If you're searching for the best weightlifting belt around, you've come to the right place. Based on price, reviews, and materials used, we've put together a list of our top picks to complete your lineup of gym accessories.
We believe that a good belt can be the key to unlocking new personal bests due to the additional support they provide, particularly during some of the best lower body and back exercises around.
In fact, one study of note by Lander et al. found weightlifting whilst wearing a belt improved speed and performance during squats, thus showing the power of spinal stabilisation during exercise.
Therefore, a top weightlifting belt is, in our opinion, one of the first things you should pack in your best gym bag when you're preparing for your next session.
So if it's a leather belt you're after, like this Iron Bull Strength Weightlifting Belt, or something a little cheaper, like this Harbinger bit of kit featured in our list of the best weightlifting belts under 100, then we've got you covered right here.
We've also answered some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding weightlifting belts to help you work out which type of belt is right for you and your fitness regime. With that in mind, let's dive in...
Best Weightlifting Belt
- Inzer Forever Lever Belt
- Harbinger Weightlifting Belt
- Schiek Sports Model 3004
- Element 26 Self-Locking Weight Lifting Belt
- Eleiko Olympic Weightlifting Belt
- Rogue Ohio Lifting Belt
Best leather weightlifting belt - Iron Bull Strength Weightlifting Belt
The belt is actually made from a competition-approved 10mm thick leather which is designed to deliver a significant amount of support to your lower back whilst also being incredibly durable.
What we like most about this belt though is its double-pronged closure system. This lock-in method has been designed to be immensely strong, thus giving you more confidence when attempting to break personal bests.
On the whole, we feel there's a lot to like about this belt, especially as it shouldn't break the bank with its price tag either.
Best lever-adjusted weightlifting belt - Inzer Forever Lever Belt 10mm
Inzer is one of the top manufacturers of weightlifting belts around, especially in the powerlifting scene, so it may come as no surprise we're featuring this Forever Belt on our list.
Made from leather, it should have a long lifespan to fulfill all your weightlifting needs, and the lever buckle means it's not only durable but can easily be taken on and off between sets.
The belt also includes high-density nylon stitching for improved strength as well as corrosion resistance.
Also, the belt's 10mm thickness makes it suitable for those competing, as well as beginners who might not be accustomed to wearing heavy belts thanks to its aforementioned lightweight stitching.
Best budget weightlifting belt - Harbinger Weightlifting Belt
When it comes to powerlifting, you need something strong, durable, and capable of withstanding huge amounts of pressure as you load up the plates on your best barbell.
Thankfully, this Harbinger belt looks like it ticks all these boxes and more, all for a relatively inexpensive price tag.
The belt is made from genuine stiff leather and features a dual-prong lock-in system which has been designed for a tight and secure fit.
Additionally, at 4" thick, the belt should help maximise your back and core stability, particularly during heavy lifts.
It's also worth noting that the Harbinger belt comes with foam padding and a suede lining for added comfort, thus making it well worth considering if you're after a top weightlifting belt for less.
Best lightweight weightlifting belt - Schiek Sports Model 3004
The Schiek Sports Model 3004 looks to be a great pick if you're searching for a lightweight, fabric belt to support your lifts, which may be particularly beneficial if you're new to the gym.
Additionally, you get extra layers of neoprene-coated nylon for added support during heavy lifts, giving you peace of mind when going for new personal bests.
Ultimately, if you're searching for something lighter than leather, then we believe this Schiek Sports Model 3004 could be the one for you.
Best weightlifting belt for CrossFit - Element 26 Self-Locking Weightlifting Belt
This nylon belt comes with a self-locking closure mechanism for quick release, meaning this belt would be highly ideal for a CrossFit enthusiast.
Moreover, its material means the belt is more flexible which is beneficial for more functional training, but it does not compromise support during Olympic-style movements.
People have said, despite being nylon, it does not seem to wear particularly quickly so the Element 26 belt should last a considerable amount of time.
This belt would certainly suit both male and female lifters looking for a more versatile weightlifting belt for CrossFit. Check out our list of the best shoes for CrossFit to accompany this bit of kit.
Best Olympic weightlifting belt - Eleiko Olympic Weightlifting Belt
Eleiko is a Swedish-based company known mostly for its barbells and plates, but the brand also specialises in supportive equipment for Olympic weightlifting like this Olympic Weightlifting Belt
As per a lot of the top weightlifting belts, the Eleiko is made from one strip of leather providing rigidity and support when attempting challenging Olympic-style lifts but is also lightweight weighing only 2.2lbs.
The leather also means it is durable which, teamed with the double stitching around the outside, should prevent any potential wear and tear even when loading up the plates under your best squat rack.
This is also the case with the closure mechanism as the Eleiko has two hooks as opposed to one, thus increasing security when lifting and increasing the belt's longevity.
Best weightlifting belt for heavy lifts - Rogue Ohio Lifting Belt
The Rogue Ohio Lifting Belt looks to be one of the best for lifting heavy weights as part of either a powerlifting or strength training programme.
