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Weightlifting belts are one of the most debated pieces of support gear for working out. Some people swear by the lifting belt, while others argue going raw is best.

Undoubtedly, when used in the right conditions, a weightlifting belt can be a beneficial piece of equipment for your workouts. By adding intra-abdominal pressure and support to your back, a weightlifting belt can increase your stability while lifting and inevitably help you lift heavier weight.

After many years of training with and without a belt—and fielding questions about weightlifting belts and when to wear one—I put together a guide to the best weightlifting belts, plus everything you should know about how and when to use a weightlifting belt.

Dozens of Belts Worn and Tested

In the name of blatant honesty, this is one of the hardest product roundups I’ve ever created. I thought our guide to the best Olympic barbell was tough, but this guide takes the cake. This category might have more products than any other home gym equipment category we’ve covered yet, but we’ve tested dozens of weight belts and used many for years on end.

We’ve consulted with some of the strongest athletes in the world and observed elite competitors and the belts they use. Between our expertise in the fitness equipment industry and our hands-on testing process, we’ve created the most thorough guide to weightlifting belts you’ll find online.

Best Weightlifting Belts For 2024

Best Budget Weightlifting Belt: Gymreapers Quick-Locking Weightlifting Belt 

Good for: Lifters who need an effective, but budget-friendly weightlifting belt 

Best Budget

Gymreapers Quick-Locking Belt

GGR Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Sturdy
  • 100% nylon
  • Velcro closure
  • Uniform width

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easy to get on and off between exercises
  • The rolling buckle and velcro let you really dial in the pressure you need
  • Material is comfortable and does not cut into your skin
  • Uniform width across for evenly distributed intra-abdominal pressure

Cons

  • Some users find the belts run small

Bottom Line

If you are on the hunt for a great weightlifting belt, this Quick-Locking Belt easily adjusts to provide maximum support while hitting your heavy lifts.

The Gymreapers Quick-Locking Weightlifting Belt is a perfect example of a product that outperforms its price tag (which in this case is roughly $35). We haven’t used this specific model, but the Nylon lifting belt has similar specifications and it worked for us on heavy lifts and CrossFit workouts. We have no doubt the quick-locking belt will also be supportive, easy to tighten and loosen, and comfortable.

To be clear, this isn’t the cheapest weightlifting belt out there but we really don’t suggest going any less expensive than this one. There are other belts around the same price point, and even cheaper (we found one for $10), but we strongly advise against any of those. For one, cheaper belts will be made of low-quality material that will break, or just not support you during a big lift. 

Gymreapers’ belt, on the other hand, is made of quality nylon and Velcro that withstand the tests of time, along with double-stitching along the seams to ensure it lasts for many years. 

The belt itself has a 4-inch width throughout, and the buckle and roller stay secure until the moment you take it off, which is easy to do when needed. 

We wouldn’t use this during any heavy powerlifting workouts, but we think it’d be a great fit for anyone who focused on high rep workouts or general trainees who need a little extra core support. 

As you can tell in our Gymreapers Quick-Locking Weightlifting Belt review, we’re confident this belt will provide you with the stability you need for many years, but if for some reason it does break on you the company offers a lifetime replacement guarantee. They’ll simply send you a brand new belt at no additional cost (not even shipping and handling). 

Best Powerlifting Belt: REP Fitness 4″ Premium Leather Belt

Good for: Powerlifters who want a sturdy and quality but an inexpensive leather belt

Best for Powerlifting

REP 4-Inch Premium Leather Lifting Belt

GGR Score: 5 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.8 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Single-prong buckle design
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Budget-friendly
  • Similar to the Rogue Ohio belt

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Quick break-in period
  • Sealed and burnished edges for durability
  • Classic tanned leather look

Cons

  • Single-prong closure
  • Sizing is iffy for people in between sizes
  • Inexpensive alternative to Rogue Ohio belt, but not made in the U.S.

Bottom Line

An imported and budget-friendly version of the Rogue Ohio belt.

This is quite obviously a belt designed to compete with the Rogue Ohio Lifting Belt. It looks nearly the same and it’s designed nearly the same, but there are two major differences: the price and the manufacturing location. I don’t have to tell you that the manufacturing location is what drives the price difference. (Again, I’m not saying white-labeled products or overseas manufacturing is inherently bad, but it is what drives the price point of most fitness products.)

Basically, if you love the Rogue Ohio Lifting Belt but don’t want to pay the three-digit price for it, get the REP Fitness 4” Premium Leather Belt.

This belt breaks in quickly and offers superior support for the price. With a 4-inch width and 10-millimeter thickness, it’s perfect for the big three—deadlifts, squats, and bench. Burnished and sealed edges prevent moisture damage from sweat, while double stitching reduces the likelihood of fraying.

Made of vegetable-tanned leather, this REP belt will quickly mold to your torso for optimal support in the hip hinge and squat positions, both of which are obviously crucial to powerlifting performance.

I do wish the holes were a half-inch apart rather than a full inch, but that’s not exclusive to the REP weightlifting belt. I’d like to see many more belts switch to half-inch fastening systems. A full inch is a big jump when you need just a slight adjustment in tightness.

There are many other belts that may offer more support and stability and are made from higher-quality materials. However, for the price of this REP Fitness belt, you’re getting a lot. For elite powerlifters, an SBD belt or the Rogue Pioneer Cut belt could be a better choice, but for the everyday lifter, the REP 4” weightlifting belt is an unbeatable deal.

