Why use a training belt?

Why use a training belt?

 

Many have probably seen people using exercise belts in the gym, but what is the real benefit?

In this blog we come up with an answer to just this.

How do they work?

The training belts increase the "intra-abdominal pressure". Thererby helping your core to achieve a stability that is far greater than without the training belt. This means that in exercises where your core plays a big role, you can lift heavier weights with a training belt than you can without.

THE DIFFERENT TYPES

There are several different types of belts, the most common of which are:

  1. Leather belt (strength training)
  2. Weight lifting belt

 

The leather belt is used by powerlifters to lift even heavier weights. This belt is equally wide all the way around and is recommended to be between 11-13mm wide to give the best effect. This belt is fastened with a metal buckle and is used for exercises such as deadlifts and squats.

The weightlifting belt is wider in the back and narrows in the front. The reason for using this belt is that it provides better mobility in the exercises in which weightlifters compete.

In this blog, we focus on the leather belt.

See our selection of leather belts

 

This is how they are used

Many believe that weightlifting belts should be tightened as much as possible, but this is actually incorrect. When using a weightlifting belt, you should push your abdomen out, pressing it against the belt rather than pulling it in. This technique creates a solid pressure known as intra-abdominal pressure, which increases by approximately 15-40% when using a belt.

Weightlifting belts are commonly used for exercises like squats and deadlifts, where a strong core is crucial, especially during heavier lifts. However, many also use these belts for other exercises such as military press and bench press, providing additional stability. It's important to note that at times, one should train without a weightlifting belt. This could be during sets with lower weights and sometimes even with heavier weights since our muscles don't work in the same way with a weightlifting belt as they do without.

The increase in strength with a weightlifting belt generally ranges from 5-15%. However, some may need to use the belt a few times before hitting their first record because getting accustomed to the belt takes practice. It's crucial not to give up on using the belt and instead practice with it to become more comfortable.


person der dødløfter med et træningsbælte

The benefits

  1. The training belt allows you to lift heavier weights, especially in exercises where stability and back strength are limiting factors.
  2. When using a training belt for heavy lifts, there is a 17-20% greater activation of the iliocostalis lumborum (one of the muscles in the erector spinae muscle group that rotates the back) compared to lifting without the belt.
  3. A belt reduces the risk of injuries by making it harder to arch the back. However, wearing a belt doesn't miraculously prevent injuries; always ensure proper form.
  4. The belt can help you become stronger in a shorter time if used correctly.

 

Disadvantages

  1. When lifting lighter weights, as opposed to heavier weights, there is a lower activation of the iliocostalis lumborum by about 15-20%.

 

When should you completely avoid using an exercise belt?

  1. If you have blood pressure issues.
  2. If you have problems that worsen with increases in intra-abdominal pressure.

Conclusion

A training belt is beneficial for those who want to lift heavier weights, as it is popular for its effectiveness in reducing the risk of injuries when used correctly. While not mandatory, a training belt can be a valuable tool.

However, individuals with health issues should avoid using belts if it could harm their well-being. Many people find benefits in using belts and have a better training experience with them.

What do you think about training belts?

See our selection here

 

Sources:

National Center for Biotechnology Information

https://www.strongerbyscience.com/the-belt-bible/

 

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