When Should You Use a Lifting Belt : Get Tips for Safe Weightlifting

A weightlifting belt is a belt made of sturdy material, typically leather or nylon, which is worn around the waist during weightlifting exercises. It is designed to provide support and stability to the lower back and core muscles while lifting heavy weights.

Is was acknowledged in paper published by Shirley S. M. Fong, Department of Health and Physical Education, Education University of Hong Kong, that a weight belt can stabilize the spine, reduce the compression of the spine and lower the probability of spinal injuries.

When should you use a lifting belt? You should wear a lifting belt when it comes to heavy weightlifting. The belt can help you stay safe and increase your performance. Put one on when doing squats, deadlifts, military press, Olympic lifts, or any other big compound barbell lift.

What Exercises Require a Weightlifting Belt?

1) Back Squat: The back squat is a compound, full-body exercise that targets the major muscle groups of the lower body, including the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.

A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Journal states that a weight belt can support the truck by increasing the IAP which is the intra-abdominal pressure.

2) Deadlift: A deadlift is an integral part of any strength training routine as it helps build core and posterior chain strength, with benefits such as better posture, improved balance, and increased power. To do this move correctly, you’ll need to use a barbell in order to lift the weight off the floor.

3) Clean & Jerk: The clean & jerk is a two-part weightlifting technique that requires great speed, skill, and precision. It involves quickly pulling the bar from the ground up to your shoulders before explosively pushing it overhead. Using a barbell for this exercise will help ensure proper form and increase efficiency.

4) Overhead Standing Press: An overhead standing press is an important exercise for developing shoulder stability and strength. It’s performed by pressing a barbell over your head until your arms are fully extended. Since this exercise requires more weight than other movements, using a weighted barbell is essential.

5) Barbell Rows: Barbell rows are a great way to strengthen your upper body and improve your posture. This exercise involves bending at the waist and gripping a barbell with both hands before rowing it towards your midsection. Weightlifting belts provide stability when performing barbell rows.

6) Front Squat: The front squat is a challenging yet rewarding exercise for strengthening your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. By placing the barbell across the front of your shoulders instead of your upper back like in the traditional back squat, it requires greater stabilization of the spine and overall trunk.

At What Weight for Squats Should You Wear a Lifting Belt?

You should start to wear a lifting belt for squats when you have a weight that 60 percent of your 1 repetition maximum (1rm). If you can squat once 200 lbs, then start to use your belt with a weight for squats of 120 lbs.

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Even though you may need to wear a belt for certain squats, there are other exercises that involve the back that do not require the use of a weight belt, such as hip thrusts.

Should You Wear a Belt for Hip Thrusts?

The hip thrust exercise is a lower body strength exercise that primarily targets the glutes (buttocks) and also works the hamstrings and quadriceps.

You should not wear a belt for hip thrusts because you will rely too heavily on external support for your core muscles. You need proper form for hip thrusts. You need to master the proper form for hip thrusts and a weight belt will prevent you from doing so.

How long does it take to break in a weight lifting when using it regularly? 

It could take 3 months to break in a weight lifting belt that has a thickness of .05 inches (13 mm).  For a weight belt of .039 inches (10 mm), it takes 4-6 weeks to break it in. 

How to Break in Weightlifting Belt

A weight belt, also known as a lifting belt or a support belt, is a piece of equipment worn around the waist during weightlifting or other heavy lifting activities. Its purpose is to provide support and stability to the lower back and abdominal muscles, reducing the risk of injury and enhancing performance.

Weight belts are typically made of a sturdy, durable material such as leather or nylon. Leather weight belts are commonly preferred for their durability and ability to conform to the shape of the wearer’s body over time, providing a more customized fit.

How to break in weightlifting belt? Weightlifting belt breaking in can be achieved through warming it up, rolling it up, or by wearing it often . These techniques helps to soften the leather, making it comfortable and secure to wear during exercise.

1. Rolling up a Weight Lifting Belt

A leather weightlifting belt can be rolled because it is made from flexible and pliable leather material. Leather is known for its ability to bend and fold without losing its shape or structure. This flexibility allows the belt to be easily rolled up. 

Storing your rolled up a leather weight lifting belt will make it can is roller shape which means is easier to wear. 

Besides rolling it, increasing its temperature will also make a weight lifting belt more pliable.

