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How to Wear a Weightlifting Belt

Once you pass the beginner period in the gym and start learning about what kind of training you like doing and set some progress goals, the time to start buying all the gear comes quickly. In no time, you want to have the best possible shoes, a cool bag, several pairs of shorts and training kits, along with a metal shaker, a good pre-workout, and the inevitable tasty protein powder. Along with that, if you've found that lifting heavy is the type of workout that brings you the most amount of joy, you also start getting interested in specific lifting gear, typically that includes straps, wrist wraps, chalk, knee and/or elbow sleeves, and, of course, a weightlifting belt.

In this article, we will turn our attention to the weightlifting belt specifically - we're going to discuss what's the purpose of a weightlifting belt, how and when it can be useful for an athlete, the right way to wear it, and the most popular models on the market. So, if that sounds like something you're interested in, then keep on reading.

Why Do You Need a Lifting Belt?

It's safe to say that plenty of the accessories you see in the gym are not actually ones you need or ones that make any big difference in your workouts. However, that's not the case when it comes to lifting belts. Their entire purpose is to be an assistive type of equipment that actually enhances your performance during most of the compound movements you perform at the gym. The idea of the belt is pretty simple to understand - typically, your core muscles contract in order to stabilize your body during weightlifting. If you have something to push again, contracting those muscles is actually easier, and this is where the support of the belt comes into play.

Contrary to popular belief, the idea of the weightlifting belt is not to prevent you from getting injured; on the contrary, its main purpose is to help you lift more. In fact, a recent study shows that the usage of a weightlifting belt can help improve a lifter's explosive power as it increases the speed of the movement without compromising the range of motion or the proper technique. When it comes to using the belt as a preventive measure, the studies haven't shown that there's a reason for doing so - there aren't any that suggest wearing a belt reduces the risk of injury in any way.

All in all, if you're looking to get a belt because you want to increase your lifting loads and you want to become stronger, then it's definitely a good idea. However, if you want to get a belt because you want to prevent injuries from happening or because you already have lower back issues and you don't want them to worsen, then you should likely look for other solutions.

How to Wear a Weightlifting Belt

If you walk into a gym and take a good look at the people wearing a lifting belt, there's a good chance you will see at least half of them wearing it the wrong way. In order for this accessory to be effective and to actually help you achieve better results, you need to learn how to put it on correctly. And thankfully, you have us to help you learn just that in a few simple steps.

Step 1: Wrap the Belt

The first step of this process is pretty straightforward - you have to wrap it around your waist. As a general rule, the belt should be just above your hip bone so that it can fully spread against the front, back, and sides of the torso. Here, it's good to note that if the belt feels too tight or is pinching in some areas, then there's a good chance you didn't position it correctly. If it still occurs, even after you placed it the way we mentioned, then maybe the belt you bought is too small or too thick for your needs.

Step 2: Inhale and Tighten It

It's important for the belt to be tight, but it shouldn't be suffocating you to the point where you feel like you might explode. You want to have enough room for your stomach to comfortably expand as you breathe in because that's how you can create tension and brace. Generally, your belt should feel snug, but it should be really tight and properly filled in only once you start bracing yourself. A good tip here is to check the tightness by sticking your finger down the back of the belt. If it's too loose, you have to tighten it; if it's too tight, then you have to loosen it up a bit.

Step 3: Expand and Breathe

The idea of having a weightlifting belt is to keep your back more stable and supported. However, before the belt comes into play, the first line of defense against a weak back is actually your core. That's why it's to keep it raced and tight during any lift, and the belt is there to help you do that more effectively. As part of this last step, you have to take a deep breath in and then flex your lower back and abs. Then, continue to hold this position for the entire time during the exercise.

With that said, you have to keep in mind that the belt is not a band-aid for poor technique or if you're unable to brace properly. It's an accessory that can help enhance the performance of those who've already learned how to brace themselves and breathe correctly when lifting heavy.

What Exercises Require a Weightlifting Belt?

The reality is you can do ?ny movement with the help of a weightlifting belt. However, it's generally recommended to use it only when performing compound lifts such as any kind of presses, deadlifts, squats, and accessory movements. So if you're simply performing exercises on a machine, or you're doing something like bicep curls, tricep extensions, and calf raises, then there's absolutely no need to wear a weightlifting belt - the only thing it does is warm your waist. It doesn't help prevent any injuries, and in such cases, you're not even using it properly, as you're not bracing yourself during these movements.

Do I Need to Break My Belt In?

If you bought a thick, heavy-duty belt, then you will notice that it's pretty stiff immediately after taking it out of the box. If you want to break it up a bit and make it more comfortable to wear, we have a simple trick to help you do just that. Put the belt on the floor and sit down next to it; turn on your favorite movie or your favorite team's game, roll it, and unroll it for at least an hour. After about 30 minutes, it will start to loosen up as it gets warmer. Over time, by doing this, you will make it softer and easier to wear.

In Conclusion

Hopefully, this article was helpful for you, and you managed to learn not only how to wear a weightlifting belt correctly but also why and when you need to put one on. And if any of you have more pointers and tips, then we'd love to hear all about them in the comment section.

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