The weight-lifting belt can be extremely helpful workout accessory, but not when used incorrectly. It helps with posture and prevents injury during a workout when applied properly, but it can also cause injury when misused.
For example, some people put on a weight-lifting belt even when they are not lifting weights—and this can compromise their posture. The weight-lifting belt should only be used when carrying a particularly heavy load. It is not to be used all the time during weight-lifting, but only as an assist when carrying a load that is especially substantial. Many people put it on during light weight-lifting or even during sit ups—which is counter-productive and can actually do more harm than good.
Here are some other safety tips when using a weight-lifting belt:
- Do not push your stomach out when lifting. Doing so may cause spinal flexion which can damage the spine in the long run.
- Make sure the belt is around your abdomen and not around your hips.
- Remember: Not too tight, and not too loose. If it is too tight, it could cut off your blood circulation, which when added with a strenuous exercise routine can cause serious medical problems. A belt that is too tight can also prevent proper flexing and contraction of the abdomen. On the other hand, if it is too loose, then it becomes counter-productive. A good way to put it on would be to take a deep breath, as one would right before a heavy lift, and secure the belt as you are holding your breath.
- Take note of the material. Use belts that are made with leather (and with a width of three to four inches) rather than nylon. It may take some time to get used to but it lasts longer and is more proper for weight-lifting than nylon.