There are a ton of powerlifting belts on the market. Some are high quality and some are not so good. What matters for powerlifting is whether or not the belt is approved for competitions while providing maximum support for the big 3: Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlifts.
The problem is that it can be hard to narrow down your search to find the best powerlifting belt. We've spent hours putting together this top 10 list of Powerlifting belts in 2020. Hopefully, it can help you make the right choice!
Our Top 10 Powerlifting Belts Of 2020
#1 – Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Pro Lifting Belt
If you are looking for a lightweight belt that still provides 4 inches of width to support your core during heavy lifting, the Dark Iron Fitness Belt may be your best choice. It's only 5mm thick, which makes it more comfortable for those who can't handle the stiffness of a thicker belt while still providing quality support.
It features a double prong buckle and genuine reinforced leather. Dark Iron Fitness also offers lifetime replacements in case your belt ever does break. Not many companies are providing that! Not only that, the price of this belt is quite a bit lower than the average Powerlifting belt, which makes it an even better deal!
The 5mm thickness may not be a good choice for heavier lifters or those that can lift a substantial amount of weight. Nothing could be worse than a belt breaking under the pressure while lifting at a competition. That's a serious risk for injury!
#2 – Pro Fitness Genuine Leather Lifting Belt
The Pro Fitness Leather Belt is similar to the Dark Iron Fitness Belt but doesn't quite provide the same value to make it to the number 1 spot. It, too, features 4-inch width and a double prong for full coverage and support. The Belt is also 5mm thick, making it lightweight but still supportive.
The thing that is holding it back from the #1 spot is that there is only a 60-day money back guarantee on this Belt. Belts don't tend to break within the first couple of months so this 60-day guarantee is nice but doesn't offer anything close to the lifetime replacement deal that you get with Dark Iron Fitness.
This belt is affordable and will provide you with great support. But, the 5mm thickness isn't the best choice for heavier lifters or those who can lift a lot of weight already. Instead, it's better for smaller lifters and those who aren't elite-level Powerlifters.
#3 – Stoic Powerlifting Belt
The Stoic Powerlifting Belt is going to provide more support for serious lifters than the first two belts. However, the price is going to be higher and the comfort will be lower. This belt is 4 inches wide, which is the standard for Powerlifting belts. It is 10mm thick, which blows the first two out of the water for maximum support.
Another thing to note about its thickness is that it only uses Suede on the outside of the belt, which isn't seen normally. You tend to see Suede on the inside and outside of belts, which reduces the amount of leather that is used, since each layer of Suede comes out to around 1.2mm. This belt offers a single prong, which is easier to put on and take off than a double prong but doesn't offer quite the same security.
This belt is going to be better than the top 2 for those who can lift a lot of weight already, or those who are in the heavier weight classes since the 10mm thickness offers more support.
#4 – Steel Sweat Weight Lifting Belt
The Steel Sweat Belt is almost identical to the Stoic Powerlifting Belt. It is also 4 inches wide and 10mm thick. It also offers a single prong for quicker use than a double prong. The one difference is that this belt features Suede on the internal and external sides of the belt, effectively reducing the thickness of the supportive leather of the belt.
This belt is vegetable-tanned, making it more environmentally-friendly and sturdier from the start. However, over time, vegetable-tanned leather will soften and become more flexible, making it slightly less useful for long-term used as a Powerlifting belt.
#5 - FlexzFitness Lever Buckle Powerlifting Belt
This is the first lever belt on the list, but that's for a reason. While lever belts are, by far, the easiest to get on and off, they are also the first kind of buckle to break.
Both a single prong and double prong buckle offer much more security long-term. Still, if you are wanting to use a lever belt to maximize the ease of use, the FlexzFitness belt may be your best choice. The belt is 10mm thick and 4 inches wide, which is the same as the previous two belts on the list.
This belt is also one of the few belts so far that offers multiple color options, which is a nice touch if style on the Lighting Platform matters to you. This belt still doesn't offer the support that a 13mm belt can, but it's still a good choice for a Powerlifting belt.
#6 – Schiek Leather Competition Powerlifting Belt
This Schiek belt is a double prong 4-inch wide belt made for Powerlifting. While the double prong offers the best security out of all the buckle designs, it's by far the most difficult to work with when putting it on and taking it off. This belt is only 9mm thick, which offers less support than the 10mm belts mentioned earlier.
This is one of the most expensive belts so far on the list without offering much more value than the others. That's why you'll find it at #6 instead of higher. It's a solid belt but you are better off choosing one of the belts in the top 5.
#7 – Fire Team Fit Weight Lifting Belt
Let me start out by saying that this belt is not allowed in the majority of Powerlifting federations because it has a velcro strap. That said, it can still be used in training if you need a belt that is less supportive, but more comfortable than a leather belt.
Since this belt is legal in Powerlifting, the size of the belt is irrelevant. It's not good for the majority of already strong lifters since cloth belts provide little support when compared to leather belts.
It will be better suited for beginners and those who can't lift a substantial amount of weight. If you want to compete anytime soon, don't get this belt and expect to wear it in a competition!
#8 – Ader Leather Powerlifting Weight Belt
This is the standard 10mm thick, 4-inch wide leather lifting belt that you see on this list. It features a double prong, which is the most secure but the hardest to work with of all buckle types. There isn't anything that makes this belt stand out better than the rest of this list.
In fact, the durability of this belt may actually be worse than the top 7 belts. While the leather is high quality, it seems that the double prong buckle may be low quality and may fall apart well before it should. This is why you see this belt at #8 and not higher.
