Every time you walk into the gym you will find different people with different backgrounds this means that some of the people working out at the facility are older men and women, some are teenagers and so forth but what doesn’t change is that at least someone from each age group is wearing a lifting belt or even a Wal-Mart home gym belt, it doesn’t really matter what brand or texture it’s made of you just know it’s a belt, they are wearing it and they look kind of funky doing so, in order to clear this up (If a belt works) I decided to do a comparison of benefits and negatives of using a weight belt.
Positive: When doing heavy core exercises such as dead lifts or squats the back is put in a really vulnerable position because all of the stress coming from the weight goes directly into the lower back causing muscle pain or in extreme cases severe back injuries such as prolapsed disc’s that need surgery to be treated.
By using a belt you are putting pressure and compacting the muscles and waist making everything tighter, think of it as some sort of assistance to your back, the belt is taking up the stress instead of your entire back therefore by using a belt you can prevent injuries that may set you down a few workouts.
Negative: When I walk into the gym I want to have the best workout possible, I want to be hurting the next day (In a good way) so that way my muscles adjust to the stress and grow, I personally don’t wear a belt to the gym because as a lot bodybuilders think and I agree 100% with this; the belt just takes away from your endurance, I see the belt as assistance to something I want to achieve so if I want to dead lift 600 lbs but I need a belt to do it won’t feel good to me because it feels like cheating. Belts aren’t that comfortable and some of them aren’t that cheap depending on what you want.
My take on belts: I injured my back a while ago while doing dead lifts I messed up because my form was awful, currently I can’t dead lift what I could a year ago because of the injury but the strength is coming back slowly, to be honest my back is way better than it was a year ago even though I can’t lift as much, I still don’t believe in belts, I have used one once and it didn’t do anything for me, I didn’t feel comfortable wearing it but maybe that’s because I wasn’t doing heavy enough weight to need one.
If you watch a Ronnie Coleman back workout you can see that he doesn’t use a belt until he’s dead lifting 800 lbs! Most people that use a belt in the gym are just people who think they need it when they really don’t, so unless you’re doing heavy squats or deadlifts you don’t need a weight belt, they help but at the end of the day you want to be a natural super human without any help, you can’t do that by getting assistance all the time from gym accessories.