The benefits of a weightlifting belt for powerlifters is something to seriously consider before you start to tackle that big weight.
Powerlifting is a phenomenal sport and a test of absolute sheer will and strength. The ability for the human body to lift that much weight is truly something incredible to watch, let alone do. But those training days can be gruesome, constantly feeling a huge amount of weight on your back, putting you in a vulnerable position. Weightlifting belts are great tools to keep you both safe and moving efficiently during your workouts. These can assist you with your deadlifts or squats, and can also work well with other functional exercises to keep your form as solid as it needs to be.
When looking for a good quality lifting belt, knowing which one to buy can be tough. In the end, it is a personal preference and one that provides you the most comfort. The two main belts are leather and nylon and while both can be great for your gains, they work differently. A leather belt can provide great support and be more durable so they last a long time. Nylon tends to be more flexible even though they do offer similar support. Ultimately, you want a belt that will support your big lifts while also providing comfort so you enjoy your workouts as well.
What Is A Weightlifting Belt?
A weightlifting belt is designed to support your lower back and compress the muscles of your core to keep your spine stiff to enable you to be able to lift heavy loads without compromising back and spine safety. And the use of a weightlifting belt can even potentially increase performance to a certain extent. But, it’s important to remember that a belt should not be the only solution for preventing injury as you still need to maintain proper form and implement additional known preventative measures.
When To Use A Weightlifting Belt?
It’s recommended to only use a weightlifting belt when lifting loads greater than 80% of your one-rep max to prevent injury. Otherwise, you limit your ability to naturally engage the trunk muscles to a maximum degree. A large benefit of using a belt during 90% of one-rep max will help get that weight up and keep you stable. The belt is a safety aid when the body pushes past its natural limit and low rep, high resistance loads are cause for assistance.
Benefits Of Weightlifting Belts
Back Support and Reduced Stress
Pressure put on your abdominal cavity works to stabilize the spine and relieve pressure and stress off your back (1). This is critical when lifting heavy weights for it protects your back from injuries and keeps you lifting and working much harder. With the added support from the inside, you can be sure those reinforcements for your back are stable enough to tackle any powerlift thrown your way.
Increase Strength & Power
With increased stabilization, more balance, and better form, you will lift more and continue to see constant improvements. Along with promoting better form, a lifting belt is exactly what you need to feel comfortable lifting heavier so those gains start to really show. With less pressure put on your body, your training volume will increase as well, leading to more sets with more reps at higher weight. This will leave your muscles no choice but to grow (2).
Promote Better Form & Technique
A lifting belt will help counteract a weak core which is essential for proper form. With those big powerlifts like the squat and deadlift, a solid core is key in keeping your body balanced and grounded. Without that, it can lead to injury which you just don’t want or need. By promoting proper form, you will enhance your ability to grow in strength and size, resulting in a great physique and serious lifting ability.
Reduce Chance Of Injury
By wearing a lifting belt, your chances of injury severely diminish. Once this will provide a snug feel around your back and core, it will keep everything in line and not allow you to sacrifice form (3). Poor form can lead to that unwanted pain and ultimately injury and a good lifting belt will keep you healthy and active in the gym. While a lifting belt does not ensure you won’t get injured, for other factors like proper form and recovery play a big role, a weightlifting belt will help provide as much support as possible so you aren’t as vulnerable when put under that much weight.
Featured Weightlifting Belt
SBD 13mm Lever Belt
SBD 13mm Lever Belt is an awesome lifting belt designed for powerlifters and strongmen to really enhance overall support and strength. SBD is a high quality company designing and creating some of the best workout equipment around. The English hide is prepared over five months in order to ensure strength and longevity so this belt is more comfortable with time and will last you well into your training years. A black oiled finish and red suede interior keeps you looking and feeling great while wearing it. The buckle is easily adjustable with a gliding lever action and prong belt for easy access and with 13mm of thickness, this belt is lightweight and flexible without sacrificing any gains.
Using a weightlifting belt as a powerlifter is something to seriously consider, especially with the amount lifted every single workout. Knowing which lifting belt to buy all comes down to personal preference and just what you want to get out of your belt. Support and comfort should be at the top of your list and it is possible to have both. Really reap the benefits of wearing a lifting belt so you start seeing huge growth as you smash those personal records. Check out some great weightlifting belts and really see what these exercise tools can do for you.
Check out our list of the Best Weightlifting Belts 2021 here!
*Images courtesy of Envato
- Finnie, S. B.; Wheeldon, T. J.; Hensrud, D. D.; Dahm, D. L.; Smith, J. (2002). “Weight Lifting Belts: Motivations For Use”. (source)
- Frankel, Christopher C.; Kravitz, Len. “The Weight Belt Controversy”. (source)
- Miyamoto, K.; Iinuma, N.; Maeda, M.; Wada, E.; Shimizu, K. (1999). “Effects of abdominal belts on intra-abdominal pressure, intra-muscular pressure in the erector spinae muscles and myoelectrical activities of trunk muscles”. (source)