Are Weight Belts Necessary?
by Christian Duque
The accessories debate among lifters in the gym is as active today, as it was back in the 70’s. Wherever hard training is involved, some folks will consciously or subconsciously try to cut corners. This flaw can be realized through shorter range of motion, lack of concentration, or faulty nutrition. The one place where the athlete simply cannot leave anything to chance, is form during (potentially) dangerous exercises like squats & deadlifts. These are full body exercises that require near-perfect form. The risks involved with pulling or squatting with bad form could have a direct impact on spinal health. This is certainly not something to take lightly.
Although weight training belts have become less popular over the years, largely because their seen as relics by today’s standards, a 4″ or 6″ belt is perhaps the best insurance policy to keeping solid posture through key lifts. Some folks have used these devices incorrectly. For example, older gym-goers may use belts to hold in their guts or because they believe that the pressure keeps the abdominals in play. These theories are largely devoid of any factual data & are essentially more myth than anything else.
The next question is typically, ‘what type of belt should I get?’ The material the belt is made of presents another series of important questions. Leather is generally the most common & long-lasting, but foam works equally as well. The fastening device is key. Velcro is generally not a good option, unless it’s of the highest quality. The last thing you want is for your belt to shoot off you mid-exercise!
Be sure to shop around & try the belt on before purchasing! Make sure it fits you comfortably. If you’re dieting, you may have to buy two as your weight changes. Do not buy a size up or a size down. You need something that’s almost custom-built for the exact shape of your body.