What We Like
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As a novice strength trainee, your priority should be perfecting your technique for lifts. This includes the big 3 movements: squats, deadlifts, and bench press. Once you can lift effectively, your next goal is to progress your numbers. A weight lifting belt will help you with lifting safely and increasing your lifts.
In this article, we review the Harbinger 4" Padded Weight Lifting Belt. As a well-known brand, this belt has value and provides great quality. The padded cushion and tapered design helps increase comfort. But is this belt right for you? Read on and learn all about the belt's features and how it measured up during our testing.
Harbinger 4" Padded Leather Weight Lifting Belt Review
Harbinger Fitness has been around for a very long time and is well known among fitness enthusiasts. They’re well known for top-notch weight lifting accessories from wraps to speed ropes. Popular fitness athletes from around the world use Harbinger products.
Unlike other companies, Harbinger even has a blog with helpful articles on strength training. When it comes to belts, they offer a wide selection from Nylon to leather made. What I found interesting is the design of many of their belts. Some come with a foam core and others have contours.
How does Harbinger’s weight lifting belts and powerlifting belts compare to others on the market? We did research on all aspects of Harbinger’s Padded Leather Contoured Weight Lifting Belt and have a full review for you. Based on our rating system we provide you all the information you need to make a proper decision.
Who Is This Product For?
Harbinger Fitness started in 1988 by fitness enthusiast and entrepreneur David McCrane. Their very first product was an innovative Wrist-Stabilizing Glove designed for skateboarders to prevent injuries. The quality and popularity of their glove propelled the idea of other weight lifting products.
McCrane teamed up with 8-time Mr.Olympia Lee Haney to carefully design weight lifting belts, gloves, and straps. Now, Harbinger Fitness sells strength training accessories with advanced designs and pushes the market higher. Harbinger Fitness products are available in 75,000 retail stores worldwide.
Their weight lifting belt offerings are no different in quality than all their other products. The belts are made of the highest quality materials and designed for the user. One popular product among female lifters is the 5” Foam Core Belt which features lightweight material.
For our review, we use the 4 inch Harbinger Padded Leather Contoured Weight Lifting Belt. We were excited to receive the belt and it came in a nice packaged box. Just unpacking the box and handling it you can tell it's similar to other Olympic weight lifting belts.
Made of genuine leather, the belt is lightweight in your hand. This is because the whole belt is not made of one piece of leather. Instead, there is a tough outer layer of leather and the inside layers have a combo of cloth and possibly foam.
I personally know a few lifters who use the 4 inch Harbinger Leather belt and can contend with the material. The inside layer is softer than a full leather belt. It's quite comfortable with a shirt on but it's not as soft as a suede surface. The leather did give when we used it during lifts. This was a pleasant surprise since many pure leather belts tend to be quite stiff. I did find the belt to be secure and it didn’t slip during any of my lifts.
The flexible belt fit my torso nicely without restricting breathing. The inside padded region did give a nice sense of stability on my lower back. It's specifically for users who enjoy extra back support during their lifts. I personally prefer a consistent width all around the belt and that’s what we recommend for our best weight lifting belts.
The back foam padded portion of the belt is 6 inches wide which is quite big for anyone who has a shorter torso. The Harbinger Weight Lifting Belt tapers to 4 inches at the front which is perfect for any belt. It gives good torso coverage at the front, but the back felt a little uncomfortable for me.
The belt looks clean and the color scheme is navy blue/black with a tan suede inner lining. Although the belt has no finishes or treatments, it's quite fashionable. The engraved letters Harbinger in the padded area of the belt is not in your face so it still suits my style. The leather and suede components have double stitching to hold it together. The stitching gives the belt a nice look without being distracting.
Overview of the Features
Since they offer so many other variants of weight lifting belts, Harbinger belts have many cool features. The leather padded belt felt durable on first look. With a stainless steel buckle the fastening mechanism is a double prong. The buckle has an overlapped leather on it with an addition of 4 bolts to really secure it in place. The extra bolts with leather really give the belt a durable look and feel.
