One 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?
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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.