The Role Of The Weight Lifting Belt

A lifting belt is secured around the waist and back, positioned on top of the navel. It is generally thought to support and protect the lower back from injuries like back strain and herniated discs. 

How does it do this? It increases intra-abdominal pressure which helps to engage the core stability muscles surrounding the midsection and ensures spinal neutrality.

In simple terms, it can keep the spine straight and halt it from curving forward, becoming loaded and injured. 

However, we must understand that lifting belts are not limited to just reducing the risk of lower back injuries. 

The question we get asked a lot is “but can a belt help your lifts?”

Absolutely! Being able to keep the back in a stable position allows lifting energy to be maintained on the working muscles as opposed to being lost through spinal movements. 

This improves lifting performance in the short term, which may influence long-term strength and muscle gains. 

Based on the notion of the weightlifting belt and reduced risk of low back injury, we have covered:

  • The 6 Main Core Muscles 
  • Two Ways That Lifting Belts Help Your Back
  • Common And Costly Low Back Injuries
  • Weightlifting Belts For Those Heavier Weights?
  • Genuine Leather Weight Lifting Belt That We Recommend 

The 6 Main Core Muscles

It is important to understand the core stability muscles before we dive into the impact of the powerlifting belt for lower back safety. 

Rectus abdominis (Abdominal Muscles) 

The abdominals at the midsection or as we know them the “six pack” muscle is known as the rectus abdominis. 

The main movement of the rectus abdominis is bending the trunk and helping to stabilize the spine. 

Erector Spinae

The erector spinae consists of 8 muscles and a common tendon that starts at the lower back to the upper back. This muscle group helps stabilize the spine along with bending backwards. 

Transversus Abdominis

Another muscle that helps to stabilize the spine is located deep behind the rectus femoris. 


There are two types of obliques, which are either internal or external obliques. These core stability muscles run down the side of the trunk and halt the spine from twisting movements while lifting.

Pelvic Floor Muscles 

The pelvic floor muscles are found in the pelvis below the spine. The pelvic floor muscles can help stabilize the lower part of the spine. 


The multifidus is the largest and strongest muscle to offer stability to the spine and is its thickest towards the lower back, 

Two Ways That Lifting Belts Help Your Back

There are two main ways in which the lifting belt can help your back. Firstly through reducing injury risk and secondly improving lifting performance.

Helps Engage The Core And Reduces Back Injury Risk 

As covered, six main core stability muscles surround the midsection of the body and keep the back in a neutral position while lifting. 

If the core stability muscles are not strong enough, say during a heavy barbell squat, the back could curve forward with a high risk of muscle or spinal injury. 

Back curving/loading is an unnatural position, and especially dangerous while lifting heavy weights. 

For this reason, the lifting belt is thought to be a great accessory that helps to increase intra-abdominal pressure and engage the core stability muscles to a higher degree. 

The belt is certainly recommended while observing heavy weights above 90%, as we have covered later in the article.

More Effective Lifts And Muscle Activity From Maintaining Lifting Energy 

When an individual is not strong enough to perform an exercise like the squat or deadlift at any given intensity, we tend to see the back giving way and curve or jolt forward. 

Not only does this pose an injury risk, but also releases a lot of the energy from the lift and takes tension off the working muscles and reduces short term lifting performance. 

As mentioned the lifting belt can help stabilize the back, thereby preventing the lifting energy from being lost. 

In fact, a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that by simply applying a lifting belt, experienced lifters were able to improve their barbell squat performance by 3-5%. 

So for example, if you can barbell squat 300 pounds, a lifting belt may allow you to lift up to an additional 15 POUNDS!

Better short term lifting performance can translate into long-term muscle and strength gains.  

Common And Costly Low Back Injuries

The erector spinae is the muscle that starts at the lower back. As we have stressed, with a lack of intra-abdominal strength, chances are that the back can curve during exercises like the barbell squat and deadlift.

Common and costly lower back injuries include erector spinae strain (lower back muscle) or herniated disk (spinal). We have covered these back injuries in much greater detail below. 

Lower Back Muscle Sprain Or Tear

There are three grades of lower back muscle strains. Grade 1 is a strain, grade 2 is a partial tear and grade 3 is a complete rupture of the muscles, which requires surgical interventions to revive functionality. 

