Everyone wants that super-hero well-balanced physique. As a matter of fact, the total number of gym membership in the United States increased by 14% from 2010 to 2017 and it is expected to see another drastic rise by 2021.
However, despite the desire to get ripped, it doesn’t come easy as most people just don’t know what steps to take to get there. This is especially when it comes to achieving well-developed shoulders and muscular chests. Continue reading
Weight lifting belts reduce stress on the lower back by lifting weight upright and help prevent hyper-extension of the back by lifting weight over the head.
A belt reduces lumbar stress by compressing the abdominal cavity. This increases intra-abdominal pressure, which offers more support in the lower back.
This allows the erector muscles of the spine, which normally provide the support of the lower back, to exert less effort during exercise. Another benefit of intra-abdominal pressure is a greater reduction in spinal contractions (less back compression).
A belt will help you maintain back alignment, which can be very beneficial if you have had a recent injury and can help prevent injuries caused by weight gain.
Belts can give you more confidence to lift more weight, even more confidence to train harder for longer. Belts can not only help you lift more weight in the gym, but can also help you at other times when you need to lift, such as when moving furniture.
However, these benefits only apply if you use the lift belt correctly. Remember that belts can protect your back to a certain degree but they do not prevent 100% injury.
Nor is it advisable to use it in all the exercises that make up your training program, you should only use the belt for exercises that put too much strain on your lumbar spine, such as squats or dead weight where you reach failure when you do few repetitions.
Constant wearing of the belt can cause muscle atrophy of the back and abdominal muscles. Weakened back muscles can increase the potential for injury. It is advisable to learn how to create intra-abdominal pressure by naturally tightening the abdominal muscles without having to rely on the support of a belt.
When to start wearing a lifting belt
Some cases have been listed in which the use of a belt is not recommended (high repetition workouts with low weights or when there is some type of injury).
Although, when the execution is correct and we have a core worked is not strictly necessary the use of belts, does not mean that in certain occasions its use can benefit us.
A clear example in which it would be advisable to use it would be in those occasions and those that we are trying to improve our PR in some survey.
Certain equipment and accessories of our training should be seen as what they are, simple accessories, but never forget the accessory muscle work to form a good body structure.
The weight-lifting belt serves to increase the stability of the mid-lower part of the spine by increasing intra-abdominal pressure. If your level of weight lifting is just for physical conditioning and toning the belt will be of little use.
It is when great intensities and heavy weights are introduced when the use of the belt is necessary, since the stability provided by the abdominals and lumbar becomes insufficient.
Therefore, the belt is a useful element, but in those specific moments where we believe that the load is too intense and can compromise stability.
Recent studies suggest that an abuse of this element can cause the stabilizing muscles of the lower part of the spine to lose tone and become vague.
Therefore, the belt must be limited to certain exercises and certain specific situations, but the work of stabilization of the spine falls on the belt and we are limiting the function of the muscles.
If your case is that of an injury and you use the belt to protect the area, it is still better to consider choosing a different exercise that does not compromise your injury. Wearing a belt is synonymous with going to the limit, a limit that at a healthy level does not suit us because any limit can lead to injury.
The best to stabilize the lower back is with the muscles themselves, following the principle of progression in intensity little by little these muscles tone up and make their function better. Why take too much weight if we cannot take it?
This is already a subject for bodybuilders.
Best weight lifting belts
Considerations to take into account when buying a belt:
The first thing to look for when buying a belt is to choose the material, nylon or leather. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of them.
The leather belts are stiffer, which in turn provides more firmness and protection to the back. However, the disadvantage of wearing a leather belt is that it is very hard on the skin and can be a problem for people with sensitive skin…
Nylon straps, on the other hand, while holding the back are more flexible. However, you will not get the same sense of security you will get with a leather belt. They are also much more comfortable for sensitive skin and leave no marks.
The next thing you need to look at is the belt lock mechanism. In general, you will have two options, buckle or Velcro. If the belt size is correct, the buckle system allows the belt to be tightened as tightly as possible. Velcro gives a personalized fit most of the time. You can slide the belt diameter whenever you want.
Choosing the right weight belt can be the key to optimizing your workouts. Make sure you take the time you need to find the one that best suits your needs.
Belt types and how to place them
Basically there are two types of belts: nylon and leather, the latter being more rigid, so they offer greater firmness and safety to the lower back, in other words, are more effective. However, nylon ones are more flexible and can be less uncomfortable for some users.
