If you’re just starting out in a weightlifting program or are a professional lifter, you may have asked yourself this question, “Are weightlifting belts a good idea?” “what are the advantages and disadvantages of using a weight lifting belt?”
There are so many advantages and disadvantages of using a weight lifting belt that it’s hard to know if one is right for you, especially with all the variables involved. So, the simple answer to your question is “it’s up to you!”
Okay, I know this wasn’t the answer you were looking for, so let me break it down for you. The use of a weightlifting belt only depends on some of the following:
- Your current ability in the gym
- Do you have an injury?
- Do you know how to activate intra-abdominal pressure??
- What are your goals
- And so on …
You see, it’s not as easy as you thought. Lucky for you, we’ve put in a ton of information here so you can figure out if a weightlifting belt is right for you.
How do Weightlifting Belts work?
advantages and disadvantages of using a weight lifting belt| The Long Story In short, and among other things, the weightlifting belt helps the lifter increase the amount of weight he can lift, sometimes by an additional 20%.
They do this by creating additional intra-abdominal pressure. Basically, it’s the pressure inside your core that pushes outward towards your spine and core muscles that provide extra stability and strength.
However, if you’ve never used it before doing weightlifting and you don’t yet know how to create intra-abdominal pressure with the muscles you already have, it’s best to learn this practice first (more on that later).
Weightlifting belts also help stabilize and limit movement in some lifters, helping them avoid overstretching the movement that can lead to injury. In general, a weightlifting belt increases the amount with which a person can lift under a slight restriction in movement.
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Advantages and disadvantages of using a weight lifting belt
- Restricts certain movements that can prevent injury due to overstretching.
- Helps create a muscular connection with the core and the muscles being used.
- Increases intra-abdominal pressure, great for lifting more weight.
- Allows you to increase the sense of control and form when exercising.
- Overuse can prevent the buildup of natural muscle development.
- May provide a false sense of security leading to injury.
- Creates imbalance in areas where the belt is not located.
- May be addictive when lifting.
As you can see, it’s about 50/50 when it comes to the Advantages and disadvantages of using a weight lifting belt.
It all depends on where you are right now and your current goals as to whether or not you should use a weightlifting belt.
Your current strength level
advantages and disadvantages of using a weight lifting belt|
You need to judge yourself and where you currently are in terms of strength, ability, agility, and overall fitness. If you’re a new athlete with no history of back injury, you’re probably better off building your core strength through basic exercises like leg raises, planks, rollouts, and squats.
This will help build a solid foundation, so when you do squats, weightlifting, etc. with heavier weights, you will be able to create your own intra-abdominal pressure without the need for a belt.
You can practice this by starting with light loads and building tight pressure around the core while doing weightlifting exercises. In short, you want to keep your core tight and active throughout the entire movement.
On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned lifter who already has a good level of strength, and a solid core to back it up, adding a belt to the equation can further increase your body’s intra-abdominal pressure, helping you beat your PRs!
How to increase intra-abdominal pressure without a belt?
The following are just a few ways to actively increase intra-abdominal pressure using various training methods.
By no means are they the only way to increase the amount of lift, or they are here to completely replace the need for a lift belt, but they are here to help you increase your body’s ability to produce more lift and internal strength.
Internal & External Core Muscles
When creating a strong core for lifting, you need to focus on four aspects:
The Rectus Abdominus and Exter Oblique muscles and transversus of the abdominals and lumbar mulfide region;
Static Core Exercises- Exercises such as the plank, side plank, and plank help build overall core strength.
Mobile exercises – TRX core twists, crunches, climbers, etc. Help to hit at different core angles while improving overall strength.
Vacuumings- a classic exercise for bodybuilders that are used to train the internal and external core muscles. A.K.A.; rectus abdominis and external oblique. These muscles support posture and control deep breathing during power movements such as heavy squats.
Controlled Breathing – When you control your breathing while exercising, you allow your body to lift more weight. For example, inhaling while squatting down, then holding the upward movement, which creates more intra-abdominal pressure.
Other uses of weightlifting belt
advantages and disadvantages of using a weight lifting belt| Weightlifting belts are not only for lifting weights with your feet on the ground, they can also be useful for lifting weights, such as weighted drops or pull-ups.
Ideally, you will have a separate belt for this, but you can find weightlifting belts that double up for this purpose.
Another exercise you can do with a weightlifting belt:
- Weighted Dips
- Weighted pull-ups
- Lifting and carrying, such as rollovers in tires
advantages and disadvantages of using a weight lifting belt| It’s actually not difficult, if you want to increase your lifts, prevent yourself from injury, and feel stronger, it’s worth using a lifting belt.
However, if you are new to lifting and you have not mastered the methods of abdominal pressure without a belt, I would very much like you to practice it first. Once you’ve nailed it, the added belt will see your PR skyrocket.