Best Weightlifting Belts 2020: Complete Reviews and Comparisons
Weightlifting is not only a common sport that has been around for centuries, but it’s also grown to be one of the most popular methods of muscle strengthening and growth method.
Unfortunately, many injuries have been caused by weightlifting, and the majority of them have to do with lifting too much weight that your spine can withhold. Thankfully, the invention of weightlifting belts has helped cut those injuries in half.
If you’re into weightlifting and need a belt, we’ve composed a list of them to review so that we can conclude which the best weight lifting belt is. You can use our extensive research to assist you with your future purchasing decisions.
Best Weightlifting Belt Reviews
1. Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Pro Belt
Dark Iron Fitness focuses on creating high-quality weightlifting accessories for serious weightlifters. They work hard to ensure that their products are of sound quality, and are aesthetically pleasing while pushing their customers to believe in their success.
Dark Iron Fitness believes that meeting your fitness goals is your responsibility, and they are a reliable brand that helps you get there. While the company only has two weightlifting belts, they are both highly respected. Of the two, we chose the Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Pro Belt.
The Dark Iron Fitness Belt is made of genuine, high-quality cowhide leather that doesn’t wear or tear even under extreme pressure. The hide is made in a way to be soft and flexible, providing you with more mobility while being supportive and reducing weightlifting belt discomfort.
The belt is integrated with a heavy-duty, two-prong metal buckle that is built to last. It comes in a variety of sizes that range from extra-small to extra-large and weighs approximately 1.5 pounds. In addition to having an aesthetically pleasing, sleek, red-and-black design, it’s always easily washed with just a dampened cloth.
Dark Iron Fitness customers continuously praise the brand by reporting that they’re able to lift up to 600 pounds without noticing any cracks, wear, or tear on the belt. Additionally, the USA Powerlifting and International Powerlifting Federation have certified the belt for competitions. It offers full lumbar support and is recommended for bodybuilding, weightlifting, CrossFit, high-intensity training, and powerlifting.
What's to like about the Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Pro Belt
We found that the build and stitching of the Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Pro Belt were fantastic. It’s also ergonomically designed for perfect comfort and support, and we like that even beginners can use the belt to help teach them proper form and posture. The price itself is one of the most surprising features; it’s incredibly affordable, and the fact that it’s so lightweight makes it very comfortable to wear.
What's not to like about the Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Pro Belt
Unfortunately, we did find that the sizes run on the smaller side, so we recommend purchasing a size up. The belt itself only comes in one style, which we understand is part of the brand’s aesthetic. We also noticed that the black and red dye did bleed into clothing when exposed to sweat.
2. Fire Team Fit Weightlifting Belt
Fire Team Fit is an independent company based out of New Mexico and operated by veterans. The inspirational brand has taken the rigorous fitness routines of the Marine Corps and used them to help create innovative and high-quality products that athletes can use during their fitness routines. In addition to weight belts, they also sell a variety of other fitness accessories.
Fire Team Fit ensures that their customers know how much they not only appreciate their business but their ability to see the importance of fitness in so many American servicemen and women. The Fire Team Fit Weightlifting Belt is the only belt that they have, and it was our duty and honor to provide a review, give back, and support our Veterans.
The Fire Team Fit Weightlifting Belt has high-end manufacturing that ensures your belt is going to last during rigorous weightlifting. The sturdy roller buckle, along with a superior and unique design provide support whenever it’s needed. It also has wider ends that help offer maximum abdominal support, and the narrower sides are designed to fit naturally and comfortably at your sides, so there is no pinching at the rib cage.
The belt comes in a variety of colors and offers support to your abdomen, lower back, and veterans through certain foundations that Fire Team Fit works with. The belt can be worn during multiple exercises, as the durable, Velcro design provides optimum mobility.
What's to like about the Fire Team Fit Weightlifting Belt
The overall concept of the brand as a whole is something that we were eager to get behind and love. We love that Fire Team Fit donates $1 from each belt sold to various non-profit organizations such as the Marine Combat Veterans and Marine Special Operators.
What's not to like about the Fire Team Fit Weightlifting Belt
We did notice that the sizing of the belt runs large, which can prove to be an issue as there is only so much Velcro provided on the belt. Additionally, we noticed that the tip of the belt closure began to deform after a few uses.
