Weightlifting belts are a tool used by many fitness enthusiasts, and when used properly, these accessories can add premium rigidity and stability to your biggest lifts. And just like the myriad of tools you’d find in a toolbox, there are plenty of weightlifting belts out there to suit your different training needs.
Whether aiming for a new deadlift PR or just wanting to improve your lifting profile, there’s a weightlifting belt to support your workouts. To help you support your fitness journey, we’ve logged plenty of sets and reps to determine the best weightlifting belts on the market. Before you strap in for newfound strength training success, however, it helps to understand just how the varied weightlifting belt styles can accentuate your fitness goals.
What to Look for in a Weightlifting Belt
Similar to how there are different belts for summer style, formal dress and more, the makeup of a weightlifting belt can heavily influence its prowess in the gym. Here are some common features to consider before deciding on your best waist-bound training partner.
Lifters come in many shapes and sizes — and so do weightlifting belts. Typically, you’ll find these fitness accessories in two standard designs:
Cylinder lifting belts showcase a uniform width throughout the entire belt profile and are designed to support the back, abdomen and sides. This belt style is preferred particularly by powerlifters and strongman athletes for its uniform surface for optimal bracing potential.
Tapered lifting belts, on the other hand, slope inward with the widest portion of the belt located at the back. This can make for a more comfortable front and side experience, allowing for better mobility. Because of this fact, many Olympic weightlifters and beginner athletes will favor this weightlifting belt style.
The two main materials you’ll find when searching for a weightlifting belt are leather and nylon.
Leather weightlifting belts are premium accessories that can last you a lifetime’s worth of lifting. Because of leather’s rigid structure, these belts can provide excellent bracing surfaces for maintaining that tree trunk stature under a squat. Premium leather weightlifting belts, like any leather products, do take some breaking in, however, and require routine maintenance from time to time. Additionally, leather belts are often more expensive because of the higher-grade materials used.
If you don’t want to break the bank, or want a weightlifting belt that’s ready from the jump, consider a nylon belt. This man-made material can provide plenty of support and doesn’t require an extended break-in period. Nylon is also more malleable than leather, which can promote more agility and comfort. Olympic lifters often choose nylon weightlifting belts for movements such as the snatch or clean and jerk.
There are multiple latching mechanisms employed by weightlifting belts, each with its own benefits and flaws.
Hook-and-loop latches are the easiest to maneuver and can provide the most personalized fit. Simply pull on the tab to lock in and unlock. Hook-and-loop latches are the least secure closing mechanism, however, and if you brace too aggressively, this style of weightlifting belt can come undone, which is less than ideal mid-exercise.
Buckled or pronged latching systems feature a standard closure similar to other belts. Weightlifting belts can feature a single or dual-pronged system, but we’d recommend opting for a single-prong style. While two prongs may look cool in the gym, the prongs are often independent of one another, which can make getting your belt off a tedious task.
Levered weightlifting belts can provide exceptional security that is consistent every time you lock in for a workout. The base of the lever is kept in one secure spot along the belt’s profile with screws or other hardware, so you don’t have to search for that personalized fit. Just set the base and you’re ready to go. Levered belts are often the most expensive, however, and could be overkill for less experienced lifters.
How We Tested
With over a decade of experience in strength training, we’ve dawned our fair share of weightlifting belts over the years. From worn-in leather beauties to comfortable nylon accessories, we’ve had plenty of belts strapped around our waists for some of our most impressive lifts. To round out this curated collection, we took to the platform, highlighting features such as thickness, durability and ease of use as we maneuvered through our typical powerlifting exercises. We noted how comfortable each belt felt when strapped in, as well as how visually pleasing each pick was, because after all, if you look good, you lift good.
Now, strap in and get ready for a new PR as we dive right into our picks for the best weightlifting belts.
Gymreapers Quick Locking Weightlifting Belt
With a simple hook-and-loop latching system, uniform profile throughout and lifetime replacement guarantee, this quick-locking belt from Gymreapers has yet to leave our gym bag. The nylon material provides ample bracing support while still remaining comfortable, and the longer hook-and-loop strap ensures this belt is locked in during your toughest lifts. We never doubted the hook-and-loop security, for now, and with a handful of color options to choose from, you’re able to match your personality to your PR. If you want a lightweight lifting belt to help you earn your gym prowess, look no further than the Quick Lock from Gymreapers.