What we like about it, in particular, is that it is made from premium, 10mm thick leather which, Rogue boasts, offers firm, consistent support to ease the stress on your lower back.
Furthermore, you get a single-buckle closure system that has been designed for quick and easy adjustments pre and post-lift.
It's also worth noting it's available in 5 sizes, so there should be a size in there to suit anyone.
Frequently Asked Questions About Weightlifting Belts
If you are a beginner you probably have tons of questions about weightlifting belts, but we're here to clear up some of the more frequently asked queries.
What does a weightlifting belt do?
Weightlifting belts are designed to improve spinal stabilisation, which should help protect your lower back during core exercises such as squats and deadlifts.
Wearing a belt may also help you break past your 'sticking point' faster when squatting and deadlifting along whilst also improving your overall bar speed. This is supported by a study by Fong et al. who demonstrated that participants' time to complete a deadlift, along with their form, improved wearing whilst wearing a weightlifting belt and straps.
According to Mayo Clinic, a weightlifting belt can also help you increase and maintain abdominal pressure to further improve spinal stabilisation. This is because your stomach has something to press against, thus creating a more rigid core.
When should you wear a weightlifting belt?
Given their purpose, weightlifting belts are recommended when lifting heavy weights, particularly during squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses to support your lower back.
A good rule of thumb to follow is you should consider wearing a belt when you're squatting or deadlifting anything above 60% of your one-rep max.
There are also a number of benefits to wearing a belt during heavier sets; for example, it's estimated that a well-trained belt user can move between 5-15% more weight, thus making it a handy tool for progressive overload.
However, a belt isn't necessary during movements that require less spinal stabilisation and lower back strength, for example, bench press and dumbbell curls.
If you're trying to figure out some great movements that require a belt to add to your workout routine, check out our guide on some of the best shoulder exercises for mass right here.
Is using a weightlifting belt considered 'cheating'?
Simply put, no, using a weightlifting belt isn't cheating as they're allowed in most lifting competitions, and should be a useful tool for protecting your lower back and avoiding injury.
The key is not to become over-reliant on using a weightlifting belt by incorporating some days where you don't use one for additional brace support.
Having said that, we'd recommend wearing one when going for your personal bests to help you complete the movement successfully.
Are leather or fabric weightlifting belts better?
Generally speaking, leather weightlifting belts are strong, durable, and rigid, but can also be quite heavy and uncomfortable to wear in comparison to fabric belts, especially if you're just starting your fitness journey.
With that being said though, their added stiffness can be more beneficial when attempting extremely heavy lifts as the leather provides a solid surface to press against for added spinal stabilisation.
Fabric belts tend to be softer and more flexible and, therefore, more comfortable, but this can sometimes mean they're a little less supportive during heavier lifts.
Ultimately, which is better will come down to personal preference and the intended use.
For example, if your favourite way to work out is by completing fast-paced, high-intensity sets, then you may find a fabric belt to be more beneficial as the added flexibility should suit more active exercise.
However, if you're a keen powerlifter, then you may prefer a leather bit of kit for the added stiffness and support during the key moments of your heavy sessions.
Does wearing a weightlifting belt weaken your core?
A common misconception is that using a weightlifting belt will mean you won't need to engage your core as much whilst lifting, thus weakening it in the process.
This is not the case. In fact, wearing a belt can increase spinal stability and stiffness by supporting your core as you 'brace' and push your abdominal muscles into the belt itself.
With that being said though, it's recommended you incorporate some training without a belt to ensure you develop your core muscle strength naturally without additional support.
How tight should a weightlifting belt be?
The belt should fit tightly around your waist to cover your belly button as this provides maximum support to your lower back.
It has been said that if you don't want to immediately take the belt off after your set, you're probably not wearing it tight enough; however, be careful to not wear it so tight you're struggling to move or breathe.
Once the belt is on, you'll want to tense your abs rather than push your abs out and against the belt as this will likely cause flexion of the low back and make it hard to maintain a neutral spine.
How thick should a weightlifting belt be?
As previously touched on, competition-approved belts come with a 10mm thickness; however, there are several pros and cons for going either up or down a size.
For example, a 6.5mm belt should be more flexible which, in turn, can allow for greater mobility and range of motion during lifting.
The downside here is the thinner material may not provide as much support which could increase the risk of injury from repeated heavy lifts.
Going up to a 13mm belt is almost the exact inverse of a 6.5mm bit of kit. You will likely feel incredibly supported, especially from a leather belt, however, it can be uncomfortable to wear as there's less room for your torso.
A 10mm belt sits comfortably in the middle, providing a steady compromise to both sides, which is why it's one of the most commonly used thicknesses.
What size weightlifting belt do you need?
The best way to know what size weightlifting belt you need is to measure around your core, with the tape covering your belly button fairly tightly.
However, if you already own a belt and looking to pick up another one, then you may find it easier to simply measure your previous belt to give a good indication as to what size you need.
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