3. RitFit Weight Lifting Belt
RitFit is a philanthropic company founded in 2014. They are known for donating many of their products to support foundations that promote good health and fitness. As a company, they work hard to provide high-quality workout and fitness equipment that helps their consumers meet their fitness goals.
The RitFit Weight Lifting Belt comes in a variety of sizes that range from small to XX-Large, and they’re ergonomically designed to give you ample lumbar support during a wide range of weight lifting exercises. It has a six-inch wide foam core that’s waterproof and includes RitFit’s brushed tricot lining with soft edges. The design of the weightlifting belt ensures a reduction of spinal flexion with the utmost back and abdominal support, and it’s covered by a 100% satisfaction, full manufacturer’s warranty.
What's to like about the RitFit Weight Lifting Belt
We are always thrilled to support a nonprofit company that helps other organizations in need. The belt itself is also incredibly affordable, and the solid steel buckle that works with the Velcro helps to keep the weight belt firmly in place.
What's not to like about the RitFit Weight Lifting Belt
The belt itself runs smaller in size, so it’s recommended that you purchase a size up, which is an inconvenience. We also noticed a bit of an odor from the material of the belt, though it did seem to diminish after a few days.
4. Harbinger Padded Leather Weight Lifting Belt
The Harbinger brand has been going strong since 1988 when the company started with wrist-stabilizing gloves. Since then, they have broadened their product lines to include a wide variety of fitness and athletic gear that help their customers meet their goals.
After nearly three decades of operation, Harbinger products can be found in over 70 countries and more than 75,000 retail stores. They offer a wide variety of weightlifting belts, but we chose the famous Harbinger Padded Leather Weight Lifting Belt for our review. Let’s find out if it’s the best weight lifting belt.
The Harbinger Padded Leather Belt was designed and manufactured with optimal comfort in mind. It has a four-inch or six-inch contoured shape that helps with an appropriately snug fit around your body in a way that it doesn’t interfere with your weightlifting routine. The belt itself is made out of 100% leather and suede that work together to ensure both strength and comfort, and it’s constructed with double stitching to enhance durability.
Additionally, it comes in a variety of sizes, has an interior foam cushion for extra comfort. Lastly, it has a heavy-duty dual prong roller buckle that enhances tension, ensuring a tight fit.
What's to like about the Harbinger Padded Leather Weight Lifting Belt
In addition to the affordable price tag of the belt, we were impressed with the build quality. The leather is incredibly durable, so we are confident that it won’t rip, wear, or tear for an extended time. We also enjoyed the double-pronged buckle and the suede lining that helped to make it more comfortable.
What's not to like about the Harbinger Padded Leather Weight Lifting Belt
It seems to be a frequent issue amongst many weightlifting belts, but we noticed that the sizing runs small in the Harbinger belt. The buckle is also awkwardly placed, which can cause the prongs to dig in slightly.
5. Element 26 Self-Locking Weight Lifting Belt
Element 26 is a very new brand that has been in the business since 2017. It was founded by a US Army and Military HIIT trainer and a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Regardless of how new the brand is, they have made great strides in the weightlifting community and are rapidly making themselves known with their high-quality products that range from weightlifting belts to apparel.
The Element 26 Self-Locking Weight Lifting Belt is a revolutionary product that features the brand’s self-locking technology. It works by releasing when you pull on the release roller, but promises never to slip or release during your weightlifting training. As additional security, the belt also features a Velcro closure.
The belt is made from premium nylon and has no padded inserts or uneven pressure distribution. The concept was designed by a Doctor of Physical Therapy who ensured every placement and material used was suitable and functional enough to provide ample lumbar, back and spinal support.
The Element 26 has a straight, even design and doesn’t consist of any tapering or contouring, which increases safety, stability, and strength during training, and makes it ideal for powerlifters, Olympic lifters, and CrossFit lifters. Additionally, the belt approved by weightlifting federations and includes a lifetime warranty.
What's to like about the Element 26 Self-Locking Weight Lifting Belt
Element 26 is a Veteran-owned and operated company, so we like being able to support our veterans through a worthy business. We also love that the belt is unisex and comes in four different colors. The included lifetime warranty also helps us feel secure in our purchase.
What's not to like about the Element 26 Self-Locking Weight Lifting Belt
We expected the belt to be thicker than it was, though it didn’t seem to take away from the back support. The sizing is also off, so we suggest looking into purchasing a size down.
