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//Which Weightlifting Belt Is Right For Me?

Which Weightlifting Belt Is Right For Me?

Looking to increase your squat? Has your deadlift plateaued? Or is your back giving you a bit sore after workouts? A good lifting belt can really make the difference when you’re looking to add a few kilos to your lifts, or prevent pain and injury. Good form is obviously key and no belt will protect 100% from injury, but a good belt will certainly reduce the risk.

So what does a belt actually do? A lot of people think that a belt simply acts as a sort of crutch for your back. They think that using a belt will make your back weaker and that you’ll grow to rely on your belt. Sure, if you use your belt for every warm up set and keep it on while you’re on the lat pull down, then you may start to rely on it, but used in the right way, a belt can be a game changer. A belt does support your back, but it also allows you to increase abdominal pressure when lifting. That means that your spine is better supported and you can transfer more force into whatever you’re lifting. As the saying goes ‘you can’t fire a cannon from a canoe’.

As well as stabilising the spine – which as we’ve mentioned prevents injury and increases the amount of force you can produce – it also makes you perform better, biomechanically. In other words, a belt forces you to lift more with your legs than your back, which is precisely the biomechanical position you want to use when lifting something from the ground, or standing up with it on your back.

You’ll hear a lot of people say “you don’t need a belt you just need to get a stronger back”. This has some element of truth, but we would like to wager that you’ll struggle to find someone who doesn’t lift a few more kilos when wearing a belt. We recommend using a belt for your working sets only. All your warm up sets you do you’re doing without a belt. This will allow your back and core muscles to be engaged and you’ll be priming them so that when you do put your belt on you’re getting the extra benefit. Your body is warmed up and ready to go; with the belt on you’ll really notice the difference on your working sets.

So we’ve covered the details of why you should use a belt, but you’re sure which one is the best for you? As keen squatters we know what makes a good belt and we’ve got a wide selection of belts to choose from in a variety of materials, so with this handy guide you’ll know the difference between the belts and which one will suit your style of training.

DISCLAIMER: The advice below is just that – advice. If you have a medical condition, please consult your doctor to confirm it is safe for you to exercise. A belt will not stop you getting injured if you do anything silly and Mobility Tools do not accept any liability of injury when using any of our products.

So with that out of the way, which belt is for you then? Well firstly, we have three different types of belts:

  • Velcro Belts
  • Weightlifting Belts
  • Powerlifting Belt

We’ll go through each type so that you can understand the pros and cons of them and whether they’ll be suitable for the exercise you do.

Nylon Velcro Belts

The first type of belts we’ll talk about are velcro belts. For the three types of belts they offer the least amount of overall support. The advantage of a velcro belt is that they’re quick to put on and off and as you can pull the tightness to exactly how you want it, there’s not being in between sizes (belts with buckles you may find your ideal place would be between 2 holes). Our velcro belts are 13cm high at the back, tapering to 6cm on the sides. The high back support gives a large contact area for support, whilst the tapered sides stops the belt digging in when squatting or deadlifting. If you’re doing a CrossFit style workout they are great to slacken off when going between exercises, but if you’re just looking for a belt to squat or deadlift I’d recommend going for a weightlifting or powerlifting belt.

Belt Performance

We’ve rated product performance for different training styles to make sure you’re choosing the best equipment for your needs!

CrossFit Style Metcons 5 stars
Heavy Squats 3 stars
Deadlifting 3 stars
Olympic Lifting 4 stars
Robustness 4 stars

In summary these belts are good for:

  • CrossFit style workouts where you need to slacken the belt off
  • Olympic Weightlifting
  • Entry level gym use

They are not the best belts for:

  • Powerlifting
  • Olympic Lifting (competition – the max height allowed on the back in competition is 10cm)
Shop Velcro Belts

Weightlifting Belts – From £24.99

The next step up in terms of support from a velcro belt is a weightlifting belt. A weightlifting belt is the most common type of gym belt, with a back panel that measures 10cm high and the sides tapering to 5cm. Most weightlifting belts are around 4-5mm thick; we’ve made ours a little thicker at 5-7mm thick to allow for a bit more support and more belt for your money. Made from leather these belts offer a great amount of support and are the most versatile of all belts. These belts are great for all body shapes and sizes, as the taper on the sides allows for squatting and deadlifting without the sides digging in.