The overall design is for durability and longevity. The buckle, leather, and padded back layer shows the amount of attention Harbinger put towards the belt. Just like their first ever wrist wrap, the belt’s padded section is to prevent injuries. According to Harbinger fitness, they encourage people to use their belt for fitness and back support alike.
The Harbinger weight belt is available in a total of four sizes ranging from Small to Extra Large. I got the medium and it fit quite snugly which is perfect. Harbinger has a sizing guide on their website which I recommend you follow but if you’re not sure we also have a guide on how to get the perfect sized weight lifting belt. The key is measuring your waist, not your pant size.
This thickness of the belt is somewhere between 7mm to 10mm. As I mentioned before, it's quite flexible but still stiff. The belt bends and flexes without wearing down. Although the belt has no approval for powerlifting or weightlifting competitions, I would use the belt for training. In terms of thickness and overall feel, elite powerlifters and advanced weight lifters will enjoy a more rigid option.
How to Use this Weight Lifting Belt
Wearing the Harbinger Leather Weight Lifting belt during my workout helped me greatly. The belt performed well with the standard lifts: squats, deadlifts, and bench press. I didn’t feel the belt was too tight or too loose on my torso. The belt felt comfortable and I had enough stability to have confidence during my strength lifts. I like the padding during my bench press as it kept my back arched.
During squats I tested the weightlifting belt at the bottom of my lift. I breathed in and braced to get ready for the lowering part of my squat. Once I got to the bottom of my squat I breathed out to test how uncomfortable the belt was. Normally, you breathe out at the top of the light. The Harbinger leather belt kept my torso upright at the bottom of the movement even after breathing out.
Overall the belt had both comfortable and uncomfortable traits. The pad provided an extra cushion when I fastened the bread nice and tight. This is the first belt I’ve tried with the pad and I can imagine other belts providing discomfort if not properly sized. If you have a shorter torso, the large pad might come in the way during lifts. Be sure to get a proper size for your weight lifting belt so you can lift safely and efficiently.
Now to move on to the uncomfortable aspects of the belt. The thickness is not as much as an IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) approved weight lifting belt, but it still feels stiff at the ribcage. Next, the belt did pinch slightly during Olympic movements. Don’t get me wrong here, during my Olympic lifts I could feel extra mobility which is what you want from a belt. But this caused some pinching and digging into my hips. Over time, both these issues will sort themselves out with more uses. As the leather breaks in, the edges will soften and not dig into your hips as much.
There are many alternatives to the Harbinger Weight Lifting Belt but none that are contoured and leather. If the Steel Sweat Weight Lifting Belt doesn’t fit your fancy, there are many alternatives available. The Stoic Powerlifting Belt is very similar to the Steal Sweats version. The powerlifting belt is also 10mm thick and 4 inches wide. Further, there is a single prong fastening mechanism and versions with double prongs. However, the Steel Sweat belt is lower priced and does give more value overall.
The other alternative we mentioned above is the Dark Iron Fitness Weight Lifting Belt. This belt is nearly identical to the CLAW Steel Sweat belt. Lightweight and thin, the belt is great for CrossFitters and some recreational strength athletes.
The Harbinger Leather Weight Lifting Belt is an all in one product. Considering your weight lifting needs, this belt will keep you happy for some time. It's one of the cheapest belts available on the market. What’s even better, Harbinger offers a 90-day manufacturer warranty. So even if the belt does wear down, you can rest easy knowing Harbinger will stand behind their quality.
I can see why this belt is many lifters' favourites. The added comfort with extra back support is ideal for many weight lifters beginner to advanced. Olympic weightlifters and CrossFit athletes will enjoy the flexibility of the belt without losing function. This belt will help you lift more weight with mobility while not hitting your wallet.