Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Weightlifting belt: Do I need one?

If I lift free weights, do I need to wear a weightlifting belt?

Updated: 08-11-2012

Answer

For most people, wearing a weightlifting belt does little to improve performance or protect the spine — especially during exercises that don't stress the back or place only minimal stress on the back.

You might consider wearing a weightlifting belt if you're doing power lifting or dead lifts. A weightlifting belt can be a reminder to keep your spine in the correct position during heavy lifting.

When you're lifting free weights, safety precautions are a must:

  • Learn proper form and technique. The better your form, the better your results — and the less likely you are to hurt yourself.
  • Spare your back. When you're lifting weights, keep your spine in a stable, neutral position. When you're picking up weights or putting them down, lift with your legs — not your back.
  • Ask for help. If you're lifting heavy weights, ask a training partner to spot you.

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