Step 1: Position the Belt on Your Waist
For maximum effectiveness, place your weightlifting belt just above your hip bone. This positioning allows it to make full contact with your back, sides, and front. We want it above the hip bones but below your ribcage.
Pro Tip: If you feel any restriction or discomfort from the belt, it's likely not positioned correctly. In such cases, try using a belt with a different thickness or adjust the tightness as explained in the sections below.
Step 2: Take a Slight Breath and Secure the Belt
Tighten the belt firmly, but not to the point where it feels overly constricting. Leave some room for your stomach to expand, enabling you to create tension and brace properly. The belt should fit snugly and comfortably, conforming to your body as you prepare for the lift.
Pro Tip: You should be able to slide your index finger between your back and the belt. If there's more space than that, the belt may be too loose or improperly positioned.
Step 3: Inhale and Activate the Belt
A weightlifting belt keeps your back steady. But your core muscles are your main protection against a weak back. Here's what to do:
- Breathe in deep, filling your belly.
- Squeeze your abs and lower back.
- Keep this tight during the lift.
Pro Tip: Remember, the belt is not enough on its own. You still need to learn the right way to brace and breathe. It helps those who already know how to do it well. If you need to, go over the bracing and breathing techniques in the next sections and practice them.
How to Brace Properly with a Weightlifting Belt
Whether you choose to wear a belt or not, it's important to learn how to brace yourself correctly for lifting weights. Using a belt alone won't give you the best results. Let's learn how to do it right!
Step 1: Pretend You're Getting Punched in the Tummy
Imagine someone is going to give you a big punch in the stomach. When that happens, you tighten all the muscles in your tummy. This helps keep your back stable and safe.
Step 2: Take Big Belly Breaths
Before you lift, take deep breaths into your belly. Imagine filling it up like a balloon. As you do this, feel your ribcage pulling in and your hips lining up. Stand up tall and bring your ribcage in.
Step 3: Use Your Side Muscles
There are special muscles on your sides called obliques. They help you stay steady when you lift heavy things. Imagine them growing bigger as you take belly breaths. It's like blowing up your cheeks but on your sides.
Remember, these steps will help you brace yourself properly, whether you wear a weightlifting belt or not. It's important to protect your back and be strong when you lift weights.