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 Strength Training: The Purpose and Appropriateness of Weightlifting Belts  
 
Gregory Welch L. MS, ATC ©

For occupations such as fire fighting, the back brace would not be logistically convenient or biomechanically efficient simply by the nature of the unpredictable work environment. The most prudent idea to truly protect this special population would be a comprehensive hips and trunk stabilization and conditioning program. Many programs are targeted toward a healthy back when the coordination of the hips and trunk should be the ultimate focus. This is not to say that a weight belt should never be used, but rather considered more of a last resort where the appropriateness is carefully scrutinized.


References:

1. Perry, I, The use of external support in the treatment of low back pain. J. Bone Joint Surg. 52A: 1440-1442, 1070

2. Axelsson P, Johnson R, Stromqvist B, Effect of lumbar orthosis on intervertebral mobility. Spine, 17: 678-681; 1992

3. Grew N, Intra-abdominal pressure response to loads applied to the torso in normal subjects. Spine, 5: 149-154, 1980

4. Lantz S, Schultz A, Lumbar spine orthosis wearing: I Restriction of gross body motion. Spine; 11: 834-837, 1986

5. Lantz S, Schultz A, Lumbar spine orthosis wearing: II Effect on trunk muscle myoelectric activity. Spine; 11: 838-842, 1986

6. Norton P, Brown T, The immobilizing efficiency of back braces. J. Bone Surg; 39: 111-139, 1957

7. Reyna, JR, et. al., The effect of lumbar belts on isolated lumbar muscle. Spine; 20, 1: 68-73, 1995

8. Harmen E, Rosenstein R, Frykman P, Nigro G, Effects of a belt on intra-abdominal pressure during weight lifting. Med Sci Sports Exerc; 21: 186-190, 1989

9. Andersson G, Ortengren R, Nachemson A. Intradiskal pressure, intra-abdominal pressure, and myoelectric back muscle activity related to posture and loading. Clin Orthop; 129: 156-164, 1977

10. Davis P, The use of intra-abdominal pressure in evaluating stresses on the lumbar spine. Spine; 6: 90-91, 1981

11. Harman E, Weight training safety: a biomechanical perspective. Strength and Conditioning; 16: 5: 55-60, 1994

12.Lander J, Simonton L, Giscoble J, The effectiveness of weight-belts during the squat exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc; 22: 117-126, 1990

13. Lander J, Hundley J, Simonton R, The effectiveness of weight belts during multiple repetitions of the squat exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc; 24: 603-609, 1992

14. McGill S, Norman R, Sharrat M, The effect of an abdominal belt on trunk muscle activity and intra-abdominal pressure during squat lifts. Ergonomics; 33: 147-160, 1990

15. Bartelink DL, The role of abdominal pressure in relieving the pressure on the lumbar intervertebral discs. J. Bone Joint Surg; 39B: 718-725, 1957

16. Morris JM, Lucas DB, Bresler B, Role of the trunk in stability of the spine. J. Bone Joint Surg; 43A: 327-351, 1961

17. Bourne ND, Reilly T, Effect of a weightlifting belt on spinal shrinkage. Br. J. Sp. Med; 25 (4): 1991

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