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Dominion Strength is offering yet another great belt option among the many currently on the market. There really has never been a better time to buy a belt for strength training than right now. Not only are there a plethora of options, but due to so much competition in the industry, companies are pricing their belts to sell. The Starting Strength Single Ply Weightlifting Belt from Dominion Strength is a perfect example of this. Not only is the belt built using premium materials, but the belt is right around $100 shipped to your door. The idea behind the belt is similar to the equipment Starting Strength has employed Texas Strength Systems to product for their affiliates–age with the use of the product. So, the belt should begin to develop a nice patina from the oils and sweat off your body as well as conform to your waist area. If you want a minimal, natural leather belt, this is your best option.
There's something special about using a high-quality piece of equipment—this is especially true for you weightlifting belt. Putting it on should increase your confidence to get under the bar, it should feel stable when strapped across your torso, and you should know that no matter how often you use it, that it's going to perform as well as the first day you got it. My dad was a powerlifter before I was born and as I was a child, but when I started training he passed his belt down to me to start using. I still use the same Inzer Power Belt often and will no doubt be able to pass the belt down to my son. This is what a good belt should give its owner the opportunity to do.
The Dominion Starting Strength Single Ply Weightlifting Belt, although simple, is a belt that has heirloom qualities. First of all, it's extremely simple in its design. Featuring a single piece of treated 6.5-7MM top grain sole bend leather, there is no stitching or glue to come undone and what you see is what you get. No doubt about it, using a single-ply belt is vastly different from a multi-ply belt like what is traditionally used for powerlifting today. It feels less secure, the belt stretches more (especially in the beginning), and it's much more flexible. However, although these are negatives for some, for others they're positives.
The break-in time on the belt is next to nothing (it felt better out of the box than my SBD Belt feels after nearly a year of heavy use) and due to how light and thin it is, I find myself using it for movements I wouldn't normally use a belt for, like bench and overhead press. I've noticed after using the belt through a few workouts that it's stretching less than it did in the beginning, and I expect this to continue to get better over time. Due to the thinness of the belt, it's much more flexible than other power belts you'd find. In fact, although I use this belt for deadlifts, I see it much more suited for bodybuilders or even Olympic Weightlifters (I'd love to see a contoured version of this belt for Olympic Weightlifting.)
The 3" width of the belt I received is designed primarily for pulling. Although I've tested 3" belts for squats, they aren't ideal for my body type. If you have a very short torso, then 3" can work great for squats, but I keep this style of belt for my time on the deadlift platform. Due to how thin the belt is, it's pretty important that the edges are rounded and sanded so the belt doesn't dig into your obliques and stomach. I've noticed Dominion Strength pays attention to the details, which can be seen everywhere from the pressed Starting Strength logo to the buckle system. Although a small detail, the buckle utilizes a seamless roller buckle that's used by pretty much all of the premier belts we've reviewed like from the likes of Pioneer Fitness.
We definitely feel confident in recommending the Dominion Starting Strength Single Ply Weightlifting Belt, however, we'd suggest most people upgrade to a multi-ply belt like the 10MM belt we reviewed here. We like the single-ply for its flexibility, but prefer a stiffer belt for max lifts. If you use a belt for a lot of accessory work or want something a bit more minimal, this is one of your best options.
The Dominion Starting Strength Single Ply Weightlifting Belt is listed as being 6.5-7MM in thickness depending on the cut of top grain sole bend leather used. A traditional power belt is anywhere from 10MM to 13MM (some are even 15MM, which is a bit much in my opinion.) 7MM, although not ideal for powerlifting, still works. Some people simply prefer a thinner, more flexible belt compared to something like the behemoth known as the SBD Belt from which world records have been made. Although for the squat we like both a thicker and wider belt, the 7MM thickness of the Dominion Starting Strength Single Ply Weightlifting Belt feels great. I prefer using the 10MM version but not grossly so. I've found myself switching off between the 10MM and 7MM belts for deadlifts now that I have the option and will likely continue doing so. I like the mental effect of doing heavy warm-ups with the single-ply belt and then switching to the multi-ply belt for heavier sets. Even if it doesn't change anything physically, it does mentally (I also leave my shoes loose until my heavy sets for this same reason.)
There are a ton of good, quality belts on the market today and here's the thing, there's only so much innovation that can come with a metal prong and leather belt. We've seen how Pioneer with Steve Strohm created the Pioneer Cut Belt that allows greater size customizations without decreasing the security of the belt and although that's an innovation, it's still minor. I say this to point out, that you should be looking less for innovation from a weightlifting belt, and more for quality materials from a company with good customer service and a price you like.
The Dominion Starting Strength Belt single ply version comes in both a 4" and 3" version. I've noticed they recently came out with a double ply version for Starting Strength that we'd love to recommend in the 4" variety. The quality of the Dominion Single Ply Starting Strength Belt is about as good as a single ply belt can be made. The leather is high-quality, the roller buckle is made to last, the rivets are strong, and the logo press is done very well. The holes will stretch over time due to the thickness of the leather, but this is what you expect from a belt of this sort. If you want a minimal belt that is single-ply, I see none on the market that are superior to this one. There may be others that offer more customization options, but they're not inherently better performers or longer lasting.
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