WHY WOULD ANYONE WEAR WEIGHTLIFTING BELTS?
Many people have different reasons for wearing weightlifting belts. On other hand, some individuals don’t see any reason to wear them. For example, while CrossFitters never wear them, powerlifters make use of specialized weightlifting belts. Bodybuilders are not all that taken about wearing weightlifting belts; some believe the belts can help with one’s safety while others think it can actually increase one’s risk of injury. Olympic lifters don’t care either way if they wear them or not.
IS WEIGHTLIFTING BELT GOOD FOR YOU?
A lot of the benefits that comes with wearing weightlifting belt boils down to the idea of intra-muscular pressure. According to a study by Miyamoto, et al., wearing of weightlifting belts during maximum isometric lifting exertions and Valsalva maneuvers increases the intra-muscular pressure of the erector spinae muscles. This means that when you increase the pressure in the abdomen, you’ll need to stabilize the whole region and this will make it easier for you to lift heavier weights.
More still, Kingma et al., in another study has it that when one wears a stiff and tight back belt as they inhale before lifting any weight will reduce spine loading. The primary cause of this is the moment generated by the belt and not by the intra-abdominal pressure, which means that weightlifting belts may actually be beneficial to the individual wearing them.
Here are the 3 most popular weightlifting belts and their potential benefits:
Powerlifters wear this belt because it gives them the ability to squat and lift heavier weights. Weightlifting belts for powerlifters are usually stiff, and heavy duty with the same width all round. A powerlifting belt gives a good amount of internal pressure build up because the surface area of your abs are in contact with the belt, plus the belt comes with a buckle that enables to pull the belt as tight as you want it. When there is more pressure, then there’s more stability and you can be able to lift heavier weight.
The Velcro belts are made of some synthetic material. Unlike the powerlifting belts, the belt is held unto the body with only Velcro and can’t endure a lot of force. If a force that is more than the Velcro will contain is exerted, the belt will simply pop loose. This belt generates a lesser intra-abdominal pressure and may provide you with additional injury protection. However, when it comes to good support and performance boost, you can't really go wrong with a performance weightlifting belt.
-TRADITIONAL OR BODYBUILDING BELTS
The bodybuilding belts are produced from leather and are thicker in the back. The thickness can be compared to the normal belts that you use to hold up your pants. You can buckle them as you would a powerlifting belt, but they are not as strong. What this entails is that they offer lesser internal pressure than powerlifting belts. However, because of their ability to be fasted very tight, they provide more pressure than the Velcro belt.
Consider this for a moment, almost all the strongest heavy weight lifters all over the world wear belts at all times, whether in training or in a competition. Does that mean that because of their consistent use of the belt, they all have weaker lower backs? Wearing weightlifting belt may lower the amount of stress on the low back, however the additional weight you’ll lift through a boost from internal pressure will make up for that difference.
SO, IS IT ADVISABLE TO WEAR WEIGHTLIFTING BELT?
Agreed, weightlifting belts can provide you with a performance boost, but that is not always the case. If you decide to wear weightlifting belts, do so if you believe it will make you more stable and less prone to injury.
A lot of lifters wear weightlifting belts for various reasons. While some will wear them when lifting any type of weight at all, others will only wear them when lifting heavier weights. Most bodybuilders normally wear the belts to keep their waist tight.
General weightlifters should make us of the belt for exercises such as deadlifts, squats, snatches, bent-over rows and cleans. Also, you may want to use a belt on standing overhead pressing exercises.