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 powerlifting or dead lifts. A weightlifting belt can be a reminder to keep your spine in the correct position and can help maintain abdominal pressure to stabilize the spine 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.