How to Measure and Size Your Weight Lifting Belt In 5 Minutes
We’ve all been there before.
You order a piece of clothing online or buy it in store without trying it on. Then you come home. Only to find out it doesn’t fit you!
As if this situation is not worse enough. Now you must return the item and get the proper sizing which might not be available.
The same goes for a weight lifting belt.
I know what you’re thinking. Can't I just choose the same size as my pants? NO. A hard no. If I could shout at you I would.
So how do I measure my weight lifting belt size?
I will go into detail of how to get the perfect size for your weight lifting belt or powerlifting belt. I also include some factors you should consider when choosing your belt size.
The Most Important Decision of Your Weight Lifting Career
The most crucial part of buying a weight lifting belt will be determining your size.
But why is it so crucial?
Imagine you buy your weight lifting or powerlifting belt from online. You use your regular pant size. The belt comes to your house and you open the box up like a child on Christmas. You try to put it on and even at the tightest point, the weight lifting belt is loose.
Now, you don’t want to go through the process of returning it and waiting another few weeks for a new one. So, what do you do? You take your chances. The only problem is this isn’t as bad as a loose belt during a dinner party. This is much worse.
You get to the gym and start off your lifting routine. You warm up to your heaviest set. Put on your oversized belt that just fits because of your shirt layer. Now you go to brace, but you don’t feel pressure pushing back from the belt. You go on to squat despite the lack of core strength. You’re risking your physical well-being and a potentially disabling injury.
Don’t do it. It’s not worth it. I’ve seen countless people in the gym that can’t lift as much as they want. All because of their limitations from a physical injury.
The same is true for a belt that is too tight. If you’re at the biggest setting of your belt and it's still too tight. Don’t take your chances.
A belt that’s too tight can limit your range of motion and cause you to change your form. What’s worse is that form will almost always be worse and injury inducing. Not to mention that you could have some difficulty breathing while wearing a tight belt.
Now that you know how serious I am about your weight lifting belt size, let's go through the steps.
How to Measure Your Waist?
Before you determine your weight lifting belt size, you need to measure your waist. I will describe how to do this step-by-step in the following description. This process is the same for both men and women’s weight lifting belts.
Use the physical landmarks I recommend to help you find your waist. Also, I would grab a notebook to write out key points for you to remember when it comes time to do this for real.
Step 1 – Grab a Measuring Tape or a piece of string long enough to wrap around your abdomen. If you’re trying to track your progress while lifting, a measuring tape is a must have. I would grab a measuring tape sooner rather than later, but a string is fine.
Step 2 – You may need a mirror long enough to see your torso in. If you don’t have a mirror, be sure to keep track of your measuring tape by looking behind you. You can also ask your friend or partner to help you measure if you don’t have a mirror.
Step 3 – I would recommend doing the next step without a shirt for most lifters. Only measure with clothing If you’re a strength athlete that likes to wear hoodies and layers to the gym. If this is the case, put on a thick sweater or add 2 inches to your waist measurement.
Step 4 – Grab the measuring tape or string and wrap it around your abdomen. Use your navel as a starting point. The tape or string should cover your navel almost completely. Next, try to keep the tape straight and wrap around your abdomen. For most lifters, this will cross the widest part of your abdomen, your love handles.
Step 5 – Once you have the correct position of your string or measuring tape. Relax your breathing. Don’t hold your breath or tuck in your tummy. Don’t force your abdomen out either. You’re trying to get an accurate reading while relaxed.
Step 6 – Don’t tighten the tape or string too much. Only enough to feel the tape wrapping around you. If you’re using a measuring tape, use this number as your waist size. For those of you that are using a piece of string, use a pen to mark where the string meets around. Use a ruler to measure the size of the string and that is your waist measurement. You’re done!
You’ve successfully measured your waist for a weight lifting belt size. Don’t forget to add 2 inches for your layers if you wear thick gym clothes. Finally, before you go out and buy your weight lifting belt, consider some of the factors below.
Will You Be Bulking or Cutting?
Some of you lifters may be looking to lose some fat. But what does that mean for your weight lifting belt size? I would consider how much weight you plan to lose over the course of your cut. A program where you lose more than 30 lbs.
What if you’re losing more than 50lbs?
There are many powerlifters in the world who have a gut and still wear a belt safely. You may have to buy one belt while you’re cutting and another after you lose all the weight. The other option I would consider is, wait. Lose some fat and focus on technique with core stability for your heavy lifts. Shopping for a weight lifting belt will be a lot easier after you get closer to your goal weight. You can also check out our guide on belts for big and tall lifters.
Likewise, if you’re looking to bulk while lifting you should consider how much weight you plan to gain. Although there are different types of bulking, any program will result in some fat gain. If you are bulking quickly and plan to gain 20+ pounds in a few months, you should choose the next size category.
For instance, you measure and your waist is 36 inches. This measurement is either small or medium depending on the weight lifting belt. If it’s a small but right on the higher end of the size (ie, Small-27”-36”) you should get a medium since your waist will grow. Luckily, most belts have an overlap between sizes. So, getting one higher will still allow you to fit properly before bulking.
How Do I Know What Size Weight Lifting Belt to Buy?
Once you have your proper waist size and considered your various factors, you’re ready to choose! Different fitness companies have different belt sizing options. For instance, the Inzer Belt sizing chart puts medium as a waist size of 30 to 33 inches. Whereas, the RDX weight lifting belt sizing chart has medium as 28 inches to 32 inches.
What Size Powerlifting Belt Do I Need?
Powerlifting belts are like weight lifting belts. As we talk about in our comparison of the two types, the powerlifting kind has certain standards. The type of belt you want doesn’t change the powerlifting belt size or weight lifting belt size.
To measure for a powerlifting belt, follow the same steps as you would with a weight lifting belt. Get a measuring tape to wrap around your abdomen. Measure around the navel while relaxed. Use that as your size.
I hope this guide proved helpful for you. There are many factors to consider when buying a weight lifting belt but we can help. This guide shows how easy you can measure your weight lifting belt size and how important it is for your safety. If you have any questions drop me a message below!