Quick Guide to Weight Lifting Belts

In this section we review all the key elements to choosing, wearing and using a weight lifting belt. 

What do Weight Lifting Belts do and How do they Work?

Evidence suggests gym belts do aid in supporting your trunk/spinal stability during movements which put your back under stress usually in the gym or during some form of strength training. Popular routines to use a weight lifting belt include bench press, olympic lifts, deadlifts or squats and they can help improve performance but it is not clear if weight lifting belts help prevent injury.

Are Weight Lifting Belts Necessary? 

Wearing a weight lifting belt is a question of choice but I am sure if you have visited a gym recently or taken part in CrossFit you will see them being used frequently by men and women of all ages. Per above they can improve performance but they need to be used in the correct way. 

How to wear a Weight Lifting Belt? 

This is a key question! It is often because many people do not use the belt correctly. The belt needs to be positioned above your hips normally with the strap section going round your waist and meeting above or below your navel. The belt needs to be tight enough to provide support but still allow for a complete breathing. If any dizziness is felt then loosen the belt.  

Weight Lifting Belt Neoprene vs Leather - What is Best?

Both options have pro's and cons. Neoprene belts such as the ones First Physique provide are built with enhanced velcro strap size and length to ensure the straps don't pop off as with some neoprene belts under tension. Neoprene tend to be more comfortable and can be put on and removed quicker than a leather belt which is handy for quick adjustments between different exercises. 

For many people a neoprene work out belt will suffice but when lifting super heavy or strongman training a leather belt can have advantages as the belt is held in place via the steel buckle and prongs. 

What Thickness and Size of Lifting Belt to use?

Typical weight lifting belts are 10mm to 13mm thick and between 10 (4 inch) and 15cm (6 inch) height. There are different thickness and size options between leather and neoprene belts. The important point is the belt is comfortable and provides relevant support. The belt to be selected also depends on the type of exercises in focus for example deadlifts versus bench press so check the belt shape works.

Do Weight Lifting Belts Prevent Injury?

There is much debate on this topic but the consensus is they do not. So if you can only lift a certain amount of weight through using a work out belt this actually increases your risk of injury.

Can Weight Lifting Belts Prevent Hernias?

An exercise belt does not prevent Hernias, belts can aid in supporting the trunk/bracing the lower back. 

First Physique has launched a 6 inch neoprene weight lifting belt with extended width strap and velcro length to ensure the strap stays in position. The belt is light weight but strong enough to support tough gym sessions.