Do exercise belts work?
There are numerous types of belts that bodybuilders, powerlifters and general gym-goers use to extract more out of their training. Exercise belts allow them to push harder and better their performance, physiques or numbers on the platform. Depending what you are looking to do will determine which belt suits you best.
If you are looking to add more resistance to your workout (pullups and dips for example) then investing in a high quality dip belt is the way to go.
If you’re looking for maximum support for your lower back and wanting to push up your squat and deadlift numbers, then a powerlifting belt is what you would require.
So, how do they work and what benefits do they offer?
Here are three of the most common belts you will find in the gym, their advantages and when to use them.
Powerlifting belts – for those who want to lift big
If big-time strength is your primary goal in the gym, a powerlifting belt is an ideal sidekick to have on the benches.
These belts work by supporting your core, pushing your abs backwards and putting your lower back into extension to assist with big lifts. They also create intra-abdominal pressure, which increases both your spine and core stability, allowing you to lift heavier reps.
Powerlifting versions are a specialised design, though, and should only be used for exercises that put pressure on your lower back and only in the top 85 percentile of your lifting range – ie; your biggest lifts of the day.
It’s also important to note that over-reliance on belts for all exercises can lead to your core becoming weaker over time, so only use them belts for the purpose they were intended for – lifting huge volumes of weight.
Dip belts – for those looking for an extra challenge
When it comes to upper body exercises, the dip is one of the most effective.
Through this design, you can increase the benefits you get out of these exercises with the addition of weights, which are applied using these nifty products.
The addition of the dip belt combines the best elements of calisthenics and weight lifting in one easy routine – of which can assist with the following benefits:
- Build muscle strength and give you more gains on the bench press;
- Build more mass on the chest and arms than regular dips alone;
- Makes the exercise more about muscle building than endurance;
- Increases your upper body’s maximum strength;
- Improves your range of motion more than any other pushing exercise;
- Increases the intensity of the dipping movement.
Weightlifting vs. powerlifting belts
Powerlifting belts are great for those lifting significant weights in the big 3, namely squats, bench and deadlifts. Other weightlifting belt varieties are a better option if you’re someone who isn’t strictly powerlifting. Olympic weightlifting belts are wider at the back and narrower at the front, which means less pressure is placed on the abs (referred to as the ‘block’ in powerlifting), allowing for more range of movement.
These belts are also ideal for standing lifts like the snatch/clean and jerk, as they provide back support but do not hinder flexion at the hips as much.
Within the Iron Tanks range, you will find plenty of belts within our gym workout gear collection that provide plenty of designs and capabilities for your individual needs. However, if you’re not sure which option is the most suitable choice, we encourage you to get in touch with our team for friendly, supportive advice.
In summary, powerlifting, bodybuilding and general exercise belts are specially crafted to support you in your lifting potential, adding support to your training and an element of safety.