Effect of a weightlifting belt on spinal shrinkage


Bourne, N. and Reilly, T. 1991. Effect of a weightlifting belt on spinal shrinkage. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 25 (4), pp. 209-212.
AuthorsBourne, N. and Reilly, T.

Spinal loading during weightlifting results in a loss of
stature which has been attributed to a decrease in height of
the intervertebral discs - so-called 'spinal shrinkage'. Belts
are often used during the lifting of heavy weights,
purportedly to support, stabilize and thereby attenuate the
load on the spine. The purpose of this study was to
examine the effects of a standard weightlifting belt in
attenuating spinal shrinkage. Eight male subjects with a
mean age of 24.8 years performed two sequences of circuit
weight-training, one without a belt and on a separate
occasion with a belt. The circuit training regimen
consisted of six common weight-training exercises. These
were performed in three sets of ten with a change of
exercise after each set of ten repetitions. A stadiometer
sensitive to within 0.01 mm was used to record alterations
in stature. Measurements of stature were taken before and
after completion of the circuit. The absolute visual
analogue scale (AVAS) was used to measure the discomfort
and pain intensity resulting from each of the two
conditions. The circuit weight-training caused stature
losses of 3.59mm without the belt and 2.87mm with the
belt (P>0.05). The subjects complained of significantly
less discomfort when the belt was worn (P<0.05). The
degree of shrinkage was significantly correlated (r=0.752,
P<0.05) with perceived discomfort but only when the belt
was not worn. These results suggest the potential benefits
of wearing a weightlifting belt and support the hypothesis
that the belt can help in stabilizing the trunk.

KeywordsWeightlifting belt; spinal shrinkage; circuit training
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Journal citation25 (4), pp. 209-212
Publisher's version
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.25.4.209
Publication dates
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Aug 2010
Additional information

Bourne, N. D. and Reilly, T. (1991) ‘Effect of a weightlifting belt on spinal shrinkage’ British Journal of Sports Medicine 25 (4) 209-212.

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