You may have seen the occasional weightlifter at the gym wearing an oversized belt. Weightlifting belts are a pretty common sight in any gym, but some still wonder what these lifters have to gain by wearing one around their waist.
What are Weightlifting Belts?
Weightlifting belts or straps are large belts that many people use at the gym to help them lift heavier weights by providing muscle support. They come in various types and sizes that have designs for comfortability or efficiency.
One of the many assumptions about weightlifting belts is that they help you lift more weight than you used to. In actuality, these belts don’t magically help you carry larger loads.
Plenty of people also assume that these belts help in bracing your lower back and protecting your spine against injuries. This is true, weightlifting belts do assist in preventing injuries to the discs in your spine.
Are Weightlifting Belts Considered Cheating?
Many weightlifters call out weightlifting belts because they believe it to be cheating, alongside many other insults. However, these belts aid and assist a weightlifter in protecting against possible injuries. Due to this, you can consider the use of weightlifting belts as not cheating.
However, some competitions may not allow these belts. Only then can using weightlifting belts be considered cheating.
What are the Benefits of Weightlifting Belts?
There are two benefits to using weightlifting belts. One of these benefits is that these belts help minimize the stress to your lower back when you’re lifting in an upright position.
The belt compresses the abdominal cavity to increase the intra-abdominal pressure offering more support to the bones at the lower back. In turn, they help you avoid possible injuries when performing lifts.
A weightlifting belt also prevents back hyperextension when doing overhead lifts. Back hyperextension or the repetitive arching of the back is typical in weightlifting.
However, this routine may lead to Spondylolysis which is a frequent overuse injury in weightlifting. That’s how the belt helps your form to prevent hyperextension from happening.
When Do You Not Need a Weightlifting Belt?
Weightlifting belts aren’t necessary for every lifting exercise. Although these belts indeed help the lifter, there are times where it’s more of a nuisance than an assistant.
You should note two things when using weightlifting belts. Firstly, these straps are useless or do not affect your performance if you’re lifting small and light weights.
Secondly, the longer you use these belts during a single session, the more your blood pressure will increase. If you have blood pressure problems or heart disease, you should exercise caution when using weightlifting belts.
When Do You Need to Wear a Weightlifting Belt?
Beginners should make the most use out of a weightlifting belt when they’re trying out heavier weights. You must wear these belts sensibly and only if you ever need one.
The constant use of a weightlifting belt won’t give you the intended results you wanted. The longer you use these belts, the lesser your abdomen will stabilize.
It’s important to remember that you will need strong abdominal muscles to lift heavier weights and develop yourself. Becoming reliant on a weightlifting belt will only serve to make you fail.