Weightlifting can be a pretty dangerous way to exercise when done incorrectly. The main issue is that it’s so easy to use improper techniques without realizing it unless you have someone else to point it out to you.
A weightlifting belt helps to keep your body in the correct position while lifting.
It mainly focuses on helping to keep the spine straight but also uses compression to reduce the load applied to your lower back. An additional benefit of using a weightlifting belt is that it can reduce the risk of hyperextending while performing overhead lifts.
Common Weightlifting Mistakes
A weightlifting belt can help to reduce the risk of injury while lifting weights, though the best way to avoid hurting yourself is to avoid these common mistakes:
Forgetting To Warm Up
Just like with any exercise you perform in the gym or at home, it’s important to warm your body up properly before starting.
Without sufficiently warm muscles, weightlifting can leave you prone to damaging your muscles, leaving you out of action potentially for weeks.
Using Momentum To Lift The Weight
This is something that a lot of beginner weightlifters do that makes experienced ones cringe.
By swinging weights around and using momentum to help you lift them, you won’t actually be working the muscles you’re trying to target by weight training. This also refers to the next mistake…
Using The Wrong Muscles
No, seriously. It is possible to use the wrong muscles while weightlifting. For example, a bicep curl is naturally intended to work out your biceps.
However, if you use the wrong technique and start swinging the weight around, you’ll still lift it but your biceps won’t experience nearly as many benefits.
Too Much Weight
This is a pretty straightforward mistake that even a lot of experienced weightlifters will make. It’s important to know your limits and have a spotter present if you are trying to go for a personal best.
Lifting weights that are too heavy for you is a great way to damage your muscles or have a barbell pinning you to a bench.
When Should You Use A Weightlifting Belt?
Obviously, weightlifting belts are not necessary for every form of weight training. Because they’re designed to help you maintain good form and avoid injuring your spine, there’s no need to use one for exercises that don’t involve your spine.
For example, bicep curls are a form of weight training that would not benefit from a weightlifting belt. Because, theoretically, the only muscles being used should be in your arms.
A better use of a weightlifting belt would be for an exercise like overhead lifts. For exercises like this, maintaining balance through your spine is essential to being able to lift the weight safely.
Wearing the belt for inappropriate exercises is a pretty bad idea because of how tightly they need to be worn to be effective. While you’re wearing a belt, it will restrict blood flow through your torso and studies have shown that overwearing a belt can actually decrease muscular strength development in the upper body.
How To Properly Wear A Weightlifting Belt
Like we alluded to earlier, it is easy to wear this equipment the wrong way. Knowing how to wear a weightlifting belt correctly will allow you to maximize its benefits.
The key point is to wear it as tightly around your midriff as is comfortable to wear. Of course, you should never wear the belt so tightly that you struggle to breathe or move because of it, that would defeat the whole point of wearing the belt in the first place.
It’s also very important that you don’t wear the belt for prolonged periods of time. It can be quite physically demanding to wear the belt properly anyway, so you definitely won’t want to leave it on after you’ve finished lifting.
Popular Weightlifting Belts
This is easily one of the most popular belts you can find online, with tens of thousands of 5-star reviews for the product.
The belt uses a leather material which is great for comfort and durability. Naturally, you don’t want a belt with a completely rigid material that will dig into your skin while lifting.
However, you also don’t want something that’s so soft it will fall apart. Leather is a good middle ground.
Similarly, this belt uses a strong double tongue buckle which leaves little risk of the belt falling off while you’re lifting, giving you the confidence to workout to the max.
We’d recommend trying out a weightlifting belt for yourself before deciding to get one for yourself. If you have a friend who owns one, ask them if you can try it on to see if it feels right for you.
A much more beginner-friendly belt, this one from RitFit uses a slightly softer, less durable material to introduce athletes to the world of weightlifting.
The synthetic material that is used makes the belt much more comfortable to wear than a leather belt and it’s also a lot easier to fold up and store in small spaces.
Of course, this does mean that this belt won’t last as long as a leather one and most likely won’t be appropriate for particularly heavy lifting.
However, if you’re new to weightlifting and want to try out a belt for yourself, this is a good way to learn about how it feels and how to use one.
Of course, weightlifting belts won’t be for everyone. In fact, there are plenty of people who have conflicting opinions over whether they’re even safe to use at all.
In general, though, weightlifting belts can be used completely safely for short periods of time and the only physical dangers are generally presented by people who use them improperly.
Make sure you follow our steps and even do some further research to make sure you’re wearing and using a weightlifting belt properly before getting into the habit of using one every time you workout.