Did you know that weightlifting helps build denser bones and improve joint health?
But this does not mean you cannot end up hurting your back!
According to research, heavy weight lifting is one of the major reasons for injuries amongst the general public. Moreover, following poor techniques and training with incorrect postures during weightlifting are amongst the most common causes of sprain, strains, and injuries in the shoulders, lower backs, elbows, and knees.
Adding neoprene weightlifting belts is the greatest tactic to overcome any chances of back injuries so that you don’t have to step away from your training even for a day.
What are Weightlifting Belts?
The majority use weightlifting belts because they want to lift heavier weights and don’t want to compromise their back muscles. But these belts have two major purposes as well;
- Weight lifting belts help reduce the abdominal cavity and create intra-abdominal pressure. This increased abdominal pressure helps reduce the stress on your lower back and distribute the weight between your back and front muscles, allowing you to lift heavier weights without hurting your back.
- The Second purpose of using weightlifting belts is to avoid any chances of hyperextension while lifting weights over your head. Hyperextension occurs when the muscles in one particular area are forced to move beyond their range of motion, which ends up damaging the tissues protecting your joints.
How do Neoprene Weightlifting Belts Work?
Understanding how our bodies work when using weightlifting belts, will help create a better mind-muscle connection, so you can reap maximum benefits.
When moving around going about our daily activities, we tend to keep our core relaxed, which allows us to twist and turn our bodies easily.
But when it comes to performing squats or any other abdominal workout, it is extremely important to create tension in the abdominal muscles, so you don’t end up collapsing on the floor. To create this tension, you need to brace your torso.
Bracing is sucking up the core so you can exert maximum force when lifting heavyweights. This bracing action will help create an intra-abdominal pressure, which will make it comparatively easier for you to lift heavier.
You’ll better understand the bracing action if you recall a scenario where you’ve pushed a heavy box across the room. Remember how you tightened the core to exert force? All you have to do is replicate that same tension in your torso, so you can brace your abdominal muscles and channelize the strength needed to work out.
Wearing neoprene lifting belts helps you to focus on the core and alert your abdominal muscles to harden up so you can lift heavy weights easily.
Top 6 Benefits of Neoprene Weightlifting Belts
Here is how wearing a weightlifting belt can benefit you;
Performing bench presses and deadlifts etc., puts up a lot of pressure on your spine. Wearing a weightlifting neoprene belt provides lumbar support and ensures that you maintain the correct posture throughout the training session. This extra support helps you to lift easily and prevent your spine from snapping.
2. More Reps
Wearing weightlifting belts gives the lifters a general sense of safety and comfort. Research suggests that those who wear weight lifting belts can perform better and push in more reps than others who do not wear a weightlifting belt.
3. Enhances Muscular Growth
To exercise your legs and activate the leg muscles properly, shifting the weight away from the spine is essential. Wearing neoprene weight lifting belts helps support the spine and activate the quadriceps and hamstrings, enhancing muscle growth and improving your performance.
4. Ensures Correct Posture
When strength training, maintaining proper posture is extremely important. Using weight lifting belts helps you maintain lower back position and ensure correct posture when lifting heavy weights so you don’t get hurt.
5. Reduces Spinal Shrinkage
Spine compression is one of the many risks the weightlifter takes when lifting heavy weights for their training. Wearing a weight lifting belt adds support to the back and protects the spine from any injuries.
6. Improved Biomechanics
Using weight lifting belts when training safeguards the spinal movements. It ensures that when you are lifting heavy weights, your spine stays upright and does not end up getting bent forward, backward, or sideways.
Apart from this, weight lifting belts allow you to lift the weights using your knees and hips instead of your spine, which is also the right way to lift any heavy object in your daily life.
How to Wear a Neoprene Weightlifting Belt?
Before we start discussing the exercises you can do using weight lifting belts, it is important to understand how you are supposed to wear them to get the maximum assistance and not miss out on their basic purpose.
The main purpose of wearing weight lifting belts is to brace your torso and support your spine. So, the first step is to open the Velcro strap and place the thicker side on your back. Next, breathe in and tighten the belt on your belly, and then exhale. When you exhale, you will be restricted by the belt, and it will help you consciously brace your torso.
Though you’re supposed to wear the belt tightly, it does not mean you suffocate yourself and leave no room to breathe. You have to make sure that once you’ve buckled the belt, you can slide in your index finger at the back. If you can slide your finger, this means that you’ve put on the belt perfectly and are consciously bracing your torso.
Neoprene Belt Exercises
As promised, here are the exercises you can do, using a neoprene weight lifting belt.
1. Bench Press
Research says that using a weight lifting belt for bench press helps you strengthen the obliques, which leads to stabilizing serratus anterior and an overall shoulder position, so you can execute the perfect bench press.
- Firstly, wear the belt on your torso and lie down on flat bench
- Firmly set your feet on the floor ensuring your hips are resting on the bench throughout
- Next, lift the bar off of the barbell rack, bend your elbows on the side and slowly lower the bar on your chest, taking a deep breath and bracing your torso
- Push your feet on the ground as you lift the bar, and then slowly lower it down, completing your first rep
- Make sure you do not exhale until you’ve lowered the bar down so you can maintain the tension in your torso, and execute the perfect bench press without stressing your spine.
Deadlifts are a compound workout that helps target various muscle groups and engage the entire body at once. Here is how to do it:
- Stand in front of the bar with feet open shoulder-width apart and toes crossing from below the bar.
