Wearing a weightlifting belt is a safety precaution most bodybuilders and pros should consider. Knowing how to use the belt correctly is important. A weightlifting belt is suited for amateurs and professionals who aim to do deadlifts or other heavy weights.
Best Weight Lifting Belts
How Does a Weight lifting Belt Work?
The belt can be wrapped around the abs, so when a deep breath is taken through the diaphragm, the belt limits the extent of expansion of the abs. This restriction has two functions. It increases pressure within the abs and in turn, increases spinal stabilization. Increased stabilization raises the amount of contraction felt in the legs and hips during a squat while lifting weights.
Lifting with a belt decreases chances of injury resulting from gym workouts. The belt permits harder contractions and activates the quads, firing the hamstrings.Activation of more muscle fibers means a better training impact.
Lifting using a belt decreases a risk of injury within the gym. It even prevents re-injury.
How to Purchase a Weightlifting Belt?
An excellent belt made of leather which is sturdy will last for a long time. If you are a bodybuilder, powerlifter and general fitness enthusiast, the best belt for deadlifts are those with a tapering in the front around 10 centimeters in the back and 5 in the front.
Another choice is the double versus single pronged buckle. The single pronged one is as secure as the double wronged ones. Some belts which are easier to take on and off latch and unfasten through a lever system.
How to use a Weightlifting Belt?
The first step is setting the belt. The belt should be at the top of the iliac crest which is at the tip of the bone of the hip. For deadlifts, the belt needs to be angled up or straight across. Doing the former move can come in the way of a good starting position. The matter of comfort is a crucial concern.
After the belt is set, the tightness needs to be adjusted for the correct fit. The tightest notch that permits complete intake of breath into the stomach should be used. Press the stomach out from the belt. It is too tight if a complete breath of air is hard to take and shoulders have to be elevated instead of expanding the torso.
If there is a full breath on a single notch. but a complete breath is available on the second tightest notch, the tighter one is not preferable for weight lifting because the better starting position results from a looser notch.
Why Weightlifting Belts are Used?
A belt is an important fitness tool to ensure supportive strength. Belts are crucial for preventing injuries and supporting the torso at the time of lifting heavy weights. The belt’s use can offer an extra, additional support to increase the safety of the lift.
Athletes and professionals can choose from a belt catered specifically to the sport. Powerlifters and strongmen opt for cylinder type belts. This attaches around the torso in equal measure. Offering a stiffening or more rigidity infused belt for strength movements can help during deadlifts.
An Olympic lifter may need a belt that offers versatility as well as support. The typical belt worn for Olympic categories come around contoured so the base is thicker than the front belt width. The stiff material of the athlete’s belt is all about personal preference.
Recreational or those athletes in functional fitness sports will benefit from a belt that offers comfort, support, and versatility. These athletes carry out varied movements during the entire workout and they benefit from a belt that supports them through this.
Different Designs of Belts
There are various kinds of designs of belts. The three major types are cone, cylinder and contoured. Every belt has a design which is different and benefits a certain type of professional sportsperson or athlete.
#1 Cylindrical Belt
This is a kind of belt with uniform width at every portion. It provides equal coverage of torsos. Belts such as Schiek 6010 and the Rogue Ohio are top instances of brands of this type of design. What makes the cylinder belt excellent for your safety and security is that they are created to provide support for the abs, sides and back uniformly with the common material. Typically, powerlifters and strong athletes work towards using these belts.
Cylindrical belts can be made of nylon too, apart from leather. The Harbinger 4-inch nylon belt is one such instance. These have a more diverse application as they lack rigid leather.
#2 Contoured Belt
These belts are a favorite with Olympic lifting experts and bodybuilders who train for recreational purposes. The belt provides extra width but slims out at the abdomen. A thinner portion over the abs permits mobility of the torso while providing support. Consider brands such as Eleiko. This is built in accordance with Olympic weightlifter standards. Stripes 4 inch also has this design but a fragile internal lining. Standard or basic versions of the belt are also sold.
#3 Cone-Shaped Belt
This type is seen rarely. The belts have contouring on both sides and offer thicker anterior and posterior section. This design follows the natural physiognomy concerning the torso and its usual curve. The Schiek 2004 is another amazing versatile, supportive belt of this cone type. A stiffer instance of this type of belt is the Schiek L2004.
Kinds of Material
Belt material can range from leather to nylon:
This belt type influences its stiffness and rigidity. These type of leather belts last more than nylon types. Degree of tanning or oiling of the leather belt and the way it is done can predict how exceptional the quality of the belt reaches. Certain belts contain specific tanning methods such as vegetable tan.
