Stabilize your lower back and support those monster lifts with these weightlifting belts to see big gains.
While some certainly 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 for stability and added core support. 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 powerlifters and bodybuilders who rock these belts love them because they can lift more weight.
We’ve put together a list of the Best Weightlifting Belts for 2021 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.
Best Weightlifting Belts For 2021
- Best Overall: SBD 13MM Lever Belt
- Best Lifting Belt For Deadlifts: Gymreapers 7MM Weightlifting Belt
- Best Lever Lifting Belt: Gymreapers 10MM Lever Belt
- Best Lifting Belt For Beginners: Harbinger 4-Inch Nylon Weightlifting Belt
- Best Lifting Belt For Squats: Pioneer Leather Deadlift Belt
- Best Leather Lifting Belt For Weightlifting: Gymreapers 7MM Weightlifting Belt
Your lifting belt should be a great all-around aid to you in the gym, especially for those of you powerlifters and bodybuilders. A quality belt will provide core support, back support and stability, and the utmost protection as you lift massive weight. But it should also be comfortable and versatile to not interfere with your gains. SBD has created an awesome weightlifting belt that hits all the marks of a great lifting aid.
SBD 13MM Lever Belt
SBD 13mm Lever Belt is an awesome lifting belt designed for powerlifters and strongmen to really enhance overall support and strength. The English hide is prepared over five months in order to ensure strength and longevity so this belt is more comfortable with time and will last you well into your training years. A black oiled finish and red suede interior keeps you looking and feeling great while wearing it. The buckle is easily adjustable with a gliding lever action and prong belt for easy access and with 13mm of thickness, this belt is lightweight and flexible without sacrificing any gains to those powerlifters and bodybuilders.
- Built to last, this is a quality and comfortable belt for stability and core support
- It is easy to adjust and the many sizes offered ensures a snug fit
- Looks and feels great in efforts to provide you with great support
- Competition approved is a huge plus
- A premium priced option only available through their website
- Only 13mm thickness is available
- The red suede tends to bleed when wet, so wearing a darker t-shirt the first few uses will prevent any unwanted staining
Check out our individual review for SBD 13MM Lever Belt here!
Best Lifting Belt For Deadlifts
The deadlift is one of those exercises powerlifters and bodybuilders just love to put on serious weight and get that off the ground. As a massive lift by nature, your belt should reflect the goals you seek most when it comes to driving that bar up. Gymreapers has this belt to offer the best support and protection for your back while still allowing for functional movements, especially with deadlifts.
Gymreapers 7MM Weightlifting Belt
Gymreapers 7MM Weightlifting Belt offers superior back support and protection for all those big lifts. A premium lifting belt, this is a durable option made from real reinforced leather with double stitching around the edges. While this is a sturdy belt, it won’t impede on your lifts and a lightweight metal buckle doesn’t get in the way. Lightweight and form fitting, this belt will give you great support while offering a snug fit and still allowing for optimal versatility. Great for deadlifts and those other leg and back workouts, this belt can allow you to generate strength and power effectively, especially with deadlifts.
- Great for deadlifts, as well as other legs and back workouts
- Superior back support and protection with added core support
- Lightweight and form fitting while still being versatile and offering stability
- Some complaints around comfort but it is sturdy
Best Lever Lifting Belt
Belts that have a lever fastening system are incredibly convenient and simple to use so you don’t waste time in the gym and can get down to doing what you love. Pronged belts tend to be a hassle and take too long in between lifts to adjust. Gymreapers designed a great lever belt that is comfortable, simple to use, and seriously effective in seeing gains for those of you powerlifters and bodybuilders.
Gymreapers 10MM Lever Belt
Gymreapers 10MM Lever Belt is designed for athletes through rigorous testing to find the best quality and durability to aid in any and all of your lifts. Great form, fit, and function are matched by a clean design and easy-to-use lever for optimal adjustments and less hassle. High quality leather is coupled with smooth edges and reinforced stitching perfect for overall quality and longevity. Being USPA approved allows you to use this for competition so you can train and compete with a belt you can trust.
- Great form, fit, and functionality out of the belt with core support and stability
- The lever function is a clean design and easy to use
- Well-tested and researched for optimal effectiveness
- USPA approved is awesome
- Material on the buckle could be a bit better
Best Lifting Belt For Beginners
Those just starting out as powerlifters and bodybuilders may be unfamiliar with weightlifting belts and what to use them for. To start, an entry level belt should be comfortable and offer support but be very simple to use and here is where a Velcro strap comes into play. Harbinger has created a flexible, yet durable nylon belt with a Velcro strap so beginners can lift big in a simple way.
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, stability, and core support.
- The thick Velcro offers for great durability and support
- Comfortable fit and aids in muscle warmth
- The steel buckle makes for easy and simple adjusting
- Not as rigid as other belts, so there may be others with more support
- With Velcro straps, you always run the risk of durability issues
Price: $15.75/large belt (prices may vary slightly for other sizes)
Check out our individual review for Harbinger 4’’ Nylon Weightlifting Belt here!
Best Lifting Belt For Squats
Another big lift, squatting requires serious attention to form, especially as you stack more and more weight on. What you want out of a great squatting belt is something to offer core support and to keep your back neutral while offering balance and stability with some free movement. Pioneer creates amazing lifting belts that are durable and versatile to keep you safe during squats and seeing huge gains as powerlifters and bodybuilders.
