Learn how to Discover the Greatest Weightlifting Belt for You


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What does a weightlifting belt do? How do you put on a weightlifting belt? And the way do you discover the finest weightlifting belt for you?

All good questions, and also you’ll study the solutions on this article. 

Some of us declare weightlifting belts are important for avoiding damage—virtually like sporting a seatbelt whereas driving. 

Others say that the protection advantages are overblown and the first motive to put on a belt is that it helps you carry extra weight. 

And others declare that weightlifting belts are seductive “crutches” that enable you to carry extra weight within the short-term however make you weaker in the long term.

On this article, you’ll study what science has to say about these conflicting opinions and whether or not you may profit from sporting a weightlifting belt throughout your exercises.

What Is a Weightlifting Belt?

A weightlifting belt is a thick belt that you just put on round your waist whereas lifting weights.

There are various various kinds of weightlifting belts, however they’re sometimes three-to-four inches huge (although some are wider on the again than they’re on the entrance), manufactured from thick, stiff materials akin to leather-based or woven nylon, and have a big buckle that secures the belt in place and helps to cinch it tightly round your stomach.

What Does a Weightlifting Belt Do?

If you carry weights (or something heavy, for that matter), it’s essential to lure air in your lungs and create strain in your stomach, referred to as intra-abdominal strain.

This stabilizes your torso and prevents your backbone from bending, which lets you carry heavier weights safely.

A weightlifting belt buttresses your stomach in order that whenever you take a deep breath of air “into your abdomen,” your abs are pushed towards the belt. This will increase intra-abdominal strain by ~15-to-40% past what you may obtain with no belt, boosting your efficiency on workouts just like the squat and deadlift.

(And when you’re not at present following a power coaching program that features workouts just like the squat and deadlift, you most likely ought to. Take the Legion Power Coaching Quiz, and in lower than a minute, you’ll know the proper power coaching program for you and the way these sorts of workouts match into it. Click on right here to test it out.)

It’s tough to quantify precisely how a lot a belt helps, however most weightlifters can count on to carry at the least 5-to-10% extra with a belt than with out. 

There are a few caveats to this rule, although:

  1. It is advisable study to make use of a belt appropriately to get this quantity of help. Till you turn into proficient, sporting a belt can have much less of an impression in your efficiency. For instance, in a single research carried out by scientists at Gifu College, individuals didn’t expertise a rise in intra-abdominal strain or efficiency the primary time they educated in a belt.
  2. A weightlifting belt will solely increase your efficiency on some workouts. Particularly, belts are only at augmenting efficiency on workouts that put shearing stress in your backbone (stress that’s utilized perpendicular to the backbone), akin to squats and deadlifts. They’re much less efficient at boosting efficiency on workouts the place shearing stress is smaller (such because the overhead press, barbell row, and lunge), and don’t do a lot of something besides make you’re feeling “tighter” throughout workouts just like the bench press, lat pulldown, and one-arm dumbbell row. 

Opposite to in style perception, analysis exhibits that sporting a weightlifting belt most likely doesn’t lower your threat of damage.

In truth, for some folks, sporting a belt could barely improve their threat of damage, however not for the explanations many individuals assume.

The explanation for that is because of what’s referred to as the licensing impact: When folks imagine {that a} weightlifting belt bulletproofs them towards damage, they might be extra inclined to take dangers of their coaching that they in any other case wouldn’t. Extra particularly, they use heavier weights than they will safely deal with with good type and use sloppier method than they’d in the event that they weren’t sporting a belt.

Thus, sporting a belt doesn’t straight improve your threat of damage, however it may possibly not directly by lulling you into carelessness. In the event you maintain your ego and type in examine, although, then sporting a belt gained’t improve your threat of damage. 

