The effectiveness of weight-belts during the squat exercise

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1990 Feb;22(1):117-26.


The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of weight-belts during the performance of the parallel squat exercise. Six subjects were filmed (40 fps) as they performed three trials at each of three belt conditions (NB, none; LB, light; HB, heavy) in random order and three load conditions (70, 80, 90% 1RM (one repetition maximum] in increasing order. The parameters examined were collected and interfaced to a computer via an analog-to-digital (A/D) converter: ground reaction forces, intra-abdominal pressure (IAP), and EMG for the rectus abdominus (RA), external oblique (EO), and erector spinae (ES) muscles. Most differences were observed during the 90% 1RM condition, and only they are presented in this paper. Maximum IAP values were always greater (P less than 0.05) for the weight-belt conditions (LB, 29.2; HB, 29.1 greater th an NB, 26,8 kPa). Similar results were observed for the mean IAP. The integrated EMG (iEMG) activity of the muscles and adjusted mean values for back compressive force and back muscle force followed a similar but opposite pattern, with NB being the greatest. ES mEMG/(L5/S1) values for HB (18.1%) were the least, followed by LB (20.01%) and NB (22.3%). Few differences were observed between belt types. These data suggest that a weight-belt can aid in supporting the trunk by increasing IAP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / physiology
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Electromyography
  • Equipment Design
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Joints / physiology
  • Male
  • Pressure
  • Protective Devices*
  • Spine / physiology
  • Weight Lifting* / injuries