We have two types of weightlifting belt – ‘Standard’ and ‘Elite’. The shape and thicknesses are the same, the only difference is the materials we use for construction. There are 2 methods to ‘tan’ leather – Vegetable tanning and Chrome tanning. Our standard belts (all belts without the word ‘Elite’ in the name) are made from a leather outer and inner, with the middle of the belt made from Chrome tanned leather. Chrome tanning gives a grey appearance (you might have seen this in the middle of other belts); is much quicker than vegetable tanning so is cheaper to do and therefore belts made from chrome tanned leather are cheaper to make. Chrome tanned leather is not quite as long lasting as vegetable tanning, but you’ll get over 5 years of life from a belt made from chrome tanned leather. Our ‘Elite’ belts have a layer leather on the outside and inside and then a vegetable tanned layer in the middle. A belt made from vegetable tanned leather should last you 10-20 years.

Belt Performance

We’ve rated product performance for different training styles to make sure you’re choosing the best equipment for your needs!

CrossFit Style Metcons 3 stars
Heavy Squats 4 stars
Deadlifting 4 stars
Olympic Lifting 5 stars
Robustness 5 stars

In summary these belts are good for:

  • Olympic Weightlifting
  • Squatting and Deadlifting
  • Entry level gym use

They are not the best belts for:

  • Powerlifting
  • CrossFit workouts (where taking the belt on and off is needed)
Shop Weightlifting Belts

Powerlifting Belts – From £39.99

Finally, the belts that offer the most support are Powerlifting belts. Powerlifting belts are very common and often referred to as ‘weightlifting belts’; however a powerlifting belt differs – they are 10cm wide all the way around and come in two thicknesses; 10mm and 13mm. They offer the most support and are the go-to belt for Powerlifters. As well as two thicknesses they also have several types of buckle:

  • Single Prong
  • Double Prong
  • Quick Release
  • Lever

Single Prong is the most common, with one prong that fastens the belt. Double Prong are also very prevalent, though they are much more difficult to get in and out of. We don’t offer a double prong for this reason. For people who like to have double prong, we offer a quick release, which has two prongs but fastens like below:

Having two hooks at an angle allows the belt to be quickly fastened and un-fastened. The drawback to a quick release is that the ends of the two prongs can dig into the waist. Similar to this and very popular is a lever. Often cheap belts have a chrome plated lever that breaks, as they’re made in a cast, with lots of impurities in the metal. Type ‘powerlifting lever breaking’ into YouTube and you’ll get a tonne of videos showing them break. We sell a small range of Powerlifting Belts with Stainless Steel levers, which are manufactured from solid blocks of Stainless Steel. These are built to last forever, but aren’t cheap, so we only use them on our small range of UK made powerlifting belts. As with the weightlifting belts, we have two types of material – ‘Standard’ and ‘Elite’.

One thing to note with Powerlifting Belts – if you’re below 5’9″ you might find that the belt digs in or pinches between your ribs and hips. Your body will get used to it and the belt will soften up, but if this puts you off – and you’re not a powerlifter – we’d recommend a weightlifting belt. Some CrossFitters use powerlifting belts when doing heavy Cleans, but we’d always recommend a proper weightlifting belt for this rather than a powerlifting belt.

Belt Performance

We’ve rated product performance for different training styles to make sure you’re choosing the best equipment for your needs!

CrossFit Style Metcons 1 stars
Heavy Squats 5 stars
Deadlifting 5 stars
Olympic Lifting 3 stars
Robustness 5 stars

In summary these belts are good for:

  • Powerlifting
  • Squatting and Deadlifting

They are not the best belts for:

  • CrossFit style workouts
  • Smaller athletes
  • Olympic Lifting
Shop Powerlifting Belts

Belt Sizing

Belt Sizing Information

Below you’ll find a quick guide on which belt size you’d need. Please double check on the individual product page that you’re measuring correctly and that you fall in the size for that belt. Weightlifting belts and Powerlifting belts differ in size slightly – the overall length of a powerlifting and weightlifting belt is often the same, but the holes are in a slightly different place, hence the slight variation in sizing between the two.

Weightlifting Belt Size

  • Small: 25″ – 32.5″
  • Medium 28.5″ – 36″
  • Large 32″ – 39.5″
  • Extra Large 37.5″ – 45″
  • Double XL – 39.5″ – 47″
  • Triple XL – 41.5″ – 49″
  • 4XL 45.5″ – 53″
  • 5XL 49.5″ – 57″

Powerlifting Belt Size

  • Small: 22″ – 29″
  • Medium 26″ – 33″
  • Large 30″ – 37″
  • Extra Large 34″ – 41″
  • Double XL – 36″ – 43″
  • Triple XL – 38″ – 45″
  • 4XL 42″ – 49″
  • 5XL 46″ – 53″

We hope that this guide helps you when purchasing the right belt for you. If you’re still not sure about anything please call or email us.

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Call us: 01656 224 324

By | 2018-07-24T17:10:57+00:00 June 7th, 2018|Comments Off on Which Weightlifting Belt Is Right For Me?