How to Choose a Weightlifting Belt – Complete Guide

28th October 2023

A weightlifting belt is a specialized piece of fitness equipment designed to provide support and stability to the lower back and abdominal region during weightlifting or strength training exercises. It typically consists of a wide, thick belt made from materials like leather or nylon, with a buckle or fastening mechanism to secure it around the waist. Here’s a clear and informative breakdown of weightlifting belts:

Guide to Choose a Weightlifting Belt

When choosing a weightlifting belt, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter, there are several important factors to consider to ensure you select the right one for your needs. Here’s a clear and informative guide on what to keep in mind when choosing a weightlifting belt:

1. Belt Type:

There are primarily two types of weightlifting belts: powerlifting belts and weightlifting belts (also known as Olympic lifting belts). Powerlifting belts are wider all-around, while weightlifting belts are narrower in the front. Choose the one that aligns with your specific lifting goals and exercises.

2. Material:

Weightlifting belts are typically made of leather or nylon. Leather belts are durable and provide excellent support, but they can be less flexible. Nylon belts are lighter, more affordable, and offer more flexibility. Consider which material suits your preferences and budget.

3. Closure System:

Weightlifting belts come with various closure systems, including single prong, double prong, and lever. Single prong and double prong belts are adjustable and secure, but may take slightly longer to put on. Lever belts are quick to fasten but require tools for adjustment. Choose the closure system that you find most convenient.

4. Width:

The width of the belt is crucial. Powerlifting belts are typically 4 inches wide or wider, providing maximum support to the entire core. Weightlifting belts are narrower, around 2-4 inches, allowing more freedom of movement during Olympic lifts. Beginners may find narrower belts more comfortable.

5. Fitting:

Ensure a snug fit. The belt should be tight enough to provide support but not so tight that it restricts your breathing or movement. Measure your waist at your navel, and consult the manufacturer’s size chart for the best fit.

6. Padding:

Some weightlifting belts come with padding in the back, which can enhance comfort. However, this is a matter of personal preference. Some lifters prefer a padded belt, while others prefer a thinner, more rigid design for better support.

7. Brand and Quality:

Opt for reputable brands known for producing high-quality weightlifting belts. Brands like AQFSports, Rogue, Eleiko, and SBD are well-regarded in the fitness community.

8. Budget:

Weightlifting belts vary in price. While it’s tempting to opt for the most affordable option, investing in a quality belt can be a wise decision, as it will provide better support and last longer.

9. Try Before You Buy:

Whenever possible, try on a weightlifting belt in a store to assess comfort, fit, and design. This allows you to get a feel for the belt and make a more informed decision.

10. Consult with Experienced Lifters:

Seek advice from experienced lifters or a fitness coach. They can provide valuable insights based on their own experiences and guide you towards the most suitable choice for your lifting style and goals.

11. Warranty and Customer Reviews:

Check for warranties or return policies, and read customer reviews to gauge the overall satisfaction of others who have purchased the same belt.

How to Check the Fitting of a Weightlifting Belt:

Measure Your Waist: Before purchasing a weightlifting belt, measure your waist at your navel with a tape measure. This measurement will help you choose the right size according to the manufacturer’s size chart.

Choose the Right Size: Use your waist measurement to select the appropriate belt size. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for sizing, as sizing may vary between brands.

Check for Snugness: Once you have the belt, put it on without fastening it. It should feel snug but not overly tight. You should be able to slide your hand between your waist and the belt. It should not constrict your breathing or cause discomfort.

How to Wear a Weightlifting Belt:

Position the Belt: Stand up straight and position the belt around your waist. The center of the belt should align with your navel.

Align the Buckle or Closure: If your belt has a buckle or closure system, ensure it is in the front and centred.

Fasten the Belt:

If it’s a single-prong belt, insert the prong through the hole that provides a snug but comfortable fit and secure it by pushing the prong through the hole.

For a double-prong belt, insert both prongs through their corresponding holes and secure them in the same manner.

In the case of a lever weightlifting belt, engage the lever and secure it at the desired tightness level. You may need to use a tool to adjust the lever for a proper fit.

Tighten the Belt: To achieve the optimal support, tighten the belt to a level where you feel comfortable and supported. It should provide a sense of stability without being overly restrictive. You should be able to breathe deeply and comfortably while wearing it.

Proper Placement: Ensure the belt is snugly positioned on your lower back and abdominal area. It should not ride up on your ribcage or down onto your hips.

Secure but Not Constricting: The belt should provide support without causing discomfort. You should be able to expand your abdomen while lifting, so do not fasten it too tightly.

What Does a Weightlifting Belt Do?

Core Stability:

The primary purpose of a weightlifting belt is to enhance core stability. It does this by increasing intra-abdominal pressure, which helps support the spine and maintain proper alignment during heavy lifting. This pressure essentially acts as a brace, reducing the risk of injury.

Reduced Lower Back Stress:

When lifting heavy weights, particularly in exercises like squats and deadlifts, there is significant stress on the lower back. A weightlifting belt reduces this stress by supporting the lower back muscles and spinal discs.

Improved Lifting Performance:

Wearing a weightlifting belt can allow you to lift heavier weights or perform more repetitions with a given weight. This is because it stabilizes the core, allowing you to exert more force without compromising form.

Who Should Wear a Weightlifting Belt?

Weightlifting belts are not necessary for every gym-goer. They are primarily beneficial for individuals engaged in heavy resistance training, powerlifting, or weightlifting. Here’s who should consider using one:


Powerlifters often perform extremely heavy, compound lifts like the squat, deadlift, and bench press. A belt can provide crucial support for these movements.


Olympic weightlifters, who engage in the snatch and clean and jerk, use weightlifting belts to maintain stability during the explosive and dynamic nature of their lifts.

Strength Athletes:

Anyone involved in strength sports, where maximal strength is the goal, can benefit from a weightlifting belt. This includes strongman competitors and bodybuilders doing heavy compound movements.

Experienced Lifters:

Beginners should focus on building a strong core without relying on a belt. Once proper form and core strength are established, experienced lifters can introduce a belt for added support and safety during heavier lifts.

The Bottomline

A weightlifting belt improves core stability, reduces lower back stress, and improves lifting performance during heavy resistance training. It is most beneficial for experienced lifters engaged in powerlifting, weightlifting, and other strength sports. Always choose the belt with right size and position it near your waist for optimal performance.