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Ive been weightlifting from the lowly and some might say unhealthy age of 15...being a prem baby I was always a scrawny kid and I guess I gt fed up with being so small....the important thing was I never took it overboard....my first weight kit and bench was a york weights set..nice iron dumb-bells and importantly a weight lifting belt. York is no Golds gym, its basic level weights equipment, chepa for it and some of their gear is a bt uncomfortable, but for a starter its fine, plus York has been around for some time, so they are no fly by night firm.
The Weight lifting belt is essential and gives the lower backvital support when bending the waist, so you dont slip a disk and pull up 70kgs in jerking, twisting motion. Its vital that you keep your back straight when you carry out squats or deadlifts as these mean you will not injure yourself and you also get the most out of the exercise if you do it right. The belt will not expempt you from injury, but it stops you from actually assuming positions that might cause ou to twist your back, but you can still pick up too much weight, and there are many other parts of your body that can get strained, not just te back.
First impressions are that the belt is heavy and ungainly. It has a metal double buckle, so no guesses as to which way round it goes. The back section is wider and oval shaped in the middle, this is to sit on your lumber comfortably as central as possible. Then tighten the buckle until it is tight but you can stretch up and down. The belt is made of leather on the outside with a YORK company logo in red emblazened on the back, the inside of the belt is made of a very tough and compact cow hide, it is smooth bu the edges are sharp and square, so you should not feel it pinching either your abdomin or the kidney sections of your back as you move from a bending position to a standing one.....if you do, it means that it is too tight and possibly to high, it shold be a little limp.
The leather , the cow hide and the metal are all robust and heavy materials, ive had mine for some time now and it has never broken or torn, the worst damage is a few scratches and bumps and the logo eventually wears off , but really this belt should last you till rapture or until you buy a better quality one. There are onlty so many holes for the buckle and they are alittle far apart so it can be difficult finding a setting that is not too tight or too lax. You could try to punch in your own ones, but I seriously dont know what you might use, the material is tough with a capital T, you need a lawnmower to get through it.
You can pick up one of these belts as part of a strater kit from York or singularly for £20-£30 depending on the model and the stockist
Its a must have for those serious about getting into weights and dont want to hurt themselves, so basically everyone who has weights.
Weight lifting belts provide crucial lumbar support for mass building exercises. These are your typical bread and butter movements. Squats, deadlifts and the overhead press. York is the prime entry level player. Cheap, but not particularly nasty. And for many cash strapped weight enthusiasts, they represent a manufacturer that they will buy from again and again.
It is extremely important that a weight belt is worn properly. The wide section across the back needs to be perfectly positioned to provide the protection you will need. The best gauge for this is for the buckle to be over your belly button and tight enough to feel reasonably restrictive. If the belt is pressing into your ribcage, it is too high. You should be unable to get as much as a little finger in anywhere. This belt is nowhere near as easy to position as some that I have tried, but obey these simple rules and you should be fine.
The leather in this belt and metal hardware are both fit for purpose. I've had this belt a few years now, and apart from some discolouration and wrinkling of the leather, it is as serviceable now as it has ever been. There are a number of holes that can be selected, but you have to be careful - and honest - when choosing the size. There may be seven double-set positions available, but if none of them is just right for you, you may well end up paying for it.
Please note that this belt does not make you immune to injuries, particularly if you squat without a partner, as I have done in the past. It can give you a false sense of security, and ending up with a tear in your spinal erector muscles and spending a week on your back is no fun. I speak from personal experience. Bruce Lee once tried lifting without following his usual precautions and it almost spelt the end of his career. (For those of you that have seen the unintentionally howlingly funny "Dragon", it wasn't due to a secret Chinese underground fighting bout!)
If you don't train with a partner, using a smith rack for these exercises is a very prudent thing to do. As you can push things a little further, and not be in a position when you are unable to complete an exercise and have no way of dumping the bar. You will still need to ensure that you use correct form when doing the exercise, belt or no belt.
In summary, this is reasonable quality for a reasonable price. If you lift seriously, you should spend more in order to get something that much better.