The moment when you finally start to see results in the mirror after you’ve been lifting weights at the gym is always super satisfying. Weight lifting is an important part of a well-rounded fitness routine, whether you’ve decided that you want to bulk up, or you’ve been working on dropping some extra pounds. But just like any exercise that you attempt at the gym, injuries are common with weight lifting. With the right form, a good trainer and proper equipment (like weight lifting braces), you can avoid most injuries and save yourself the embarrassment of leaving the gym in an ambulance!
At What Point Should You Start Wearing Weight Lifting Braces?
The idea of weight lifting braces may have you envisioning walking around the gym like a young Forrest Gump but in reality, these braces —which are usually worn on your knees, elbows, wrists, and waist— look a lot less silly. The whole idea behind braces or belts is to give yourself a bit of added support when attempting working with heavy loads. While you’d never want to wear a weight belt when doing sit ups, you can wear one to support your spine and to give your abs a wall to push against when lifting.
So when do you really need to start wearing braces and belts regularly? For most lifters, wearing braces all of the time is totally unnecessary. While you may think you look pretty cool rocking a big old weight belt at the gym, anyone who knows what they’re doing will sniff out a novice in a second if they see you wearing one when you don’t need it.
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When to Wear Weight Belts and Braces:
As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t wear your braces on loads that you can easily support. Some weight lifters may go by the idea that you should rely on your own abilities to stabilize a heavy load but that can lead even the most experienced weight lifters on a path towards serious injury. When you lift a heavy weight, braces can help reduce your risk of injuring your muscles, ligaments, and joints. Aside from just preventing injuries, they can also aid your overall lifting performance.
How to Wear Braces:
While it’s always a good idea to strap on your braces for those ultra heavy loads, they need to be positioned and tightened correctly to prevent injuries. Your braces should never be loose but shouldn’t be strapped on too tightly either. For example, with a weight belt, you should take a breath and place the belt into position, bracing your abdominal wall. Then draw the belt tight enough to restrict your braced position slightly. This will ensure you get the maximum benefit of wearing the brace without injuring yourself.
Now that you know when and how to wear your braces properly, it’s time to head to the gym and get lifting!