In almost every fitness magazine, you see fitness models lifting weights without the support of a belt; but this isn’t how things work in reality.
If you’ve ever attended a serious weightlifting competition, you’ll notice that nearly every high-level lifter users the assistance of a belt when working with heavy weights.
They do this for a great reason!
Best Weightlifting Belts
|Rogue Ohio Lifting Belt|
|Element 26 Self Locking Weight Lifting Belt|
|Dark Iron Fitness Lifting Belt|
|Fire Team Fit Weightlifting Belt|
|Harbinger Weightlifting Belt|
- The Pros and Cons of Weightlifting Belts
- Are Weightlifting Belts for Beginners or Experts?
- How to Select the Right Length?
- What Width Weightlifting Belt Should I Get?
- How to Wear Your Weightlifting Belt?
- Weightlifting Belt FAQs
- TOP 13 Best Weightlifting Belt Reviews 2019
- Rogue Ohio Lifting Belt
- Inzer Advance Designs Forever Lever Belt
- Hawk Single Prong Power Lifting Belt
- Ader Leather Power Lifting Weight Belt
- Bear KompleX Genuine Leather Weightlifting Belt
- Rogue 5 Nylon Weightlifting Belt
- Element 26 Self Locking Weight Lifting Belt
- ProFitness Weightlifting Belt
- Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Lifting Belt
- Valeo VLP Performance Low Profile Belt
- Fire Team Fit Weight Lifting Belt
- Harbinger Weightlifting Belt
- Gabor Fitness Low Profile Weightlifting Belt
- Choosing the Right Belt for You
Even if you always use proper form and never push yourself past your limits, lifting can still injure your back.
Sometimes it results in a serious injury that will have to heal before you can resume your regular lifting routine, and sometimes it results in what’s called an overuse injury, which is a persistent soreness that never seems to subside.
A weightlifting belt makes you less likely to find yourself in either of those scenarios.
They’re designed to hold your back and core in tight. This means your vulnerable muscles are less likely to slip or pull in directions you don’t want them to. Essentially, they’re protective back braces that are designed to be used during heavy lifting.
If you have a history of back injury or you feel like you’ve been playing your luck for a little too long, a weightlifting belt is an answer to your problem.
It never hurts to use a weightlifting belt as a preventative for a potential injury.
Just like you wouldn’t ride a motorcycle without a helmet or go for a drive without a seatbelt, you shouldn’t be lifting heavy weights without the assistance of a weightlifting belt.
The Pros and Cons of Weightlifting Belts
Weightlifting belts are subject to pros and cons just like everything else. While there are many advantages to using a weightlifting belt, there may be a few minor drawbacks that affect your decision.
Most of the cons are specific to the designs of certain belts, so it’s extremely important to find the best lifting belt for your body and your lifting routine.
- Weightlifting belts reduce the potential for spinal injury, which can be one of the most serious workout related injuries a lifter can experience.
- The back support offered by a weightlifting belt can actually make your workout safer, especially if you’re trying to up the amount you can lift. These belts work by increasing your intra-abdominal pressure, which greatly reduces the burden on your spine.
- Weightlifting belts make things like deadlifts, power cleans, and squat lifts easier. If you have trouble maintaining proper form or establishing the right kind of core stability, wearing a weightlifting belt can help you pick up the slack in the areas where you’re lacking.
- Weightlifting belts will allow you to do a little more than you’re normally capable of. If you’ve been waiting to start lifting because your back and your abs aren’t developed enough to pick up the larger loads, a weightlifting belt will help you cheat a little.
Check out this article “Benefits of a Strong Lower Back” by Dark Iron Fitness.
- Weightlifting belts hold onto the core, making it easier for lifters to lift without engaging their abdominal area.
- This can slow ab development, especially if you aren’t using alternative ab workouts to make up for the ab development you’re losing when using a weightlifting belt.
- If you have an existing back injury, you’ll be less likely to notice it if you’re wearing a belt while you lift. It dulls out the pain from the lower back, and because of this, you’re less likely to catch minor injuries as they develop. You’ll need to pay attention to the way your back behaves without wearing a belt, and avoid using a weightlifting belt as an alternative to medical attention for back injuries.
You need to make up for it by performing exercises that specifically engage your back to keep it strong.
You still need proper back strength, whether you intend to use a belt or not.
Are Weightlifting Belts for Beginners or Experts?
Everyone can benefit from support while they’re lifting heavy.
The difference is in which belt the user would choose.
For example, a beginner won’t need a large, bulky, heavy duty belt for lighter lifts. He or she can use a budget belt to get started, and move up to a more durable belt as they gain strength.
The belt you use should be in accordance with what you actually need.
A 75 pound lift doesn’t require an Olympic grade weightlifting belt, but a 200 pound lift does. What matters more than anything is that you’re using an appropriate belt that’s designed to handle your lifting style.
How to Select the Right Length?
Finding the right length is not as simple as you may believe it is.
For example, if you wear size 32 pants, you may believe that a size 32 belt is going to work for you. In truth, it probably won’t.
