I had put out a question on the Men’s Health Weight Training forum about the use of a Belt while weight lifting.  The comments were heavily divided.  Opinions not only varied but were defended with vigor.

The October 2011 issue of Men’s Health, which arrived after I posted my question, has an article on this topic.  Check it out on page 31.

It cited a German study which concluded that power lifters “who reported wearing belts had higher injury rates than those who didn’t.”  The blame is on the possibility that the belt masks an underlying core weakness. 

Of course, I could be cynical and say that they are trying to support the sale of their new Personal Trainer program, “24-Hour Abs!”  See page 112.  I can sum up the article.  Don’t do crunches – do planks.

In the same issue was a quick article about the Trap Bar which I have started to use.   See page 41.  The bar shown has hand grips.  Mine doesn’t.  You grab the cross bars directly.  This allows for a deeper squat.

Here they cited a UK study that says that using the Trap Bar for Dead Lifts will allow you to lift more.  The reason – the bar “distributes the weight more evenly across the muscles of you hips and lower back.” 

I have continually found Men’s Health to be a good read.  Yes – it is marketing many of their more profitable programs – so what?

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