What's happening

14 Jun 2019

Belt design for weightlifters which corrects posture to avoid back injury

Final year student, Olivia Chevallier has created Olympia, a belt for weightlifters that uses haptic feedback (vibrations) to alert users when their posture is incorrect.

Olivia has been weightlifting for a long time and her project addresses a problem that she experienced when she first started out. A lack of understanding about the need to keep a neutral spine whilst engaging the core muscles meant she sustained a lower back injury that stopped her weightlifting for some time.

Olympia incorporates technology into the principle of a traditional lifting belt. Using electronic sensors, it monitors the curvature of the spine and assesses if the user is in a safe position. If the user is not in the correct position, they will feel a vibration on their upper back to make them aware, so that they can adjust.

Olivia said: “I’ve trained in a few different disciplines, including bodybuilding, powerlifting and Crossfit. They all require a good understanding of the techniques or it can be really dangerous.

“The issue is that people learn incorrect technical cues early on in their careers and it’s very hard to then break those bad habits as they progress and get stronger. So, I thought it would be a great idea to try and find a product solution that can address this problem.”

Not only does the product reduce the risk of injury, it also helps the user to improve their posture over time.

The belt is accompanied by an app with useful features for weightlifters. These include a progress tracker, with cues when it is safe to increase weights and a section with information on upcoming competitions.

The user can also gain skill points as they use the belt, which can then be used to unlock discounts on sports nutrition products.

Olivia has already tested a prototype on powerlifters in a gym environment and has received positive feedback about the product. Her product is on display at the Degree Show until 15th June.