To Belt or Not To Belt…

The weightlifting belt is an awesome tool, but just like any tool it only works well when it is used correctly.  Let’s take a minute and talk about what a belt can and cannot do.

Belts can:

1: Help you increase your intra-abdominal pressure.

 By wearing a belt correctly and actively “pushing out” with your core against the belt we create a pressure system in the core itself that helps it keep the spine stable and safe. I want to make clear that this can and should be done without a belt as well. The belt is just a tool to create an even more pressure.

2: Potentially help you lift more weight WHEN USED CORRECTLY.

With the increase of intra-abdominal pressure (see note 1), the core and spine are in a more stable position and thus allow greater transfer of energy from the lower extremities throughout the rest of the body for the lift.

Belts cannot:

1: Prevent back injuries.

A belt is not a back brace. The purpose is not to support your back. The purpose of the belt is to HELP you create intra-abdominal pressure (again see note 1).

2: Magically fix your lifting form.

Compromised form will still be compromised form, regardless of the tools you are wearing. A rounded back on deadlift without a belt will still be a rounded back when wearing a belt. Focus on fixing the technique of your lift without a belt and then watch your numbers skyrocket once you put the belt on.

3: Replace Core Strength and Mechanics

Your core is designed to be stable. The large majority of issues with back pain are core and glute strength related. If you are using a belt to prevent back pain you are only putting a band aid on a much bigger issue. By taking time away from the belt and training your core to do what it was designed to do you will not only reduce your back pain, but you will most likely come back lifting more!

For those that still have questions on when they should wear a belt, I made this flow chart!

As always if you have any questions please reach out to Me or any of the UpReach Coaching Staff!  We CANNOT WAIT to help you get strong!!!

-Coach Justin