How to wear a weight lifting belt properly
Strength training has multiple health benefits and can improve quality of life for people of all ages. It can strengthen the bones and help to protect the joints, burn calories and reduce the symptoms of many chronic health conditions. As we get older, muscle mass diminishes so to counteract this, adding some weight training into your routine will make all the difference. But does this mean you need a weight lifting belt?
Weight lifting belts are not necessary most of the time. It’s important that you work on strengthening your core and perfecting your form without a belt for the majority of time and only add in a belt when you are going for lifts such as particularly heavy deadlifts, Olympic lifts and squat lifts. Remember, the belt is there to act as another layer of muscle but will not correct poor form. Be sure to check out our 'do weight lifting belts actually help?' page for more on this topic!
When you go to lift a heavy weight you automatically take a deep breath and brace your body for the lift without even thinking about it and in so doing, you are creating intra-abdominal pressure, your own ‘natural’ weight lifting belt, which acts to stabilise and cushion the spine whilst optimising the power needed for the lift. Whether to wear a weight lifting belt or not is a personal preference. However, weight lifting belts, when worn properly, create more of that intra-abdominal pressure, allowing you to expand into the belt, enabling you to brace your core correctly, providing support and stability for your spine.
So, how do you wear a weight lifting belt properly?
When deciding on a weight lifting belt it’s important that you choose the correct size and type of belt for you. You can choose between a hard leather belt or a strong, firm, nylon belt. Both have the same effect. Some people find nylon belts more comfortable as they are lighter and less bulky.
- Position the belt above the hips and below the ribs, over the lower back.
- Tighten the belt so that fits snugly but not so that it feels uncomfortable and digs into you. You should be able to breathe normally.
- Once the belt is in position, if it feels restrictive or uncomfortable in any way, or if it’s slack and loose, the belt is probably the wrong size for you.
- Ensure you are able to breath and expand into the belt, bracing your core and lower back - using your belt as another layer of muscle.
- In between sets, loosen the belt or take it off completely.