Learn how to Put on a Weightlifting Belt

To ensure that a weightlifting belt that will help you carry heavier weights, it’s good to put on it correctly. Right here’s how: 

  1. Place the belt round your waist in order that the underside of the belt is simply above the peak of your iliac crests (the bony protrusions on the entrance of your hip bones). Be ready for this to really feel uncomfortable and go away some bruises till the belt is correctly damaged in and you discover the suitable tightness for you.
  2. Alter the tightness of the belt. Use the tightest notch that also means that you can take a full breath with out having to boost your shoulders. Generally the best tightness is between two notches. My normal suggestion for situations like these is to make use of the tighter choice for the squat, bench press, and overhead press, and the looser choice for the deadlift. That mentioned, you need to finally use no matter you discover improves your efficiency probably the most. 
  3. Earlier than you start a set (and between reps as needed), take a deep “stomach breath” of about 80% of your most lung capability. As you breathe in, think about your abdomen inflating to the entrance, sides, and again. Your complete torso ought to really feel filled with air, however not a lot that you must battle to maintain your mouth closed. 
  4. Press your tongue towards the roof of your mouth, and with out letting any air escape, attempt to breathe out. On the identical time, press your abs towards the belt as onerous as you may. Then start your rep.
  5. When you’re previous the “sticking level,” or probably the most tough a part of the rep, breathe out as you end the rep.
  6. Repeat as wanted till you end your set. You don’t have to launch all the air after every rep, nor must you attempt to maintain your breath throughout all the set. As a substitute, most individuals discover they really feel strongest after they maintain their breath for two-to-three reps earlier than taking a recent breath. (You’ll additionally most likely discover it’s good to breathe extra usually because the set drags on, which is okay).

Three extra essential issues to bear in mind when utilizing a belt: 

  1. Don’t overtighten. If the belt is so tight that it prevents you from taking in a full breath of air or respiratory between units, or if it’s bodily painful, then it’s good to loosen it a notch or two. 
  2. Take your belt off between units. Though it could really feel extra snug to go away it on, it constricts your respiratory and makes it tougher to recuperate on your subsequent set.
  3. Alter your belt as your physique fats ranges rise and fall. You’ll most likely have to loosen it a notch or two over the course of a bulk, and tighten it a notch or two throughout a lower. (Try this text to study extra about bulking and chopping).

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Learn how to Discover the Greatest Weightlifting Belt for You


The 2 most essential measurements to have a look at when shopping for a belt are its width and thickness:

I don’t advocate 2.5-inch belts or tapered belts (belts which can be wider throughout the again than the entrance) for leisure weightlifters and individuals who observe power coaching applications like Larger Leaner Stronger or Thinner Leaner Stronger as a result of they don’t supply sufficient assist. 

Do not forget that the aim of a belt is to bolster your stomach so you may generate extra strain, and eradicating materials from the entrance of the belt simply makes it much less efficient at doing this. 

The one scenario the place tapered belts is likely to be price utilizing is when Olympic lifting, as a result of they permit your higher physique to maneuver extra freely throughout workouts just like the clear and jerk and snatch. 

  • Thickness: Most weightlifting belts are 9-to-13 millimeters thick. Thinner belts are extra supple and break in quicker, which makes them extra snug, however thicker belts supply extra assist and are extra sturdy.

Aggressive powerlifters usually use 13-millimeter belts as a result of they reside and die by how a lot weight they will carry, so they need their gear to be as supportive as doable, even when it’s uncomfortable. Many aggressive powerlifters are additionally gargantuan human beings who generate large quantities of intra-abdominal strain, so a thicker belt is suitable. 

For everybody else, a 9- or 10-millimeter belt is generally the best choice, as a result of it’s probably the most cheap compromise between consolation, sturdiness and assist. In different phrases, until you’re squatting and deadlifting within the 400+ vary, you most likely gained’t discover a distinction between a 9- or 10-millimeter belt and a 13-millimeter one, however the former will probably be extra snug. 


Weightlifting belts are sometimes manufactured from leather-based or nylon (you may additionally discover low cost Amazon weightlifting belts manufactured from different artificial materials, however I don’t advocate these).

Leather-based weightlifting belts are extra inflexible and sturdy than nylon belts and due to this fact supply extra assist. Some leather-based weightlifting belts are additionally completed with a layer of suede, which is of course “anti-slip,” so the belt doesn’t transfer out of place as simply throughout a set. Leather-based belts additionally step by step mildew to the form of your physique, making them increasingly snug over time. 