Pioneer Leather Deadlift Belt
Pioneer Leather Deadlifting Belts are made from full grain sole leather to allow for repeated abuse and the prevention of wear and tear over time and are 6.5mm thick. The nickel-plated rivets and buckles hold this belt together and show true craftsmanship both in terms of look and quality. The beveled edges are put in place for added comfort, giving customers a sense of ease that Pioneer cares about the smaller details as well in their quest to make a great belt. Strong enough to be durable and last a long time while also allowing for comfort and versatility, you will feel great about any workout that comes your way. Made right here in the United States, this belt is an all around great addition to your gym bag and workout routine.
- Three great size options with all being 6.5 mm thick
- Nickel plated rivets and buckle are durable look great
- Full grain sole leather allows for great strength and pliability
- From a reputable and honest company in Pioneer
- Unknown if belts are approved for competition or not
Price: Prices range from $51.95-$72.95
Check out our individual review for Pioneer Leather Deadlift Belts here!
Best Leather Lifting Belt For Weightlifting
Using a belt during weightlifting can be challenging as some weightlifting belts tend to interfere with your lift and cause more headache than you may like. A belt that will allow you to move freely while still offering great support is out there and Gymreapers is the way to go. Being lightweight and form fitting, you still get optimal movement for whatever exercise you need done as powerlifters and bodybuilders along with added core support and stability.
Gymreapers 7MM Weightlifting Belt
Gymreapers 7MM Weightlifting Belt offers superior back support and protection for all those big lifts. A premium lifting belt, this is a durable option made from real reinforced leather with double stitching around the edges. While this is a sturdy belt, it won’t impede on your lifts and a lightweight metal buckle doesn’t get in the way. Lightweight and form fitting, this belt will give you great support while offering a snug fit and still allowing for optimal versatility. Great for deadlifts and those other legs and back workouts, this belt can allow you to generate strength and power effectively.
- Great for deadlifts, as well as other legs and back workouts
- Superior back support and protection
- Lightweight and form fitting while still being versatile
- Some complaints around comfort but it is sturdy
Benefits Of A Weightlifting Belt
Lifting belts provide for a host of solid benefits for powerlifters, bodybuilders, and other strength athletes, 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 stability 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. Ultimately, a weightlifting belt provides support, comfort, and versatility to your lifts so you can be comfortable lifting huge weight while also being safe and protecting your overall physical health.
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. You also want to consider if you want a prong buckle or a lever. A lever buckle allows for greater convenience and a snug fit but again, this just comes down to your personal preference on the matter.
Leather Vs. Nylon
Leather weightlifting belts are indeed one of the most popular and effective options for powerlifters and bodybuilders because they provide maximum support for the heavy lifts. There are different types of leather as well and the decision to choose one type of leather is usually based on personal preference. But top grain is usually the most durable where as suede (split leather) is not as much so. There are also synthetic leather belts which are obviously not the same as real leather although some can be pretty effective. A good leather belt should be able to adequately support you by keeping your core muscles compressed and spine stiff throughout the lift (3).
Nylon material is much more flexible than leather and it’s also much more versatile. So, if you need a belt to do CrossFit type activities and/or if you just need some additional back support for walking around the house or anywhere really, then nylon is a good option. Nylon belts won’t entirely have the same support as a leather belt would but it really depends on the resistance loads used for weightlifting/activities (4). Many top athletes and lifters go with nylon for its versatility. And there are often many different materials blended with nylon for maximum durability and support like neoprene, polyester, and cotton.
How We Choose
When looking at the best weightlifting belts, especially for those powerlifters and bodybuilders, it’s important for us to first look at the reputation of the brand because a company should work for you and give you the best product around. The quality of the belt and its material is also very important because longevity and durability matter greatly. You don’t want a belt to last a short time, for it takes some getting used to and once it’s broken in, this can work wonders for you. We lastly look at price. We know sports equipment can get expensive but it is possible to find great products at affordable prices to maximize your gains without breaking the bank.
What is the best weightlifting belt?
SBD 13mm Lever Belt. This belt is an awesome lifting belt designed for powerlifters and strongmen to really enhance overall support and strength. The English hide is prepared over five months in order to ensure strength and longevity so this belt is more comfortable with time and will last you well into your training years.
Do I really need a belt?
While you don’t really need a belt, it can greatly affect your lifts in a positive way. If you are more comfortable taking a natural approach, that is absolutely fine, but a belt can give you comfort and support in knowing you are more safe lifting that big weight as opposed to without (5).
When is the best time to wear a belt?
It is best to wear a belt when maxing out and performing very heavy lifts. But for those who are more comfortable wearing it for most exercises, that works too. It is important that you don’t become reliant on it because that can cause negative effects that you just don’t want.
Finding the right weightlifting 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 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)
- Kingma, Idsart; Faber, Gert S.; Suwarganda, Edin K.; Bruijnen, Tom B.; et al. (2006). “Effect of a Stiff Lifting Belt on Spine Compression During Lifting”. (source)
- Cholewicki, Jacek; Juluru, Krishna; Radebold, Andrea; Panjabi, Manohar M. (1999). “Lumbar spine stability can be augmented with an abdominal belt and/or increased intra-abdominal pressure”. (source)
- Frankel, Christopher C.; Kravitz, Len. “The Weight Belt Controversy”. (source)