A weight lifting or powerlifting belt’s primary function is not to support the back as is what is commonly believed. It is to assist in creating intra-abdominal pressure which in turn supports the spine and the entire torso. This is is helpful when performing those heavy lifts. In particularly squats and deadlifts. To get the best out of a belt, you need to do something called the Valsalva Maneuver. This is done by inhaling a large amount of air and keeping it in the lungs and then attempting to exhale against a closed airway. Imagine when you are trying to push a heavy piece of furniture, this is what most people do automatically. This creates pressure around the midsection, making it more robust and allows force to travel through the body more efficiently. This breathing technique does take some practice to get perfect and this is something that a professional powerlifter has usually mastered. Sometimes somebody isnt considered a pro lifter if they don’t master this technique.
A belt should be worn when things get tough.
They should not really be work for warm up sets or exercises like bench press. It should also be worn a hole looser than as tight as it can possibly go. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to get a hand between yourself and the belt. It should be worn in a position where it does not get in the way and is comfortable for the movement that you are performing.
There are many different belts available, some are designed for crossfit, some are for powerlifting and some are aimed more towards bodybuilding. With so many available and of varying quality, it can be difficult to select the correct one for your needs. PowertliftingBelts.org provides useful information, advice and powerlifting belt reviews.
Many people get the idea of “If I wear a belt, how many kilos will it add to my lift?”. I doesn’t work just like that wear wearing a belt to the gym magically makes you lift more. As mentioned earlier, there is a whole breathing process to maximise the usefulness of a lifting belt. Since the pressure created by the belt, aids with the strengthening of the trunk, it will improve lifts over time. Your strength will improve quicker and more efficiently than it would without a belt.
This also has an effect on the abdominals as they contract when wearing a belt and thus strengthened quicker than when a belt is not used. The abs also make for a stronger back as well as all round stronger lifts. For this reason, some people wear a belt whenever possible. But the thicker and stronger powerlifting belts are not suitable to be worn throughout an entire workout so in an idea world, we would all have a selection of belts for different times and different exercises.