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Best Weightlifting Belts

Updated December 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 46 Models Considered
  • 6 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 137 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best weightlifting belts

    Last Updated December 2018

    Weightlifting belts used to be commonplace in gyms among professionals and amateurs alike, but this piece of workout gear has fallen out of fashion in the 2000s, even though more and more people are hitting the weights these days.

    You might think that you have to be a serious powerlifter to don a belt, but the truth is that everybody could use a bit of extra spine support when lifting heavy weights in the gym. Like any piece of workout gear, there are many options when choosing a weightlifting belt. if you’ve never worn one before, it’s easy to feel intimidated when shopping for one.

    Don’t let that reluctance keep you from trying out a new piece of gear. Here at BestReviews, we want to help you make informed purchases without the stress.

    To help you find the best weightlifting belt for your workout needs, check out our top picks. If you’d like more information on weightlifting belts in general, read our shopping guide below.

    It might take you a while to get used to wearing a belt while lifting. Take the time to break the belt in and get used to your new gear.

    Why use a weightlifting belt?

    The human torso isn’t rigid like a lamppost. It is flexible and supple, which is a good thing for the most part. It means you can bend and twist and move. But when you’re lifting a heavy weight, such as a barbell that weighs a significant proportion of your body weight, you don’t want a soft torso. You want a strong and rigid torso. And to make your torso, or core, rigid, you brace your muscles. Whether or not you’re a weightlifter, you’ve braced your core without giving it a second thought – when you held your breath and lifted a heavy box or helped push a car out of a snowdrift.

    When you hold your breath and tighten your abdominal muscles, you create internal pressure that turns your normally soft torso into a metaphorical lamppost. That pressure enables you to lift more weight without injuring your back.

    A weightlifting belt doesn’t support your back; it cues your body to brace itself by tightening the muscles so you can lift a very heavy weight. The weightlifting belt is what your torso pushes against to brace itself, enabling you to tense your muscles even more.

    Robert
    EXPERT CONSULTANT

    Robert Herbst is an internationally known expert on exercise, fitness, wellness, and weight loss. As a powerlifter, he has won 18 World Championships and 33 National Championships and set 38 world records. He was a semi-finalist for the 2013 Sullivan Award given to the nation's outstanding amateur athlete and is a member of the AAU Strength Sports Hall of Fame. A New York attorney, he supervised the drug testing at the 2016 Rio Olympics and helped manage the wrestling venue at the 2012 London Olympics. Learn more about Robert at www.w8lifterusa.com.


    Robert  |  Fitness and Wellness Expert

    Weightlifting belt features to consider

    Weightlifting belts vary by material, thickness, speciality, and closures. Think about the type of lifting you plan to do as you decide which style of belt you’ll need.

    • Powerlifting belts: These belts are for people lifting very heavy weights in squats and deadlifts. They are usually about four inches wide all around, but some can be as wide as six inches. Anything wider than four inches is usually prohibited in competition.

    • Weightlifting belts: These belts are about four inches wide in the back but taper toward the front. You should use a weightlifting belt for Olympic lifting (the snatch and the clean and jerk), CrossFit, and bodybuilding. Tapered belts are good for people who are shorter or have a smaller torso.

    Thickness

    Many weightlifting belts come in one of two thickness options: 10mm or 13mm. Our expert, Robert, says “Thickness is important as it determines stiffness.”

    A thinner belt should fit the needs of most noncompetition lifters, as well as those who do CrossFit and those who need a wider range of motion.

    A thicker belt offers more support against your abs, but it will also be less comfortable. Thicker belts are used by people lifting seriously heavy weight.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    Working out with a dirty weightlifting belt can cause acne because the belt compacts sweat and grime into your skin. Clean your belt between uses, and consider packing body wipes for the gym if you can’t always take a shower.

    Material

    Belts are made of one or a combination of the following materials, with some better suited to heavy use than others.

    • Foam: Foam belts are the least expensive model and the most breathable, lightweight weightlifting belts. If you’re beginner who doesn’t plan to lift very heavy weights and just wants to try working out with a belt, foam can be fine for your needs.