Another point that is important to emphasize when choosing a suitable lumbar belt is the size and type of closure.
The size should allow us to tighten the belt to the waist as much as possible, so that the widest part of the belt is located in the lower back, that is, behind the trunk, in the lower back.
There are two types of closure: buckle (Image 1) (It has a series of holes and fixed positions) and Velcro (Image 2) (It can be adjusted perfectly to the waist of each individual to not have fixed positions).
How to wear harbinger lifting belt
If you ask several people in your gym whether or not you should wear a belt when you lift weights, many will say yes and many others will not.
However, the question is not whether you should use it, but when you should use it.
In other occasions, we have talked about the belt as a necessary complement to our training. True, but we must qualify this.
In training routines and exercises with light weight it is not necessary to use it. The fact of carrying it without needing it can harm us more than benefiting us, causing injuries and stopping working muscles of the back and abdomen that we use as stabilizers.
If you train with a lot of weight, you should use the belt to improve the stability of the torso and avoid injuries in these cases. You can also use it in the last series of a given exercise, when we are close to the failure. A clear example of people who need (and use) the lifting belt is weightlifting athletes.
Other details that we have to take into account regarding the use of the training belt are:
Wearing the seat belt while injured, we risk a more serious injury.
The belts can reduce the lumbar range of movement, reducing the risk of injury to the lower back.
The belts can give us the feeling that we can lift more kilos, thus increasing the risk of injury due to this sensation.
Ask a partner or monitor to “watch” and correct your posture and exercise.
What exercises to use weight belt
There are studies that show that using the belt can help us in sports performance, increasing strength, speed and stability. In the long run, this will cause you to develop more muscle mass and strength power; yes, considering that we use it correctly.
Among the most common exercises in the weight rooms we can highlight some that present a higher risk of lumbar injury, among them we name the following, not in order to avoid them but with the objective of performing them taking greater precautions such as making sure you have rachis (back) aligned and starting from a correct and safe initial position for the rest of the joints:
Standing bicep curl.
Press of shoulders without support in bench or backrest.
Front elevation of shoulders.
Rowing to the neck.
Horizontal rowing with bar and / or dumbbells.
Good morning or trunk flex in front.
Elevation of heels in machine.
These exercises are the most susceptible to use the lumbar belt when the occasion demands it.
Other times when we can make reasonable use of the belt?
When we are going to use high loads that can compromise our lower back; nevertheless, we must remember that we must train with adequate loads and that this, as a rule (although with exceptions) excludes loads that are so high that they force us to wear a belt.
When we suffer any discomfort or injury in the lower back and, thanks to the belt, we can complete the training without causing further damage or harming the recovery of the cause in question. Be very careful with this, “the fix” cannot always be viable and could make the situation worse.
When the lumbar area is fatigued and needs that extra support of the belt to finish the training. Although it may be the case, perhaps the solution is to plan the training so that we avoid such a situation, either by changing the choice of exercises, their order, load, workload, etc.
What type of belt is better?
There are different types of belts in the market. There is leather with buckle and nylon closures or synthetic materials with Velcro closure and the like.
In our opinion, we recommend leather, because they are harder and more durable. Although if the nylon ones are more comfortable, they are also a good option.
Oh, that to use it is not enough to adjust it to my waist? You are not putting the belt that holds your Zara jeans, but you will activate it when you press your abs out and against them when you exercise. What this does is increase the intra-abdominal pressure to stabilize the spine.
Keep in mind that, normally, this accessory is aimed at power lifters, bodybuilders and strength athletes. If all you do is train with a moderate weight, do not even consider using it.
Can everyone use it?
As we told you before: no. Besides not belonging to the named sector, it is possible that it bothers you and does not make you do a good training. Do not insist. There are accessories that are not made for everyone and your sports performance will not be affected for worse if you avoid it.
Also avoid it if you suffer from hernias or have high blood pressure. By forcing the intra-abdominal pressure, we will be increasing the values of both problems.
Are there any risks in its use?
Although many think that future injuries will be avoided, it is true that their (wrong) use can increase the risk of injury. It happens especially if you do not know how to use it or you put it wrong.
The belt does not create an aura that will free you from a bad move or bad technique. Do not put it too low, we do not look for a postural correction as if it were an orthopedic device. And, of course, do not fall into the error of adjusting it as if you were a Kardashian with a corset.
