Taking A Look At Lifting Belts

I was recently reading the article “A Review of the Use of Lifting Belts” that was published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal in 2006 and thought I would discuss the key discussion points of this article.  If you would like to purchase this article to read it in more depth, please click here.

Key Discussion Points

  • The vast majority of research with lifting belts is actually set in the occupational setting and not necessarily directly related to strength and conditioning.
  • Lifting belts are generally not recommended within the occupational setting.  To read more with regards to this and Worksafe Victoria, please click here.
  • Within the occupational setting, lifting belts demonstrate either marginally effective or had not effect with regards to lowering injury within the occupational setting.
  • Lifting belts do not reduce back fatigue.
  • Wearing a lifting belt can result in a greater peak and average intra abdominal pressure.  One study showed an increase of 25-40% when wearing a belt with a 8RM back squat.   From a strength and conditioning point of view, a lifting weight belt may of benefit when performing the squat and deadlift as increased intra abdominal pressure has been proposed to help with stabilisation of the spine and decrease spinal compressive force.
  • Lifting belts were shown to reduce spinal compression in 3 studies.
  • In a study that looking at lifting belts and range of motion and velocity of large and small box lifting showed that lifting belts reduced maximum spinal flexion and extension and lateral bending, whilst increasing hip and knee flexion.  Individuals were also more likely to adopt a squat lifting technique.

This article was written by osteopath Heath Williams of Principle Four Osteopathy.  Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD and Docklands leading osteopathy clinics.  We provide a range of services that include manual therapy, exercise prescription, strength and conditioning and functional movement screening.  If you would like to book an appointment or find out more about the clinics, please go to www.principlefourosteopathy.com.