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Braces & Supports

     Braces and supports are useful to weightlifters that have suffered some sort of injury or are attempting to prevent injury to a part of their bodies. The back, ankles, knees and elbows are acting controllers to the rest of our bodies. Braces support a particular area while using weightlifting equipment there is a brace designed for each body area that could use support such as the thigh, waist and wrist as well as the ankle, elbow, knee and back.

The Belt
     The weightlifting belt is often considered standard issue of lumbar support in the weight room these days. From the competitive weight lifters to those of a more recreational interest, agree that supporting the back in order to help prevent injuries while lifting is necessary. The weightlifting belt, contrary to popular belief, supports the back in a different manner than a standard back brace. During a normal lifting maneuver such as the squat; the diaphragmatic muscles along with muscles of the torso contract generating pressure on the abdominal cavity. The abdominal cavity and its fluid contents are kept under pressure by the surrounding musculature. It is this natural intra-abdominal tension that supports the spinal column. Several studies have shown that weight belts increase intra-abdominal pressure and therefore assist in this natural stabilization mechanism.

     Additional benefits exist with the use of the weight belts such as faster lifting movement, greater emphasis on hip extension relative to knee extension, as well as greater comfort and sense of support.
The fact that there are benefits to wearing these devices tends to create the perception that belts should be worn at all times, during any lifting activity. This is a myth that will only lead to decreased performance and potential injury.

     Individuals who are free from acute or chronic lower back pain may choose a lumbar support device in order to prevent injury as well as assist their own musculature for maximal strength enhancement. In the gym environment the weightlifting belt should not be worn at all times. The belt should only be utilized for exercises that involve the spinal erectors against high resistance such as the squat and deadlift. The belt should be loosened after every set and the individual should breathe between every repetition.

Elbow Brace
     Elbow braces worn during weightlifting holds the forearm tendons in a more parallel position to minimize stretching and tearing. They help relieve pain and discomfort associated with the movement of the forearm. The lining absorbs shock and helps keep moisture away from skin.

Ankle Brace
     The ankle is said to be your body's weakest link. According to research, this is the most vulnerable place on your body. Ankle braces protect you from injury. If you're already injured, they can speed recovery. Ankle braces offer support to a weightlifters ankle and soothes much of the strain.

Knee Brace
     Knee braces are supports that you wear for a painful or injured knee. Some people use them to prevent knee injuries during sports though braces don't always seem to work well to stop knee injuries from happening. Get your doctor's advice if you want to try a knee brace. Different knee problems require different knee braces. Braces are made from combinations of metal, foam, plastic, elastic material and straps.