Are Weight Belts A Great Training Tool Or Just A Fashion Accessory?
Do you wear a weight belt in the gym? If so, why do you do it? It’s true that when you wear a weight belt, you’ll feel stronger, but do they actually make you stronger?
I often hear people saying they started wearing the belt to support their lower back and prevent back pain. A weight belt won’t prevent back pain. It will actually weaken the abdominals that support your back, and lead to a weaker lower back.
Why is this the case?
When you push against a muscle, it reacts by contracting back against the force. When you wear a weight belt, it’s different. Instead of helping you hold in your abdominals and supporting your lower back, it causes you to contract against the belt, pushing your abdominals out. For these muscles to support your lower back, they must be activated.
You will feel stronger wearing a weight belt, but only while you’re wearing the belt. Unfortunately you don’t wear it in everyday life, so when you’re lifting the kids or carrying a heavy box, you’re more susceptible to injuring your back. This is because the weight belt has trained you not to use your abdominals when lifting heavy weights.
By not wearing a weight belt, you may need to stop lifting weights. However, if you train your abdominals to support your back correctly, in time this will strengthen your abdominals and lower back. It will make you stronger in all facets of life, not just in the gym.