Use of a weight lifting belt during weight training will help protect the lumbar portion of the spinal column (low back) from needless injury. Those in favor of using the belt also suggest that it can prevent possible muscle damage as well. Additionally, the belt will serve as a reminder the weight lifter not to bend or arch their back when lifting. Obviously when there is poor form, there is an increased chance of injury. You’ll see most power lifters or heavy lifters use
a belt to protect them selves for the sheer amount of wight they are using. The belt may also come in handy when you are going for your 1RM on such a lift as barbell squat or deadlift.
Some will argue the use of a weight lifting belt is counterproductive in building up the muscles of the lower back. They point out that any dependence upon the belt will weaken the small of the back rather than allow for its strengthening. When the muscles are constricted by the belt they become inactive. Thus not strengthening the lower back
I personally only use a weight belt when I’m facing heavy heavy weights, or when I am doing a certain lift, very fatigued and my risk of poor form is increased. Regardless, be sure to strengthen your lower back so it can hold the stress of the weight you are loading.
Eric Johnson is a NASM CPT and Team JBT Athlete
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