Of course, when training with powerlifting exercises, it is important to practice proper form to avoid injuring yourself. Unfortunately, it is a natural instinct to roll your back when performing these kinds of exercises. However, this is when you are most prone to injure yourself. Thankfully, best powerlifting belts provide the additional support necessary to help keep your form proper.
Best Weightlifting Belt of 2018
Still, figuring out which powerlifting belt is the best can be difficult. That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best powerlifting belts 2018. We also highlight what each one is best for. Then we provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can find the right powerlifting belt to suit your needs.
|Material||Closure||Thickness, mm||Width, inch|
|Inzer Lever Belt|
|Dominion Strength Training|
|Flexz Fitness |
1. Inzer Lever Belt – Best Performing Powerlifting Belt
Inzer is one of the leading powerlifting product manufacturers in America. Izner Advance Designs Founded by numerous world record holding powerlifter John Inzer. Their products are personally tested by the CEO to ensure that they are ideal for powerlifting exercises. That dedication has paid off. The Inzer Advance Designs Forever Lever Belt tops our list as the best performing powerlifting belt.
This belt practically oozes quality from start to finish. First, the belt is made out of top grain leather. This means that the belt is incredibly durable. It will also support your back better than pretty much every other material used for powerlifting belts. On top of that, the belt is lined both in and out with suede that offers a soft finish. It also functions to prevent the belt from sliding up or down while in use.
In an effort to appeal to the most powerlifters, this belt comes in an astounding 8 different sizes. Everyone can find an Inzer right for them. The Forever uses a lever closure which makes securing and releasing the belt exceptionally easy. That said, numerous consumers have noted that the lever can come undone while doing extremely heavy squats after repeated use.
2. Dominion Strength Training – Best Women’s Powerlifting Belt
Dominion Strength Training may not have the extensive pedigree of some of the other brands on our list. Though only formed in 2017, the company definitely knows what it takes to make a great powerlifting belt. That said, Dominion Strength Training actually specializes in all weightlifting products for both genders. This breadth is why we rated it as our best powerlifting belt for women.
This powerlifting belt still meets pretty much every other standard would expect from a high-end powerlifting belt. In fact, the Dominion Strength Training belt meets standard competition regulations for women. First, it is 10 mm thick which will provide plenty of support for your back. Still, the construction of this belt also really stands out.
3. Dark Iron Fitness – Best Budget Powerlifting Belt
A big part of this combination has to do with the fact that they sell their products almost exclusively online. This lowers their overhead costs–savings they pass on to their consumer. That said, the Dark Iron Fitness is not the best powerlifting belt we saw. However, its value squarely makes it the best all-around value powerlifting belt we reviewed.
On the construction end, this too is a bit hit-or-miss. For instance, this belt uses a two-prong buckle closure. This type of closure is already the most durable. Even better, the closure is then reinforced with rivets to ensure that its fit stays put while also remaining strong. That said, this powerlifting belt is made out of genuine leather. While the genuine leather is cowhide, it is not made from a single strip. Ultimately, it will wear out quicker than some other powerlifting belts–especially with its 5 mm thickness.
4. Fire Team Fit – Best Tapered Powerlifting Belt
Like many of the companies we reviewed, Fire Team Fit is a new brand to enter the powerlifting product market. That said, it was founded in 2016 by veterans of the US Marine Special Forces. You can at least rest assured that the makers are well-aware what it takes to produce a quality powerlifting belt. Though, they make it a point to provide a belt that can help with more than just powerlifting.
Specifically, the Fire Team Fit belt is the only one reviewed designed to be used with more than powerlifting exercises. This design includes both leg and core building exercises. The belt accomplishes this through a number of ways. The primary quality that provides this profile is its flexibility. This powerlifting belt is designed with a host of features that make it by far the most flexible powerlifting belt. Though, it can still providing adequate support for your back. Part of this is accomplished through the use of less stiff and less durable nylon material.
5. Flexz Fitness Belt – Best Amateur Powerlifting Belt
Flexz Fitness is a company on our list that is so close to being one of the best. If they could just clean up a few miscues in terms of construction, they would be. It could still be the best all-around value that we found. As it stands, this powerlifting belt is made in the style and form as our best performing powerlifting belt. Though, does not meet the same high standards in terms of construction.
For instance, this belt meets the standard competition regulations for powerlifting competitions. It is 4” wide which provides plenty of back support. Even better, the Flexz Fitness is 10 mm thick which speaks well both of its support and durability. To put the veritable cherry on top, this belt also uses the lever closure system. This helps keep a tight fight and is easy to both put on and take off.
