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.