When it comes to stiffness, leather-suede belts are on the stiff side. This includes Schiek 6010. There are more soft types of leather belts bending and hugging the waist. This is perfect for functional training. The design instance of this belt material type of the Unbroken Designs (Stars and Stripes).
Nylon belts are not known for their stiffness. Instead, they are known for how comfortable and versatile they are. The belt’s stiffness is based on whether it has additional inserts or additional width. The example of this nylon belt type is the Harbinger Contoured FlexFit. Certain nylon belts don’t have additional inserts but offer more width for support of the torso.
Top 5 Weight lifting Belts
Harbinger 4-Inch Nylon Weightlifting Belt scores on stability, comfort, material, and durability. It has many advantages associated with it such as thick velcro band, versatile use, and a comfortable fit. Velcro’s durability issues are the drawback though as is the lack of rigidity of this belt.
- Supportive Strength Gear
Harbinger is a brand which is known for providing support and strength. Their supportive gear such as this belt meets the need of powerlifters, weightlifters, bodybuilders and recreational lifters. This equipment is even preferred by gyms.
This belt works well for both strength and power exercises, including the clean, deadlift and more.
This belt model is stable, much like other nylon belts. The width allows for seamless adjustment of the belt from low to high on the torso if required. The three-inch thick strap allows the belt to be pulled tight with plenty of overlap. The thickness is such that the belt remains secure across the abs.
- Very Comfortable
Cloth and nylon belts such as these offer lifters a lot of comfort. This belt type, in particular, has a softer lining on the inside which is noticeably more soft than the nylon outside. The metal buckle does not touch the skin, so there is no chafing or scratching.
Sweating may cause the belt to move just a little. But this is mostly a secure belt.
- Security and Comfort
The material of this belt offers a lot of benefits. The nylon cloth belt has a soft inner lining and therefore does not cause pinching. The external part of the belt is a tougher material which feels more secure. Then, there is stainless steel buckle for an added security,
With a three-inch wide velcro strap to provide tightening as per needs and convenience, there are many benefits of choosing this belt.
The belt feels durable and has a strong resistance when bent. The stainless steel loop connecting the velcro strap ensures less proneness to wear and tear resulting from additional stress.The external top and bottom of the belt has additional material that stops the belt from being frayed and fall open.
This belt is at a fair price for those who want a strong and long-lasting belt.
- Not Suited for a Lifetime Belt
This belt has a velcro fastening so it is not right for someone looking for a belt that lasts a lifetime. This could be a problem for weightlifters who need belts that last for a long time period.
- Too Much Velcro
Another problem is that the belt comes with a lot of velcro fastening which has a lifespan and should be considered.
The Harbinger padded leather belt is cost effective. With its rigid leather and comfortable posterior pad, the belt is with a few drawbacks though. It may feel rough on the skin and lack durability. But all in all, this supportive gear is beneficial for serious weightlifters as well as amateurs.
- Weightlifting Olympic Standard Belt
This belt has a design and construction that is akin to other weightlifting focused belts. The leather is thick in moderation. On account of this, it bends and flexes. It also feels stable and stiff simultaneously. This is not the stiffest belt, but it has a stability. This stable belt supports an upright torso to a great extent before flexing in a forward direction.
When this belt is tried with Olympic moves, it always scores on mobility. The front of the belt is thinner to accommodate Olympic style lifts. The double prong buckle provides extra stability for the abs.
- Added Pad on the Back
The belt has certain aspects which make it comfortable. This includes the added padding on the back. This provides additional cushioning while ensuring that the belt is tightened. It hugs the back extraordinarily well too. Certain belts lack this padding and can create a problem when it comes to hugging the body perfectly. The inner portion of the leather is way softer than the external, which creates a massive level of comfort in connection with movement and cushioning.
- Material That is User-Friendly
This is a standard leather belt. It feels like other leather belts with a tough outer layer and soft inner part. This belt has a good grip on the torso while permitting complete mobility. The added pad permits a give on the rear portion. The pad is a couple of inches and is a centimeter off the center enclosing the rear portion.
- Belt Provides Support to Power Movements
While the inner portion of the belt provides a comfortable grip, the outer portion powers movements.
- Long Lasting
The belt is durable. It has a stainless steel buckle and leather enclosing it feels overlapped and thick. Four bolts hold this overlapped leather in a tight grip, giving the buckle the durability it needs.
- Cost Efficient
The belt was at the lower end of costs for belts starting at this range. Most leather belts would be pricier. For those serious with weight-lifting, a thicker, more luxurious belt may be opted for. This weight-lifting belt is best for amateurs and those who carry out power based moves.
- Inner Layer Worn
Another issue that can be seen is that the inner layer of the leather is becoming worn from additional sweat as well as wear and tear.
