When should I start using a weightlifting belt

By Sebastian Oreb AKA The Australian Strength Coach

When to wear a weightlifting beltOne of the most common questions I get asked is, should I be using a belt and at what stage of my training should I introduce a belt?

I will start by saying, no one actually needs to use a weightlifting belt ever if they don’t want to and there are many successful lifters that achieve amazing results without the use of a belt. However, you will often see me wearing belts in my videos, so I will explain why I include them in my training.

I personally love using a weightlifting belt when I lift heavy things. I love the added strength we feel when we wear it. I generally wear a belt for most of my strength sessions when I’m focusing on major compound movements where I load my spine, such as Squats and Deadlifts. When I use a belt, I start wearing it from early on in my warm ups with a looser setting and continue to use it all the way up to our last rep and tighten it as I increase. I don’t use a belt for every exercise in my program and I program equipment usage when I design training programs.

So, what is the role of a weightlifting belt?

The role of the belt is to increase intra-abdominal pressure, which increases the rigidity of the torso to help stabilise and protect the spine. For the belt to be effective, I take a big breath in at the start of the movement, pushing my abdomen into the belt while I brace my core.

When should I start using a weightlifting belt?

I recommend building a base before introducing a belt. What I mean by that is developing strength, muscle and coordination in the movement first. I recommend learning the correct techniques for all of the movements without the belt before you introduce the belt. There is no specific number that will determine when you are ready, it is personal preference.

If you found this helpful...

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DISCLAIMER:
If you have never used a belt and breathing techniques like this and you do not understand it, I recommend you seek guidance from a professional who is experienced in using them. All information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or to replace a relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.

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