Recent studies have shown that many people are now prioritizing fitness activities, and so there is an evolution of various techniques and workouts with each having its own set of benefits.
Of all the workouts and exercises, the Barbell has become one of the most preferred technique when compared to any other available technique.
Though, it is not simple like you may think, it comes with great advantages. That is the reason most people love to execute ‘Barbell deadlift.’
To do the barbell deadlift, it is not necessary to hit the gym for sure. It will be enough if you are well-versed with all the required instructions and tips for this exercise.
Here, in barbell approach, there is always a need to know the exact weights of the barbell.
This is very important because the weight helps you determine the total number of heavyweight lifted.
Also, it is important to determine the time for the exercise. Every weight differs from each other. When taken a lesser weight or a basic weight, you will have to do the exercise for a longer period than normal.
Likewise, the period also keeps changing or differing from one weight to another. It is always a sincere advice to all the beginners and the newbie to start off with basic or the standard weights.
The one best thing that the beginners or a newbie can do is that they can start doing simple squats and exercises with the empty bar alone. Since the empty bar is not that heavy, it will help you get the basic warm-ups and let you stay fit and work hard. This will strengthen the core and will give shape to the abs.
Don’t rush to the heavier ones thinking that miracles will happen overnight!
Especially gaining the muscular body, abs, and the like — it’s never possible as it is not a five-finger exercise. The person needs to be continuously motivated and focused on the fitness goals.
Standard Barbell weight
Firstly, the term ‘STANDARD’ barbell weight is only used to differentiate the basic ones from that of the higher standard weights.
Now to get the exact idea of the weight of the barbell, you must make sure that both the bar and the weight plates are individually weighed. This simply enables accuracy when you perform the barbell deadlifts.
Usually, a standard bar (excluding the weight plates) weigh from around 45 pounds, the general ones. As you keep moving on, you will notice that the weights of the bars keep changing too. For instance, they mostly range from about 30 to 45 pounds.
It is also to be noted that the weights of the bars alone vary as per the length. So, while assessing the weight of the bar you need to make sure that you have considered the length of the bar at the same time.
Length fact of the barbell
If you clearly notice each of the barbells at the gym, you will likely discover that each of the barbells vastly varies from each other on the grounds of:
Length of the bar
The thickness of the bar
So, you will have to look at all these aspects and start calculating the weights. The length matters. Beginners don’t opt for too lengthy and thick bars. You may end up finding it difficult to lift them.
This will be a bad sign because you may end up with the wrong posture and might lose the confidence and motivation you acquired.
Types of Barbells
We are sure you are aware of the various type of barbell that is available in the market. If you don’t, no worries just read ahead.
Here are the popular ones:
Safety squat bars
Trap bars, etc.
Other than the Standard and the Olympic Barbells, the others look different from each other. While some are made handy to weigh or hold them, the other has safety measure like the safety squat bars.
Among all these barbells, the Standard and the Olympic barbells are quite popular and in extensive use in comparison to others. At your gym, you will be instructed to practice with the ‘standard barbells’ initially.
The reason behind this is nothing but that the fact that the standard bars are light and easy for beginners.
The Weight of empty Barbells
By the term empty barbells, we mean to say about the bar alone without the weight plates on it.
The weight of the empty bars is usually 10 to 15 pounds. Beginners can make the best out of the empty bars. They can start their exercise sessions with the help of the empty bar.
The thickness of the bar
It is true that the thick bars are the best options if you really intend to lose weight or turn out to be muscular. But the fact is that the thick bars are sincerely not advisable to the beginners.
They might feel it quite tough and will not be able to properly lift the weight. So, it’s better to be with slightly thick bars, especially for the beginners.
The heavy or the thick bars are a perfect combo for people who aspire to be great athletes, sportsmen, or fitness freaks.
They would all love to deadlift with the heaviest barbells out of all that they have. Quite challenging, isn’t it?
The dimensions of the thin bars
The thin bars usually are of dimensions ranging from 2.50 cm. The standard thick bars are about 3 cm in thickness. Choose the one that best suits your needs.
This is so because you alone are the one that has the capability to assess your need and set up targets.
Be wise enough while setting up fitness goals by bearing in mind that it can never be easy to accomplish or reach the goal. It is not a piece of cake. You need to have a lot of determination and dedication to the fitness exercises.
