Written by Ashley Pollard
Lifting belts are one of those tools that can be useful but lifters often wonder when they should start utilizing one.
The truth is, it depends!
If you're wondering if you should try a belt, you probably should however here are some things to keep in mind.
Your belt is not your core.
You have to keep strengthening your core, even if you decide to use a belt.
Your belt should not be used all the time. Warm-ups and lighter* weight lifts should be done without. Consult your coach if you're unsure which lifts should be done with/without a belt.
A belt is simply a tool to help you engage and support your core during heavy lifts.
WHAT KIND OF BELT SHOULD YOU GET?
The right belt for you depends on your goals, sport-specific movements & any potential regulations.
There are 3 different styles:
There are also different sizes & thicknesses
The thickness of the belt will depend on what you're using it for.
Often, a thicker belt (10 or 13mm) will offer more rigidity of the spine, which is beneficial during heavier lifts and in sports like powerlifting but can easily interfere with more dynamic lifts, like in Olympic lifting.
Don't invest a ton of money right away.
If you are unsure of which belt to get, ask people in your gym to try on their belts & see what you like.
You can also choose the width of the belt.
3-inch or 4-inches
A 4-inch belt typically works best for most, however, for those with a shorter torso, a 3-inch belt is better suited to allow enough room between their pelvis & torso.
When choosing the right tightness, size, or notch, a good rule of thumb is that you should be able to get your hand between your belly and the belt.
SOME MORE IMPORTANT TIPS FOR BELT CARE
Take your belt off right after each set. Your belt is not meant to hold your back together
throughout your entire session. It should be uncomfortable!
Store your belt properly after each use by hanging it up or laying it flat somewhere where air can get to all sides of the belt, so it doesn’t warp or crack with age.