Some weightlifters (significantly CrossFitters) want nylon belts as a result of they’re extra snug and will let you maneuver your torso and hips extra freely throughout workouts akin to cleans, jerks, and snatches. They’re additionally simple to placed on and take off whereas transferring shortly between workouts that require a belt and workouts that don’t. 

Nonetheless, nylon belts aren’t as supportive or sturdy as leather-based weightlifting belts, so when you observe a power coaching program akin to Larger Leaner Stronger or Thinner Leaner Stronger, which emphasizes heavy squatting, deadlifting, and urgent relatively than Olympic weightlifting, a leather-based weightlifting belt is a significantly better choice.


Weightlifting belts fall into three fundamental classes primarily based on their buckle:

1. Lever weightlifting belts: Lever weightlifting belts have a buckle that makes them simple to tackle and off. To place one on and lock it, you simply insert the hooks on the lever into the other aspect of the belt and pull the lever throughout your waist. 

The draw back of lever weightlifting belts is that if you wish to alter the tightness, you must use a screwdriver to reposition the buckle. That is inconvenient when you frequently change the tightness of your belt (if you would like your belt to be tighter throughout squats than deadlifts, or when you typically prefer to put on heavier clothes that makes the belt match extra snugly, for instance). 

For most individuals, although, it is a non-issue because you solely want to regulate the buckle a couple of times per 12 months (sometimes as your waistline expands or shrinks whereas bulking or chopping). 

2. Prong weightlifting belts: There are two fundamental varieties of prong weightlifting belt: Single prong and double prong. Single prong belts are simpler to lock and simply as safe, whereas some folks really feel that double-prong buckles extra evenly distribute strain throughout their waist. I want and advocate single-prong buckles, however each are effective choices.

The principle draw back of prong weightlifting belts is that they’re extra annoying to tackle and off, and weightlifters usually have to carry the free finish of the belt round a squat rack with their arms after which lean away with the intention to get the belt tight sufficient, like this: 

The upside of a prong weightlifting belt is that you could loosen or tighten the belt on the fly with none particular instruments. 

3. Velcro weightlifting belts: Velcro weightlifting belts are virtually all the time manufactured from nylon and are virtually all the time not price shopping for. Whereas they might really feel extra snug at first, they aren’t as supportive, safe, or sturdy as a leather-based belt with a lever or prong buckle. 

The three Greatest Belts for Weightlifting

1. Inzer Perpetually Lever Belt

Width: 4 inches

Thickness: 10 millimeters

Fastening: Lever

This Inzer weightlifting belt is made within the USA from premium grade leather-based that’s inflexible sufficient to supply glorious assist however conforms to your physique over time, so it will get extra snug with use. It’s additionally completed with a layer of suede, so it doesn’t simply shift out of place throughout a set.

It’s strengthened with 4 rows of tremendous sturdy nylon stitching, the perimeters are polished so it gained’t snag your clothes or scrape your pores and skin, and it options Inzer’s Perpetually Lever buckle, which can be protected with a lifetime guarantee. Inzer additionally makes a 13-millimeter model if you would like much more assist. 

Though they aren’t low cost, they’re moderately priced in comparison with the opposite belts on this listing, and also you’ll know the place your cash went the primary time you choose one up. You may run over one in every of these with a tank and it most likely wouldn’t look any totally different. 

In the event you’re a critical weightlifter, that is the belt I like to recommend.

2. Greatest Belts Prime Lower Single Prong Belt

Width: 4 inches

Thickness: 12-to-13 millimeters

Fastening: Single prong buckle

The Greatest Belts Prime Lower belt sports activities a modern and easy design, has a heavy-duty buckle and rivets, and a suede building that makes it strong sufficient to resist a lifetime’s price of exercises. 