While adhering to your fitness plans, also remember that food plays a vital role in helping your body to stay fit. Say no to junk and welcome good food and good vibes.
Thin or thick bars – which is better?
Well, both are good in their own ways. But yes, there are some factors that will help you determine whether the thick or thin bars are better.
It will get quite difficult for you to deadlift with a heavy or thick bar. You can make way to overcome this difficulty by way of replacing it with a lighter or a thinner bar.
We think, by now you have got some of the concepts clear before performing the exercise.
Weight of the Plates
The best part about the barbell deadlift is that the weight of the bar can be customized as per your needs.
The customization can be done by either adding or removing the weights from the bar. If you are well-trained in deadlifts or weights, you can do it with all plates that weigh high. Caution only for the trained ones, pros, trainer etc.
On the other hand, if you’re a beginner or a newbie and you want to lose a few pounds — then you will be advised or instructed to go with the lightweight plates on the bar. With the lighters ones on the bar, the barbell deadlift will be easier and be motivating too.
The barbell lifts or exercises are beneficial since it strengthens the core muscles, lower back, delivers fantastic abs to you and a good posture to the body.
Above all, it is cost-effective to get your own set of barbells (Standard ones, provided).
You can start doing the deadlifts with lighter weights or simple squats too. Just be careful so you don’t hurt yourself in an attempt to do a deadlift. Understand the importance of doing the exercise only as instructed.
The one tip that will come handy for you while doing the barbell deadlift is to =&8=&. Make sure to deeply inhale while lifting and exhale while bending to the floor. Just concentrate on your breath.
There is a lot more you can do with these weight plates alone. You can start your warm up by taking one heavyweight plate and start to warm up by way of different exercises. Do squats, bench press, and other simple exercises. That would be a great way for your warm-up session.
Usually, the warm-up is done with an empty hand or lightly weighted dumbbells. But you can also do it with the weight plates that go on to the barbell. It would be fun and innovative too.
The Olympic Barbells are heavier than that of the Standard barbells. Mostly used by the athletes and highly trained ones.
These Olympic barbells usually weigh 20 kg (men) and 15 kgs (women). So that means that the Olympic barbells are made individually for each gender. The weight of these depends and defer as per the weight plates put upon them.
With the Olympic barbells that weigh about 45 pounds, exercises like the squats, bench press, deadlifts, etc can be done. These exercises help you in building up a very muscular body, biceps, strengthen core muscles, etc. Overall results are greatly visible if you stick to the Olympic barbells.
The weight plates of the Olympic barbells usually range from half a pound to 10 pounds (basis) and 2.5 pounds to 100 pounds (heavier). Get them all since the Olympic bars cannot accommodate standard weights on.
The thing here is that the Standard barbells and the Olympic barbells slightly differ in their weights.
Almost everyone I know desires to be fit and in perfect health. In a process to attain healthy body and structure, people hit the gym and different fitness studios.
While some people are well-informed and aware of all the aspects that need to be kept in mind before hitting a gym, some sadly don’t. And they are the ones that fall prey to gym risks or injuries.
So, it is always advisable for everyone to know and be prepared for certain things. It would be even better to have a practice of basic warm-ups or exercises that will help you accomplish the fitness targets quick.
Of all the exercises and workout that the instructor teaches, the deadlifts are popular among most of them. Since the deadlift seems to be challenging, most people love doing it for themselves. Hold on, before you rush to do the deadlift.
Deadlift: A Quick Look
Deadlift is the best to exercise if you really intend to muscle up your entire body evenly. This is the best, the weight stands hanging down from your hand while the hands are spread out or extended while in the standing position, though!
The bar hexagonal (also known as trap bar) is something that is not often seen too much in gyms, and those where you can find one, is usually picking up dust in a corner.
In this Hex Bar Squats Vs Barbell Squats guide, we’ll compare both squats and show you which one to stick to (if that’s what you want).
However, it reports considerable benefits, which can make its use a very interesting option, with added benefits for those who consider training at home. Let’s see some of these, as well as the exercises that can be done with it.
The deadlift with trap bar
Most iron enthusiasts know the tremendous benefits of doing deadweight, an exercise that works in depth almost every muscle of our body.
Running the deadlift with a hexagonal bar may not seem as “epic” as doing a bar, but it has several benefits:
1). Safeguarding the lower back
When performing a traditional deadweight with a straight bar, the bar is in front of our body.