2Pood Straight Weightlifting Belt
As the official belt of USA Weightlifting, it’s hard to ignore the resumé of this impressive fitness accessory. Designed for use in a number of modalities, the Straight Weightlifting Belt from 2Pood features a 4-inch uniform width for maximum bracing support. Multiple colors are available as well for that extra splash of total-busting flair. The nylon material makes this an exceptional pick for CrossFit and Olympic athletes alike, as the material allows for excellent mobility in more dynamic exercises. Make note, however, that because of the boosted durability, these belts may take a few uses to truly break in.
Harbinger Foam Core Belt
The Foam Core Belt from Harbinger is a great weightlifting belt for those just getting used to bracing, all at a reasonable cost. As one of the first belts we used in our personal fitness journey, we admired how comfortable the tapered nylon felt on the hips. A hook-and-loop closure provides that personalized fit, making it an excellent choice for novice athletes pursuing higher squat and deadlift totals. With the lowered price point, though, don’t think this will be the only belt you ever use. These belts are not meant for the long haul, meaning you’ll undoubtedly have to replace them after extended use.
Schiek 2004 Lifting Belt
If you’re looking for a more contoured weightlifting belt to support your iron dreams, the Schiek 2004 can provide the rigidity you need. The downward angle of the belt aligns with the natural shape of your body, while the simple one-way hook-and-loop latch can be cinched perfectly for your sizing. Additionally, the 4.75-inch support in the back makes the 2004 from Schiek a quality choice for back-focused exercises like squats and rows. Need to replace this hard-working accessory? Schiek offers a convenient two-year warranty, which can keep your midsection wrapped for plenty of performance year after year.
Gymreapers 10mm Lever Belt
If you’re well-versed in strength training and looking for premium support and security, a levered weightlifting belt is the way to go. The 10mm Lever Belt from Gymreapers has proven to be the cream of the crop for those with serious lifting goals. A uniform leather construction gives you all the bracing support you need, and you never need to worry about inconsistent fit. Once we set the lever mechanism to our liking, getting in and out of the belt was nothing short of a breeze. While we’re still breaking in this behemoth of a weightlifting belt, this is one accessory that we’ll surely turn to when it comes time to max out.
Dominion Strength Training 4-inch Leather Weightlifting Belt
Quality leather. An aesthetically-pleasing, classic silhouette. What more can you ask of a premium weightlifting belt? We prefer the four-inch, uniform profile of this offering from Dominion Strength Training, for its ability to provide an excellent bracing surface. The single-pronged design makes locking in as simple as any traditional belt, and the lifetime guarantee gives a premium sense of security outside of the gym, too. For users looking for a slimmer design, Dominion Strength Training also offers this buckled weightlifting belt in a three-inch width.
No Conformity Co Lifting Belt
When you brace against a weightlifting belt, you push against the front surface for boosted rigidity. While many belts can provide exceptional support, over time, these fronts can wear down and become too malleable for optimal bracing. The Lifting Belt from No Conformity Co has brought a new innovation to the lifting platform, adding a front plate in addition to its rigid back support, that should falter over extended use. We’ve enjoyed the simple hook-and-loop closure system, and thanks to this added front plate, we’re able to control our breathing and bracing with improved ease when under a heavy load.
Element 26 Self-Locking Weightlifting Belt
CrossFit requires a ton of agility and focus to move through your WOD without any distraction. The nylon composition and simple yet secure hook-and-loop latch of the Self-Locking Weightlifting Belt from Element 26 allows you to seamlessly transition between modalities with a subtle hint of colorful style. Featuring a similar latch to our top overall pick, you can fine-tune your bracing support to your liking, and the plethora of available colorways ensures your performance in the CrossFit box won’t be the only thing your colleagues will be talking about. Lock in with a belt that’s as functional as it is fashionable with this effective accessory.
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