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 powerlifting or dead lifts. A weightlifting belt can be a reminder to keep your spine in the correct position and can help maintain abdominal pressure to stabilize the spine 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.
Sept. 01, 2020
- Haff GG, et al., eds. Exercise technique for free weight and machine training. In: Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. 4th ed. Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics; 2016.
- Kushner AM, et al. The back squat part 2: Targeted training techniques to correct functional deficits and technical factors that limit performance. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 2015;37:13.
- Church JB, et al. A review of the efficacy of weight training aids. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 2016;38:11.