Best Weightlifting Belt for CrossFit: 2POOD Straight Weightlifting Belt

Good for: Functional fitness enthusiasts who love putting together the perfect workout outfit

Best for CrossFit

2POOD Straight Belt

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Great for CrossFit
  • 4" straight belt
  • Velcro closure system
  • Easy to use
  • High-quality nylon construction

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High-quality nylon lasts for years
  • Tons of color and design options
  • Straight cylindrical design is great for CrossFit lifts
  • Worn by many elite CrossFit athletes during training and competition

Cons

  • Very firm for a nylon belt (more so than most)
  • Almost uncomfortable at first, but breaks in quickly
  • Durable, but still not as durable as leather weightlifting belts

Bottom Line

A functional weightlifting belt suitable for CrossFit or functional fitness workouts.

If a 2POOD belt is good enough for weightlifters like Mattie Rogers and CJ Cummings, and CrossFitters like Sam Briggs and Jacob Heppner, it’s more than good enough for the average exerciser.

Velcro closure means you can quickly make transitions from heavy lifting to gymnastics or cardio movements during your WOD. After using a 2POOD belt for more than three years, the Velcro shows only minimal signs of wear and tear. The Velcro is also super sticky—if you keep it clean, you’ll have zero issues with the belt popping open during heavy lifts, which sometimes happens with lower-quality Velcro closures.

The roller adjustment can be a bit tricky to use, but you can get a tight fit without using it if you prefer. With price points around $65, 2POOD belts are pricier than some other nylon and Velcro belts, but you’re getting one that will last for years on end. We talk more about why we love these belts in our 2Pood Belt review.

A woman lifting on a platform wearing a 2POOD weightlifting belt

Not only are 2POOD belts known for their durability in high-intensity, high-volume, high-load settings, they’re also known for their whimsical designs. Want donuts on your weightlifting belt? Get a 2POOD belt. Want tacos on it? Get a 2POOD. Leopard print? 2POOD. C-3PO and baby Yoda? 2POOD.

You get the point. If you’re the kind of fitness enthusiast who must have the most fly outfits in the gym, adding a 2POOD weightlifting belt to your gear closet is one surefire way to do that.

Onto the real specs: 2POOD belts are made of thick, tough nylon with a foam core. 
All in all, if you’re training for CrossFit, which entails high rep counts and constant adjustment of the belt, then Velcro nylon is definitely your best option and this is my pick.

RELATED: Best Barbells for CrossFit

Best Leather Weightlifting Belt: Rogue Faded 4″ Lifting Belt by Pioneer

Good for: People who dabble in different types of lifting and go heavy on a variety of lifts

Best Leather Belt

Rogue Faded 4 Lifting Belt by Pioneer

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 4" in the back
  • Tapers to 2.5" on sides and front
  • Durable
  • High-quality leather
  • Comfortable

Made in USA Made in USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 8.5-millimeter thickness allows for versatility
  • Half-inch adjustments instead of the usual 1 inch
  • Old-school faded leather design
  • Made in the U.S.

Cons

  • Might not be thick enough for powerlifters
  • Not inexpensive, but not overpriced either
  • Tends to run larger than standard belt sizing

Bottom Line

A high-quality leather belt made by Pioneer Fitness in collaboration with Rogue Fitness.

The Rogue 4-inch Faded Lifting Belt is actually the Pioneer Cut Power Belt by Pioneer Fitness (a division of General Leathercraft Manufacturing). Rogue enlisted Pioneer to create this specific belt to sell on the Rogue website. This belt represents the latest advancement in the prong style of power belts. For most people, it’s the best choice for a leather belt, because it provides the best combination of features and quality at a good price.

I have yet to test another weightlifting belt that gave me as good of a first impression as this Rogue belt. The materials and craftsmanship are outstanding, and quite honestly it impressed me far more than I expected, despite being told by many friends just how good they are. Everything from the materials used to the customization options is top-notch.

Pioneer makes some of the best weightlifting belts on the market, but the Pioneer Cut belt stands out. It’s just as good as all of Pioneer’s other belts, but it also has a unique feature that allows for precise half-inch increments to tighten the belt. Most prong belts adjust only in 1-inch increments, which often feels either too much or too little. Pioneer says that this specific cut is a patent-pending design by powerlifter Steve Strohm.

It’s always nice to see a fitness product designed by someone who has actually spent some time underneath a barbell and done actual barbell exercises—there’s no doubt that the person who came up with the idea is someone who could use it.

The Pioneer Cut belt utilizes a seamless roller buckle with a single prong, with nickel-plated rivets to hold the buckle system together. One cool feature we noticed is that leather at the buckle end is nicely tapered down so it’s not overly thick at the loop.

In comparison to other power belts, the Pioneer Cut belt tapers down the genuine leather very cleanly, which is probably in part due to the quality of sole bend leather used. Sole bend leather is some of the highest quality leather you can find, as it’s cut from the best portion of steer hides (below the shoulder and along the back ends and side of the steer’s spine) Outside of some high-end weightlifting belts, sole bend leather can commonly be found in high-quality shoes and boots.

You can tell they spend extra time sanding down the leather at the edges so that it results in a smooth and consistent appearance. The edges are then dressed and finished black which gives the belt a professional look.

