Something that always intrigued me, when I first started getting serious about training, was the belt that I saw some guys using. I thought that it looked goofy when I first saw it but I wondered if it was really helping with anything. It turns out, I am not alone on wondering if the belt that weightlifters wear is actually doing anything at all. I mean, I will put that belt on if I am doing any kind of lifting that involves any strain on my back. Other than that, it will sit out collecting dust on a chair in my garage. I had been told (incorrectly, I might add) that the primarily job of the weight belt was to help keep your back in line with the rest of you. As it turns out, this belt is actually designed for protecting your abdominal muscles from pulling or straining too much.
This got me thinking, if I use the weight belt on only back lifts, are others doing the very same thing? From what I found, most of us only look to use the belt when we are lifting at a heavier range. Those kinds of lifts where your jaws clench, you make a silly face, and a yell or two might just escape you. I was also shocked to find out what large groups do not use the belt at all. I admit, I do look and feel a little bit funny while wearing one of these around but I like not having to worry about straining anything in my stomach. One of the worst feelings you can have is an abdominal pull. I have had this happen to me and I was bedridden for about four days. You really take for granted everything that your stomach muscles help you do, once they stop helping as much. If you look at some facts and figures, pulling an abdominal muscle is one of the most common injuries that sideline sports stars from competing. However, thinking of how much they exert themselves throughout any given season, the causes for the various injuries they suffer could be brought on by a number of causes.
The best explanation that helped me the most with understanding when to use a weight belt was to wear it when lifting heavy. What happens when you wear a weightlifting belt for the entire duration of your workout is you put more emphasis on the belt itself and less on your muscles doing some of the work. This leads to a weaker core, which can be disastrous, should you put too much pressure on yourself. If you enjoy being able to add your own touch to customizing what you wear, you can easily do that with a weight belt. Although, the artistic direction that you take with your own is of your choosing, you could paint a bland belt to make it look better. Just be sure to use waterproof anything when adding some extra personality to your belt, you don’t want the sweat to make the colors bleed through onto you. Also, leaving a streak of color on whichever machine you decide to use could leave some staff members with a headache from thinking of how much cleaning up they will have to do! No matter what you choose, put a little thought into considering a weightlifting belt. You might feel that you look silly but that is nothing compared to how you would look ripping the wall of your stomach!