Renfro_and_Ebben_2006___Review_of_weightlifting_belts

Renfro_and_Ebben_2006___Review_of_weightlifting_belts -...

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A Review of the Use of Lifting Belts Gregory J.Renfro,PTA,CSCS Langlade Memorial Hospital,Antigo,Wisconsin William P.Ebben,MS,CSCS,*D Marquette University,Milwaukee,Wisconsin © National Strength and Conditioning Association Volume 28,Number 1,pages 68–74 Keywords: back belt; weight belts; interabdominal pressure; injury prevention O ne of the more controversial issues in both industrial and strength and conditioning set- tings centers around the use of a de- vice known as the lifting belt, weight belt, or back belt. A recent survey of health club members determined that 27% were lifting belt users. Ninety percent of those who used a lifting belt reported doing so to prevent injury, whereas 22% wore one to improve per- formance (8). However, questions re- main as to the effectiveness of a lifting belt on lifting performance in either occupational or strength and condi- tioning settings. In the last several years, consumer and coaching publications (5, 10, 14, 18) and literature reviews (9, 11, 20–22) have ex- amined the use of the lifting belt. With the exception of the literature review by Genaidy and Simmons (11), who suggest that lifting belts can reduce load on the lumbar spine, most reviews assessing the use of lifting belts in occupational settings report that there is insufficient evidence to recommend their use (20, 21). Further- more, lifting belts reduce lumbar motion but do not appear to reduce electromyog- raphy (EMG) of the erector spinae and abdominal oblique muscles or increase in- terabdominal pressure (IAP), therefore offering insufficient reason to recom- mend them for industrial workers (22). A review by Frankel and Kravitz (9) notes that industrial and fitness settings differ, as do laboratory and applied fitness set- tings, and that use of the lifting belt may be appropriate in some cases. However, industrial settings do not replicate gym conditions because loads are typically lower and exercise or exertion duration is typically more endurance-oriented. In an attempt to empirically determine the effectiveness of the lifting belt, a num- ber of studies have been conducted, with results appearing in occupational (3, 6, 12, 16, 18, 23, 24, 26–28) and sports sci- ence (1, 2, 4, 7, 13, 15, 17, 25, 29) re- search publications. Tables 1 and 2 sum- marize the results of the occupational and sports science research studies, respective- ly. Collectively, these studies have at- tempted to assess the effect of wearing lift- ing belts by examining a number of variables including the effect of lifting belts on incidence of injury, hemodynam- ics, IAP, spinal compression, range of mo- tion, EMG of trunk muscles and prime movers, fatigue, and resistance training exercise performance. The purpose of this article is to review the research evaluating the use of lifting belts and to summarize the data so recommendations related to lifting belt use can be made.
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