Breaking in a thick belt like this does take some time. One way to speed this process up is by rolling it up into a circle one way, massaging it back and forth, and then rolling it up into a circle the other way and repeating. This is not a one-time process and you’ll need to repeat it multiple times in the beginning, but eventually, the belt will fit your torso like your favorite baseball glove would your hand.

To top it off, the Pioneer Cut belt also comes with a lifetime warranty and is made entirely here in the U.S. at their shop in Texas.

For a more in-depth look at this belt, check out my Rogue Fitness x Pioneer Lifting Belt review.

Best Nylon Weightlifting Belt: Iron Bull Strength 6” Nylon Weight Belt

Good for: Those wanting a flexible nylon lifting belt with plenty of lumbar support

Best Nylon

Iron Bull 6” Nylon Weight Belt

GGR Score: 4.2 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Constructed from premium nylon materials for durability
  • Provided support and comfort during functional training
  • Reinforced design and extra padding for back support and spinal stabilization
  • Secure double-prong buckle closure for easy adjustment 
  • 6-inch width

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Secure buckle
  • Padded
  • Good level of support
  • 6 color options

Cons

  • Unbuckling quickly may be difficult

Bottom Line

The Iron Bull 6" Reinforced Padded Lifting Belt offers a good level of support and comfort during functional training and weight training exercises. It features a reinforced design, extra padding, a secure double-prong buckle for easy adjustment, and a six-inch width

Not everyone is going to want the rigidity and sturdiness of a leather belt. For those wanting a bit more flexibility, a nylon belt like the Iron Bull Strength 6-Inch Nylon Weight Belt will keep you mobile while adding plenty of lumbar support. The belt tapers from the back to the front, with a smallest width of about 4 inches, providing ample support around your entire core.

GGR Everything lead reviewer Lindsay Scheele, ISSA-CPT, tried out the belt and says it’s versatile enough for CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting, or powerlifting (although I should note that the 6-inch width of the belt wouldn’t be permitted in Olympic weightlifting competitions). The nylon material keeps it flexible enough for CrossFit and dynamic movements, but the wide back provides lumbar support good enough for heavy deadlifts. Lindsay rates the versatility a 4 out of 5.

Woman securing the Iron Bull Strength 6" Nylon Weight Belt

Lindsay had no issues with the durability of the belt during her week of testing, although the long-term durability of the belt is yet to be determined. “In general, nylon is designed to last and withstand some tough conditions,” Lindsay adds. “They’re resistant to wear, weather, and chemicals. I’d mostly be worried about the velcro fraying over time.” She gives the belt a 4 out of 5 for durability.

The belt costs only $35, which makes it a steal for anyone planning around a budget. Available in five sizes, from small to XXL, Lindsay also notes that the belt ran pretty true to size.

Best Weightlifting Belt for Beginners: Warm Body Cold Mind 4” Nylon Weightlifting Belt

Good for: New lifters wanting an inexpensive belt for a variety of training modalities

Best for Beginners

Warm Body Cold Mind 4" Nylon Weightlifting Belt

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Self-locking belt
  • Premium nylong
  • Five sizes
  • Designed by champion weightlifter Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Five sizes
  • Self locking
  • Four colors

Cons

  • Velcro may fray over time
  • Can't be returned once worn

Bottom Line

The Warm Body Cold Mind weightlifting belt is an affordable option designed by world champion weightlifter Oleksiy Torokhtiy, and has been tested and trusted by Olympians on our staff.

If you’re new to strength training and want to try out a belt for the first time, I recommend the Warm Body Cold Mind 4-Inch Nylon Weightlifting Belt. At only $35 (and currently marked down for lower), it’s a bargain value, plus it’s quickly adjustable and provides a good balance between support and flexibility, so beginners can figure out what sort of belt they prefer.

Man preparing to do a front squat with the Warm Body Cold Mind Nylon Weightlifting Belt

Designed by weightlifting Olympian Oleksiy Torokhtiy, this weightlifting belt is made within IWF specifications with a width of 4 inches across the entire belt. So this belt can be used in competition for the snatch exercise and clean and jerk.

Weightlifting coach and certified personal trainer Hughston Armstrong, USAW-L2, PN1-NC, ACSM-CPT, CWC, PPSC, tried out the Warm Body Cold Mind Nylon Belt over a couple weeks, training in CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting, and powerlifting movements, and felt the belt held out pretty well through it all. 

“I would’ve liked a little more rigidity during clean and jerks,” Hughston explains, “but people that prefer a flexible belt will really like this.” He rates the versatility a 4 out of 5.

One issue Hughston had with the belt was the adjustment strap was a little short. “Other nylon belts I’ve used have a longer strap to get a hold of to cinch the belt tightly. This belt’s strap is a little short, so it makes it difficult at times to tighten all the way.”

That said, the belt is available in five sizes and a half-dozen different colors, so anyone new to strength and resistance training will have options to pick from. In our experience, the belt runs true to the sizing on their website.

Best Olympic Weightlifting Belt: Eleiko Premium Olympic Weightlifting Belt

Good for: Weightlifters wanting a competition-certified weightlifting belt

Best Olympic Weightlifting Belt

Eleiko Premium Weightlifting Belt

Product Highlights

  • Handcrafted in Sweden
  • Vegetable-tanned leather
  • Under $150
  • Five size options
  • Competition-certified

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Beveled edge and tapered cut specific for Olympic lifting
  • Competition certified
  • Not very expensive for being an Eleiko product

Cons

  • Thick leather makes for a very rigid feel
  • Tapered design isn’t for everyone
  • Doesn’t break in easily

Bottom Line

One of the best weightlifting belts offered at a modest price point.