2. Warming Up the Belt

Warming up a leather weight lift belt to 157 degrees Fahrenheit will make it pliable.  According to a study by Arizona State University in 2018, the dashboard of a car can reach 157 degrees in 60 minutes during a hot summer day.  Leave your leather weight lifting belt in this temperature for at least 2 hours.

You need to wear the belt right afterwards in order for it to keep its shape around your waist as it cools down.

3. Wear it Often

Wearing your leather weight lifting belt will stretch it.  According to a paper published in the Journal of Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials in 2019,  leather has a layer that consists of  loosely interwoven fibers that allow for movement and stretching.

Powerlifters Wear Their Weight Belts Quite Often 

Make sure that you wear it often not only to break it in, but also to protect your lower back during heavy squats as a powerlifter.  Also, the width size of a powerlifting belt is important.



3 or 4 Inch Powerlifting Belt – Achieve Unbeatable Lifting Strength

A powerlifting belt is a supportive piece of equipment used by powerlifters and strength athletes during heavy lifts, particularly in movements like squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses. Its primary purpose is to provide stability and support to the lower back and core, helping to increase intra-abdominal pressure and improve overall lifting performance.

According to the Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, a study of 16 nursing professionals, proved that a lifting belt reduced twisting motions. Twisting motions of the spine can cause injury.  A powerlifting belt can protect bodybuilders from these twists to the spine during squats. 

3- or 4-inch powerlifting belt? The 4-inch powerlifting belt is the preferable size for most athletes, as it offers greater support and is suitable for a variety of exercises. It is recommended for men and women with a longer torso, and those looking to specialize in bench press may find the 3-inch belt more suitable due to its reduced support.

Benefits Of A 3-Inch Belt

A 3-inch (7.62 mm) powerlifting belt refers to a type of weightlifting belt that has a width of 3 inches. This belt is specifically designed for powerlifting, a strength sport that involves performing three main lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift.

The three inch provides greater support for shorter lifters and women weigh less than 140 lbs (65.5 kg). 

If your torso is shorter than the average person using a 3 inch width powerlifting belt is best.  Your torso so be 27 percent of your height. 

The Rogue 3-inch belt is an excellent choice for anyone looking for greater support during their workouts without sacrificing comfort or range of motion. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns.

Moving on from here, let’s look at the advantages of a 4-inch powerlifting belt.

Advantages Of A 4-Inch Belt

A 4 inch weigh belt can be a lever belt.  A powerlifting lever belt is a type of weightlifting belt specifically designed for powerlifting exercises. It is made of a thick, sturdy material such as leather or nylon and has a width of typically 4 inches.

The key feature of a lever belt is the lever mechanism that allows for quick and easy adjustments and a secure, custom fit.

A powerlifting belt and the 4-inch belt (10.16 mm) is one of the best options out there. It’s for lifters with a long torso, as it provides just enough support without being too bulky or uncomfortable. The Inzer Forever Lever Belt is also suitable for most people since it is adjustable to fit any size.

One benefit of the 4-inch belt is that it distributes pressure evenly around your abdomen and back, helping with your form during squats and deadlifts. This can help increase stability and strength when executing these exercises properly.

The 4-inch powerlifting belt does not sacrificing mobility or comfort, making it an ideal choice for anyone from beginner to advanced levels of weightlifting. It provides back support for various workouts.

Using A Belt for Different Types of Workouts

Transitioning from the previous section, which highlighted the advantages of a 4-inch belt, it’s important to understand how to use this type of belt for diverse types of workouts. Here are three scenarios:

  • When weightlifting
  • When doing CrossFit
  • When competing in powerlifting competitions

Using a prong version of belt for the above types of workout is possible.

What is a Prong Powerlifting Belt

A powerlifting prong belt is a type of weightlifting belt specifically designed for powerlifting exercises. It typically consists of several components, each serving a specific purpose: belt material, prong buckle.   

The prong buckle is the fastening mechanism used to secure the belt around the lifter’s waist. It usually consists of a metal buckle with a series of prongs and holes. The lifter threads the prong through the desired hole and secures it in place, allowing for adjustable tightness and a secure fit. 

I recommend the buckle weight lifting belt that is available in our MalePicks.com store. 

Where Should a Powerlifting belt sit?

A powerlifting belt should sit snugly around the waist, just above the hip bones. It is best to wear this type of weight lifting belt 4 inches (10.16 mm) above the line where your pants normally sit. 

