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A Beginner’s Handbook to Purchasing a Weightlifting Belt

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If you’re diving into serious barbell lifting, you’ll likely consider investing in a weightlifting belt down the line. While belts don’t necessarily prevent injuries, they do aid in lifting heavier weights, which can enhance your squatting and deadlifting capabilities, thus promoting strength gains. Consequently, they’ve become a staple accessory for many strength enthusiasts.

Understanding the ins and outs of weightlifting belts is crucial. Here, we’ll explore their purpose, functionality, and suitability for different individuals. However, even after grasping the basics, questions may still arise. So, let’s delve deeper.

When should you acquire a weightlifting belt?

Coaches vary in their opinions regarding when novices should purchase a belt. Some might advocate waiting until you reach specific lifting milestones or demonstrate proficiency in fundamental lifts. However, there’s no universally agreed-upon threshold for belt acquisition. Essentially, a weightlifting belt serves as a tool that anyone can utilize at any stage of their lifting journey. While it doesn’t substitute for proper bracing techniques, it can facilitate learning these techniques by providing tactile feedback when bracing correctly.

In my view, if you’re contemplating whether to invest in a belt, it’s likely an opportune moment to do so. Since many high-quality options necessitate online ordering with extended lead times, it’s prudent to initiate the purchase sooner rather than later.

What type of weightlifting belt should you select?

A myriad of options flood the market when you search for weightlifting belts online, often targeting gym-goers more interested in appearance than functionality. Let’s sift through the noise and focus on the belts commonly favored by strength sport enthusiasts.

Velcro Belt: Begin with the 4-inch velcro belt—an all-around versatile option. These belts, such as those from reputable brands like 2Pood, boast easy adjustability and wearability. Featuring a velcro closure and a secure locking mechanism, they offer convenience and stability. Though the velcro may degrade over time, they generally endure frequent use admirably.

Price range: $30 to $70

Leather Single-Prong Belt: Leather belts with single-prong buckles resemble traditional belts but on a larger scale. Available in widths of 3 or 4 inches and thicknesses of 10 or 13 millimeters, these sturdy belts exude durability. Opt for single-prong variants over double-prong ones for ease of use during workouts.

Price range: $100 to $150

Leather Lever Belt: Lever belts, eschewing buckles for a lever mechanism, offer hassle-free fastening. Their quick-release feature, exemplified by brands like Inzer’s Forever lever, appeals to lifters seeking convenience. While initially pricier, their durability and user-friendly design justify the investment.

Price range: $100 to $150

How to determine the right size Your waist measurement dictates the belt length you should order. Refer to the sizing chart provided by the belt manufacturer to select the appropriate size. If between sizes, consider potential fluctuations in waist size due to weight loss or muscle gain over time. For most lifters, a 4-inch width suffices, although some may prefer a 3-inch width for deadlifts.

When it comes to thickness, 10 millimeters generally suffices for optimal comfort and flexibility. Reserve 13-millimeter belts for seasoned lifters accustomed to their rigidity.

Belts to avoid While numerous options abound, exercise caution with certain selections:

  • Double-prong belts, while aesthetically appealing, prove cumbersome to operate.
  • Velcro belts lacking a locking mechanism may come undone mid-lift, compromising stability.
  • Tapered belts, with their narrower front and wider back, have fallen out of favor in favor of velcro belts.
  • Extremely budget-friendly belts may sacrifice longevity and performance.

Armed with this knowledge, you’re well-equipped to select a belt that aligns with your lifting needs and preferences. Whether opting for a locking velcro belt or a sturdy leather variant, prioritize functionality over aesthetics, and enhance your lifting experience accordingly.