Eleiko makes quality products—there’s no beating around that bush. The Eleiko Premium Olympic Weightlifting Belt is no exception. Handcrafted from 100% vegetable-tanned leather in Sweden, this belt screams durability and stability.

Jacob Penner, a USAW-2 weightlifting coach and owner of Endless Strength Weightlifting, says it’s a highly versatile belt, giving it a 4.5 out of 5 in that category in his Eleiko weightlifting belt review.

This belt struck me as more rigid than most leather belts. If you’re looking for a lot of flexibility and a quick break-in period, this belt isn’t the right choice for you. It’s designed to maintain rigidity under high pressure, which is exactly what it does. There isn’t much give in a hip hinge or squat position, a feature that ultimately comes down to preference.

A person using the Eleiko Weightlifting Belt while doing squats.

The measurements come in at a 4-inch width (tapers to 2 inches in the front) and 10-millimeter thickness. It’s pretty standard in that regard. It also has standard one-inch belt adjustments with a double-pronged buckle.

Double stitching around the edges lends itself to increased durability, although there was never a question of durability with this Eleiko belt. If you prefer a more rigid belt, you can’t find a better Olympic lifting belt for this price point. At just over $100, the Eleiko Premium Weightlifting Belt falls into the same price range as many Rogue Fitness belts and some of our other top picks.

As for aesthetics, I love the look of this belt. Like most weightlifting belts, it only currently comes in one color/style. But it’s blacked out and it’s sexy. The etched Eleiko logo covers most of the backside of the belt, and the white stitching pops against the all-black leather.

Best Lever Belt: SBD Lever Belt

Good for: Those who want a durable weightlifting belt that can be used to train for and compete in powerlifting competitions

Best Lever Belt

SBD Belt

GGR Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Meets numerous powerlifting regulations
  • Patented gliding lever closure system is secure and easy to use
  • Sizes up to 5XL
  • Durable

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Complies with numerous powerlifting standards
  • Patented gliding lever closure system
  • Easy to adjust
  • Sizes up to 5XL

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Red suede may rub onto light-colored clothes
  • No color options

Bottom Line

One of the most iconic weightlifting belts that, in our opinion, is worth the price.

The SBD Lever Belt is a little controversial in the weightlifting belt world, mostly due to its high price point. At around $250, before shipping and handling, it’s one of the more expensive options out there—but we think it’s worth every penny. It’s one of the most stable weightlifting belts we’ve tried, complies with numerous powerlifting organizations’ standards for belts, is easy to use, and it’ll last you many years if you treat it well.

We’ll start with the closure system, which in our opinion is what separates it from the competition. The patented gliding lever combines a buckle system’s ease and security with a prong buckle’s ease of use, resulting in one of the most secure-feeling closure systems we’ve felt on a weightlifting belt. This was worn by people of multiple sizes and each one was able to adjust it to their liking in no time.

RELATED: SBD Powerlifting Belt review

Some powerlifters keep their weightlifting belts on their body when they’re not lifting because they’re so hard to take on and off. The SBD Lever Belt eliminates that issue due to its ease of use.

The leather, which is treated for five months for optimal hardness, is stiff and might take a while to break in. You can be certain, however, that it will keep you supported no matter what. You should also be aware that SBD advises against wearing light-colored clothes during the first few months of wearing this belt. The interior red suede can rub off if you’re too sweaty, which could cause stains. The red suede is there to prevent any slippage that might occur.

Is this an expensive belt? Yes. If you’re into powerlifting, though, it’s a top-of-the-line product that’s guaranteed to assist you in your lifting journey for many years.

Best Hybrid Weightlifting Belt: Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt

Good for: Anyone who wants a belt that’s good for multiple training styles

Best Hybrid Weightlifting Belt

Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt

Product Highlights

  • 5 sizes available
  • Self-locking buckle
  • Provides comfort and versatility
  • 100% premium leather
  • Heavy-duty stitching

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Helps you to feel solid anytime you lift
  • High-quality product that is backed by even better customer service
  • The belt stays securely in place with a self-locking buckle
  • Designed to help you crush your PRs

Cons

  • Some customers felt that it was a little bit heavy for CrossFit-style workouts
  • Leather can rub a little when lifting

Bottom Line

If you do a lot of weightlifting and tend to lean toward heavier weights, you are going to want to try this belt. The Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt gives you a lot of options to make sure that the pressure distribution and breathability of the belt are ideal for you so you can focus on your training and goals.

If you prefer to dabble in different training methods every so often, you need the Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt. It has the sturdiness of a leather belt for powerlifting days, yet is flexible enough that it can be used during metcons or a CrossFit block. GGR performance editor and product tester Anthony O’Reilly has used this belt for multiple training days and is happy with its performance.

“The leather dug into me just a little bit but it wasn’t nearly as annoying as full-leather belts,” he says. “The support was there—honestly, I was expecting there to be a lack of sturdiness due to the belt’s hybrid nature but it held up.”

One thing Anthony and other users liked about the belt was the quick-release buckle. This allows for quick adjustment between sets, and it’s much easier to buckle than a traditional leather weightlifting belt.

