Like most sports, weightlifting and its derived modalities are activities that require the use of specific equipment. In our guide, we want to focus on one of the fundamental accessories you'll need to practice this discipline: the weightlifting belt. This item will allow you to perform even the most demanding of exercises.
While weightlifters certainly develop incredible strength in the abdominal and lumbar areas, the work input on the lower back makes it necessary to add extra protection for the body. These weightlifting belts do exactly that and will help prevent very serious injuries that could otherwise occur.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our Selection: The Best Weightlifting Belts
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Weightlifting Belts
- 4.1 What are weightlifting belts exactly?
- 4.2 How can I choose my weightlifting belt?
- 4.3 Are there various types of weightlifting belts?
- 4.4 For which exercises should I use a belt?
- 4.5 Should I always use my weightlifting belt?
- 4.6 Do weightlifting belts increase athletes' performance?
- 4.7 What are the best weightlifting belt brands?
- 5 Buyer's Guide
- 6 Summary
- Weightlifting belts are essential to further support the abdominal and lumbar areas.
- Using this accessory can avoid serious injuries in the lower back region.
- The main characteristics of weightlifting belts include their manufacturing materials, the fastening system they use, and the fit they offer.
Our Selection: The Best Weightlifting Belts
There is an incredible range of weightlifting belts on the market, and we'll be looking at the most popular models in the following section. These products have received great reviews from past users and offer top quality. Your health is on the line, so make sure you pick a reliable and durable model for all your training sessions.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Weightlifting Belts
What are weightlifting belts exactly?
How can I choose my weightlifting belt?
Comfort is a fundamental aspect that will guarantee the most important point: the level of safety that the belt offers. This is why you should always opt for a quality product, regardless of your level. Luckily, good belts made from more affordable materials are available for beginners. This will be enough if you do not have more advanced athletic goals in mind.
Are there various types of weightlifting belts?
|Squat, bench press, and deadlift||Snatch, clean and jerk|
|You use your maximum strength.||It favors technique and force-velocity.|
|The belt is wider with an even shape.||Wider at the back and narrow at the front, some models have extra padding.|
|The growth of the abdomen is limited to protect the spine.||They offer greater freedom to execute the complete movement.|
For which exercises should I use a belt?
- Hip thrusts
- Bicep curls
- Trapezius (barbell on the neck)
- Military press (emphasis on the shoulders, triceps and abdominal area)
- Incline row with bars or dumbbells
- Horizontal row
- Good-mornings (to develop the lower back region)
Should I always use my weightlifting belt?
You should indeed work on your abdominal and lumbar regions just like the rest of your musculature; your stability and overall balance depend on these muscles. Limiting your training on these areas will naturally reduce their development, which will in turn increase your risk of injury when you're not using your belt.
Do weightlifting belts increase athletes' performance?
In other words, they hamper the strengthening of certain key areas in order to provide greater stability and facilitate movement. Just like with most things, a healthy balance seems to be the best option. In this case, it means that you have to train all these muscles moderately so that they gain the necessary strength while using your weightlifting belt for greater efforts.
What are the best weightlifting belt brands?
- Dark Iron Fitness: Created in 2015, this company that specializes in the creation of high-quality weightlifting accessories has managed to make a name for itself in the industry in very little time. With numerous best-selling products on the market, Dark Iron Fitness has established itself as a household name when it comes to weightlifting belts.
- RDX: This British manufacturer of martial arts sportswear and accessories puts an emphasis on boxing, Muay Thai and MMA, whose athletes often require weightlifting belts for their training. They create and manufacture all their products according to strict quality control rules and offer very competitive prices.
- Adidas: The German sportswear manufacturer needs no introduction, having been a worldwide industry leader for decades already. Innovation and quality are the hallmarks of this company.
- ProFitness: This online brand specializes in weightlifting accessories, and its products have gained recognition in the bodybuilding and fitness market. It offers a wide range of quality products at incredibly affordable prices.
When the time comes to purchase your very own weightlifting belt, you will have to evaluate a series of key criteria that include thickness, width or fit. The most important is that you feel comfortable and protected at all times during your training sessions. Don't overlook the manufacturing materials and the fastening system either.
Weightlifting belts come in different thicknesses, the most common being 10 and 13 millimeters. Providing greater support to the abdominal area, the thicker models are used by professional and elite competitors, as well as athletes that practice CrossFit – a fitness sport that integrates a variety of movements from different disciplines. Amateurs, on the other hand, use the thinnest belts.
The manufacturing material of your weightlifting belt is another important criterion. The quality of the model you choose should be determined by your athletic level. Beginners don't need such demanding products and can therefore have a lower budget. Here are the main materials and their characteristics:
- Leather: Preferred by professional athletes, these belts are thicker and provide greater support. They can be made from suede or higher-quality leathers.
- Nylon: Lighter than leather, these products are not recommended to lift heavy weights. They offer more rigidity and durability than foam belts.
- Foam: These models are tailored to beginners and athletes working with little weight. They're comfortable, very breathable, and more affordable than the materials mentioned above.
Look for the belt that best fits between your ribs and waist to avoid discomfort or potential injuries during your workouts. As you probably know, comfort is a key factor for better performance, so a width of 4 inches will be more than enough unless you're lifting very heavy weights.
Type of Lift
We've discussed this before, so you already know that the belt you need will present different characteristics depending on the type of lift you want to perform. In that regard, we identify two equally important weightlifting belts – those for competitive use, and those for general training. Here is a quick guide to help you choose the right type:
- Weights: These belts are designed for Olympic-style lifting, bodybuilding, CrossFit, and general training. They generally have a width of 4 inches in the lower back.
- Competition: They are used by athletes lifting very heavy weights in squats or deadlift. Providing greater rigidity to the torso while keeping the spine straight, they have a thickness that ranges between 10 and 15 millimeters for training. Note that you cannot use a belt exceeding 13 millimeters during official competitions.
Weightlifting belts use three main types of fastening systems. The lever buckle is the most reliable can be difficult to adjust. Commonly found on high-quality belts, the regular buckle is another great option. The Velcro strap is the least resistant, but often the most affordable. Here is a quick introduction to these three fastening systems:
- Velcro: Usually found on nylon belts, this system is quick and easy to put on and take off. It will wear out with time and use and won't provide the perfect fit anymore.
- Belt buckle: Most common in leather belts, some models have two prongs for an ideal fit.
- Lever buckle: This is the strongest and safest fastening system. Its only drawback is that you need a screwdriver to adjust it.
Weightlifting belts are truly critical accessories for the proper practice of various sports modalities and physical exercises during which you particularly strain your abdominal and lumbar areas. They allow us to avoid severe injuries that can impact our daily life.
That being said, remember that the use of weightlifting belts cannot be constant. Act with common sense and caution since you need to train your abdominal and lumbar regions as much as the rest of your muscles. This part of your musculature is fundamental to give stability and balance to all your movements.
(Source of featured image: Spotpoint74: 76530086/ 123rf.com)