What is a Workout Belt?

Ray Hawk

A workout belt is generally used for exercise routines and body building, and can come in one of three common forms. The standard weight lifter’s belt is a workout belt consisting of a narrow strap around the abdomen and a wider region that steadily supports the lower back. It is designed to prevent back injury while doing heavy lifting. Another common type of workout belt is the weighted belt, made to simulate extra body fat around the abdomen and increase the effectiveness of various exercise regimens. The third common type of workout belt is the abdominal stimulation belt. This belt vibrates to stimulates the abdominal muscle groups, with the idea that it will aid in weight loss with little actual effort by the wearer.

Workout belts can be worn to protect the back during heavy weightlifting.
Workout belts can be worn to protect the back during heavy weightlifting.

The concept of a workout belt has been around for a long time, but the workout belt's effectiveness is subject to debate. The weightlifter and powerlifter belts are the oldest form of workout belt, and are a proven form of safety equipment. Commonly available in many gyms, a workout belt of this type is traditionally made from leather due to its strong support properties for the lumbar region of the lower back. Many variations on the belt in nylon exist as well, such as a dipping belt for specific arm and leg exercises. Though weightlifter workout belts are useful, they are only recommended for someone with back problems or those engaged in serious weight-training programs.

Workout belts are typically made of nylon or leather.
Workout belts are typically made of nylon or leather.

Weighted belts are a more general-purpose form of workout belt. Depending on the design, these belts can be worn under clothing during day-to-day activities to enhance calorie burning rates and weight loss. Variations on weighted belts include hip belts to increase drag when swimming and dip belts that add resistance for gym exercises, such as pull-ups and leg raises.

The effectiveness of abdominal vibration belts is controversial, yet several different brands exist commercially. They all operate by the same principle of electronically vibrating the abdominal muscles in order to strengthen them. They do stimulate the abdominal muscles and this may strengthen the muscle group over prolonged use. They have no effect on removing abdominal fat, however, and may present disappointing results to someone who is overweight. Since workout belts come in a variety of forms and serve many different purposes, it is best to consult with a physical fitness trainer before deciding which one is most appropriate for the situation.

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