Herniated Disk 

A herniated disc is when a back disc is forced through a weak part of the spine. This is typically seen during heavy strength training and curving/loading of the spine. Depending on the severity of the injury, one may need contemporary/allied medicine or surgery. 

Weightlifting Belts For Those Heavier Weights?

Weightlifting belts are generally used while lifting heavy weights at higher intensities. Why so? Lifting heavier loads draws more core strength, and those who do not possess it may struggle to control their spinal movements. 

We have covered an example of squat intensities that may require a weightlifting belt. Note that these examples are generic and not individualized recommendations. 

  • 1 x 308 lbs = @100% intensity
  • 2 x 292 lbs = @95% intensity 
  • 3 x 286 lbs = @93% intensity 
  • 4 x 275 lbs = @90% intensity 
  • 5 x 270 lbs = @87% intensity 
  • 6 x 264 lbs = @85% intensity
  • 7 x 253 lbs = @83% intensity 
  • 8 x 242 lbs = @80% intensity 
  • 9 x 236 lbs = @77% intensity 
  • 10 x 231 lbs = @75% intensity

Genuine Leather Weight Lifting Belt That We Recommend 

Now that you have got a spike of interest in the weight lifting belt, we have covered a high quality genuine leather weight lifting belt that we recommend. 

The Iron Bull PRO 10MM 4" DOUBLE PRONG BELT is an amazing option that can get you through all of your brutal weight lifting, powerlifting, and resistance training workouts. 

It comes in waist sizes:

  • S:25-30” 
  • M:30-35” 
  • L:35-40” 
  • XL:40-45” 
  • XXL:45-50” 
  • XXXL:50”+

The Iron Bull strength weight lifting belt costs $110 which is reasonable based on the A-grade quality, authenticity and transparency.

Iron Bull Strength offers free domestic delivery in the USA for orders above $150, an option to “buy now and pay later” (installments) and a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

What really increases the transparency of the Double prong belt is that it is certified by IPF, USPA, USAPL, and IPL powerlifting competitions, hence why we consider it the best weight lifting belt. 

 straight design 
MATERIAL: Genuine Leather Belt 
FINISH: Suede 
THICKNESS: 10mm (Tolerance +/- 1mm)
WIDTH: 10cm (3.9in) 
CLOSURE: Steel Double Prong Roller Buckle 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

Q: “Where should you position your weightlifting belt?”
Below the ribcage, above the hip bone around the waist and navel 

Q: “Could wearing a back belt increase the potential for injury?”
If the belt is applied too tight that it restricts breathing or movement while lifting, which can then cause a fall and blunt force injury

Q: “Should you wear a weightlifting belt when you lift?”
Lifting belts are generally used while performing standing free-weight exercises like the barbell squat, deadlift and overhead press. We suggest using it when you lift heavy loads above 75% intensity which requires more intra-abdominal pressure

Q: “What exercises are best for weight lifting belts?”
Barbell Squats, Deadlifts, Barbell Back Rows, Overhead Press


All in all, the weightlifting belt helps to increase intra-abdominal pressure and engage the core. This then allows you to maintain spinal neutrality while lifting and reduce the chances of spinal curving/loading and lower back injury like a strain 

Not to mention, the lifting belt can better your lifts by preventing a loss of energy through spine movements. The lifting belt is generally applied while lifting loads above 75% intensity. 

The weightlifting belt that we recommend is the Iron Bull Strength PRO 10MM 4" DOUBLE PRONG BELT for its quality, authenticity and transparency. 

Thank you for reading! Feel free to leave a comment, question, or query and we will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Reference Section 

  1. Lavender, S.A., Shakeel, K., Anderson, G.B., et al. Effects of a lifting belt on spine moments and muscle recruitments after unexpected sudden loading Spine 25(12): 1569-1578, 2000
  2. Oliva-Lovano, J.M., &., Muyer, J.M. Core Muscle Activity during Physical Fitness Exercises: A Systematic Review International Journal Of Environmental Research And Public Health 17(12):4306, 2020
  3. Zink, A. J., Whiting, W. C., Vincent, W. J., et al. The effects of a weight belt on trunk and leg muscle activity and joint kinematics during the squat exerciseJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research 15(2):235-240, 2001