Why to use a lifting belt
Weightlifting belt, or lifting belt, as it's also called, is used to provide support to the core muscles during heavy lifts. It functions by physically supporting these crucial muscles and serves as a mental reminder to engage the core muscles.
During heavier exercises like squats, deadlifts, and weightlifting movements, it can help you attain a better lifting position. Ultimately, this can make you stronger since you can handle more weight and maintain better form.
Lifting belts don't shield your back from injuries, but when used correctly, they can make you stronger. A stronger body is more resistant to injuries and performs better.
When to use a lifting belt
There's no definitive right or wrong time to use a lifting belt, but as a general rule, you can use it during compound exercises that involve the core and leg muscles.
Examples of exercises where lifting belts provide support: deadlifts, squats, Olympic lifts, overhead presses, bent-over rows, and lunges.
For both beginners and experienced lifters, it's a good idea to use a lifting belt even during the heavier part of your warm-up when you're increasing the weight before your working sets.
There's a myth that lifting belts can weaken the core muscles, but there's no research supporting this claim. It becomes evident when you examine the core strength of professional powerlifters and weightlifters, who often use lifting belts in their training. These athletes are known for their impressive core strength, even though they regularly use belts during training and competition.
Read more in our article: Weightlifting belts are not shown to weaken core muscles.
Using a lifting belt correctly
A belt should provide support to the core and be positioned securely over the waist. It should be tightened enough for you to create strong abdominal pressure during the lift. How tight the belt should be and where it should be placed varies depending on the exercise, your body structure, and personal preferences. Try different angles, heights, and levels of tightness to find what suits you best.
For squats, many prefer placing the belt relatively low on the waist and tightening it firmly.
For deadlifts, many prefer slightly higher placement to facilitate strong abdominal pressure during the initial lift.
For overhead presses, many prefer wearing the belt low and tightly.
For Olympic lifts (clean and jerk), many prefer a lower belt placement.
A good rule of thumb is to be able to fit two fingers (widthwise) between the belt and your body when it's tightened.
A lifting belt doesn't provide the same comfort as a regular belt for holding up pants; it should fit snugly around your core.
It takes time to get used to a lifting belt. Eventually, you'll be able to lift heavier weights with it, but it requires practice. Feel free to use the belt even during your heavier warm-up lifts; this way, you'll learn to utilize it.
Once you've found a comfortable belt position and tightened it adequately, take a deep breath, fill your abdomen with air, engage your core, push it against the belt, and perform your lift. If you want to learn more in-depth about how to use a belt, read our comprehensive guide on lifting belts.
Different types of belts
The type of lifting belt you choose depends on your type of training and personal preferences.
Eleiko's belts are designed and constructed with a focus on powerlifting (deadlifts, squats) and weightlifting (snatch and clean and jerk). The belts suitable for weightlifting are the Weightlifting Leather Belt and the Hybrid Belt. Both of these belts are also suitable for general strength training.
The Hybrid Belt is also popular among CrossFit practitioners, functional fitness enthusiasts, and similar sports due to its flexibility and ease of putting on and taking off.
If your primary focus is on powerlifting (deadlifts, squats, and bench presses), Eleiko Powerlifting Belt is a good choice.
Eleiko's weightlifting belts comply with the requirements of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) for competition use. Our powerlifting belts are approved by the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF).
For more detailed information on which lifting belt to choose, read our guide.
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Choosing the right size
Measure around your waist where you'll be wearing the lifting belt using a soft measuring tape. Around the navel is a good starting point (Note: the measurements aren't based on pant size, so be accurate when measuring).