If I lift free weights, do I need to wear a weightlifting belt?

Answers from Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.

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.
Aug. 11, 2012 See more Expert Answers

Products and Services

  1. Book: The Mayo Clinic Diet