For most people, wearing a weightlifting belt does little to improve performance or protect the spine — especially during exercises that don't stress the back or place only minimal stress on the back.
You might consider wearing a weightlifting belt if you're doing power lifting or dead lifts. A weightlifting belt can be a reminder to keep your spine in the correct position during heavy lifting.
When you're lifting free weights, safety precautions are a must:
- Learn proper form and technique. The better your form, the better your results — and the less likely you are to hurt yourself.
- Spare your back. When you're lifting weights, keep your spine in a stable, neutral position. When you're picking up weights or putting them down, lift with your legs — not your back.
- Ask for help. If you're lifting heavy weights, ask a training partner to spot you.
June 26, 2015
- Baechle TR, et al., eds. Resistance training and spotting techniques. In: Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. 3rd ed. Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics; 2008.
- Kingma I, et al. Effect of a stiff lifting belt on spine compression during lifting. Spine. 2006;31:E833.
- Renfro GJ, et al. A review of the use of lifting belts. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 2006;28:68.
- Siewe J, et al. Injuries and overuse syndromes in powerlifting. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 2011;32:703.