One of the commonly debated benefits of weightlifting belts is their usage for heavy lifting. They can be helpful if you don't have great stability, but experts also say that they may not actually help much when you're in the gym.
The reality of the situation is a little different for beginners or intermediate level athletes. A belt might be helpful if you need support, but if you're an advanced athlete then a belt would just get in the way.
There’s a little more to it than that. So, we wanted to break it down once and for all. If you’re considering buying a weight belt for the gym, keep on reading because there are some things you need to know about them first.
WHEN YOU DON’T NEED A BELT
Reeva specializes in selling weightlifting belts. We notice that many people are using their belts during exercises like sit-ups or bicep curls, but as gym addicts ourselves, we want to encourage you to only use a belt when it is needed.
We have one of the world’s best weightlifting belts here. You might not want to buy it because:
You Don’t Squat or Deadlift
Sure, there are other occasions that a weightlifting belt is really useful for. The squat and the deadlift are by far the two most popular lifts it's commonly seen being used for. Serious lifters who're looking to add kgs to their major lifts will definitely benefit from using a weightlifting belt. If you’re hitting machine weights all workout long, you do NOT need a weight lifting belt.
Athletes who are training for bodyweight movement or with dumbbells will likely find no benefit from a belt. A belt becomes useful when executing movements where there is a lot of force put on the back, such as the squat, deadlift, push press etc.
Perfect Form & Heavy Weights
You’ll often see some huge guys in the gym using belts while they train. That’s because they want to move heavy weights without causing injury. If the form was bad, it would lead to injury.
These type of people need a belt to get over plateaus and crush personal records. Belts won't do anything to cure bad form. In fact, you may be able to add more weight with a belt. And extra weight with bad form is never a good idea. The belt can even make your posture worse. As such, until you’re moving heavy weight consistently with good form, you should steer clear of a belt.
Some people have a hard time lifting weights without weightlifting belts because those core muscles can be really weak. If you never lift without one, your core is probably not as strong as the surrounding areas.
As such, you won't be able to lift as much weight when you take the belt off. That's a surefire recipe for an injury. Instead, avoid a belt when learning how to lift weights-- during beginner and intermediate gains phases. Once you've maxed out your newbie/intermediate gains, then it may be smart to start incorporating a belt
Old Injuries & Blood Pressure
It's best if you steer clear from using belts if you've suffered from a hernia or high blood pressure. Belts can aggravate these issues, even flaring up old injuries.
WHEN WEIGHTLIFTING BELTS ARE A GREAT IDEA
Weightlifting belts are often used by bodybuilders who want to get the best lifts. Why? They provide huge benefits for intermediate and advanced lifters.
In fact, most people wouldn’t do deep squats without a belt on. Simply put, as you increase the weight on the bar, you’ll need to use a belt to safely move it. Here are a few other reasons why lifting belts are such a great idea:
When you’re in the middle of a heavy workload, using a lifting belt can really help you stack more weight on. It includes - orthopedic injuries. When you are going up to 80% or more of your one rep max while squatting or deadlifting, a belt can stop you from picking up an injury like that and keep this level of load-
Yes, some would say that a belt is necessary for individuals who can squat or deadlift twice their bodyweight if they want their legs to grow better and faster than other core muscles. As such, a belt can make up for any imbalances between the strength of your legs and your core.
Weightlifting belts are a popular choice among gym goers because they help you lift more weight. Most athletes find that max weight goes up 9.7% for women and 12.4% for men after training with a belt for ~2 weeks.
When squatting with a weight 80 kg heavier than your bodyweight, adding 15% to the weight equals 24 kg for a max-weight on one repetition. That is an incredible improvement just from using an accessory for one week.
This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s easy to mistake your limitations from what you think are your limitations. Like your belt, you need time to do before putting on the gloves! Don't be in a rush with your gains!
More natural trainees find themselves on a certain plateau. They always can benefit from incorporating weight training belts in their workout routine. It is the quickest way to topple your one-rep max PR and make you feel infinitely safer while lifting heavy weights.
Not only does a belt give you physical strength, it also helps you work through mental barriers. Belts both boost your physical and mental strength.
Research has shown that using a belt reduces the chance of injury while squatting and deadlifting, since it forces your legs to bear more of the weight instead of your back. Your legs can handle heavier weight better than any other muscle in your body
Standing with a belt looped around the lower back helps improve posture by reducing spinal movement to some extent.
Less Stress on Spine
When wearing a belt, the intra-abdominal pressure inside you can increase by over 40%. This not only compresses your discs and reduces pressure on your lower back, but it also improves the stability of your lumbar spine.
The belt usually isn’t what actually supports the spine during heavy lifting. But the belt is necessary to support your ab muscles, which is what provides enough pressure on the spine to make it bearable when lifting weight. It’s how your body reacts to the belt that provides benefit to your back and weight to your main lifts.
THE PERFECT LIFTING BELT FOR YOU...
Depending on the circumstance, weightlifting belts provide different benefits. In some cases they will be extremely useful while in others they won’t be as helpful. When is it time to buy a belt? It really depends on the weightlifter.
Running the risk of injury is never advisable if you are serious about performance. A weight belt should be at the top of your gym commodity list because it provides a lot more in terms of safety and comfort.
Reeva Europe is the premier provider of belts on the market. We are very proud to say that you won’t find a better belt anywhere else. You deserve a belt that will not only hold up, but also reflect your dedication to fitness.
Our belts are made with premium leather and designed to assist even the swolest bodybuilders in crushing squat and deadlift plateaus! Click here to learn more.
If you're looking to design your own, be sure to check out our Lifting Belts