- Pinching Feel
When it comes to uncomfortable aspects of the belt, there is a pinching sensation ahead of the belt where leather meets. Lifters may find it upsetting if they are engaging in shirtless workouts. As there is medium thickness, pressing on the ribs during the first few uses takes place. These can be expected with modern leather belts as well.
On the whole, this belt is a wonderful weightlifting option for those who want recreational or more serious fitness professionals.
Harbinger Weightlifting Belt with Flexible Ultra-light Foam Core comes in 4 sizes namely providing a large five-inch wide support for the rear back. It also has a flexible foam which is lightweight and is needed to generate warmth in the lumbar muscles while providing optimal support and guidance. Nylon which is resistant to abrasion surrounds this.
- Secure Buckling System
The buckle system of the lifting belt of this brand comprises heavy duty steel roller buckle. It is easy to use and provides security in terms of the hold. The lifting belt comes with a lining offering comfort against the skin.
- Ample Support for the Back
At 5 inches in the back and 3 in the front, the support is ample for the back and the abs.
- Extensive Warranty
It also comes with a 90-day manufacturing warranty.
With a tricot lining, this lightweight belt is made of foam core. Its expansive 5-inch back width offers extensive support.
- Sizing Runs Small
The sizing is on a small scale. This can have serious repercussions for the weightlifter, especially if the belt is ordered size wise.
Schiek model 2004 belt offers stability that can come with only a nylon belt. Further, there is double velcro strapping and cone shaped design. But the velcro though convenient offers a bit of a problem when it comes to longevity. Compared to other models, this belt is on a pricier side.
- Product which is User Centered
Schnook is an American company making varied products such as straps, wraps, and belts. The USP of this belt (and this brand) is that every product is built around customer needs and dealer requirements. The gear can be utilized by strength athletes as well as recreational lifters.
- Cone Style
The cone shaped belt has contoured sides. This impacts the lift in a positive way. The cone shape provides characteristics that make it different from the cylinder shaped ones. Unlike most of the belts, the front portion widens and is almost the size of the rear. Additionally, along with more width, the front of the belt also has double velcro so the inside part has a strip along with a regular strap.
- Patented One Way Velcro Design
This Velcro design supports the natural curvature of the back. Testing the fundamental design differences, heavier overhead presses can be carried out with ease, on account of the curvature which is tapered.
This provides extensive support.
- Contoured Sides
The benefit of the cone design is the contoured sides and posterior. The sides are skinny while the back thickens. This aspect helps to hug the body more naturally and its stability can be felt. Another great aspect of this belt is the full torso stability. A rigid cylinder belt does not offer the same benefit.
- Huge Degree of Comfort
The belt also offers a huge degree of comfort. The cone shape around the torso can be a turn off for those looking for a wider belt though. However, this belt’s contoured sides do not press in. Each side comes equipped with soft cloth layers for cushioning the ribs.
- More Security
A thicker strap surrounds the whole belt and provides a lot of security. In the rear position, there is a thicker lumber pad. This ensures that the natural curvature of the belt is sturdy and long lasting. This Schiek model is made of cloth and nylon with an additional lumbar insert. This cushions the top and bottom edges though the padding makes it stiffer than regular cloth and nylon belts.
- Optimal Stainless Steel
The buckle offers stainless steel plus a plastic bar for wrapping around and pulling the strap. This is an important edition for pulling the belt tighter. Places on the belt are there where the velcro is employed.
When the belt is lifted, immediate durability issues are not sensed. The balance between the soft and firm portions is a major plus point. Additionally, the lumbar inserts feel firm and does not seem like it gives way fast. Double velcro is there so that if one set weakens, the other is in place.
- Velcro Wears Out
A potential issue for velcro belts as compared to single strap nylon belts is the problem with the inner velcro fastening. It is not as secure as the outer one. This apart, excessive sweat and chalk, as well as grime, could wear out the fastenings in no time at all.
The belt starts at a high price. The justification for this could be the special shape and added inserts so a higher price could be the right deal. For lifters who want additional ab support and a belt that fits in a unique way, this is the perfect fit.
- Irritable on Bare Skin
The inner portion is soft and the edging covering the top and bottom irritate the bare skin. This can be tough on lifters during shirtless workouts. This is more so till the belt becomes attuned and adjusted to the body shape. So there can be a situation where the belt is too close for comfort.
Schiek founded in 1990s is an American sports products manufacturer with the aim to create innovative and unique belts for the strength market. This is the reason why they are known for unique belt designs.
- Cone Shaped
The Schiek Weightlifting Belt is a cone shaped one and offers the weightlifter a more natural fit on the belt. This belt has a firm leather though it is also versatile and natural.
- Unique Design
The cone shaped belt has a thick posterior and anterior portion, and the sides will be skinnier. Additional contouring provides stability following flexing and extension of the torso. The portion of the belt is contoured and shaped to follow the back’s natural curvature.
