How a Weight Belt Could be Making Back Pain Worse

A weightlifting belt is extremely beneficial for providing spinal support during heavy lifting. The belt warms the tissues, supports, and decreases injury of the back during heavy loads. In theory, it may seem that everyone should wear a belt all the time. However, if used too often, a weightlifting belt can weaken the core muscles and can sometimes lead to back pain. There is a muscle in the body called the transverse abdominis (TVA). This muscle acts as a natural weight belt, which supports and stabilizes the spine. Wearing a belt shuts off and decreases recruitment of this core muscle. Worn for prolonged periods of time, over usage, or dependency can lead to weakening of the lower back and pain can develop. The body needs to be strong without the reliance of a weight belt and this will prevent strain and injury.

Draw in Maneuver Demonstration: 


Consider using the belt with lifts that are over 90% of your one repetition max. One exercise that strengthens the TVA is the draw-in maneuver. This can be performed laying down, on all fours, or standing up. Continuously suck the belly button toward the spine until there is muscle activation below the belly button and the lower back. The exercise should roughly take 3 to 5 seconds to complete each repetition. There is evidence that the TVA muscle can actually pull in the stomach. People with a strong TVA usually have flatter stomachs. An older client of mine would start training every year before his skiing season. I taught him how to perform the draw in exercise and he continued to use it in his workout routine. A few weeks later he came up to me and said he felt like his stomach had gotten smaller. I described to him on how the draw in exercise can strengthen the lower back, the TVA, deep core stabilizers, and even can pull the stomach inward.

Working on technique, mobility, stability, and flexibility will strengthen the back. Without proper technique, movements may be harming, or creating lower back pain. The spine needs to have mobility and needs to move freely with the body. The muscles in the back need to recruit the correct stabilizers so the body is stable and balanced. Tight muscles can restrict the body, and it is important to have the correct flexibility plan that addresses the tension.

Read More Static Stretching vs. Dynamic Stretching 

Lower back pain is something that affects millions of people everyday. First you have to address what the problem is: Are you sitting too much? Are you too tight? Are you not active? Are you doing something to fix it? Sadly, rest will not be good enough to vanquish the pain. Factors such as exercise, nutrition, lifestyle, and flexibility can help back pain. Don’t accept the pain; do the work to get better.

Did you know that the Maddox Method competitor and master online workout programs contain warm-ups, recovery pieces, and cool downs? These are developed to identify common imbalances that are found and ways of strengthening them. Be sure to take a look at all the training programs Maddox Method has to offer. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep connected with all our daily content.

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