By Kathryn Mayes
Weight lifting belts are a powerful tool that can do more than just protect your spine and prevent injuries when lifting heavy weights. They increase the pressure in your abdomen by pushing your abdominal muscles against the belt. This helps stabilize your core and allows you to lift even more weight. Now how do you know which belt to choose? There are a couple different styles available and a lot comes down to personal preference. You should decide based on what type of lifting you are doing and what feels most comfortable for your body size. Below is a basic overview of the different styles and options of belts available and when to wear them.
Weight Belt Width
There are two main weightlifting belt styles available. The first is a tapered belt which has wider coverage on the back and is tapered towards the front. They tend to be used for more basic lifts like bench exercises like a shoulder or bench press. They won’t provide as much coverage in the front for your abs to press against but it will help stabilize your spine and protect your back. These are good too if you are small and aren’t comfortable with too much material against your stomach.
The other style belt has the same width all the way around. This is a more popular style of powerlifting belt and gives more surface area for your abdominal muscles to push against which creates more force and strength during lifts. If you are a competitive powerlifter or participate in strong man competitions, this is the best belt for you.
Nylon Weight Belts vs. Leather Weight Belts
The more economic weight belts are made out of a Nylon material. They are a little more flexible which can allow for more range of motion. There are advantages and disadvantages to this depending on your style lifting. If you are looking for that extra boost of force, the flexibility in the nylon belt will not help. The higher end belts are made out of leather. They are stiffer and more rigid which creates a better surface to create that pressure from you abdominal muscles. Some leather belts allow you to customize it with a logo or even a camouflage pattern which is popular with the US Army and Navy.
Prong Weight Belts vs. Lever Weight Belts
Powerlifting belts come with either a double prong, single prong of lever fastening system. The double prong has two positions that you need to fasten to get the belt secured. Some people love this and others don’t like how hard it can be to get the second prong in the hole if trying to secure very tightly. The single prong is very simple to use and you can tighten the belt easily with just one notch. The lever style is also convenient since you can just flip it to open or close the belt. It is easy to get on and off quickly and can be useful when trying to get the belt as tight as possible.
When should you wear a weight belt?
You really only want to wear a belt when you are lifting very heavy weights and trying to increase your power without injuring your core. Wearing a weight lifting belt is especially important when performing exercises such as a Squat or any movement where you are lifting weight from the floor such as a dead lift. It will help you stabilize when lifting heavy loads. There is no reason to wear one when doing a Lat Pulldown or Bicep curl. Not only do you look silly, there is no need for it. When performing simple movements such as those, you want to focus on keeping your core tight and continuing to build its strength. So pick the right time to wear your belt and you will see an increase in strength with your weight lifting routine.
Invest in a quality belt that fits within your budget and is comfortable to wear. Ironcompany.com has several belt styles to choose from. Contact an Ironcompany representative to help get your perfect weight belt by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (888) 758-7527.