IS IT NECESSARY TO USE A BELT?
Do I have to use the safety belt also at the gym?
If you ask several athletes of your gym if they must use a belt or not when they lift weights, probably half of them will say yes, and the other half no. However, it is better to reformulate the question: when should I use belt? Stuart McGill, professor of Biomechanics of the Waterloo University in Canada, says that, based on his research, the answer depends on the type of training and exercise we are going to do.
“I do not recommend using belt to healthy people in their usual routines of work or exercise. The exception is the heavy training, in which belts can increase the trunk stabilization and help with the lifting”. If you are a serious powerlifter, the belt gives you advantages. Otherwise, McGill suggest forgetting him.
He assures they can provide certain advantages during exercise, but he also says those benefits are counterbalanced by the deception of using that help. This are the advantages and disadvantages of using a weight lifting belt.
» Weight lifting belts compress the spine by increasing the abdominal pressure and ‘wrapping’ the trunk.
» Belts can reduce the lumbar range of motion, reducing the risk of low back injury.
» Belts may enhance the proprioception by increasing the perception of stability on a determinate lifting.
» A person using a weight lifting belt being injured is risking a worst injury.
» Belts can provide the person who uses them the feeling that they can lift more kilos, increasing the risk of injury caused by that perception.
» Belts can increase arterial pressure.
» Belts can modify the lifting style, making the load increase or decrease inappropriately on spine. The lifting style should be the determining factor regarding the use or not use of the weight lifting belt.