| 3 Minute Read

How To Use A Weightlifting Belt

by Ben Thompson


A weightlifting belt can be a useful tool in strength training if you know how to use it correctly. The belt allows you to increase intra abdominal pressure, increasing stability leading to stronger and more stable lift. The key to using a belt correctly is learning how to breathe and brace correctly without it and then adding it in to your training.


Hi guys, Ben here from Movement Enhanced, and today we're going to run through how to use a weightlifting belt. So you may have seen or used a weightlifting belt in the past, but may be unsure what it does or the correct way to use it. Today what we're going to run through maybe are some of the misconceptions around what it does, and I'm going to run through a quick explanation as to how and why it works throughout your strength training.


So to understand how to use a weightlifting belt correctly, we must first understand how we breathe. So we have two main ways of breathing. We can breathe through our chest or we can breathe through our diaphragm. Now, the difference between these two is when we breathe through our chest we use muscles like our traps and our scalenes and we'll see our rib cage lift. And in contrast, we can breathe through our diaphragm, but we're going to see the belly breath and the stomach moving in and out. Now, when we go to do a heavy compound movement, we want to create stability through the system and we want to breathe through the diaphragm, because that creates intraabdominal pressure and helps stabilize the spine.


So we're going to do a quick drill before you actually put on the belt. And the reason we do this is that it helps understand the concept of generating intraabdominal pressure. Now, what you're going to do is get your thumbs and place them on either side of your spine into your erectors. From there, your hands are going to wrap around your midsection, around your obliques. Try to get them to meet in the middle and generate tension around the outsides of your midsection. From there, we're going to practice breathing the correct way. The cues you'll think about is taking a deep breath in and try to push your hands out as you breathe and hold your breath. What you should feel is 360 degree expansion out through your obliques, through your anterior core and your erectors and lower back. This is the way we want to breathe and we want to avoid breathing through our chest and getting a rib cage lift. What happens in this particular case when we breathe through our chest is that we become overextended through the lumbar spine, which doesn't give us stability when we do our major compound lifts during our strength training.


Now, that particular drill was quite complex and is not something people master straightaway. If you find this difficult, I suggest practicing that drill before putting on a weightlifting belt, because the weightlifting belt will provide no stability if you can't brace correctly. So now you understand the concept of generating tension. We're going to run through two cues that will really help understand how to quick set the brace correctly. So the two cues are going to be trying to pop the belt off with your breath, and then imagine someone's going to punch you in the stomach as you go to do the lift. What this does is generate tension through the system, and then crunch the rib cage down so we're not over extended and we're in a nice, stable and strong position.

For more information, or to enquire about strength training at Movement Enhanced in Albion, Brisbane, feel free to contact us here. 


Ben Thompson

Ben Thompson is the Founder of Movement Enhanced. After first starting in the industry back in 2011, he has many years of experience in strength and conditioning. Ben is uniquely qualified as a soft tissue therapist and exercise scientist. He has traveled around the world to learn from the best in the industry and continues to develop his craft and skillset.

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