If you have been to the gym you may have noticed few people wearing weight lifting belts. These belts are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. There was a time when all the people who worked out made use of these belts. Remember Mr. T, he used to wear one too. In fact he was hardly seen without one ever.
Fast forward a few decades and it seems that the number of people who lift belted seems to have dwindled to a select few. Perhaps the major shift towards working out unbelted stemmed from the idea that using a belt could result in weaker back muscles and lower core strength.
Contrary to popular belief that these belts support your torso and core muscles without you having to make an effort, the belt actually helps by increasing the use of the back and core muscles.
Several studies point towards the following findings, which include
- The belt has no effect on the erector muscles in the back, in fact wearing a belt increased muscle activity by almost 25%.
- It also showed an increase in the activity in abdominal muscles.
In other words wearing the belt would help develop core muscles instead of weakening them. The following are a few reasons why wearing a belt would actually prove to be a benefit.
It helps support the spine by reducing the stress on it
Some studies prove that wearing a belt can increase the pressure in the abdominal cavity by almost 40%. Think of an inflated balloon. The extra pressure on the abdominal muscles causes them to push inside and thus offer support to the spine from within. External pressure is created by wearing a weight lifting belt push the back muscles inside and thus offer maximum support to the spine.
Using a belt creates better body bio mechanics
Research has been carried out on individuals using belts while lifting, it was found that the belt reduced spinal flexion but in turn optimized leg flexion which enabled lifters to lift objects with the help of their leg muscles instead of back muscles.
Helps create a great workout session
Imagine wanting to do the last 10 reps, you want to but you feel your body has stopped supporting you. Wearing a belt not only helped people exercise more but it helped them exercise better. Hey could go the extra mile and finish all their reps without feeling fatigued or tired. One research even goes as far as to point that performing squats while wearing a belt increased the muscle activity in the quadriceps and the hamstrings.