That said, some of the construction and material choices leave a bit to be desired. For instance, this is the only product on our list to use polyurethane as its base material. Polyurethane is not nearly as durable or as stiff as actually leather. Though, it is more water resistant and breaks in quicker. Beyond the material, the lever closure has a screw which keeps it in place. Unfortunately, this screw is not truly rated to handle the kind of force it will endure during powerlifting exercises. As such, it will regularly come loose after being stripped of its threading.
Buyer’s Guide Powerlifting Belt of 2018:
Many people work out to stay in shape. If you are trying to cultivate mass, then you know you need to do more than cardio. In this instance, you are going to want to workout using some of the powerlifting exercises. These work to strengthen the entire body and provide usable strength beyond just a large muscular form. This is where the best powerlifting belt comes in handy.
While ultimately the sizing of the belt is the most important quality, that is a factor you can control directly. Other qualities about the powerlifting belt, like the materials, are things that are left completely to the manufacturer. That is why it is important to make sure that you buy one made out of high-quality materials. When looking at a powerlifting belt’s materials, the main contrast will be between stiffness and flexibility.
Polyurethane, or PU, is the technical name for faux or “fake” leather. While this material does have some benefits, it is ultimately the least desirable material when it comes to powerlifting belts. This is because PU sits in a precarious balance between strength and flexibility. With some of the more pliable materials, you understand that you are giving up a bit of stiffness.
However, when it comes to PU, it will generally start off as pliable as any other type of leather. It is only after using the belt for months that you begin to notice its flaws. The internal structure was not meant to withstand the forces laid to bare for extended periods of time. Of course, by that point, it is too late and you are stuck with the belt.
That being said, a PU belt can be useful for certain people. For one, this is generally one of the least expensive materials powerlifting belts are made out of. While you generally want to favor quality over cost. If you only intend to use the belt infrequently, then there is no reason to break the bank when buying it.
PU is also the most water resistant material on our list. It is generally a fairly simple measure to clean up leather. Still, leather can absorb sweat and begin to crack if it is not treated with a conditioner. Nylon will not crack, but it will absorb the sweat and lose some stiffness while the sweat is absorbed. PU, on the other hand, will not absorb sweat at all.
This is by far the most preferred and durable material that powerlifting belts are made out of. It is also often the most expensive material depending on the type of leather. That said, there are three different grades of leather with a fairly large difference between the highest and lowest grade.
The lowest grade of leather is “genuine” leather. This technically is made of leather, but it is not made out of a single piece of leather. Instead, this type of leather is made out of either numerous strips or shredded pieces of leather that are bound. They are either glued or fashioned together with heat and a thermoplastic material. This type of leather is little better than PU and should be avoided for the same reasons.
The next grade, top grain leather, is generally seen as the best grade for products that people wear. This is because top grain leather is still extremely durable and offers plenty of stiffness. However, it is still technically soft enough to be broken in. Top grain leather is made out of the topmost layer of skin and removes the hair follicles. This grade of leather can be broken in much easier than the highest grades of leather. It will still retain its overall structural integrity after broken in.
The last, and highest, grade of leather is full grain leather. Full grain leather is made out of the entire piece of skin including the lower layers. This makes full grain leather incredibly durable, but it also has a tendency to be extremely stiff. Full grain leather is generally reserved for products not worn due to its inability to be easily broken in. That said, full grain leather can last decades if properly cared for.
On its own, nylon is not a great material for powerlifting belts. This is because nylon is a soft, pliable fiber that does not carry with it any inherent stiffness. That being said, nylon is often added to other materials in the manufacturing of powerlifting lifting belts. It can even be used for making specific types of powerlifting belts without the addition of other materials.
As a material, nylon does carry with it a number of advantages. These help explain why it is used for certain types of powerlifting belts. For one, nylon is an extremely durable fiber. When woven together, nylon can hold or secure far more than most other fibers like cotton or wool. Nylon is also somewhat water resistant and will not degrade due to the presence of water like leather will.
As a fiber, nylon can be woven over, through, or around other materials and objects. This makes nylon especially useful for powerlifting belts that use pads or braces at various points. These inserts or pads provide additional strength when powerlifting. Still, the primary use for nylon with powerlifting is to provide a belt that can offer flexibility. It needs to be flexible enough for leg and core exercises without having to take it off.
