Choosing Your Weight Lifting Belt
There are a lot of benefits to using a weight lifting belt. You keep your back in alignment, which can help your back heal if you’ve just got a recent injury and can help you prevent injuries caused by lifting as well. They can give to the confidence to lift more than you ever thought possible and even can give you the stamina to lift harder for longer. This not only helps with weight lifting, but can help with other times when you need to spend a lot of time lifting heavy objects, like if you’re moving furniture.
However, these benefits only apply if you use your lifting belt correctly. Always make sure to still use correct form when you’re using a lifting belt. While lifting belts do protect your back and other muscles to a degree, they’re not guaranteed to prevent any and all injuries. Don’t use them all the time either. Doing this will grow your bigger muscles at the expense of growth in your core, which will actually result in a loss of your functional strength.
Here’s a list of a few things to look for when you’re buying your weight lifting belt.
Leather or Nylon
The first thing that you have to look at when you’re shopping for weight lifting belts is whether you want a leather belt or a nylon belt. There are advantages and disadvantages to getting either type of belt.
Leather belts are stiffer, which results in them having less give to them when you are lifting. Your back will stay in place, almost no matter what. The ultimate feeling of support is why so many weightlifters favor using these belts for deadlifting and squats. However, the downside to using a leather belt is that it is rough on the skin, which can be a problem for people with sensitive skin.
Nylon belts, on the other hand, have a little bit more give to them. This allows you to do more complex movements, and they are incredibly popular among powerlifters. However, you won’t get the same secure feel that you get with a leather belt. They’re also a lot easier on sensitive skin and you won’t have to worry about them leaving any marks on you.
The next thing that you need to look at is the locking mechanism for your belt. Generally you will have two options, hook and pin and some version of a quick release lock. The hook pin system allows you to get the belt as tight as you possibly can, but if there isn’t a pin around where you waist is, you won’t be able to get the belt quite as tight as you might like. For this reason, any time you order one of these belts make sure you put it on and you are sure it fits before you rule out returning it.
A quick release lock avoids this problem by giving an almost custom fit every time. You’ll be able to slide the belt to whatever diameter you want, so you won’t have to worry about the hooks fitting your body shape. These locks feel slightly less secure to some bodybuilders though, and they prefer to have the hook and pin system.
The final thing that you need to look at when you’re trying to buy a lifting belt is the width of the belt. Belts usually come between two and six inches in width on the back and what you choose will depend partly on your size and partly on your personal preference. A shorter person usually won’t get any benefit from wearing a six inch belt, however, even some taller lifters may prefer to wear the smaller two inch belt to the six inch-wide behemoth.