- Bend down, keeping your spine long and straight and hips below your shoulder height, holding the bar with an overhand grip; knuckles facing outwards
- Exhale to brace your core and stand up tall while squeezing your glutes and not leaning back ensuring correct posture
- Return to the original position and put the bar down, touching the floor to complete the rep.
3. Clean and Jerk
Clean and jerk requires the lifters to use heavy weights and is considered to be one of the most difficult exercises as well. Therefore, the chance of damaging the spine is also very high when it comes to such exercises. Here is how you can perform a swift clean and jerk movement using a weightlifting belt;
- Position yourself by bending and holding the bar from the top with your knuckles facing outwards.
- Keep your hips bent below the shoulders, chest up and tight, head straight, and spine long and tall.
- Take a deep breath and brace your core correctly
- Lift the bar till your thigh, pushing it over and jumping to power through; lift the bar on your shoulders, doing a front squat.
- Once the bar is on your shoulders, stand up straight and exhale to re-stabilize yourself, completing half part of your exercise.
- Again, take a deep breath and brace your torso against the belt and jump to power through so to lift the bar over your head
- Hold for two to three seconds and slowly bring it down with a front squat, lowering it down to your thighs and lastly putting the bar back on the floor
- This completes your clean and jerk; make sure to keep your torso tight to stabilize your spine.
4. Overhead Press
The Overhead press is yet another full-body compound exercise, which requires the powerlifters to lift heavy barbells over their heads. Such exercises are extremely important to be done with a correct posture so as to avoid extension and flexion of the spine, and using weightlifting neoprene belts is the ultimate solution.
- Standing shoulder-width apart, hold the barbell with your knuckles inwards; facing towards you.
- Put the bar on your chest and keep the elbows forward, and brace your torso
- Squeeze your glutes, back straight, and lift the bar over your head, while keeping your hips and knees locked while you lift.
- Tilt your head slightly forward when lifting the bar above. Raise the bar high enough until your elbows are locked
- Next, hold this position for two seconds and exhale
- Take a deep breath again and lower down the bar, resting it on your chest, completing one rep.
The Squat is an ideal exercise if you want to work on your gluteus maximus, hip flexors, and quadriceps. Working out should never be painful, and since weighted squats require the barbells to be lifted on the shoulders, wearing squat pads can come handy.
- Start the workout by taking a deep breath to brace your torso, and lift it on your shoulders.
- Exhale and take two steps back from the barbell stand and re-stabilize yourself.
- Standing with your feet more than shoulder-width apart, slowly lower down your hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor
- Stand back up and return to the original position, counting it as one rep.
- Make sure you don’t exhale your breath until you’re past the sitting position, or else you will lose the tension in the torso and fail the exercise.
Buyer’s Guide for Neoprene Weightlifting Belt
Before you start searching for belts and get overwhelmed by the huge range of lifting belts available, let me tell you what the ideal belt should be like.
The main purpose of buying the weight lifting belt is to ensure firm lumbar support and utmost comfort. Hence, the ideal weight lifting belt will be made up of neoprene, because neoprene is soft, comfortable and breathable. These traits will help you enjoy your training sessions for long hours without sweating or irritating your skin.
Next, the belt should have a strong Velcro strap so you can tighten it on your torso easily and are able to achieve perfect bracing action. Moreover, a firm Velcro strap will make sure that the belt stays on tight and supports your back throughout the weight lifting session and does not pop open when your torso pushes against the belt.
In weight lifting training, a lot of stress is laid on the spine, which increases the risk of spine flexion and extension. Wearing a weight lifting neoprene belt for exercises will provide firm support to your lower back, so you can lift heavier weights without worrying about injuries.
- Mayberry, Johnel, and Terry L. Nicola. ‘Weightlifting’. Specific Sports-Related Injuries, edited by Sérgio Rocha Piedade et al., Springer International Publishing, 2021, pp. 455–69. Springer Link, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-66321-6_32.
- Bourne, N. D., and T. Reilly. ‘Effect of a Weightlifting Belt on Spinal Shrinkage.’ British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 25, no. 4, Dec. 1991, pp. 209–12. bjsm.bmj.com, https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.25.4.209.
- Harman, Everett A., et al. Effects of a Belt on Intra-Abdominal Pressure during Weight Lifting. ARMY RESEARCH INST OF ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE NATICK MA, 1 Mar. 1988. apps.dtic.mil, https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/ADA193783.
- Warren, Laura Page, et al. ‘Effect of Soft Lumbar Support Belt on Abdominal Oblique Muscle Activity in Nonimpaired Adults During Squat Lifting’. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, vol. 31, no. 6, June 2001, pp. 316–23. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.2519/jospt.2001.31.6.316.
- Lander, Jeffrey E., et al. ‘The Effectiveness of Weight-Belts during the Squat Exercise’: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, vol. 22, no. 1, Feb. 1990, p. 117???126. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1249/00005768-199002000-00019.
- Kaur, Navpreet, et al. ‘Effects of Lower Extremity and Trunk Muscles Recruitment on Serratus Anterior Muscle Activation in Healthy Male Adults’. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, vol. 9, no. 7, Dec. 2014, pp. 924–37.
- Lander, J. E., et al. ‘The Effectiveness of Weight-Belts during the Squat Exercise’. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, vol. 22, no. 1, Feb. 1990, pp. 117–26.