Lifting weights can be extraordinarily dangerous, and it’s exhausting to your body. While the experience itself is rewarding on many levels, you have to take proper caution when participating in such heavy activities.
Weightlifting belts are designed to help protect you against possible injury, so it’s crucial that you choose one that fits your specific requirements. We’ve developed this buyer’s guide to help you understand the factors that you should take into account when purchasing a weightlifting belt.
The majority of weight lifting belts fall into three types. While there are various versions of each type or tier of belts, the choice is based on the individual user. We’ve broken down the three types of belts, so you can get a better understanding of where you’re at, and where you want your goals to be.
- Cardio Type
Cardio weightlifting belts are made of lightweight, flexible material that generally targets the problem areas around your waist and mid-section. The cardio belt, or more commonly known as a waist trainer, is best recommended for beginners who are looking to begin their weight loss journey, require assistance with posture, and those interested in high-interval cardio training that needs proper form. They are also a great way to practice bodyweight and free weight exercises.
- Supportive Type
Supportive weightlifting belts are usually made from memory foam, heavy neoprene, nylon, and clamps. The memory foam ensures that it’s comfortable, and these belts are great for not just beginners, but anyone with back issues.
They can be used for moderate lifting, but the wider-set supportive designs are best for those with more experience. Additionally, they help with maintaining proper posture during your routine and help with bodyweight and light-free weight training.
- Strength Type
The strength type belts are at the top of the line. They are usually made from leather, have double prong closures and a lever style. The belts come in a variety of sizes, are highly durable, and are recommended for experienced lifters who have mastered their form and technique, are looking to achieve new records or enter a competition, and for veteran lifters with past injuries who require additional safety.
When looking at the width of your weightlifting belt, it’s essential for you to understand that the width is what lets you know how much back support you get. Depending on your shape, size, and build, the width is going to vary.
Always keep in mind that purchasing a belt that is too wide under the impression that it grows with your needs doesn’t do any good. The wider your belt is, the least mobile that you become, so it might not be any use to you if you’re just starting.
The material used in the design of the belt also plays a role, but it’s important that you get fitted for a weightlifting belt that is suitable for your height. If you require assistance with it, you can get additional help from any professional sporting equipment store that sells weightlifting belts.
Regardless of the type of weightlifting belt that you purchase, it should be either 10- or 13-millimeter variations. The thickness of the belt is there to provide the optimal stiffness that keeps your spine positioned, so you don’t risk injuring yourself by causing it to bend.
The thicker the belt, the more durable it’s going to be. However, there are federation rules if you are entering competitions; your belt can be no thicker than 13 millimeters.
If you’re a beginner, you might believe that the 13-millimeter variation is the best option for you because of the added support. What you don’t realize is that it’s also more uncomfortable, and you might find it difficult to get into lifting positions. Unless you are planning to enter competitions or lift profoundly heavy weights, the 10-millimeter thickness is typically recommended.
Just like there are three primary types of weightlifting belts, there are three primary kinds of materials used to manufacture the belt. Each material offers its pros and cons, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference, and trial and error.
The majority of weightlifters prefer belts made from leather because of how stiff and durable it is. They do tend to be more expensive than the others, but they are also impeccably constructed and highly utilized by a variety of weightlifters. If you go to a gym, you’re likely to see someone wearing one.
Weightlifters who prefer comfort tend to lean towards belts made from suede. They stay in place while you are lifting, but they are softer and don’t give off the same rugged feel as leather belts do.
You might think that Olympic athletes prefer leather belts because of their durability. However, the majority of those athletes want their weightlifting belts to be manufactured from Velcro. The material provides extreme mobility, which is beneficial during competitions and helps improve smoother lifting.
How you use your belt (whether or not it’s getting used correctly) and the type of weight lifting you are doing play significant roles in how much weight gets added once you put on a belt. There is actually no set number on how much more weight you can lift by wearing a belt, but 99 out of 100 people can lift approximately 5% to 15% more than they can without wearing one.
It’s important to remember that there is a learning curve, and it’s imperative that you use your belt correctly to reap the rewards. Consulting with a local specialist or certified trainer is a great way to do this.
There is a wide variety of sizes for weightlifting belts, and they change depending on the type of material used to construct them. For the sake of this guide, we’re going to provide you with the basic size measurements for leather belts because they are the most commonly used.
