The Benefits of Gym Belts

Do your workouts include lifting weights or olympic style lifting? Many professionals wear lifting belts to avoid injuries and stress on the back. Have you ever strapped on a weightlifting belt and seen improvement in your daily routine? In this article we will go over how to use a gym belt and how it will save you a trip to the local chiropractor. Weightlifting injuries mostly happen due to extreme overloads to soft tissue structures. If you are just starting out, there is a high chance that you could injure you spine with the slightest movements or improper technique. Weightlifting injuries can occur to your legs, knees, and hips, but according to Dr. Glen, the lead chiropractor/owner at East Desert Inn Wellness, a common reason why many people visit him is due to weightlifting related back injuries. This can be avoided with proper form and a leather gym belt that supports your back by increasing inner ab pressure, thereby preventing any sort of hyper-extension. You get the most effective lift when the spinal erector muscles work against heavy resistances.

Why Use a Gym Belt For Back Support?

Deadlifts and squats are the main two exercises where using a gym belt can really help. Being stable is the key to the health of the lumbar spine because it protects discs and supports your joints and soft muscle tissue. Most people don’t know that gym belts are meant for your abs just as much as your back.


Breathing Techniques When Lifting

Proper breathing (Valsalva manuever) can help cause the pressure in your abs before attempting a lift, and the gym belt help aid this process by being pressed firmly against your torso. They say that your belt should be tightly fastened enough so that you are able to squeeze half of your hand inside when taking a deep breath in. The belt should be positioned an inch or two above your pelvis so that it covers the lower part of your body as much as possible. We recommend beginning with lighter weights until you are ready to challenge yourself with heavier weights. Gym belts do not make you invincible, but they can defintiely help your performance.

Proper Form and Breathing
Valsalva Manuever
Increased Strength and Performance

Buying The Right Gym Belt

The most common gym belts are leather or nylon. One of the common differences between them is that the nylon belts use velcro to be fastened around your waist while leather belts come with plenty of holes like your favorite Louis Vuitton belt that you wear with a pair of jeans. The leather version wins because when you start your fitness journey it is common, and expected, to lose inches off your waistline. And with a leather belt you simply can go to your local tailor, and for a few dollars they will be happy to punch a few new holes in your belt so it fits firmly against your new figure. This also works if you put on some weight. When you buy a velcro belt you are doomed to the length that it is created at. Also, with velcro belts, depending on the quality of the velcro, it can begin to lose its “stick” over time. If your velcro belt pops open while lifting heavy weights, it can be catastrophic.
Leather belts are the first choice of many bodybuilders and powerlifters. The extra thickness of leather gym belts provides the rigid support for your back and abs that you need when attempting to lift heavy barbells and weights. The velcro belts do not provide this same support, but since they are made of nylon and foam inserts they are a bit more flexible for rapid movements. If durability is a major factor you should go with the leather belt because they can last for a very long time.
Nylon Velcro Gym Belt
Thick Leather Gym Belt
Polished Stainless Steel Belt Buckle

“Gym Belts Are Great But You Do Not Need Them To Perform Every Exercise.”

When Not To Use a Gym Belt

It’s hard to argue that if you are serious about weightlifting that you should not use a gym belt, but they are not needed for every exercise. You may come off to other gym-goers as if you are “doing the most” by wearing a gym belt on every single visit. Heavy-duty gym belts are not needed if you are lifting lighter weights, doing bicep curls, or if you are in the front row at your weekly Zumba class. Gym belts will not automatically correct your form so you should be forever mindful of your technique. It is also advised if you have high blood pressure or conditions that can be triggered by inner ab pressure to just completely avoid gym belts and heavy lifting and to consult a physician before starting a workout regimen.

Lifting heavy objects in the workplace can be hazardous to your spine.  Think about using a gym belt.

Using a Gym Belt For Work

Do you have a strenuous job that requires heavy lifting? Maybe your job is lifting pianos into penthouse apartments, or perhaps the boss is punishing you by making you lift boxes of heavy paper into the copy room. Besides the gym, owning a weightlifting belt can be useful for many activities that involve heavy lifting. Some jobs state on their application that you must be able to lift 35-50lbs as a requirement. For some people, and especially many disabled people, this may be challenging and its possible to injure yourself while performing your duties. Having a knowledge of the proper technique for weight lifting can avoid any mishaps. Leaving a gym belt in your car can come in handy if one day you are asked to help lift something extremely heavy.

Lifting Belts: Making a Statement

Impression Gym Belt

This calf leather checkered gym belt can be purchased from for $59.99

As much as gym belts are used as a tool for serious weightlifting, who says that you can not do it in style? Most leather gym belts have huge logos and branding and come in dusty saddle colors like those you would outfit a horse in. If you are seeking a high-end gym belt with style and opulence the Impression gym belt by Spectral Body is the finest to date. The Impression gym belt is a calf leather, custom weight lifting belt with a stylish checkered print design. It has a high-quality construction and is made of polished steel buckles and rivets and has detailed stitching.

Tell Us Your Story!

Do you use a gym belt?  How does it help your workouts? Let us know what you think!

Carlo G

Fitness Writer based in Vancouver BC, Canada