The effectiveness of weight-belts during multiple repetitions of the squat exercise

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1992 May;24(5):603-9.


The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of weight-belts during multiple repetitions of the parallel back squat exercise. Five subjects were filmed (50 fps) as they performed eight consecutive trials at each of two weight-belt conditions [with belt = WB, without belt = WOB] in random order at their eight-repetition maximum effort. Other parameters examined were ground reaction forces, intra-abdominal pressure (IAP), and mean electromyography (mEMG) for the external oblique (EO), erector spinae (ES), vastus lateralis (VL), and bicep femoris (BF) muscles. All parameters were collected and interfaced to a computer via an A/D converter. WB repetitions were generally performed faster than WOB repetitions, especially by the later repetitions (3.34 vs 3.56 s). WB IAP values were consistently greater (P less than 0.05) than WOB values by 25-40%. IAP increased by approximately 11.5% from the first to the last repetitions. No differences were observed for ES and EO mEMG for belt usage, but values increased by up to 20% across repetitions. Several differences were observed between WB and WOB for the VL and BF mEMG, with WB values being significantly greater. These data suggest that a weight-belt aids in supporting the trunk by increasing IAP, and that any differential effect due to wearing a weight-belt did not occur over eight repetitions.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Muscles / physiology
  • Adult
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Pressure
  • Protective Devices*
  • Spine / physiology
  • Weight Lifting*