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My Weight Belt Hurt Me

 

Weight Belt Hurt You

 

 

I will keep my blog thoughts here short, simple and to the point with the hopes of helping someone, anyone, avoid similar challenges I experienced…

 

My weight belt hurt me.

 

Got your attention? It’s true.

 

For years, like 15 years, I had every intention to maximize safety of my weight training during my workouts. Mass gain workouts and heavy lifts have always been aligned with my physique goals. Focus on these types of workouts naturally led me to leverage multiple “accessories” to go bigger, faster and stronger including weight lifting gloves, lifting straps and a weight belt. In fact, I wore my gloves and weight belt for ALL weighted resistance workouts. Why? I did not know any better and there is A LOT of mis-information out there. Wearing my weight belt for every resistance workout is probably not much different than those warehouse workers that wear a belt all day regardless of lifting heavy boxes or stocking shelves with cereal boxes, the latter which clearly does not require extra back/core support (unless perhaps you are injured).

 

So you may ask how I know that my weight belt hurt me. To be fair, I don’t know for sure, but I am confident that it didn’t help me when I was formerly diagnosed with a painful lower back disc herniation.

 

Here is my theory.

 

My weight belt was a tough, rigid leather material and I wore it tight. Like super tight. I did not like the belt sliding around during my workouts and I also read that if it is not tight you will not take advantage of the belt support or looseness can even cause ancillary issues. As mentioned, I wore it for all resistance-based workouts including chest, back, legs, arms and shoulders. One may ask, do you need to wear a weight belt during tricep work? Probably not. So my theory is that the tightness of the belt was leading to compression on my spine, but even worse, not allowing my core and lower back to develop the critical strength of the stabilizing muscles to function properly during workouts and day-to-day life in general. In other words, my back and core were considerably weakened (or not getting stronger) since I was using the weight belt as a “crutch” in my workouts. Combine that behavior with perhaps long-term back challenges from sports and general wear-and-tear, my lower back gave out doing normal activities (later confirmed to be disc herniation, bulges and degeneration). If I had more developed core/back strength and stability, my issues may have never escalated to the debilitating herniation and sciatic pain I experienced.

 

Since I came to this conclusion I have not worn a weight belt in my workouts. Given my back challenges I have kept the weights lighter with a lot of focus on proper form and safety. As I age and get wiser (I think), I no longer feel the need for personal bests in max weight lifted. Years ago that was important to me. I am finding now that I can get better results this way with the proper workout program. Some workouts absolutely require a weight belt in my mind, especially heavy powerlifting-type workouts. I am not saying that a weight belt is not recommended, just be mindful of when you need to leverage the support vs. using it as a crutch that inhibits the development of critical core and lower back stabilizing muscles, which are used in everything you do and maximize your workout performance!

 

 

 

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Premiere 5 Star Diamond Independent Beachbody Coach, CEO and Founder of TEAM RAGE, Mike Nowak Fitness, HowDoIGetRipped.com and How Do I Get Ripped, LLC. You are about to learn how I went from out-of-shape busy dad with significant travel, 2 kids and a wife to losing 20 pounds, 16% body fat and 7" off my waist while getting paid more income from home than my Ph.D. in Science & Engineering. Retired my Ph.D. career to focus on FAMILY & FITNESS!

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