Should You Use a Lifting Belt?

Hey over 50 friends! Coach Kevin here with some tips on whether you should use a lifting belt for exercises like deadlifts and squats. 

As a fitness coach, I’m often asked if wearing a belt is necessary or safe for these compound lifts. The short answer is that it depends on your experience level and the amount of weight you’re lifting. Let’s break it down:

The Purpose of Lifting Belts

Lifting belts serve as a tactile cue to brace and tighten your core muscles during the lift. The belt gives you something to push against, activating your abs, obliques, and lower back muscles. This helps stabilize your spine and prevents injury. And of course, lifting belts make you look and feel like a bad ass!

Bracing Your Core Without a Belt 

Before using a belt, it’s important to learn how to properly brace your core without one. Here’s a great technique:

Imagine someone is about to punch you in the gut! Tighten and draw in your abdominals like you’re preparing for impact. Maintain this solid, engaged core throughout the squat or deadlift movement. Take your time lowering the weight, keeping your neutral spine alignment. Drive back up by pushing through the floor with your full foot, still keeping everything tight.

Follow this core bracing method for lighter, moderate weights. Over time, you’ll build functional, real-world core strength for picking up heavy objects in daily life.

When to Use a Lifting Belt

Consider adding a belt when you start lifting heavier loads, especially in lower rep ranges like sets of 3-5 reps. The belt gives you an extra physical reminder to brace harder during maximal lifts. 

With a belt on, push your abdomen outward against the belt throughout the motion. This increased abdominal pressure boosts stability. But remember – all your proper lifting mechanics remain the same either way!

Choosing the Right Lifting Belt

Make sure your belt fits snugly without restricting your breathing or movement. You should be able to fit two or three fingers between your body and the belt. Position it around your belly button level.

A velcro closure belt like the ones from 2Pood are very durable and effective. The velcro gives you a comfortable and customized fit. Plus they have lots of cool designs and bling to let your personality shine (and they are the official lifting belt of USA Weightlifting) – for most people the 4” weightlifting belt is the perfect option.

The Takeaway

Learning to lift without a belt builds serious full-body strength. Adding a belt later takes your heavy lifts to the next level by reinforcing hardcore core bracing.

I suggest beginners and intermediate lifters stick to natural core bracing. Advanced athletes can use a belt for heavy sets of 3 reps or less.

Let me know if you have any other questions! Proper lifting technique is so important for results and injury prevention. I’m always happy to help. Enjoy the gains!

Additional Resources

Check out my YouTube video titled “When (and How) to Wear a Lifting Belt.”

Save 10% on your 2Pood lifting belt with coupon code “silveredge” at checkout.

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Kevin English

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