Most clothing is vanity sized, and your measurements are likely slightly larger than what the label on your pants is leading you to believe In order to determine what size belt you need, you have to take your measurements manually.
To find your true size, you’ll need to use a flexible measuring tape, like the kind that tailors for fitting suits.
Measure your body across your midsection without a shirt on, passing over your bellybutton.
Pull the tape taught, but comfortable. It shouldn’t be digging into your skin, but you shouldn’t have an excess of slack, either.
Take the same measurement again, this time with your shirt on. There should only be a one or two inch difference.
The size you select should work for you with both your shirt on and your shirt off. This is because the thin cotton workout shirts you wear in the summer add far less bulk than the thicker shirts you’ll probably wear when you’re lifting in cold weather.
Many size brackets include a few inches in between, so it’s most important to find your actual range.
What Width Weightlifting Belt Should I Get?
Belts also come in different widths, usually 4 to 6 inches. The larger the width, the better it will work for people who are taller and have a larger lower back and larger midsection due to their height.
If you’re six feet or taller, a six inch belt will provide you with maximum stability.
If you’re under six feet tall, a four inch belt is probably enough to get the job done.
It’s important to note that some manufacturers make their belts “true to size”, which means they’re already in line with clothing sizes.
If the manufacturer states this in their sizing information, you may be able to purchase the size you wear in jeans.
Even still, it never hurts to get your correct measurements to make sure your actual size and your vanity size fall within the same size category.
That way, you’ll be less likely to receive your belt and notice a greater disparity.
How to Wear Your Weightlifting Belt?
Your belt should always be worn over some kind of shirt, even if it’s just a tank top or undershirt.
This reduces the friction from the fabric rubbing against your body, though you may still feel it if your shirt is especially thin.
Like most belts, weightlifting belts have little size adjustment holes.
Though you may feel tempted to, never fasten the belt as tight as it can go.
You want it to make contact with your abdominal muscles, but you don’t want it to constrict your core and reduce blood flow.
While you’re lifting, you need to make sure you’re getting enough oxygen into your blood stream, and a belt that’s fastened too tightly may inhibit that – leading to dangerous consequences. Instead of opting for the tightest possible setting, go one setting looser.
Where you put your belt is very specific to your personal anatomy. The simple answer: wherever it feels right. If your belt is compressing your hips, it won’t actually help you lift. If it’s digging into your ribs, it will be hard for you to draw in a deep breath.
Try your belt on in a few different spots along your torso. The ideal spot will be a place where it’s compressing neither your ribcage nor your hips.
The exact location relies specifically on the length of your torso.
Weightlifting Belt FAQs
How Do I Clean My Weightlifting Belt?
If the belt is leather you can use a damp but not too wet cloth to wipe it down.
Once it is dry use some leather cleaner and conditioner to finish it.
If the belt is nylon you can use a damp cloth to wipe it down. Then place it in direct sunlight for one day and that should kill any odor causing bacteria, if that is an issue with the belt.
If you still have an odor, sprinkle the dry belt with baking soda and let it sit for a few days so the baking soda has time to leach out the odor.
What Are the Best Weightlifting Belt Brands?
In my opinion, Inzer, Rogue, Titan, Adler, Bear Komplex, Valero, Element 26 and Dark Iron are the best weightlifting belt brands.
Where Should Your Weightlifting Belt Sit?
The belt should sit right over your abdomen wall. When you measure for belt size, measure over the belly button, NOT you pants waist.
Remember-a weightlifting belt is designed to return pressure coming from the abdomen wall to brace you during the heavy lift. The belt should fit snug without suffocating you.
Does a Weightlifting Belt Help with Squats?
Yes. Studies show using a weight belt can improve a lifter’s explosive power by increasing the speed of the movement.
Do Women Need Weightlifting Belts?
Yes, if lifting heavy weights, but they should not be used for light lifts where injury is not a huge risk.
Using a belt for every lift, even light lifts, does not allow the lifter to strengthen the pelvic floor, an area where women are usually weaker.
The pelvic floor needs to be worked too, in order to progress. So save the weight belt for medium to heavy weights.
Are Weightlifting Belts for Men and Women Different?
Nope. Women may have a shorter torso in general and may benefit from a shorter width belt such as a 3 or 4 inch width belt.
It just depends on how much space they have between the last rib and the hip bone.
TOP 13 Best Weightlifting Belt Reviews 2019
There’s a belt for every kind of lifter.
Whether you’re a casual lifter that works primarily with low weights or a serious lifter who regularly hoists over 200 pounds, there’s a great belt to give you the support you need as you train.
Choosing the Right Belt for You
Every belt is designed with a different kind of user in mind. All you need to do is determine what kind of lifter you are, or what kind of lifter you intend to be at the end of your journey.
Buy the belt that corresponds with your personal lifting goals. A great belt will last you a long time, and it’s worth the one-time investment.
If you want to splurge, go for it! You won’t be sorry you did. You’re not likely to wear any of these belts out if you’re using them correctly.
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