An essential item of any serious weightlifters kit is a weightlifting belt – but what are they for, when should you use one and what are the benefits?
What is a Weightlifting Belt Used for?
The main purpose of wearing a weightlifting belt is that it helps to stabilise and reduce stress on the spine.
This should help the wearer perform more reps and lift heavier (if only slightly) weights. But how is this achieved?
Wearing a belt when weightlifting increases the abdominal pressure of the wearer, sometimes by up to 40%. This build-up of pressure will help to cushion and support the spine, increasing stabilisation and helping to reduce the stress on it from lifting heavy weights.
It is important to realise that the belt itself doesn’t support the spine during lifting, but it does provide a cue to the body to create additional pressure which will create the support required.
When Should a Weightlifting Belt be Used?
Although wearing a weightlifting belt can help to provide some of the marginal gains that all athletes are seeking, it should be stressed that it is only effective if a proper technique is employed.
The simple act of wearing a belt won’t automatically improve your performance, as there is a learning curve attached to using it properly. However, the belt should force you to lift more with your legs than your back, improving the biomechanics of a lift.
A weightlifting belt should only be used when it is really needed and there is likely to be a heavy load on your spine.
This is likely to be during exercises such as barbell lifts like squats, deadlifts and the various Olympic lifts.
A weightlifting belt is not required for most other gym exercises, including bench-pressing or curling.
It is also not necessary if you are just starting out with weightlifting as the load won’t be heavy enough to necessitate a belt. A good guideline is to use the belt when you can deadlift 1.5 times your bodyweight.
The LP Weightlifting Belt
The LP Weightlifting Belt has been designed for maximum comfort and support during weightlifting.
It is made with high-density foam which is reinforced with a nylon shell but with soft fabric on the inside.
It is 6” width all the way round, which is an important feature as it provides uniform feedback to your torso to create the pressure required when lifting.
The LP Weightlifting Belt should be worn so it is comfortable but is in a position that allows you to create the required pressure against it. It is available in various sizes from 23 ¼ “ waist through to a 43” waist.
The LP Weightlifting Belt is just one of the products designed by the LP Sports Medicine Team to help improve performance while managing and preventing injuries.