I am often asked how I feel about lifting belts, so here is an exert from an article by Nike Horton that I found to be helpful, explaining the pros and cons of wearing a lifting belt.
Depending upon who you ask the question, “Should I wear a weightlifting belt?” you can end up getting an emphatic “yes”, a condescending “no”, or an uninterested “I don’t care.” For instance, powerlifters obsessively use specialized weightlifting belts while CrossFitters are proud they never do. Bodybuilders are split with some believing belts essential for both safety and performance reasons and others believing them to actually INCREASE your risk of injury over time. Olympic lifters don’t really care either way.
Given all of that, it can be hard to parse out an easy answer to what seems like a simple question. I’m going to lay out the pros and cons.
May help prevent injury to the low back during heavy lifts.
Can increase performance.
Might inhibit motor learning in the abdominal muscles.
Lower Back might not get as strong.
Should You Wear a Weightlifting Belt? Pros
All of the upsides to wearing a belt come down to the idea of intra-abdominal force or pressure. A study done by Miyamoto, et al. found that “Intra-muscular pressure of the erector spinae muscles increased significantly by wearing the abdominal belt during Valsalva maneuvers and during maximum isometric lifting exertions”. In short, if you increase the pressure in the abdomen, then you better stabilize the whole area which makes for a safer environment for the spine and can increase your ability to lift heavier weights.
Another study by Kingma, et al., showed that, “Wearing a tight and stiff back belt while inhaling before lifting reduces spine loading. This is caused by a moment generated by the belt rather than by the IAP (intra abdominal pressure)”, which suggests that there may be even more reasons why belts are beneficial.
Should You Wear a Weightlifting Belt? Cons
There are two major arguments against the use of a belt. Below I go over each, and my response to them.
1. Belts Mess With Motor Learning
The first concern is the belt might inhibit proper motor learning. Many of the best exercises in the gym require a correct pattern of recruitment of the abdominals (including the obliques and transverse abdominals). With beginners, weight belts circumvent their learning of how to “squeeze” their abs tightly and in the right ways during a heavy lift. The belt just takes over.
This issue, however, is pretty easy to get around if you have a good coach or you are paying attention. You should never use a belt in place of proper core work, stabilization, and technical learning. But that should be obvious.
2. Belts Make Your Lower Back Wimpy
The second concern is that wearing a weightlifting belt is going to cause your lower back to be weaker than it would have been without it. Why? Because it will take stress off the back and stress is what drives adaptation.
Let’s think about this for a second. The strongest deadlifters in the world nearly all wear belts all the time in training and competitions. Do you really think they have weak lower backs because of their obsessive use of a belt? Putting on a belt MIGHT lower the amount of stress on the low back by some amount, but that difference is more than made up for by the additional weight you will lift via a boost from internal pressure or even just the psychological boost you get when you feel safer.
Here is the link if you would like to read the whole article:
17 / June / 2014 Tuesday
15 min cap:
2 rounds of 6,5,4,3,2,1
Strict handstand push ups
Strict ring pull ups
11 min AMPRAP
7 split lunge jumps (total)
7 push ups
7 box jumps(24/20)
7 pull ups (kipping ok)