People often have varied response to the question “Do you wear a weightlifting belt” For some it’s a must have and for others they could care less about it. For example, powerlifters compulsively wear specialized weightlifting belts whereas CrossFitters are proud that they never wear them. Bodybuilders have a mixed opinion over them with some favoring them for performance and safety reasons and others believing that using it decreases core strength.
This shows that the weightlifting belt has polarizing opinions. Here are some pros and cons about weightlifting belts.
Pros of wearing a weightlifting belt
The positive to wearing a belt come down to the notion of intra-abdominal pressure. This means that when you increase pressure in the abdomen, you help to better stabilize the entire area and this causes to spine to be injury free and also helps to lift heavier weights.
It is also studied that wearing a constricted and firm back weightlifting belt while inhaling prior to lifting lowers spinal load.
Cons of wearing a weightlifting belt
There is a risk that wearing a belt may hinder correct motor learning. Most exercises need a proper pattern of abdominal recruitment. So when beginners use weight belts, this prevents them learning how to properly use their abs by squeezing tightly during heavy lifts. The belt does the job for them.
The second worry is that a weightlifting belt will make your lower back weaker than when you don’t use a belt as it takes stress off the lower back and stress is required to have adaptation.
It is most recommended to wear a weightlifting belt during the heaviest set of the workouts as this will allow you to safely lift the weight without much risk of injury while giving you a performance boost as well. It is important not to get used to the belt therefore working out the majority of sets without it will get your abdominals more into the movements as well which is the best school of thought. Velcro belts are most suitable as they are commonly made from a synthetic material and as it’s stuck to the body only through Velcro, there can’t be unlimited force exerted against the belt as the Velcro will loosen its grip with excessive force. The volume of intra-abdominal pressure that is generated this is very low. There will be an injury prevention from using this while you won’t get too much performance boost which means you’ll still be using your abdominal muscles for the exercise.
Ultimately it’s up to you to analyze when to use a weightlifting belt but it’s always good to have one by your side during a workout to use whenever the situation may arise.