Where Should a Lifting Belt Sit: Learn Where to Properly Position It

A weight lifting belt is a supportive piece of equipment specifically designed to provide stability and reduce the risk of injury while performing heavy weightlifting exercises. It is typically made of a thick, sturdy material such as leather or nylon and is worn around the waist.

It is crucial to emphasize that simply wearing a weight lifting belt is not enough to ensure safety and maximize its benefits. Correct positioning of the belt plays a key role in achieving the desired outcomes. Here are some essential points to consider

Exactly where should a lifting belt sit?  A weightlifting belt should sit just above your ilium, which is the large part of the hip bone.  The center of the width of the belt will then be located at the level of the navel.  

Where Should a Weightlifting Belt Touch the Ribs?

A weightlifting belt should touch just the bottom of the rib cage.  The distance is on average 3.5 cm (1.378 inches) above the hip bone.  This distance was derived from a paper published in the American Journal of Medicine by Robert Warshawski in 2003. 

The belt should fit snugly against your body without being too tight or constricting. It should also be positioned close enough to your body that it doesn’t slip down when you move. You should also take care not to over-tighten the belt as this can affect your breathing and reduce its effectiveness.

Why Does Your Ability to Breath Correctly Diminish When Wearing the Belt too High? 

Wearing your weight belt too high will interfere with ribcage expansion.  Ribcage expansion refers to the outward movement and enlargement of the ribcage during inhalation. When we breathe in, the muscles between the ribs, known as the intercostal muscles, contract, causing the ribcage to expand. This expansion creates more space in the chest cavity, allowing the lungs to fill with air. 

The tightness of the weight belt is just as important as its position to allow full expansion of the ribcage during squats.

I recommend that you purchase the MalePicks.com weight lifting belt.  Ensure that you measure your waist correctly so you breathing will not be compromised during your workout. 

How Tight Should You Have the Weight Belt Once it is in the Correct Position?

Once the weight belt is in the right position, tighten the belt just enough so that you are able to breathe in and out easily. 

How Tight Weightlifting Belt : Tips for Maximum Performance

A weightlifting belt is a supportive equipment worn around the lower back and abdomen to provide stability and increase intra-abdominal pressure during weightlifting exercises, particularly squats. Its primary purpose is to reduce the risk of injury and support the spine by providing external reinforcement to the core muscles.

How tight weightlifting belt? When using a lifting belt, it should be tight enough to support the core without compromising your breathing. You should be able to insert an index finger between your body and the belt.  

According to a paper published in 2019 by the  IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, the width of the index fingertip varies between 16 mm and 20 mm. 

Once you have the right tightness, you may need to adjust it slightly depending on the exercise performed.

Belt Tightness Based on Exercise Performed

Belt tightness needs to be same for all exercises that require a weight lifting belt. 

1. Squats: The weight belt can provide support to the lower back during heavy barbell squats, helping to maintain proper form and reduce the risk of injury.

2. Deadlifts: Similar to squats, deadlifts also put a lot of pressure on the lower back. A weight belt can help stabilize the spine and protect against potential strains.

3. Overhead Press: Some people prefer to use a weight belt during overhead presses, especially if they are using heavy weights. The belt can help maintain core stability and prevent excessive lower back arching.

4. Heavy Bent-Over Rows: When performing heavy bent-over rows, a weight belt can provide additional support to the lower back, allowing for more controlled and safer movement.

5. Weighted Dips and Pull-ups: If you’re adding additional weight to your body during exercises like dips or pull-ups, a weight belt can help distribute the load more efficiently and prevent unnecessary strain on the lower back.

Tightness at a level for adequate breathing and abdominal drawing in

Abdominal drawing in, also known as “abdominal hollowing” or “stomach vacuum,” is a technique primarily used in physical therapy and core training. It involves the activation and contraction of the transversus abdominis muscle, which is one of the deep abdominal muscles responsible for stabilizing the trunk and supporting the spine.

According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research by Alexandre C. Barbosa, drawing in the abs creates higher activation of the rectus, tibialis anterior during the flexion phase provide more stability during squats. 

If the belt is too tight, breathing is hindered.  A study published in the Biology of Sport Journal by Dusan Blazek, states that inhaling and holding the breath breathing technique provided a relative lifted load at 1 RM (kg/kg body mass) of  1.35 which was higher than other breathing techniques during a squat.

If tightness of belt is uncomfortable while sitting, it is positioned in right area

If your belt is causes discomfort while you sitting, it means that it is tight enough and the weight belt is sitting correctly above your hip bone.