Opinions on the use and function of a weightlifting belt vary widely.
Therefore we want to clear up with some myths around the weightlifting belt. So you can decide for yourself when and for what you want to use a belt.
Some trainers and athletes still believe that wearing a belt weakens the lower back and prevents torso stability from developing. Aweightlifting belt does not stress thesupporting function of the trunk. Back extensor and abdominal muscles are not trained with it.
Studies, however, have shown that there is nothing to this myth and a belt only supports the trunk muscles to be used more effectively. This is because it does not replace the stability of the center of the body which is necessary for almost all exercises. Studies confirm that a belt can reduce the compression of the intervertebral discs and thus reduce the stress on the spine.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF WEARING A WEIGHTLIFTING BELT?
Wearing a weightlifting belt increases intra-abdominal pressure and thus protects the spine. Due to the internal abdominal pressure and the trunk muscles on the outside, the spine is comprehensively stabilized and the risk of injury under high stress is reduced.
However, one should never forget that these protective functions do not come from the belt alone. In order to optimally groove the advantages of a belt, sufficient trunk stability and musculature must be available. Wearing a weightlifting belt does not compensate for a lack of stability in the middle of the body.
Finally, wearing a belt is also a matter ofpersonal preference. Some athletes wear a belt during both snatch and clean and jerk, others only during clean and jerk, and then again there are athletes who only use it in training with heavy squats and pulls in the maximum range. You also have to get used to the intra-abdominal pressure before you can use it successfully for yourself.
For weightlifting, belts made of leather have proven their worth, as they are usually much more robust and hard-wearing. In the front area, weightlifting belts are usually narrower and at the back they are widened for the lumbar region and ergonomically shaped. According to the rules of the IWF, a belt in competition may not be wider than 12 cm and must also be worn over the lifter jersey.
Before using a weightlifting belt in competition, you should try it out extensively in training and find out for yourself how tight you want to wear it and where it will be of most use to you. As with all other equipment, there are no general recommendations here either.
Leather or neoprene? Which material is best?
Leather offers the greatest stability and is also extremely durable. For lifting very heavy weights in the maximum force range, a leather weightlifting belt is the best choice.
Neoprene offers a little less stability than leather, but a little more flexibility and comfort. Therefore neoprene is a good alternative to leather and is often used in the fitness area.
Which closure types are available?
Neoprene belts use quick release buckles made of Velcro with the so-called “Hook and Loop System“. The belt can easily be put on and off between different exercises.
Especially in the CrossFit area, different exercises have to be performed in a WOD one after the other and often on a temporary basis. Here it makes sense to put on the belt for a strength exercise and then to be able to open it quickly for a subsequent endurance exercise.
As described above, leather belts are super suitable for the max. range and have a double pin buckle, which is not so easy to release. However, the focus here is on stability. Especially in weightlifting, there is enough time before and after an attempt to open and close the belt.