- With Mayo Clinic physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist
Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.read biographyclose window
Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.
Dr. Edward Laskowski is certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, including subspecialty certification in sports medicine, and is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. He is co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center and a professor at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic.
He has been on the staff of Mayo Clinic since 1990 and specializes in sports medicine, fitness, strength training and stability training. He works with a multidisciplinary team of physical medicine, rehabilitation and orthopedic specialists, physical therapists, and sports psychologists.
Dr. Laskowski is an elite-level skier and an avid hiker, cyclist and climber. He approaches sports medicine from the perspective of a physician and an athlete.
In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Dr. Laskowski to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and he has received a Distinguished Service Award from the Department of Health and Human Services for his contribution to the Council.
Dr. Laskowski was a member of the medical staff of the Olympic Polyclinic at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and has provided medical coverage for the Chicago Marathon. He serves as a consulting physician to the National Hockey League Players' Association and is a featured lecturer at the American College of Sports Medicine's Team Physician Course.
Dr. Laskowski, a Cary, Ill., native, has contributed to Mayo Clinic's CD-ROM on sports, health and fitness, a website guide to self-care, and hundreds of Mayo Clinic articles and booklets in print and online. He is a contributing editor to the "Mayo Clinic Fitness for EveryBody" book, and he has presented lectures throughout the world on health, fitness and sports medicine topics. His teaching expertise has been recognized by his election to the Teacher of the Year Hall of Fame at Mayo Clinic.
"There are many myths and misconceptions about exercise and fitness in general, and also many traditions that don't stand up to scientific scrutiny," he says. "My goal is to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information on sports medicine and fitness topics in a way that you can practically incorporate into your life."
Fitness basics (5)
- Heart rate: What's normal?
- Body fat analyzers: How accurate are they?
- Exercise and illness: Work out with a cold?
- see all in Fitness basics
Stretching and flexibility (1)
- What is hot yoga?
Aerobic exercise (12)
- Kids and exercise: How much activity do they need?
- Ankle weights for fitness walkers: Good idea?
- Walking poles: Good for brisk walking?
- see all in Aerobic exercise
Strength training (9)
- Weight training: Free weights vs. machine weights
- Weightlifting belt: Do I need one?
- Strength training sets: How many for best results?
- see all in Strength training
Sports nutrition (2)
- Brominated vegetable oil: Why is BVO in my drink?
- Energy drinks: Do they really boost energy?
Weightlifting belt: Do I need one?
If I lift free weights, do I need to wear a weightlifting belt?
from Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.
For most people, wearing a weightlifting belt does little to improve performance or protect the spine — especially during exercises that don't stress the back or place only minimal stress on the back.
You might consider wearing a weightlifting belt if you're doing power lifting or dead lifts. A weightlifting belt can be a reminder to keep your spine in the correct position during heavy lifting.
When you're lifting free weights, safety precautions are a must:
- Learn proper form and technique. The better your form, the better your results — and the less likely you are to hurt yourself.
- Spare your back. When you're lifting weights, keep your spine in a stable, neutral position. When you're picking up weights or putting them down, lift with your legs — not your back.
- Ask for help. If you're lifting heavy weights, ask a training partner to spot you.
Strength training sets: How many for best results?
- Earle RW, et al. Resistance training and spotting techniques. In: Baechle TR, et al. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. 3rd ed. Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics; 2008:325.
- Kingma I, et al. Effect of a stiff lifting belt on spine compression during lifting. Spine. 2006;31:E833.
- Renfro GJ, et al. A review of the use of lifting belts. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 2006;28:68.
- Siewe J, et al. Injuries and overuse syndromes in powerlifting. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 2011;32:703.