If I lift free weights, do I need to wear a weightlifting belt?


For most people, wearing a weightlifting belt does little to improve performance or protect the spine — especially during exercises that don't stress the back or place only minimal stress on the back.

You might consider wearing a weightlifting belt if you're doing powerlifting or dead lifts. A weightlifting belt can be a reminder to keep your spine in the correct position and can help maintain abdominal pressure to stabilize the spine during heavy lifting.

When you're lifting free weights, safety precautions are a must:

  • Learn proper form and technique. The better your form, the better your results — and the less likely you are to hurt yourself.
  • Spare your back. When you're lifting weights, keep your spine in a stable, neutral position. When you're picking up weights or putting them down, lift with your legs — not your back.
  • Ask for help. If you're lifting heavy weights, ask a training partner to spot you.
Last Updated: 08-02-2018
content provided by
© 1998-2020 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.