We’ve only had this belt for a few weeks, so we’ll come back and update this review once we’ve had it for a while to see if it holds up as well as the dozens of positive customer reviews says it does.

Best Lifting Belt for Deadlifts: Dominion 3″ Leather Belt

Good for: Athletes who max out on deadlifts often

Best Deadlift Belt

Dominion 3-Inch Leather Weightlifting Belt

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Designed for deadlifts and squats
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Breaks in quickly
  • Comfortable

Made in USA Made in USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Designed specifically for deadlifts and squats
  • No-risk lifetime warranty
  • 10mm thickness
  • Breaks in quickly
  • Suede leather feels soft and comfortable

Cons

  • Three-inch width might not be enough for taller people
  • Adjustability is in 1-inch increments
  • Single-prong closure

Bottom Line

A weightlifting belt that's specifically designed to offer support during deadlifts and squats.

If there’s one lift you want extra back support on, it’s the deadlift. I’ve yet to come across a weightlifting belt specifically designated as a “deadlift belt,” though any belt that’s 2 or 3 inches in width can be considered a deadlift belt, the reason being that these thinner belts are more comfortable to wear and support proper lumbar positioning during the deadlift movement.

The Dominion Strength 3” Leather Belt tops this category as far as I’m concerned. It’s different from what most people are used to in a power belt (the Dominion Power Belt is 4 inches wide, so go there for a powerlifting belt), but if you have the means to buy two weightlifting belts, get the Dominion 3-inch belt and a standard 4-inch.

I hadn’t ever considered using a 3-inch belt until I read Mark Rippetoe’s article titled, “The Belt and the Deadlift.” As Rip tends to, he gave his recommendation quite clearly, “Most people have no business wearing a 4-inch power belt for the deadlift. Unless you’re tall or long-waisted, a 4-inch-wide standard power belt is too wide to permit a correct lumbar position at the start of a correct deadlift.”

The reason a 3-inch power belt is superior to a 4-inch belt for most people is that the wider belt prevents most people from being able to get into the correct position for pulling.

Best Deadlift Belt: Dominion 3" Leather Belt

I hadn’t thought much about it until giving the Dominion Strength 3″ belt a shot, but then I was hooked. Ever since, I’ve used it for all of my deadlift sets where a belt is worn. On the flip side, my training partner who is taller and has a longer torso feels like it’s too thin and cuts into his rib cage. To each their own, as always.

The build quality of the Dominion Strength 3-inch belt is as good as any I’ve used. It’s not a super innovative belt like the Pioneer Cut or the SBD Belt Lever System on our list, but it’s a combination of great materials at a great price, and it’s USA-made.

The belt is 10 millimeters thick which provides great support without being overly stiff. It utilizes a seamless roller buckle with a single prong, unlike some cheaper belts with shoddy materials and a lack of rollers.

The edges of the belt are rounded and skived which results in a good-looking edge that feels comfortable on your torso. This particular belt utilizes suede leather, which is a nice aesthetic touch.

All in all, the Dominion Strength Belt is simple, which is why we like it so much. If you want a deadlift belt or just a thinner belt than what’s typically considered standard, then we suggest this belt from Dominion Strength.

Other Weightlifting Belts We Wore or Researched

Rogue Ohio Lifting Belt

This belt is basically the same as the REP 4” Premium Lifting Belt, but it’s USA-made, so it’s more than double the price. It’s a great belt, but REP’s sealed edges and double stitching give it a leg up against the Ohio Lifting Belt. The leather of the Ohio Belt is much more pliable and stretches over time, the edges are single stitched making them prone to breaking and there is no edge dressing which causes them to delaminate over time. If you want a Rogue Fitness belt, we recommend paying the extra money for the Pioneer Cut.

Rogue USA Nylon Lifting Belt

Created in partnership with the winningest male CrossFit Games champion Mat Fraser (with five titles, just ahead of Rich Froning’s four titles) the Rogue USA Nylon Belt is a flexible and durable weight belt, although it’s going to be more expensive than the imported Rogue 5” Nylon Weightlifting Belt.

Major Lutie Weightlifting Belt

This is an $80 leather belt that comes in three sizes. That sounds like a steal, but is it? Our tester, Lindsay Scheele, lead reviewer on Garage Gym Reviews Everything, thought that interior of it was nicely padded and offered a lot of lower back support because of its cushioned padding on the back. When she compared this to other leather belts, however, her main concern is the longevity of the Major Lutie belt. The metal pieces to secure the belt closed seemed rather cheap.

Element 26 Self-Locking Weightlifting Belt

This self-locking velcro belt from Element 26 allows for quick adjustments due to its quick release buckle, making it great for functional fitness workouts. While many customer reviews state the budget-priced belt’s velcro can fray quickly, GGR performance editor and frequent lifter Anthony O’Reilly, CPT, CNC, had no issues with it in over a year of testing.

Gymreapers Lever Belt

A lot of planning and testing went into the production of this lever belt from Gymreapers. It’s also great value for a heavy-duty belt. You can read more of our thoughts in our in-depth Gymreapers Lever Belt review.

A person is shown tightening the Gymreapers Lever Belt while wearing it.

Dominion Power Belt

We think this is a phenomenal powerlifting belt as well. It’s the same as the Dominion 3” Lifting Belt, which we recommend for deadlifts specifically, but with another inch in width.

