Does your back ache after lifting heavy weights? Do you worry about damaging your spine while heavy lifting? If so, you need a weightlifting belt to protect your spine. In this article, we’ll give you a detailed overview of the 5 best weightlifting belts on the market.
Introduction: Weightlifting Belts are one of the most commonly used stability and support tools used during workouts. However, most people don’t have a really good idea about what they’re really meant for.
If you go to gyms, you can often see guys doing sit-ups while wearing weightlifting belts. Or you can see them doing the bicep curls and lat pull-downs with a weightlifting belt. However, using weightlifting belts for these exercises serves a completely contrary purpose from they’re really meant for.
A weightlifting belt’s main purpose is to prevent spinal flexion and thus protect your back from damage during lifting heavy weights. Meanwhile, exercises like the squats are all about contracting the abs, so wearing a weightlifting belt is actually detrimental in that case.
In addition to not knowing how or why to use weightlifting belts, most novices also don’t realize that different belts serve different purposes. It’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of situation.
However, worry not. In this article, we’ll give you the complete lowdown on what weightlifting belts are, their prime benefits, how to use them, when to use them, and any other tips you need. In addition to a guide on weightlifting belts, we’ll also give you a detailed overview of the 5 best weightlifting belts in the market.
To compile this list of the best weightlifting belts, we’ve consulted with physiotherapists and expert fitness trainers, and our in-house team has personally vetted some of the most popular weightlifting belts on the market. And now we present our findings to you.
Best Weightlifting Belts 2020 — Our Top Picks
This weightlifting belt from Dark Iron Fitness is one of the best in the industry currently. It’s made from premium cowhide leather that doesn’t stretch or wear out with increased pressure or sweating.
This weightlifting belt is held together with four layers of double-stitching to ensure that it remains durable and strong while training and lifting weights. It measures four inches all along the length to provide maximum support to the entire core and enable you to push heavier loads.
It has a double-prong buckle with 11 holes in place to ensure that it fits precisely. However, the dual-prongs also mean it’s a little time consuming to put on or take off. It’s made from a non-slip material so it won’t slip off you no matter how much you might be sweating.
Finally, as an assurance of guarantee, it comes with a 100% replacement warranty.
- Available in 5 sizes — XS: 23”-31” , S: 27"-35" , M: 32”- 40” , L: 36"-44" , XL: 41”-49.
- Weighs 1.5 pounds.
- High quality 5mm leather construction.
- 4” height.
- 4-layers of stitching.
- Double-prong buckle.
- Full lumbar support.
The Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Pro Weightlifting Belt is the ideal 5mm weightlifting belt for novice lifters. It’s highly durable and comes with ample support.
The Fire Team Fit Weightlifting Belt is one of the most reasonable and aesthetically appealing weightlifting belts on the market. It’s available in 8 different colors and designs — Black, Blue, Blue Line, Camouflage, Metallic Grey, Pink, Quick Response, and Stars and Bars. It’s also available in 4 different sizes — X-Small (27” – 32”), Small (30” – 34”), Medium (32” – 38”), and Large (38” – 43”).
This weightlifting belt for men and women is one of the most and comfortable belts out there. It comes with great cushioning on the interior lining and lumbar support to offer support to your lower back and abdomen. Instead of going for a buckle, it instead goes for a Velcro clasp which makes it easy to snap on and off, and it can also be adjusted according to your needs. However, the drawback here is that Velcro isn’t highly durable and exerting pressure on it might make it come undone during the exercise.
- Available in 8 colors and designs.
- Available in 4 different size ranges.
- At its peak, it’s 6 inches wide.
- Full lumbar support.
- Velcro adjustment strap.
The Fire Team Fit Weightlifting Belt is ideal for novice lifters who want their belt to be flexible enough to adjust easily and comfortable enough to wear longterm.
The FITGIRL Pink Weightlifting Belt is the ideal option for women with a waist size between 22”-28”. The weightlifting belt is black and it has a pink adjustment strap running through its length, making for an aesthetically pleasing combination. It’s also one of the most reasonable weightlifting belts out there.
The width of the belt itself is 5” and the width of the strap is 2”. The adjustment strap uses Velcro so you can simply snap it on or off, allowing easy adjustment whenever necessary. However, like all Velcro materials, it can get loose after a while or come undone if not properly fastened. It comes with an interior tricot lining that’s comfortable even against bare skin.
At just 3 ounces, it’s extremely lightweight and still offers great support.
- Weighs 3 ounces.
- 2” Velcro adjustment strap.
- 5” width.
The FITGIRL Pink Weightlifting Belt is ideal for small-waisted women looking for an aesthetically pleasing alternative to the largely male-dominated world of weightlifting gear.
