Why Lifting Belts?
A belt is a useful piece of equipment to keep in your supportive strength arsenal. Belts are primarily used to prevent injury and support the torso during heavier movements by support proprioception and the creation of intra-abdominal pressure. The use of a belt can provide a strength athlete with extra support around the torso to increase a lift’s safety.
Every strength athlete can benefit from choosing a belt that’s catered specifically for their sport. A powerlifter and strongman athlete often want a cylinder styled belt, which is a weight lifting belt that wraps around the torso equally. This type of athlete will typically want a stiffer, or more rigid belt for strength movements, as they’re often pressing, squatting, and deadlifting.
An Olympic lifter needs a weightlifting belt that provides support, but also versatility. The typical Olympic weightlifting belt usually comes tapered, so the posterior is thicker in width than the front of the belt. The stiffness and material of this athlete’s weightlifting belt usually comes down to personal preference, as this athlete is performing power movements often.
Getting the proper support from the weightlifting belt is key in preventing injury. With the correct tightness, the belt provides an increase in your intra-abdominal pressure and bracing ability during lifts. This increased intra-abdominal pressure then provides more support to the front of the spinal erector muscles which normally provide support to the lower back. This reduces the amount of lower back compression during a lift.
A belt that is too loose gives the athlete the false perception of the increase in intra-abdominal pressure and bracing power. Not only do you not have that additional support, but you are also lifting heavier weights. If your belt is not the right tightness or size, this leads to a high potential of injury due to a false sense of spinal erector abdominal support.
Belts are not meant to be worn all the time and throughout your entire workout. Building core strength is key to reaching new levels of strength. However, a tight weightlifting belt allows you to increase overall weight that you can lift which in turn will increase overall strength. We are here with the VISE to make sure you get that proper support.
-Dr. Lavell Williams
Bench Press World Champion