This forces us to bend forward to grab the bar and fight against the force of it, which pulls down, resisting rounding the lower back.
Many are not even able to find the correct starting position, and when lifting the weight it only gets worse.
However, when we use a trap bar , we are literally inside the bar. This makes a huge difference, because by the position we do not need to lean forward so much to grab the bar, safeguarding the lower back.
In addition, we do not turn the shoulders inward, but instead maintain a more natural position. We can do deadlift by putting a lot less effort (and risk) in the column.
2). Higher loads
Thanks to the mechanical advantage offered by the trap bar, you can lift more weight than would be possible with a straight bar.
More weight means more work for the legs, trapezoids, and grip, and it helps to obtain a better result in the development of the same. In fact, this movement can be used to replace the squat as a leg builder, as we will see later.
Many beginners have some fear of dead weight for possible back injuries. And it is certainly an exercise that requires a certain technique to work it safely.
The trap bar offers an easier learning, since the practitioner has to bend less of hips and more of legs.
With the hands at the sides and the legs more bent it is easier to keep the chest high and avoid the rounding of the high back, being easier to maintain the correct form.
Is Deadlift with trap bar a substitute for the squat?
If we have access to a cage or supports to do squats in a safe way, undoubtedly, it is better squats. The depth of knee flexion obtained in a front or rear squat is much higher than what can be achieved by doing a dead weight with trap bar.
However, there are also many who wonder how I can train my legs if I do not have support for squats or cages, or if I train at home?
For these people, using the deadlift with a hexagonal bar can be a very good alternative.
Although this movement does not reach the depth of knee flexion of a deep squat, it produces a greater flex than the conventional deadlift, working the legs harder and making it a more than acceptable substitute.
It also makes it easier to add weight safely to the bar, because if at any time we can not lift it, we can simply drop it. Not in vain, some call the deadlift with trap bar “Squat with trap bar” (trap bar squat).
A few deadweight series with trap bar will give our legs a good job. Then we can finish the work of deep bending by adding a final series of squats with our own body weight (or using dumbbells that we can carry in our hands), to compensate for that part of deep flexion.
Another alternative is to use smaller diameter discs in the trap bar, to lower more and obtain a greater knee flexion.
If you’re considering getting a trap bar for your workouts, you can get them at a good price here: Hexagonal bars (and other material) at a good price .
But not only deadweight lives the lifter (or lifter :)), and the trap bar has other uses to offer. Let’s see some.
For reasons similar to those of the deadlift, a straight bar is somewhat uncomfortable to do shrug: it is necessary to rotate the shoulders forward or backward, and the bar will rub along our legs. Dumbbell shrugs can be a solution for shoulder rotation, but friction will also occur.
In addition, the fact that the trapezoids are an extremely strong muscle makes a high amount of weight necessary, and of all the alternatives the one that allows to lift more weight with greater ease is the trap bar.
With it we can load our trapezes intensely, and work without the annoying friction, as we can see in the following video.
Rowing with hexagonal bar
When executed well, this movement is an excellent exercise for the back. The movement once again feels more natural than the one made with a bar, and has the additional benefit of reaching a greater amplitude in the upper part (with the bar we would touch the stomach before, but the handles of the trap bar allow a movement of deeper pull).
Movement also helps us to correct ourselves. If the bar touches our bottom, it is that we have not bent enough forward.
Squats with bar: Essential things you need to know
The squat or barbell squat has always been one of the most known and used exercises in the world of training. This complex exercise allows us to work large muscle groups and will give us great benefits if we do it correctly.
Even so, although it is such an extended exercise, there are many myths that run around it. Is it a leg exercise? Is it part of the exercises to get perfect glutes?
Which is the correct technique? We anticipate that it is key in this routine to strengthen the lower train.
Squats with bar: What do we work?
Although many associate it with a purely leg exercise, the truth is that this exercise goes further. And is that the squat involves a large involvement of the quadriceps, co-activation of other muscle groups of the lower body but also of the lower back.
In addition, it has been seen that the limiting factor when doing squats with bar correctly is not the legs but the erector muscles of the back.
The squats with bar are an exercise where the back is implied in an important way.
Therefore, we must maintain a correct technique to protect our column and not overload it. We can start with exercise routines that include the one-leg squat to take the position.
If we have problems at the back level it is important that a coach assess you and advise you on whether to continue doing squats or opt for other alternatives, such as these exercises to strengthen glutes.