    • Nylon: Nylon belts are good for beginners adjusting to using a belt and looking for an option at a lower price point. These belts are lighter and more comfortable than the thick leather models. Professionals advise against using nylon belts, though, particularly for people who are lifting very heavy weights. There are nylon belts with leather linings, as well as nylon belts with foam inserts.

    • Leather: Weightlifting belts are made of full grain, top grain, or split leather (suede). Leather weightlifting belts are thicker, more durable, and offer more stability than nylon belts because you can brace against them with greater force. Most professionals recommend using a leather belt. Suede is less prone to slipping against your skin when you’re sweating, but top grain leather belts are more durable.

    Closure

    Not all weightlifting belts fasten like the belt you wear with your pants. Different fasteners offer different ranges of accessibility, ease, and support.

    • Velcro: Common on nylon belts, Velcro is the easiest to adjust, put on, and take off. It also runs the highest risk of slipping or coming loose while you’re lifting, and it will lose adhesion over time.

    • Prongs: Leather belts, in particular, have single-prong or double-prong closures, which resemble your average belt buckle. Our expert, Robert, recommends a double-prong closure when lifting heavy loads because it keeps the buckle from pivoting.

    • Levers: You flip open and lock a lever belt into place, which makes it super tight and secure. It’s easy to get on and off, but you’ll need a screwdriver or other tools to adjust the fit, which is less than ideal if you’re losing or gaining weight.
    EXPERT TIP

    Only wear a belt when lifting heavy to avoid becoming too reliant on its support. If you’re a beginner, don’t let your starter belt give you false confidence. Stay focused on your workout because injuries can happen with or without a belt.


    Robert  | Fitness and Wellness Expert
    EXPERT TIP

    How much you eat or drink before training will affect how your belt fits. You might need to have someone tighten your belt for you or use a different hole. Also, be aware of how the adjustment impacts your workout.


    Robert  | Fitness and Wellness Expert
    EXPERT TIP

    You should change the belt position depending on the lift. For example, wear it lower when squatting so you can push your abs against it and higher when deadlifting to support the upper abs and spinal erectors.


    Robert  | Fitness and Wellness Expert
    EXPERT TIP

    Always use your lifting belt in the same direction. That way, it will conform to your hips as it breaks in. Also, make sure your belt fits you properly. A belt should be tight but not so tight that it restricts your breathing.


    Robert  | Fitness and Wellness Expert

    Weightlifting belt prices

    There’s a fairly wide range in the price of weightlifting belts, depending on size, material, and other features. You can expect to pay between $15 and $100 for a weightlifting belt.

    • Inexpensive

    You can find foam weightlifting belts for as little as $15, nylon belts from about $20, and leather belts from $20 to $50.

    • Mid-range

    You can find nylon weightlifting belts that cost from $20 to $65. There are plenty of dependable leather belts available for $50 to $70.

    • Expensive

    You can find top-of-the-line leather powerlifting belts for between $70 to $100 and up, depending on the leather thickness and quality, closure, and stitching.

    Don’t just go by your usual pant size. Measure your waist with a tape measure before ordering your weightlifting belt to ensure a perfect fit.

    FAQ

    Q. Will using a weightlifting belt weaken my muscles?

    A. No, this is a myth. Studies have shown that wearing a belt while lifting can engages your erector spinae muscles and abdominals, resulting in a stronger back and core.

    Q. Could I still injure my back while lifting with a belt?

    A. Yes, while wearing a belt greatly reduces the chances of straining your back, it can’t protect you completely. Always use best lifting practices, listen to your body, and lift with a partner to further reduce the chances of injury.

    Q. How do I clean my weightlifting belt?

    A. To prevent skin irritation and acne, as well as unpleasant odors, it’s important to regularly clean your belt. Nylon belts can be washed in cold water and air-dried. Leather belts should be wiped down in between uses, cleaned with saddle soap, and stored in a cool, dry place. Consult the manufacturer’s care instructions to extend the life of your weightlifting belt.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Danielle
      Danielle
      Writer
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer

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