While it may seem a small thing, the closure of a powerlifting belt plays an important part in many qualities. It greatly affects the comfort of the belt, the support the belt provides, and the ease of the belt’s use. Despite often being an afterthought, the closure is arguably the second most important part of a weightlifting belt. It is the most important outside of the material the belt is made of.
This is the classic closure for any belt–powerlifting or otherwise–and can come in a couple of different configurations. The most common arrangements for a buckle closure are the one and two prong styles. Though, three prong powerlifting belt closures do exist. This type of closure has the advantage of providing excellent security. It also offers ease when putting the belt on or adjusting it. On the flip side, buckle closures are notorious for being the most time consuming to take off. It also provides only average durability–especially when paired with less durable belt materials.
Velcro is a much-maligned type of closure that often polarizes the powerlifting community. Some people love velcro belts for their ease of use. This is by far the easiest powerlifting belt closure to put on, adjust, and take off. However, velcro closures are noted for being the least durable powerlifting belt closure around. The velcro closure has to be stitched onto or woven into the belt. Ultimately the velcro material will eventually lose some of its grip after repeated use.
This is the newest type of closure used for powerlifting belts. It is also widely seen as providing the best balance between a buckle and velcro. In terms of putting on and taking off, the lever closure is nearly as easy as velcro. It also carries with it the durability of the buckle closure. It is even more reliable when used with lesser grade belt materials. The main issue with the lever closure is that it is the most difficult to adjust. Though, once you figure out where the closure should sit, you are unlikely to adjust it much thereafter anyway.
Along with the material, the thickness of the belt goes a long way in determining the amount of back support. Ultimately, the best powerlifting belts range between 10 mm to 13 mm thick. Though competition regulations for powerlifting belts usually require a belt that is 10 mm thick. That said, there are non-competition standard powerlifting belts that may be thinner than 10 mm thick. These belts are only recommended if they are made out of stiffer materials than most powerlifting belts–like full grain leather.
The width of the powerlifting belt will help determine how much area of the back is supported by the belt. This is not one of the features that are a one-size-fits-all type of quality. Different people will need different widths of support. Taller people will require wider belts, while shorter people will need less wide belts.
Keep in mind, getting a belt that is too wide will not actually support your back less. Instead, the issue becomes one of mobility. The wider the belt, the less mobile you become. Of course, the material used in the belt–and more specifically its flexibility–will also play an important role in this equation. Still, you will generally want a belt suited for your height for comfort reasons if nothing else.
The stitching of the powerlifting belt will only really affect its long-term durability. It does not actually play much of a role in the effectiveness or the support that the powerlifting belt provides. That said, even a belt made of high-quality leather can suffer from durability issues if the stitching is subpar. In this respect, you will generally want to look for a powerlifting belt that is either triple or quadruple stitched. The stitching should also be double-sided–or all the way through. This ensures that the belt pretty much has to fall apart altogether for the stitches to come undone.
The shape of the powerlifting belt does not vary too terribly much. The minor variation in powerlifting belt shapes will ultimately determine how narrow a field of exercise it is suited for. Basically, powerlifting belts come in one of two shapes: straight and tapered. Straight powerlifting belts are fairly self-explanatory. They are a single width all the way around. Tapered powerlifting belts differ in that they are less wide through the midsection than they are at the back.
The reason for choosing one or the other will hinge more on personal comfort and exercise programs than anything else. Specifically, if you are wearing a powerlifting belt for squats, cleans, and lifts only, then you do not need flexibility. In this instance, you simply want a powerlifting belt that will provide the absolute maximum stability. Thus, you should opt for a straight shaped belt.
If you want to wear a powerlifting belt to help with your form and mobility, you want a tapered belt. If you also workout your legs and core, then you are liable to prefer a tapered powerlifting belt. This is because a tapered powerlifting belt will still provide the width necessary to support your back for the previous exercises. However, it will narrow by an inch to an inch and a half across your midsection. This tapered shape will provide you more mobility and feel more comfortable when exercising your legs and core.
There is no powerlifting belt will be the best for every person. Still, there are a couple that definitely stand out when compared to their competitors. With a combination of materials, dimensions, and quality construction, a couple powerlifting belts rise to the top of the cream.
If you are a man, we highly recommend the Inzer. The 4” width and 10 mm thickness meet competition regulations. The top grain leather material and lever closure ensure a tight fit that will last a long time. Though, that quality comes at a steeper price than most.
For women looking for a powerlifting belt, the Dominion Strength Training is almost ideal. It too is made from top grained leather and is 10 mm thick to provide excellent support. However, it is only 3” wide, which is more suitable for shorter powerlifters.