Should I Use a Weightlifting Belt While Training?

After years of coaching and thousands of hours on the floor training I have noticed a trend. I see athletes grabbing a weightlifting belt early in their warm up, cinching one on nice and tight well before the weight gets “heavy”. Is this a good idea?
It’s not that it is wrong or a bad idea but rather a personal choice.  A weight belt does not help correct poor mechanics and mobility. So if you have these issues in those areas then you don’t need a weight belt; you need to focus on improving your technique and using weight ranges that allow you to perfect your mechanics. Proper mechanics will strengthen your midsection/ core so it can support itself during the majority of the workouts we do. Get with one of our coaches and have them help design a plan that will help you in these areas. Now back to the weightlifting belt – I thought I would share my thoughts on when to use belts so you can decide if they are right for you.  Here are some pro’s and con’s of using a weightlifting belt.
PRO’s
  • May prevent injury to lower back during lifts
  • Can increase performance
  • Wearing a belt can allow you to increase abdominal pressure, allowing you to better stabilize the area around your spine
CON’s
  • Might slow down motor learning of abdominal muscles
  • Lower back might not get as strong
  • May create a dependency for beginners with an under-developed core
Many of the exercises we do at CrossFit Zanshin require the athlete to “use” their core.  So one should not use a weight belt in place of doing exercises to increase strength in your mid-section.  Your ability to squeeze your abs and utilize your other core muscles will play a major role in your success.
If you feel more confident when wearing one, then wear it.  If you feel uncomfortable or awkward then don’t wear it.  Wearing a weight belt is a personal choice, and the choice is all yours.
Stay tight on your lifts.
Coach Pete