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Is Using a Lifting Belt Cheating? No, Here’s the Reason Why…

person using lifting belt for lifts

In the world of strength training, controversies often arise, and one persistent question is whether using a lifting belt constitutes cheating. Let's delve into this debate and uncover the truth behind the perception of lifting belts in the fitness community.

How Much You Can Lift: With vs. Without a Belt

It’s difficult to put a definite number on how much you can lift with versus without a belt. However, lifting belts generally help you lift 10-15% more than you would without a belt. 

Amateur lifters might not feel a bigger change lifting with a belt vs. without compared to experienced powerlifters who do the lifts every day. A large reason is that they don’t have the proper breathing and bracing techniques in place. Once amateur lifters learn to brace properly, they tend to feel the effects of the belt more. 

Is Using a Lifting Belt Cheating?

Using a weight lifting belt is not considered cheating in strength training; instead, it serves a specific purpose. The primary function of a lifting belt is to provide support to the lower back and core during heavy lifts by increasing intra-abdominal pressure. 

Athletes often use lifting belts for maximal lifts and during exercises like squats and deadlifts to ensure safety and stability, allowing them to focus on lifting heavier loads without compromising their spine's integrity. Therefore, using a lifting belt is a strategic tool for injury prevention and maintaining form rather than a means of cheating strength gains.

Outside of alifting belt’s primary purpose, there are other reasons why using a lifting belt isn’t cheating. Continue reading down below to see more! 

Two Reasons Why a Lifting Belt Isn't Cheating:

Reason 1: It Assists Your Strength, Doesn't Increase It

As mentioned above, using a lifting belt assists your strength by providing structural support to the lower back and core during heavy lifts, particularly compound exercises like squats and deadlifts. The belt enhances intra-abdominal pressure, creating a stable environment for the spine. This support allows the lifter to maintain proper form and transfer force more effectively, reducing the risk of lower back injuries. 

While the belt makes it easier to lift heavier loads, it doesn't magically increase your muscle strength. Instead, it lets you tap into your existing strength more safely and efficiently by providing structural support. In essence, it's like a safety tool that helps you get the most out of your strength without cheating the actual muscle-building process.

Related:10mm vs. 13mm Belt

Reason 2: It's Legal

Using a lifting belt isn't considered cheating because it is entirely legal in the lifting world and is widely accepted as a legitimate tool for strength training. Regulatory bodies and competition rules explicitly permit the use of lifting belts in various strength sports, acknowledging their role in injury prevention and providing support during heavy lifts. 

If you look at any lifting sport–powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, Strongman, etc.–there are no rules preventing lifters from wearing belts. Of course, regulatory bodies might only allow certain types of belts, but they are not illegal to wear. 

Read More:How Tight Should Your Lifting Belt Be? 

Can You Wear Lifting Belts in Competition?

Yes, you canwear lifting belts in competition but it all depends on the competition’s requirements. As mentioned above, weightlifting belts are not illegal but competitions can have rules on the type of belt and dimensions allowed.

If you’re a powerlifter, Strongman/Strongwoman, or Olympic weightlifter, make sure to read through the guidelines so you know if your belt will be approved. 

Related:Are Beltless Deadlifts Safe? 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the use of a lifting belt is not synonymous with cheating. If you look at the biomechanics and how the belt is used during a lift, you’ll see that belts do not provide an unfair advantage. 

By examining the biomechanics, understanding the misconceptions, and highlighting the legitimate reasons for using lifting belts, we debunk the myth that they provide an unfair advantage. Ultimately, the decision to incorporate a lifting belt into your routine should align with your fitness goals and personal preferences.


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