Inzer Forever Buckle Belt

Inzer belts are great belts. I’ve had an Inzer Forever Buckle Belt that was passed down from my father to me for over a decade now. My father used the belt for two decades before me. This means I still to this day use a 30-year-old belt, and aside from some minor abrasions and fading, it still works like it did when it was purchased. The reason Inzer belts didn’t beat out our top pick is because of some misinformation that doesn’t necessarily make the belt bad, but worse than the competition. For instance, they say the layers aren’t glued together, but they are.

Inzer Forever Lever Belt

These use the same leather construction as the buckle belts but instead have a lever. The lever is a nice, chrome-plated lever, however, it isn’t adjustable like SBD’s which is why we’re not recommending it for most people. However, it is much cheaper.

Titan Support Brahma Power Belt

The Titan Brahma Belts are high-quality, USA-made weightlifting belts. They use strong materials and offer customization options with their belts. They are triple-stitched and use two pieces of sole leather and two pieces of suede leather that are glued and stitched together. The biggest issue with the belts that we’ve heard from others is that they don’t meet federation specs, although their site says they’re IPF-approved. We definitely like these belts, but we don’t think they’re better than our other picks at their price points.

Best Belts Athlete Suede Belt

Best Belts are indeed some of the best powerlifting belts that are available. They use great materials, are IPF-approved, and they come with a lifetime warranty. These belts stand up to Pioneer belts in terms of quality and longevity, but for the price, you may as well get the Pioneer Cut.

Schiek 2004 Nylon Belt

Schiek was one of our previous picks for the best nylon weightlifting belt, and we still think it’s a great option but the price has increased around $50 depending on which style you purchase (Amazon offers it in quite a few color options). There are more budget-friendly options that offer about the same level of support and comfort. 

The Dark Iron Fitness Leather Belt 

This is another belt that was previously recommended by us, but recent price increases (it’s about $40-50 on Amazon) make it more expensive than some of our top picks. It’s not that this is a bad belt, but it’s not that much better than our current budget pick. It is made of genuine cowhide leather, so if that’s important to you this is a great pick. 

Harbinger 5-Inch Weightlifting Belt

Harbinger is a well-known name in the weightlifting industry, especially when it comes to support gear like gloves and weightlifting belts. We’re sure someone on our team has tried out these belts, but we don’t have much to say about it.

Harbinger 4-Inch Weightlifting Belt

Same as the belt listed right above, but it’s 4 inches in thickness instead of 5. Better for smaller lifters.

How We Tested The Weightlifting Belts

best weightlifting belts

As usual, we started by simply scouring the internet and trying to compile a list of every belt in an Excel spreadsheet. Here’s a small portion:

best lifting belts

In addition to relying on Google for help, we also reviewed what had been written on the home gym subreddit, asked for opinions from our Home Gym Community Facebook Group (more than 122K strong as of this writing) as well as consulted with some of the strongest people in the world to get their opinion on the best weightlifting belt they’ve ever used.

Once we got the lay of the land, we took stock of what we already had on hand (nearly 20 different belts) and ordered others that we felt were needed for the comparison.

We used all of the above weightlifting belts for any and all lifts a belt might be used for, including heavy deadlifts and squats, clean and jerks, and snatches. We also wore them during higher-volume workouts and workouts with a variety of movements to see how they fared for general comfort and versatility.

Some key factors we evaluated during testing include ease of closure, adjustability, and, of course, support.

To simulate how weightlifting belts might be treated after big lifts and tough workouts, we threw them, smashed them, and stuffed them in bags. All of this drove our overall ratings of each belt.

We measured each belt for thickness and width accuracy to see how closely the actual product lined up with the stated dimensions online.

Benefits of Wearing a Weightlifting Belt

Benefits of Weightlifting Belts

Wearing a weightlifting belt is not a requirement for weight training. In fact, I’d go so far as to say you don’t need to wear a weightlifting belt at all if you’re not training at near-maximal (meaning above 80% of your max for a specific rep range). It’s actually really important to master beltless training and learn how to engage your core without the support of a weightlifting belt.

That said, belts do have their place. When lifting heavy weights, wearing a weightlifting belt provides extra support for your entire midsection, which includes your abdominal muscles and back muscles. It’s also worth noting that some competitive athletes wear belts even during light lifts to ensure their technique remains the same all the time. People with prior injuries can also benefit from wearing belts even at light loads.

RELATED: Best Back Exercises

By increasing intra-abdominal pressure, a weightlifting belt serves as a reminder to brace your core, and it also gives you an object to brace your core against. However, a weightlifting belt is not a replacement for core engagement. Instead of thinking of a belt as a necessity for core bracing, think of it as a physical cue to tighten your core. A belt should always be an indirect, not direct, support during your lifts.

Many beginners in CrossFit, powerlifting and Olympic lifting assume that wearing a weightlifting belt automatically allows them to lift more weight. This is not so. Weightlifting belts help you maintain better technique and stability during lifts at very high loads, thus increasing the chance that the lift is successful. I get that that looks like “belt equals more weight,” but again, it’s smartest to view weightlifting belts as a support tool, not as a crutch.

People also assume that using a belt protects your lower back and although this is somewhat true it’s not entirely correct. What a belt actually does is create pressure to brace your core against. When you brace your core, you’re less likely to suffer a back injury, so by default, weightlifting belts assist in the protection of the spine (but the real protection is core engagement).