The Harbinger Padded Leather Contoured Weightlifting Belt is available in two different widths — 4” and 6”. In terms of size, it’s available in 5 different ranges from Small to XX-Large. Between the two ranges, it covers everyone with a 23” waist to 48” waist. As such, it’s extremely versatile and can be used by most people.
The interiors of the belt are padded and contoured for additional comfort and the suede lining ensures that it doesn’t chafe against bare skin. The belt is double-stitched to enhance durability. The buckles are double-pronged, so it’s a bit difficult to adjust, however, it secures the tensioning and maintains a good fit.
- Weighs 14 ounces.
- Available in 4” and 6”.
- Available in 5 sizes — S: 23”-29” , M: 29"-33" , L: 33”- 37” , XL: 37"-42" , XXL: 42”-48”.
- Suede lining.
- Double-pronged buckle.
The Harbinger Padded Leather Contoured Weightlifting Belt is known for its enhanced comfort owing to the use of suede interior lining. However, it’s not the most durable product out there.
The Emerge Weightlifting Training Power Belt is extremely secure and made of nylon construction. It’s quite large and provides support to the entire core, even though its width tapers towards the end. The lumbar region is offered additional support as well. The adjustment straps use a lever hook and fastening system. As such, it can be easily tightened but the frequent adjustment is difficult. It’s available in 4 sizes ranging from Small to X-Large.
- 4” wide at the peak.
- Handcrafted products.
- Lever buckle used.
The Emerge Weightlifting Training Power Belt uses a level-buckle fastening system, which makes it one of the most secure belts out there.
Before you go ahead and buy one of the weightlifting belts listed above, you should check out this Buyer’s Guide. A lot of people who think they need a weightlifting belt actually don’t need it, and vice versa. Furthermore, people often don’t know which factors to consider when buying a weightlifting belt or how to use them correctly. In this part of the article, we’ll answer all of those questions.
Benefits of Weightlifting Belts
- Preventing back injuries and improving weightlifting form.
- Using a weightlifting belt applies more pressure on the abdomen, so it facilitates a better core workout. As such, you can get better six-packs as a result.
- Back injuries usually lead to dislocated discs and swollen muscles. But stabilizing the core and spine, a weightlifting belt helps prevent that.
- Wearing a belt also helps you land your squats faster and lift heavier loads. As a result, your muscle fibers are better activated, leading to a better workout session.
Should I use a Weightlifting Belt?
Weightlifting belts should be used by individuals who are focusing on lifting heavy weights that put a strain on your back. If you deadlift or squat with heavy weights, a weightlifting belt is ideal for you.
You should use a weightlifting belt if you meet these conditions:
- You want to get stronger and bigger, either as a powerlifter or bodybuilder.
- If you’ve recently suffered from a back injury, and you’re only just returning to training.
- If you lift heavy weights constantly and want to prevent any undue strains on your spine.
- You want to add more weights to your exercises without buckling under the pressure.
You should stay away from weightlifting belts under the following conditions:
- If you find that the belt hinders your movements or prevents you from breathing correctly, you shouldn’t use it. Form is everything when it comes to weightlifting. As such, if a weightlifting belt is getting in the way, ditch it.
- Wearing a weightlifting belt leads to a higher blood pressure. As such, it’s not ideal for people suffering from a heart condition. This is also true for those with a history of hernias. In either case, you should consult your doctor before using a belt.
How does a Weightlifting Belt work?
A weightlifting belt is wrapped around the abdomen. As such, when you breathe in through your stomach, the belt prevents your abdomen from expanding outwards. As a result, your abdominal pressure is increased, leading to spinal stability.
As a result of the spinal stability, your legs and hips contract better, thus leading to a better form. Since your spinal cord is stabilized, your nervous system allows you to further contract your legs.
How to use Weightlifting Belts correctly?
In order to get the most out of weightlifting belts, you need to use them correctly. The following tips will help you do so.
Wearing a weightlifting belt correctly is the first and most important component of using them. The belt should be positioned just over the iliac crest, though the angle can be determined by what you find comfortable. If you’re doing squats, you might want to angle the belt upwards over the belly button. Alternately, you can also wear it straight or angle it downwards. For deadlifts, however, you shouldn’t angle it downwards as it will get in the way.
The weightlifting belt should be tightly wound around your abdomen. It should be tight enough that your abdomen doesn’t expand when breathing. However, it shouldn’t be so tight that you can’t breathe at all. While a little irritation is normal, you shouldn’t feel overly uncomfortable or restricted in your movements. Furthermore, while exercising, your core should be firmly pressed against it to enhance abdominal pressure.
