So you’ve probably heard that you can decrease waist size using a weightlifting belt while training. Quite a bit of debate has circled this topic, especially in the fitness community. In short, using a weight lifting belt while training will not decrease waist size. This is a popular myth I have experimented on and off with for about 10 years.
In this article I’ll do a deep dive on when its appropriate to use a weight belt and when you’re better off letting that belly hang out. The answer is a bit more complex than the previous paragraph, so let's turn you into the messiah of weight lifting belts. ( I know quite a title to add to your resume)
Myths about weight belts
Okay so let’s start off making the distinction that there is a difference between a weight belt and a waist trainer. For the love of all that is holy, please make sure you understand the difference between these two before you start wearing your weight belt around the house while doing your Sunday morning chores.
Weight Lifting Belt
A weight lifting belts main purpose is to help your lower back while performing exercises like squats and deadlifts. This is a tool used to help you when you are trying to maximize your weight load on lifts. I would typically recommend this when your reps range from 1-6 repetions. The quality of the belt is extremely important as well, this again is something I have made many mistakes on in the past. Don’t go for the cheap 20 dollar belt you find at Walmart, you are much better off investing around 100-200 dollars in a high quality belt that will protect your back and maximize your results while in the gym.
A waist trainer is the modern lazy fix to decreasing waist size. If you don’t want to workout and want to restructure your organ placement then I have the perfect solution for you …. A waist trainer. These are typically worn for extended periods of time with the goal to slim your waist. By all means these things do work, but not the way they are typically advertised. These waist trainers will displace your organs natural placement and are a modern day corset with a fitness logo attached.
When you want to use a weight belt
Weight belts have practical function just not as a way to slim down your waist. If you want to get the most out of your workout belt you are better off utilizing it while your lifting weights, hence the name “weight belt”. Some bodybuilders have been known to recommend these belts during all weight training to deactivate abdominal contraction and growth. This is not in your best interest, as it is important to strengthen your core as much as possible as your other muscle grow and progress. Workout belts are practical when you are performing exercises like squats and deadlifts and you’re performing low reps.
When you don’t want to use a weight belt
As I mentioned earlier there are quite a few times you’re going to want to take off the belt while training. When I say quite a few times I mean every exercise that is not a compound movement. The myth of utilizing a weight training belt comes from quite a few pro bodybuilders, at least that is where I commonly have heard this. My hypothesis on why this is such a widely accepted statement in the fitness industry is because these athletes are highly enhanced using performance enhancement drugs. When you use a professional cocktail of steroids, HGH and insulin this extends the stomach and a quick fix is needed to “solve” this issue.
When you want to use a waist trainer
If you couldn’t tell from my previous comments I’m not a huge advocate of waist trainers. I find this method to be impractical and unsafe. Your organs are more than likely right where they need to be. By utilizing a waist trainer for extended periods of time you can create an abnormal looking waist. This look will look great in your instagram photo but will not properly strengthen your core. So rather than waste your time on this subject I’ll just flat out say “don’t use waist trainers”.
Best methods to decrease waist size
Okay so we’ve come to the conclusion that workout belts and waist trainers are not the best method for decreasing your waist size. Rather than leave you with a bunch of information that ultimately hasn’t solved your waist size problem, let’s find some simple solutions. Over the last 10 years I have experimented on and off with this concept and I have finally come to a conclusion. I know what you’re thinking “It took you 10 years?”. Yes, It did and quite honestly the only reason this experiment had taken place is because of my skillset to lose them.
What I have found is that for myself and the average person you are better off training abs every other day. Your abdominals are considered a small muscle group and can be trained frequently. You don’t need anything fancy while training abs, just a comfortable place to sit down and get to work.
I recommend training abs with your own body weight, using machines and weights to make this process more difficult can build up your obliques and make your waist large. Getting the famed six pack is a process of diet and consistency of training your abdominals. There is no quick fix to this process, and if you utilize quick fix solutions to getting a small waist you might not like some of the side effects.
Typically all you need to do is train your abdominals for about 10-15 minutes per session. Training your abdominals till failure will ensure you get the most out of your training session. When you train with your own body weight and go till failure you ensure your results are lean and when your body fat gets lower they will look better and more defined than if you had trained with less reps and more weight.
Take it from me, these “quick fix” methods to decrease waist size are a bunch of bull. While some of these methods do work for visual purposes I would much rather your kidneys and liver stay in the proper position (I’ve head these organs are important). Save yourself some money and ditch the weight lifting belts and waist trainers, your abs will look much better for it in the long run anyways and you can spend your extra money on that pair of shoes you don’t need. Make sure to check out my guide on best exercises for abs for some simple and effective ways to get the waist you want.