Benefits of Wearing a Weightlifting Belt

Do I Need a Weightlifting Belt? 

This is one of the most controversial questions in strength training, and the answer is that nobody really needs one. Yes, wearing one does take some stress off the midsection but there are many trainees who find it unnecessary. 

If you’re someone who plans on competing in weightlifting, powerlifting, or CrossFit, then we recommend you invest in one. You’ll be lifting a lot of weights during your prep, and taking care of your body will ensure you feel ready to go come the big day. 

If you’re someone who lifts just as a hobby, that’s going to come down to preference. Belts don’t make you stronger or allow you to lift more weights, but they can be a great aid if progressive strength is one of your goals (which we assume it is, since you’re going to the gym on a regular basis). 

That said, you should work on perfecting your lifting form before you get a weightlifting belt. A belt won’t do you many favors if your technique needs adjustment. This means a belt should also be avoided by beginners, who should dedicate time to learning proper form before trying to lift anything heavy anyway. 

If you’re someone who sticks to machine workouts, there’s a 99% chance you’ll be OK without one. 

What to Consider Before Buying a Weightlifting Belt

Ask yourself these few important questions before taking the plunge and purchasing a weightlifting belt.

Do you know how to engage your core?

Full stop. Mike Masi, doctor of physical therapy and Garage Gym Reviews expert panelist, says if you’ve never learned to brace your core without a belt, you should definitely do that before buying and using a belt.

Otherwise, he says, “Your belt might become more of a crutch than a support tool over time. It’s important to know how to engage your core to use a belt properly and get the most out of it, anyway.”

Do you lift weights regularly?

If your weekly workouts consist of more jump squats than barbell squats, you probably don’t need a weightlifting belt. Workout styles such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), circuit training, and other high-volume, cardio-heavy training don’t typically require a belt. (This is not to say CrossFitters shouldn’t buy a belt, because CrossFit encompasses cardio-heavy training in addition to lifting weights.)

Do you regularly train at near-maximal loads?

If you do lift weights on a regular basis, how often are you lifting heavy and how heavy are you going? Heavy is relative, but if you never lift more than 80% of your max at a given rep range, you may not even need a belt. For instance, marathon runners who are using lifting as a way to cross-train probably wouldn’t benefit from a weightlifting belt, seeing as marathon-specific weight training involves high rep ranges (usually 8 to 20 reps per set) at lower loads.

weightlifting belts

How to Choose the Best Weightlifting Belt for You

Several factors go into the decision to buy a specific weightlifting belt. These are some of the most important things I encourage people to think about before clicking the buy button.

Your Sport

Your primary training style will largely dictate the best weightlifting belt for you. If your workouts mainly consist of Olympic lifting, you’ll need a different belt than someone whose workouts mainly consist of CrossFit or powerlifting.

In general, less rigidity is better for functional fitness-style training, while more rigidity is better for heavy lifting. Also, consider the closing mechanism: If you’re moving quickly from heavy deadlifts to pull-ups and back to deadlifts, you’ll want to minimize the time spent buckling and unbuckling your belt.

Budget

Weightlifting belts span a rather large price range. You can find decent-quality belts for under $50, while some premium belts from brands like Eleiko and SBD can run you more than $200. Before deciding on a number to spend, consider how much you’ll use the belt and your goals for it. If you don’t plan to train to become an elite weightlifter or powerlifter, lifting near-maximal loads multiple days a week, you probably don’t need to drop hundreds on a belt.

Materials

Most weightlifting belts are made either from leather or nylon. You may come across different blends of materials including cloth coverings and foam inserts, but the base pretty much always comes down to leather or nylon. Leather is often considered the gold standard for weightlifting belts, but it isn’t the best material to use in every situation. Nylon works well for higher volume lifting and in functional fitness settings.

If you do choose to buy a leather weightlifting belt, look out for fillers and stiffening agents that might affect the performance of the leather over time. Be sure to also read customer reviews about the break-in period and how the belt molds to the body, as this is essential to enjoying a leather weightlifting belt over the long term.

Belt Thickness and Width

One of the main questions I get about weightlifting belts is how thick they should be. I say leave this up to personal preference. Leather belts will naturally be thicker than nylon belts, thus providing more rigidity.

However, we’re less concerned with the actual thickness of the belt (unless you’re a competitor) and more concerned with how the stated thickness lines up with the actual thickness. I’ve seen many belts listed with a specific thickness that doesn’t line up with the product in hand. If you are a competitor, you should pick a belt that complies with the official rules of your sport. The IWF standard is that no belt can exceed 12 millimeters; the IPF states that 13 millimeters are the max thickness for belts.

Also, note that belt thickness isn’t the same as belt width. Thickness refers to how many millimeters deep the material is, while width refers to how many inches wide the belt is at its widest point. Weightlifting belts pretty much fall into the range of two to six millimeters thick and three to six inches wide.

When looking at width, the biggest factor is the length and size of your torso. People with longer torsos will generally benefit more from a wider belt, while shorter or more petite people may find wider belts uncomfortable and even unusable.

best weightlifting belts for squatting

Stitching and Gluing

The layers of the belt should, in most cases, be stitched when using leather. The more stitching, the better (up to a certain point). Most manufacturers typically use glue to prevent bubbling between the layers. The stitching itself should overlap to prevent the stitching from coming undone.