- Leather That is Strong
The tough leather used makes up for lack of thickness of the cylindrical belt. The belt offers strength movements yet power movements require less adjustment. The belt is not as versatile as a nylon one but it is perfect for functional fitness workouts.
- Comfort Levels
The external part of the belt offers tough leather, yet the inner lining is comfortable and soft. It is easy to use even when shirtless. It offers great comfort and stability. Thicker abdomen portion is excellent too.
- Overlap on Strap
Strap’s overlap with a double pronged buckle can ensure the belt is placed extremely tightly quite easily. This limits the chance of sliding around of the belt.
- Multiple Leather Layers
The multiple layers of this leather belt offer flexibility and a stiff, rigid end. There is a thinner layer of leather that wraps itself around functioning as part of the strap. The inner lining of the belt is comfortable and soft on the skin. The cone shape helps to adjust to the rigid leather more easily than cylindrical belts.
- Long Term Durability
The leather and the double-pronged steel buckles are an added bonus. Single pronged belt can create issues.
- Fair Price
The range of this belt’s price is pretty fair. The belt can be a perfect purchase for someone looking for a leather belt that is versatile.
- Inner Lining Could Rip
The inner lining is single stitched and soft. So it can fray and tear apart easily.
- Overlapping Strap Thin
The overlapping strap is thinner than the remaining part of the leather. This can be a question for those looking to use the belt consistently, as it mentions its capacity to withstand wear and tear.
Powerlifting Versus Weightlifting Belts
Powerlifting is for those who lift heavy loads such as deadlifts. For weightlifting, it is essential to perform Olympic lifting, bodybuilding and CrossFit. The ultimate aim should be to match the style of training with the choices.
Powerlifting belts are around 4 inches wide consistently, but a weightlifting belt tapers to the front. Weightlifting belts also have extra back padding.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q. What is the right way to choose a belt to lift weights?
There are different widths with design choices that differ. For powerlifting, the greater surface area ahead of the abs should push against when the lifter breathes into the stomach. Create intra-abdominal pressure to safeguard your spine from burdensome loads. If the belt is too wide, it can create a hindrance in movement. For those who want to do strength training or other types of lifting, there are plenty of options.
Q. Is a thicker belt better?
Apart from width of different types, lifting belts come in 10mm or 13mm varieties. Thickness protects the spine from bends. The thicker the belt, the tougher and more durable it is for use. If you plan a powerlifting competition, belts should not be higher than 4 inches in width and thicker than 13mm to meet rules.
Q. How do you choose a material belt based on lifting style?
Belts from suede, leather, velcro to nylon and cotton are available. For powerlifting, leather belts are durable, stiff and better constructed. Suede belts feel softer and are more comfortable. Belts combining the ruggedness of leather and the non slip suede material are the best choice. Olympic lifters need to consider leather and suede options and also velcro fastener belts.
Q. How do you choose what the length of the belt should be?
To get an idea of the length of the belt, measure the circumference of the waist from the naval. Grab a tape and measure firmly ensuring that the tape covers the torso. Try belts of different widths from 4 to 3 and 2.5 inches to see what suits you best.
Q. What is the difference between double, single prong and lever secured belts?
Weightlifting belts are a safer option secured with double prongs. Single prongs can be a problem as can a lever. From considering other lifters and reading reviews, most lifters choose single pronged belts for easy operations though and many find them just as secure as double pronged belts. A lever style belt also makes it easy to use and you have the tools ready to manually adjust your belt.
Q. How do you use a weightlifting belt safely?
Once there is a fair degree of comfort from the belt, experiment with changing its position at the torso. Deadlifts, for example, require belts worn around the middle of the stomach. At the time of a squat, you need a belt above the tip of the hip bone.
Q. What are the benefits of a weight lifting belt?
This belt increases the intra-abs pressure while weight is lifted. This steadies the inner core and stabilizes the spine, raising maximum power levels. Weightlifting belts also act as a supportive gear. It is built to support your abs and as your form improves, moving safely with the belt becomes easier. Another crucial element when it comes to weightlifting is that you need to ensure you do not hold the breath as the weights are lifted. Breathe out as you commence lifting the weights and breathe in as you begin to lower the heaviness of the weights lifted.
Always warm up before continuing with the weightlifting routine. Give your muscles the chance to warm up. Power lifters should wear a belt while squatting or performing a deadlift using a belt that is heavy duty and stiff.
A weightlifting process involves more than just a strong set of limbs and an able body. Using a belt can make the difference to the success of your weightlifting career and the possibility of averting injuries. Choose a weightlifting belt to make your workouts stress free and optimize your fitness levels.