When to use a weightlifting belt and how this impacts your pelvic floor
The purpose of a weightlifting belt (a wrap worn around the waist) is to protect the body from injury. It can lead to lifting extra weight, due to the additional support to the body from the belt.
When to use
- Low reps at a heavy weight for the following lifts - squats, deadlifts, cleans, snatches, or presses.
- Recommended for experienced weightlifters who know how to weightlift without a belt, enhancing bracing mechanics.
Why does it help
When lifting you want a hard and rigid core. To brace your core you breathe deeply and hold it along with keeping your core muscles tight. This tightening of the muscles enables you to lift or push more weight without causing any damage to the spine.
Studies have shown that an overreliance on a lifting belt can actually reduce the abdominal muscles efficiency and essentially make them lazy. It can also mean the lower back doesn’t get as strong. Recommendation is to only use a belt for heavy lifts and low reps.
A weightlifting belt especially affects our pelvic floor. The belt increases the intra-abdominal pressure which can result in weakening the pelvic floor. It is recommended for women to use weightlifting belts for low reps at a heavy weight and alongside pelvic floor strengthening exercises.