#9 – HHR Powerlifting Belt
This is another carbon copy of a 4 inch wide, 10mm thick, double prong Powerlifting belt. As you can see, there is a standard among Powerlifting belts and this is that standard design.
Unfortunately, this belt also may have durability issues with the stitching on the Suede and the pieces on the double prong clasp.
This is similar to the Ader belt that we just talked about. The price of this belt is lower than average for this design, so if you are willing to risk lower durability for a lower price, you can choose this HHR Powerlifting Belt.
#10 – Hawk Single Prong Powerlifting Belt
This belt is 4 inches wide and 10mm thick. It features a single prong buckle which is much easier to work with than a double prong but still offers better security than a lever belt. This belt is IPF approved, which is a good sign that it is a quality belt, as the IPF is the stiffest federation in Powerlifting for it's allowed gear.
This belt is also backed by a 1-year warranty. This belt will get the job done and give you the required support for your Squats, Bench Press, and Deadlifts.
How Can A Powerlifting Belt Help Me?
Powerlifting Belts help you by providing support during heavy lifting. In A Powerlifting competition, you are performing a 1 Rep Max of Squats, Bench Press, and Deadlifts. A quality belt can help you perform better, and safer, on each of those 3 lifts.
The main function of a Powerlifting belt is to increase intra-abdominal pressure by using a proper bracing technique against the belt with your stomach. An increase in IAP leads to less compressive forces on your lumbar spine, which leads to less chance of injury see study. This increase in IAP also allows for the lifter to lift more weight. When you are able to lift more weight and do it safer, it's a blessing!
The best Powerlifting belt is arguably the most important piece of equipment for Powerlifting. Even if you aren't a competitor, a high-quality belt will be useful for anybody who wants to lift heavy weights.
The important thing for utilizing a belt is learning a proper bracing technique to maximize your IAP.
What Are The Requirements Of A Competition Belt?
Many federations use a standard for the requirements of a Powerlifting belt:
- No velcro belts
- A maximum thickness of 13 mm
- A maximum width of 4 in.
How To Use A Powerlifting Belt
The first thing you need to do is find out where your belt needs to be put on. Push out your stomach as far as possible. The part of your stomach with the largest circumference is where you want the belt to be located. This is the location where the belt can increase IAP the most.
To put on the belt, you want to exhale completely and slightly suck in to be able to put your belt on tightly. You don't want to strangle your core by putting on the belt as tight as possible. Instead, putting it on one whole larger than the tightest possible is a good choice to allow for a proper brace.
Once you have the belt on, you need to learn how to brace properly. The idea is to take in the largest breath possible and push your abs out as far as possible while holding your breath. Pushing your abs against the belt will increase your trunk stability and IAP. This abdominal brace needs to be held through the whole repetition, regardless of what exercise you are performing.
When you are in a competition, you are only performing one repetition. However, in training, you are most likely utilizing multiple reps per set. To utilize a proper bracing technique without passing out from holding your breath for an entire set, it's best to reset your brace between every rep.
The Differences Between Belts
Belts come in many shapes and sizes. There are differences in the material, width, thickness, and the prong type. There are also variances in the shape of the belt. Let's look at the differences between them all.
First, let's look at the material of the belt. The best Powerlifting belt is made from high-quality leather. There are belts that are made for those who want to avoid using animal products as well. However, the average belt will always be leather.
Next, the thing to look at is the width of the belt. The maximum in a competition is 4 inches wide. For smaller lifters, this width might be too uncomfortable to use. There are also 3-inch belts on the market suitable for Powerlifting competitions. The thing to remember with a competition belt is that the more support you can get, the better. It's best to go with the 4-inch maximum width if you can handle it on your torso.
The thickness is also similar to the width of the belt: if you can handle the maximum thickness then you should use it. Most Powerlifting belts come in the 13mm thickness since that's the maximum allowed in most federations. Smaller lifters may choose to go with a 10mm thick belt, as it will be better suited for their body type. Some users complain that the 13mm is just too stiff and hurts them so many choose to go with a 10mm belt. But, if you can get used to it, the 13mm thickness is the best Powerlifting belt for maximum support.
The prong type is mostly up to the user. You can get a single prong, double prong, or a lever belt. Lever belts are the easiest to get on and off. The problem with this is that they are also the type of belt that breaks the easiest. A single prong belt is in the middle ground: a strong clasp to hold the belt in place with less risk to break than the lever belts. A double prong belt delivers the best support and least chance to break in the middle of a set, but it is the most difficult to put on and take off.
The last thing to decide on is the shape of the belt. Some belts are designed for Olympic Lifting and are tapered in the front to allow for a deeper Squat position, which is necessary for the Clean and Snatch. But, for Powerlifting, this taper is simply unnecessary and will provide less support for your core. It's best to go with a straight belt for Powerlifting unless you can't handle it and enjoy the tapered belts more for comfort purposes.
Do Belts Make Your Core Weaker?
This is a common misconception. Belts do not make your core weaker. They do support your core and allow you to lift more weight. However, the higher weight lifted and the proper IAP utilization actually strengthens your core effectively. A belt is basically necessary to become a great Powerlifter safely!
Choosing the best powerlifting belt for you may be different than for other people. The differences in the thickness, width, prong type, and design all come into play when deciding on which belt to use. However, choosing one of the top belts on this top 10 list will be a good choice to ensure that you get the support you need and the results you want!