just 60 years ago was wearing one of these bad boys.
However, the practice has changed since then, and, as time passed, lifting enthusiasts all over the world have discovered the best way to utilize this accessory. Today, it's mainly used at competitions and similar events. Outside of that, people who have already perfected their form and technique tend to support their core with a weightlifting belt only when doing their hardest reps of the day.
Exercises Best Suited for Weightlifting Belts
It's a common misconception to think that wearing a weightlifting belt is a good idea whenever you're working out. However, once you understand its actual purpose, it becomes clear that this is far from the truth.
The primary goal of a weightlifting belt is to support your abs, while the secondary objective is to hold your other core muscles together. Through that, other important things are accomplished, such as raising your overall strength levels and helping your lumbar spine through heavy lifting, assisting you in avoiding serious injuries.
Once you know this, you will understand why wearing a weightlifting belt is only useful when doing a specific group of exercises. Some of these include deadlifts, overhead presses, and squats. This is because these exercises will massively overload your core muscles and your spine, and by wearing a weightlifting belt, you will reduce these issues and allow yourself to hold a more significant amount of mass.
More than that, it's also recommended to boost yourself and your core muscles with a belt only when attempting a new maximum weight, doing the most cumbersome rep of the set, or participating in a lifting competition.
Properly Wearing a Weightlifting Belt
Wherever you decide to go with your weightlifting belt, it's essential that you fasten it correctly, or it will lose much of its effectiveness. Many amateurs tend to tighten their weightlifting belt too much, believing that it will protect them from injuries that way. As you might suspect, this is wrong. However, it's equally wrong to make your belt too loose, as it also won't be able to provide support to your core that way.
The proper way of doing this is to tighten your weightlifting belt just enough that you cannot put your hand between it and your abdominal muscles. At the same time, you should also be able to squeeze your abs and take a deep breath without any issues. It might take you a few attempts to get this right, but it will help you in many ways.
How Not to Wear a Weightlifting Belt
There is more to be said in this section than in any of the other ones. However, it's not as important, so we will keep it to a minimum.
First and foremost, know that wearing a weightlifting belt while doing cardio exercises won't help you at all. The same goes for any and all bodyweight exercises. Many people, including some Instagram coaches, do crunches and sit-ups using a belt. This practice is utterly wrong, and it only makes them look funny to the rest of the community.
Furthermore, you should also not wear a belt if you aren't on your heaviest rep of the given set. The boost that the belt provides should only be used when the lifting gets really rough. Otherwise, you're just presenting yourself with additional help, and you might as well have tried lifting a lighter set of weights.
Finally, you will get no benefits for doing machine-exercises that target your torso, legs, or any specific muscle group while using a belt. Only do it when you're actually working with a bar.
In conclusion, wearing a weightlifting belt isn't a dangerous thing to do, but you should consider the appropriate situations to do it. We talked about it not being suitable to wear during cardio and bodyweight exercises, even the ones targeting your abdominal muscles. It might look fitting, but it's completely ineffective.
You now know about the best exercises in which to utilize the help of a lifting belt. In addition to that, we have explained where to wear lifting belts if you want it to help you make progress and get stronger.