Weight training, like any other form of physical activities, always carries some risk with it. Even if you have practiced perfect form over and over again, when pushing your body to the limits, something can still go wrong. Especially when it comes to the big lifts such as squat and deadlift, you can wreck yourself up pretty bad. So if you are going to put some serious weight on that bar, do yourself a favor and put on a powerlifting belt. If you are confused about which one to choose, here’s a quick review on the 3 best powerlifting belts.
3 Best Power Lifting Belts
Most people put on a belt with the sole purpose of preventing injuries, especially in the deadlift when there is a high risk of spinal flexion. But in reality, the belt prevents spinal flexion not by holding our back in place, but by increasing intra-abdominal pressure, it gives our core something to push against and get as tight as possible.
That’s why the traditional “bodybuilding” belt we see in every commercial gym is inadequate for the big lifts because it is too weak in the front, therefore cannot give us enough abdominal support.
So, if you are going to use a belt when deadlifting, use one that can give your core maximum support. That means equal width from back to front, 10 – 13 mm thick and is made out of high-quality leather. What’s that? A powerlifting belt of course. It’s much safer and can boost our performance to a whole new level. Besides, wearing the right shoes which suitable for deadlift is also important.
First, before putting on a belt, you must know how to breathe and brace properly when performing the deadlift. I will not go into details here since it’s not the main topic of this article, but just google “Valsalva maneuver” and you’ll know what to do.
Ok so for deadlifts, the most beneficial way to put on a belt can be different from person to person. Since when setting up for conventional deadlifts, your stomach can touch your thighs, so the belt might stand in the way. That’s why some like to wear it a little bit higher on their stomach, some prefer to wear it a bit looser, and some even wear the belt backward. I guess it is up to you to try and find out what suits you best.
Here are the factors you need to concern when choosing a powerlifting belt: the material, the width, the thickness, and the type of buckle.
Let’s get started with the most basic one – the material. In general, weight lifting belts are made from Velcro, suede, or leather. They come in order of soft, stiffer, and the stiffest.
The most common one used for powerlifting belts is leather, simply because of its stiffness and durability, thus shall give the lifter a steadier support when doing max lifts. But sometimes, a leather belt can be too stiff and make you feel uncomfortable, or find it difficult when setting up for the Romanian deadlift. Therefore you might wanna go for the mix suede/leather option like the famous Inzer’s Forever Belt, it can give you more comfort zone to work with.
Otherwise, a full velcro or suede belt should only be used for weight lifting or strongman movements that require more flexibility than ruggedness.
Now that you know your best bet is a leather belt, we can move on to the more detail stuff – the width and the thickness.
For width, you need equal support from front to back, so there’s no point to even mention a tapered belt. Now, since the belt act as a wall to protect our core from collapsing, the wider it is, the better right? Yes, but to a certain degree.
We want the belt to sit comfortably between our rib and hipbone without taking up all the space so that we can perform the lift as smoothly as possible. In that case, a 4 inches-wide all round belt is most ideal. Also, right now it’s the maximum width allowed by almost every single powerlifting federations out there, so I guess you don’t have any better choice.
For thickness, 10 – 13mm is most common, but again, the thicker is not always the better. Yes, a 13mm belt can provide a sturdier base, but if you are a smaller person with an S-size frame, it may hurt so bad that you won’t be able to get into the proper position. But of course, if possible, always go for the thicker one, since when you go for that PR, every millimeter counts.
Last but not least, we need to choose the type of buckle. This factor is also important for you when it comes to choosing the best powerlifting belts. In general, the available options are single pronged, double-pronged and lever belt.
Lever belt has some advantages over the pronged belt, such as it’s way easier to lock it on and get it off, also the level of tightness will not change from time to time. But it can also be a pain in the ass to adjust the fixed lever when your bodyweight change. And the real deal breaker here is that the price is much more expensive, not to mention the fact that you may need to buy replacement parts.
