Stabilize your lower back and support those monster lifts with these weightlifting belts to see big gains.
While certainly some take the more “natural” approach when it comes to their big lifts and decide to not where one, weightlifting belts can be incredibly useful tools to keep you both safe and efficient in your workouts, especially when it comes to huge lifts. Many people dawn these leather or nylon belts in the gym in efforts to assist lifts like the squat or the deadlift. Aside from keeping people safe by allowing for solid form, those who rock these belts love them because they can lift more weight.
Lifting Belt Benefits
Lifting belts provide for a host of solid benefits and primarily, they can support your core which is needed to conduct those heavy lifts. Reducing lower back strain is a huge benefit, and although a lifting belt is not a back brace, since it helps keep your core engaged (1), less strain on your lower back occurs and that increased stabilization allows for better range of movement (2). Now that you have proper form, your risk of injury decreases, and you can now lift more weight efficiently with less worry of unwanted pain.
What To Look For
Finding the right belt is really all a choice of personal preference and comfort, but there are some things to consider to find exactly what you are looking for to get out of the belt. For serious weightlifters, you may want to look into a leather lifting belt. These tend to be durable and last quite a long time.
Nylon belts are also quality belts and provide for thick durability but can be slightly more flexible than leather. Affordability is key, but it never hurts to invest in a slightly more expensive belt that will last you a good number of years. With a good belt, you want the benefit of support but also slight flexibility and those two worlds exist, it just takes knowing the right belts to choose from.
We’ve put together a list of the top weightlifting belts to help you progress in your weightlifting journey. From leather to nylon, each is unique in its approach for functionality, durability, flexibility, and support, but can really work to elevate your big lifts. Check out our list of the top 5 best lifting belts for 2020:
- Best for Flexibility & Support: Harbinger 4-Inch Nylon Weightlifting Belt
- Best for Low Back Stabilization: Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Pro Weightlifting Belt
- Best for Comfort: Steel Sweat Weightlifting Belt
- Best for Convenience: Rogue Fitness 5’’ Nylon Weightlifting Belt
- Best for Functionality: Element 26 Self-Locking Weightlifting Belt
Best for Flexibility & Support: Harbinger 4-Inch Nylon Weightlifting Belt
Harbinger offers a great nylon lifting belt made from thick, flexible, heavy duty nylon which works to provide maximum comfort and durability while maintaining muscle warmth. Since the stitching runs in parallel lines across the entire belt, it allows for uniform support and better stabilization. The 4-inch belt with an extra wide 3-inch strap offers the proper lower back and abdominal support for those heavy lifts and big gains. The steel buckle makes tensioning more than easy for convenience and overall, this belt is great for both flexibility and support.
Pros: The thick Velcro offers for great durability and support, but it is a comfortable fit and aids in muscle warmth. The steel buckle makes for easy and simple adjusting.
Cons: Not as rigid as other belts, so there may be others with more support, although if so, they would be leather. With Velcro straps, you always run the risk of durability issues.
Price: $15.75/large belt (prices may vary slightly for other sizes)
Best for Low Back Stabilization: Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Pro Weightlifting Belt
Made from genuine leather, Dark Iron Fitness has created a lifting belt built to last. With leather designed to be soft and flexible, it remains supportive without digging into your sides and causing unwanted pain. This belt allows for extra power, strength, and support in your back and abs and can really work to increase the overall amount of weight you lift. With a dedicated team, this IPF and USAPL approved lifting belt is a great choice for low back stabilization.
Pros: It does provide for great support and will help reduce the risk of injury by improving form and offering stabilization. The two-prong buckle closure and rivets are sturdy.
Cons: Some support may fade in the initial weeks of use and a rather flimsy feeling may occur. For really heavy lifts, looking for a thicker belt may be a better option.
Best for Comfort: Steel Sweat Weightlifting Belt
Steel Sweat brings a solid lifting belt to the table with their strong but comfortable design for both men and women. Offering support for full range of motion, the extra wide 6-inch lower back support will encourage proper lifts all with a comfortable feel and muscle warmth. With a thick, strong Velcro strap, coupled with a roller buckle, this belt allows you to adjust for tightness to find your exact desired point of support for your back and core. Steel Sweat offers three different belt styles so the option to choose what works best for you is a huge plus with this belt. As a very supportive and stabilizing belt, Steel Sweat is great for comfort.
Pros: The comfortable design offers great range of motion and it does provide for a comfortable feel. Adjusting to find the right amount of tightness is great for targeting core and back support.
Cons: The thin Velcro strap may not be as durable as originally intended. The size chart for choosing the correct belt for you may be off so further investigation into which size is correct for you is an added hassle.
Best for Convenience: Rogue Fitness 5’’ Nylon Weightlifting Belt
Rogue Fitness offers this nylon belt with 3-inches of support in the front and 5-inches in the back. The oversized design conforms nicely to your body shape to provide the most amount of coverage for support and stabilization. It offers firm support for your abs and lower back all while being thin, light and highly durable. The easy to adjust capabilities makes going from any workout easy and simple. The hook-and-loop fastening system and ability to easily conform to your body makes this belt a great aid for overall convenience.
Pros: Simple to use and the ability to conform to your body makes this a really solid belt for support and stabilization. From a reputable company, this is definitely a safe, effective, and convenient lifting belt.
Cons: Velcro is always a risk for durability and they do run a little on the smaller side. It is thin which may cause it to feel flimsy.
Price: $35.29-$49.95 (prices vary based on size)
Best for Functionality: Element 26 Self-Locking Weightlifting Belt
Element 26 brings a very functional belt design to create consistent and even pressure to your abs and back for stability and support for athletes of all kinds. Made from 100% premium nylon, there are no padded inserts to provide for unequal distribution of pressure and only functionality of the athlete comes to mind. The self-locking technology will not wear down and the easy release makes getting in and out very convenient. Fully approved for competition with a lifetime warranty guaranteed, this self-locking belt is one of a kind for functionality.
Pros: The self-locking technology offers an innovative design for functionality as well as the consistent pressure to your abs and back. A well-rounded nylon belt offers no unequal pressure with added padding.
Cons: It is rather thin which contributes to a flimsy feeling and lack of support. Quality comes into question with the self-locking mechanisms and overall belt.
Finding the right lifting belt can be challenging. Your weightlifting goals and big gains are important for your overall growth but doing so safely and effectively should be top priority. When looking for a good belt, it is helpful to consider both flexibility and support, but also durability and affordability. A good quality lifting belt can be your best friend in the gym for years and the investment should only be a benefit to you. Check out our list of these top 5 lifting belts and really work to see those big gains get even bigger.
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- Miyamoto, K.; Iinuma, N.; Maeda, M.; Wada, E.; Shimizu, K. (1999). “Effects of abdominal belts on intra-abdominal pressure, intra-muscular pressure in the erector spinae muscles and myoelectrical activities of trunk muscles”. (source)
- Finnie, S. B.; Wheeldon, T. J.; Hensrud, D. D.; Dahm, D. L.; Smith, J. (2002). “Weight Lifting Belt: Motivations For Use”. (source)