Once you’re wearing the belt, it’s important to breathe correctly. While squatting with a bar on your back, you should take a deep breath as you squat down. While getting back up, you should hold your breath while pushing your abdominal muscles against the belt. As a result, you’ll feel like your entire core is stabilized.
Common Misconceptions about Weightlifting Belts
When it comes to weightlifting belts, there are quite a few misconceptions out there that need to be cleared up. Most — if not all — of these misconceptions are largely baseless, as you will soon see.
Misconception #1: Weightlifting Belts Weaken the Core
This is one of the most common misconceptions about weightlifting belts. It’s easy to see where this fear comes from — many people erroneously believe that a weightlifting belt supports the abdominal muscles, and most people see this as a sign that it’s not working independently.
However, using a weightlifting belt while squatting or deadlifting doesn’t affect the rectus abdominis and external obliques muscles at all. In fact, most studies show that they are more activated as a result of the belt, not less.
Thus, you can rest assured that weightlifting belts don’t affect the activation of your core muscles. Furthermore, even if they did, squats and deadlifts aren’t core-specific exercises like planks, crunches, etc. As such, it’s not an issue at all.
Misconception #2: Using a Weightlifting Belt is Cheating
Think of it this way: If using weightlifting belts were considered a form of cheating, would it be allowed in literally all of the weightlifting competitions around the world? Not only is it allowed, it’s even encouraged and contestants may wear them for the entire duration of their exercises.
That’s because a weightlifting belt doesn’t considerably aid you or build greater muscles, but it does protect you from spinal injuries. When it comes to training, safety always has to take precedence over all else.
So, if you feel the need to use a weightlifting belt, you should go ahead and do so regardless of what you fear people might think. Ultimately, it’s your body, and you have to protect it.
Factors to Consider when Buying a Weightlifting Belt
Now that you know all about weightlifting belts, how to use them, when to use them, etc, it’s time to figure out which weightlifting belt to buy. Previously in this article, we mentioned 5 of the best weightlifting belts on the market.
All of those are great belts. However, what’s right for one person might not be right for the other. As such, to decide which of those 5 weightlifting belts to buy, you should consider the following factors and features.
Weightlifting belts usually range from about 6mm in thickness to 13mm. On an average, the most popular ones are usually about 10mm as they provide ample support. They are preferred over 13mm belts because the thicker they get, the more uncomfortable they become to wear on a regular basis. However, for competitions, 13mm belt is recommended.
If you’re a novice, you should aim for a 10mm belt that provides enough flexibility for you to go through your entire squat motion. A 13mm belt might provide a lot of support but they remain extremely rigid and thus also obstruct the movements quite a bit.
Type of Buckle
You can get weightlifting belts with three types of buckles — Single-Pronged, Double-Pronged, and Lever Buckles.
- Single Prong: A single prong belt is easy to wear and remove.
- Double Prong: A double prong belt distributes the pressure across the whole belt, however, it’s difficult to take off.
- Lever Buckle: A lever belt is more exclusive than a pronged belt. It’s easy to put on and take off, and it can also be tightened to increase the pressure. However, the adjustment is difficult as such it’s difficult for it to be shared by multiple people, as is often the case amount gym-goers. A lever belt is an ideal option for someone who wears their belt at the same pressure for the entire duration of their training.
Most weightlifting belts are made of leather as it’s the best material. However, you should watch out for the material of the closures. For example, Velcro is a popular material because it’s easy to strap on and off. However, the velcro loses its effectiveness after a while and increased pressure on the abdomen might lead to the velcro coming off.
The weightlifting belt must come with at least a 4” or 6” of leather support at the lumbar as this is the main area where you can sustain injuries.
You should make sure that your belt is suede-lined or at least has some foam around the sides to cushion you and prevent the belt from digging into your skin too deep. If you deadlift shirtless, this is even more important to prevent chafing of the skin.
Weightlifting Belts are available in a wide price range, from very cheap to very expensive. If you go for one of the cheapest models, you probably won’t get proper cushioning, and it might not be thick enough to offer enough support.
Alternately, if you go for the most expensive one, you might get a rigid 13mm belt that’s not ideal for novices.
As such, you should base your decision on the factors listed above and then decide which is the cheapest belt you can get in that range.
Weightlifting Belts are extremely important for individuals who constantly lift heavy weights with their backs. It helps protect you from excessive spinal flexion, thus protecting you from severe injuries. However, you need to know how and when to use them. Most importantly, you need to know which weightlifting belt to use and which ones to avoid.
In this article, we’ve provided you a thoroughly vetted and comprehensive review of the 5 best weightlifting belts in the market. Furthermore, we’ve also provided a detailed guide on the 101 of using weightlifting belts, including some factors to consider when buying them.
If you have any other questions about weightlifting belts, feel free to mention them down in the comments section.