In my opinion, if you’re not a real powerlifter, then you should go for the pronged option. But single or double? The idea is that a double-pronged belt will distribute force more evenly so that it’s less likely to bust out under heavy loads. Scientifically speaking, this is true, but that does not mean single pronged belt will fail that easily. The truth is, it won’t, and it is a little bit easier to get tight than a double-pronged belt.
3 Best Power Lifting Belts
This is one of the best powerlifting belts I want to introduce you to. To be honest, at first glance, it looks very sturdy so I believe this one can give you great support for heavy compound lifts such as deadlifts and squats.
In details, with 4-inch width all the way around as well as 10 mm thickness, the belt can protect your back effectively. It is able to help you reduce the stress on your back from overextension on movements like the military press or rounding on the deadlift. That’s the reason why this belt is commonly used for heavy Powerlifting, Bodybuilding, Strongman and even heavy cross training.
This product is very durable as it’s made from vegetable tanned, full grain sole leather which is high-end material. It also features strong nylon stitching as well as ultra-heavy single prong buckle. That means you don’t have to worry about the longevity because it can last and remain supportive for a long period of time.
However, what impresses me most about this belt is that the manufacturer has eliminated the inner suede and left the edges of the belt un-dyed. Well, it’s not a problem because this expensive leather doesn’t need any cover-up. You may think it’s ugly and raw, but honestly, it is not a bad choice at all.
The downside of the belt is that you may have difficulty putting it if you use it for the first time. Actually, it is quite uncomfortable for you guys to unbuckle the belt as it is very stiff when new.
This is another belt I recommend and unlike the previous one, it looks very cool with the black color all around. The belt is 3/8” thick and 4” wide so it can totally support you when you’re performing compound movements which may be dangerous for your back. Besides, what I really love about this product is that it comes with a soft suede lining, thus, providing extra comfort. Therefore, you can use this one not only for heavy compound lifts but also for any other exercises.
With a single loot and a double-prong seamless roller buckle, it’s easy for you to use the closure system of the belt. More importantly, as I said earlier, a double-prong buckle can distribute force more evenly. That means it’s less likely to bust out under heavy loads as compared to single-prong models. It just takes you a few seconds to get it into a comfortable position. It’s also durable and there will be no signs of breaking down if you use it properly.
What I don’t like about this is that the buttons are likely to pop off after several uses so be careful about this. Trust me, you never want some buttons to pop off in half mid lift as it can cause serious injuries. Like most other powerlifting belts out there, this one is very stiff when new and it requires some breaking in. However, this belt is not expensive at all, so if you are not a professional powerlifter or bodybuilder, then it is still a good belt for the price.
What impresses me about this belt is that it looks very firm. Specifically, it is made from the highest quality sourced material and therefore, providing excellent support to your lumbar area.
The belt has a durable steel level that can increase intra-abdominal pressure. Additionally, with the level design, it is much easier for you to adjust the tightness as compared to other belts with adjustment holes. To be honest, it only takes you a few seconds to get the belt into a comfortable position for the exercise. More importantly, unlike single or double prong system, the level helps you make sure that the belt will stay wrapped tightly around your core without either releasing or slipping.
When it comes to compound movements, especially dangerous ones like deadlift, this is a very good option for everyone, even beginning lifters and professionals. The only downside of the belt is that it is not suitable to be used by different people. This is because when a waist size changes, you’ll have to unscrew the buckle and move it accordingly.
Remember that with the right belt, you will lift big and lift safely. Don’t hesitate anymore and get yourself one of the best powerlifting belts I have recommended. You and your deadlift’s PRs won’t regret it, that’s for sure. And in case you still don’t know what to choose, Ader leather powerlifting belt is the winner. This belt may not be the most durable, comfortable and sturdy belt, however, considering the price, it can be the best. Therefore, if you’re not a professional bodybuilder or powerlifter, just go for this one.
Hello everyone, I’m Marshall Evans and welcome to AestheticGuys.com. I love fitness so I spent years searching for training and nutrition tips to get in shape. I really want to share my experiences and all my tips with anyone who cares about health and fitness, that’s why I started AestheticGuys.com in 2017. Through the blog, I will have a chance to write about everything I want to share with you guys to make you love fitness more and help you get an aesthetic body.
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