Hardware Finish

To prevent corrosion on your belt, look for a stainless steel buckle or some sort of finished hardware, such as zinc or chrome. This is especially important for home gym owners who may not be training in climate-controlled environments.

Customization Options

Can the belts be customized? If so, to what level and at what cost? What colors are available standard? While aesthetics might not be the main driver behind your purchase, we’re firm believers that you won’t wear or use something you don’t like the style of.

Flap Security

The piece of the belt that wraps around and has a prong inserted should be secured using rivets. This is the most secure system we’ve experienced, and it will prevent premature breaking of the belt.

Edge Work

Are the edges of the leather skived and dressed or are they just left with a sharp edge and no dressing to prevent separation? If it’s a nylon belt, how durable is the edge stitching? Fraying is a big no-no when it comes to weightlifting belts, as it reduces the longevity of the belt.

Break-In Period

If you’re interested in a leather belt, make sure to seek reviews that mention the break-in process. Some super tough leather belts may never fully break in or become more supple, which is a dealbreaker for many. Ideally, a leather belt will mold to your body over time for an ultra-comfortable and supportive fit. You can speed up the break-in process by rolling the belt up into a circle one way, massaging it, and then rolling it the other way—rinse and repeat.

Value

Does the cost of the belt line up with its features and quality? I don’t mind recommending a more expensive belt if the quality matches the price point. However, with so many decently priced, high-quality belts out there these days, it becomes difficult to recommend the more expensive options.

Keep an eye out for specific sales on products from many brands over the Black Friday weekend.

Warranty

What’s the length of the warranty on the belt? What does it cover? Are there so many stipulations that it’s not even worth filing a warranty claim? Will the company be around for your life to service the warranty? If you’re buying a $50 belt, this stuff may not be a huge deal, but if you’re buying a $200 belt, it sure is.

Fastening System

The fastening system, or how you secure the weightlifting belt to your body, is an important factor to keep in mind when deciding on the best weightlifting belt for you. Here are the different types of systems and what to keep in mind for each.

Buckle System

If a buckle and prong system is used, a roller buckle is ideal for allowing the tongue of the belt to easily slide in and out of the buckle and a seamless roller buckle is best of all.

Lever System

If the belt uses a lever system, look for reviews that mention how easy or difficult it is to secure the lever, as well as how much flexibility there is to allow for fluctuations in body weight.

Velcro

If Velcro is used, look for reviews that show how durable it is. If the Velcro starts to fry (wear out) after only a few uses, that’s an indication that the manufacturer may be using low-quality materials.

How to Wear a Weightlifting Belt

Follow these steps to wear your weightlifting belt the right way and get the most out of it:

  1. Position the belt around your waist. The bottom edge should sit above your hip bones to avoid creating air pockets, and so the belt makes contact with your abs, obliques, and back muscles.
  2. Take a small breath (don’t fully inhale) and tighten the belt. You want to tighten the belt to the point where it feels snug, but not like you’re going to bust the buckle. Leave some room for your stomach to expand when you inhale during your lift. A good rule of thumb is to tighten the belt until you can fit one finger between the belt and your back.
  3. Fasten the buckle, lever, or velcro and inhale fully to feel it out. If you feel any pinching or feel like you can’t breathe, you probably need to readjust.

Frequently Asked Questions About Weightlifting Belts

What does a weightlifting belt do?

Weightlifting belts increase pressure in and around your abdomen, as well as provide a physical cue to promote core engagement. These two functions make it easier to maintain a stable core and good lifting technique at very heavy loads, which means your chances of a successful lift increase and your chances of injury theoretically decrease.

Do weightlifting belts protect your back?

It’s thought that wearing a weightlifting belt may protect the spine when lifting heavy weights because the belt increases core muscle activation and stability around the spine. However, I’m not aware of any studies that look specifically at the injury risk reduction abilities of weightlifting belts (obviously, researchers would be hard-pressed to find an ethics board willing to let them potentially injure spines for science).

Do weightlifting belts help you lift more weight?

Belts aren’t magic. They don’t automatically allow your body to do something it isn’t ready for—you won’t increase your back squat one-rep max by 15 pounds just by throwing on a belt. However, because weightlifting belts increase core stabilization and core stability is a key indicator of proper lifting form, it’s safe to assume that most people will enjoy more success at heavy lifting when wearing a belt.

When should you use a weightlifting belt?

There’s no hard-and-fast rule about when to wear a belt and when not to, but many people reserve weightlifting belts for very heavy lifts. However, other people like to wear belts for high-volume workouts, too. It’s honestly a matter of personal preference and A-OK as long as you know how to brace your core on your own.

What’s the best material for a weightlifting belt?

Leather and nylon belts are standard. Between the two, one’s not necessarily better than the other, but they are better for different uses. Leather belts tend to be more rigid and therefore work best for powerlifting, strongman, and Olympic lifting. Nylon belts are often seen in the CrossFit and bodybuilding communities.

Will training with a weightlifting belt make my core weak?

Some people and self-proclaimed strength training purists avoid belts at all costs because they think belts are either a cheat or that belts will make their core weak. Neither of these ideas is true. If you use a weightlifting belt properly (that is, learn how to brace your core first and then use the belt as a cue and support), you won’t lose any core strength from wearing a weightlifting belt.

Do you need a weightlifting belt?

A weightlifting belt is not a necessity, but for many people it can help them engage their core during the big three lifts: bench press, deadlift, and squat.

Further reading

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