At 12-to-13 millimeters thick, it’s the heaviest belt on this listing, which suggests it’s additionally probably the most supportive. Its rigidity comes at a value, although—you must endure an extended break-in interval earlier than this belt turns into snug. If that’s an excessive amount of to bear, try Greatest Belts’ Athlete belt. The Athlete is a bit much less supportive than the Prime Lower, however it’s additionally significantly softer, making it a greater choice for people who find themselves bothered by actually stiff belts or who’d want their belt to reach with that broken-in feeling. 

3. Pioneer Lower Powerlifting Belt

Width: 4 inches

Thickness: 10 millimeters

Fastening: Single prong buckle

This Pioneer weightlifting belt is made within the U.S. from vegetable tanned, full-grain sole leather-based, completed with garment suede, and incorporates a patented single prong buckle that means that you can tighten the belt in half-inch increments as a substitute of the one-inch increments that the majority belts have. This implies you will be extra actual with how tight you put on the belt so it’s snug, protected, and straightforward to placed on and take off.

FAQ #1: What’s a weightlifting belt for?

A weightlifting belt’s function is that will help you carry heavier weights.

It does this by offering resistance to press your abs towards when you carry out workouts just like the squat and deadlift, which will increase the quantity of strain inside your stomach.

Creating this intra-abdominal strain is essential as a result of it stabilizes your torso and prevents your backbone from bending, which interprets into greater one-rep-maxes and extra reps with any given weight.

Opposite to in style perception, a weightlifting belt most likely doesn’t shield you from damage.

FAQ #2: What’s the finest weightlifting belt for males?

Most males who’re following a power coaching program that includes a number of squatting, deadlifting, and different compound workouts (like my Larger Leaner Stronger program) will most likely want a leather-based weightlifting belt that’s 4 inches huge, 10 millimeters thick, and has both a lever or single-prong buckle.

(And when you’re not at present following a power coaching program that features foundational compound workouts like these, however you’d prefer to observe a routine that does, take the Legion Power Coaching Quiz, and in lower than a minute, you’ll know the proper power coaching program for you. Click on right here to test it out.)

FAQ #3: What’s the finest weightlifting belt for girls?

As a result of girls are typically shorter than males, many ladies want to make use of a 3-inch weightlifting belt relatively than a 4-inch weightlifting belt, although each are viable choices. A superb rule of thumb is that when you’re 5’4 or shorter, you could want a 3-inch belt, and when you’re taller than this, you could want a 4-inch belt. 

That mentioned, you need to actually attempt each and see what feels most snug, because it’s doable to have a brief torso even when you’re comparatively tall (making the 3-inch belt a greater choice) and vice versa.

Past that, it largely relies on your preferences, though most girls will most likely be happiest with a three-inch huge leather-based weightlifting belt that’s 10 millimeters thick, and that has both a lever or single-prong buckle. 

FAQ #4: Do you have to purchase a customized weightlifting belt?

Customized weightlifting belt producers will let you customise the width, thickness, and design of your belt, so you may create and purchase a belt that matches your actual preferences.

For most individuals, although, I don’t advocate shopping for a customized weightlifting belt, as mainly all producers inventory all kinds of belt fashions in several sizes, widths, and thicknesses, and in contrast to your peak, your waist dimension may change over time (which might largely defeat the aim of a superbly tailor-made belt). 

FAQ #5: What’s the distinction between an Olympic weightlifting belt and a daily weightlifting belt?

Technically talking, there’s no such factor as an “Olympic weightlifting belt”—an athlete can use any belt they like offered it’s lower than 12 centimeters huge (which is the one stipulation).

That mentioned, many individuals who do Olympic weightlifting want to make use of nylon belts or belts which can be tapered as a result of they’re softer and fewer cumbersome, which suggests they’re much less more likely to pinch their hips or ribs whereas Olympic weightlifting.

FAQ #6: What are a weightlifting belt’s advantages?

When used appropriately, weightlifting belts enable you to carry heavier weights by making it simpler to extend intra-abdominal strain, which stabilizes your torso and prevents your backbone from bending throughout workouts just like the squat and deadlift. 

+ Scientific References


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