- X-Small: 22 to 31 inches
- Small: 27 to 36 inches
- Medium: 31 to 40 inches
- Large: 35 to 44 inches
- X-Large: 39 to 48 inches
- XX-Large: 43 to 52 inches
- XXX-Large: 47 to 56 inches
You can find your size with standard seamstress tape and measuring four inches above where your pants sit.
Weight Lifting Belt FAQs
How to Wear a Weightlifting Belt?
If you are new to wearing a weightlifting belt, it’s generally recommended that you have someone seasoned to assist you during your first time, even though getting your belt into place is personal. As a lifter, your belt should be positioned in a way that ensures it covers most of your erectors and abdominals.
Ideally, it should rest an inch or two above your pelvis for maximum intra-abdominal pressures. Remember that you won’t receive the benefits of your belt if it isn’t fitted appropriately. You are going to know if your belt is adjusted incorrectly, because you can feel discomfort, rubbing, pinching, and pressure against the top of your pelvis and your lower abdomen.
When to Use a Weight Belt?
Some type of weightlifting belts is recommended for lifters at all stages. Even as a beginner, you can start with a waist trainer that is going to start you on the path of perfecting your posture. If you are more advanced and are already lifting heavier weights, you should be wearing a weightlifting belt each time you lift.
The belts are there to provide maximum rigidity and tension to your torso, along with providing additional support and stabilization to your spine, which is the area most susceptible to injury during lifting. You should also be wearing a weightlifting belt if you’re a seasoned lifter who has had a previous injury, and you’re returning to the gym after getting cleared by the doctor.
What Does a Weightlifting Belt Do?
If you believe that wearing a weightlifting belt allows you to add a load of extra weight to your bar, you’re wrong on that front. Properly constructed weightlifting belts work to support your spine by ensuring it remains stable when under the pressure of heavy loads.
The pressure and tension that your abdominal muscles make as you press against the belt ensure that you can lift more weight safely. The belt does that so to keep your spine more secure.
Overall, weightlifting belts are there to help prevent injuries while you raise your weights, and they help you to perfect your form and posture. The proper design and support of your spine work with the belt and your muscles, making it easier for you to strengthen them quicker.
How to Choose a Weightlifting Belt?
Choosing a weightlifting belt that’s right for you depends on the goals that you have set for yourself and your current experience level. As a flat-out beginner, looking into waist trainers is the ideal option, so you get enough support with posture, but not enough that it takes away your body’s ability to develop its strength.
Outside of that, let’s take a look at some other options:
- Olympic and Experienced Lifters
Advanced and experienced lifters require belts that are supportive, durable, rugged, and secure to keep up with heavy lifts. If you fit into this category, it might be beneficial to look towards leather or Velcro weightlifting belts.
Velcro is fantastic on the mobility front while also providing support and smooth movements. Leather belts provide unprecedented support that is highly valued amongst heavy-duty weightlifters.
If powerlifting is where you’re at, then your strength is put to the test. Mobility isn’t as much of a factor as thickness, width, durability, and rigidness. If you are a powerlifter, it’s greatly recommended that you seek out a leather belt in your size and one that fits the measurements of your competitive federation’s regulations.
Do Weight Lifting Belts Help?
Yes, weightlifting belts help, but it all depends on where you’re at in your weight lifting adventures. If you’re a beginner who is using a belt that’s designed for an experienced or professional lifter, you might be doing more damage than good. Not only is it undoubtedly uncomfortable for you, but your body is developing a dependency on the belt instead of building its own strength.
Weightlifting belts are highly helpful when it comes to preventing injuries, and even making it so that your support and posture is great enough to lift upwards of 15% more weight. You might have to cycle through a few belts to find your ideal match, but once you do, it is worth the time it takes to find one.
After going through all of the weightlifting belts and testing them out under various conditions that included a lot of weight lifting, careful examination of the product construction, customer reviews, price comparison, and more, we were capable of determining the overall best belt.
The Element 26 Self-Locking Weight Lifting Belt is our choice for the best weight lifting belt because of the experienced and qualified people behind the unique design, the function, performance, and affordability, as well as because it is suitable for such a wide variety of weightlifters including powerlifters. However, if you are looking for an alternative and are a beginner, we highly recommend the Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Pro Belt.
Regardless of your choice, you’re going to get a weightlifting belt that helps support your need to strengthen and grow your muscles, all while protecting yourself in the process. See you in the gym!