When people think about weight lifting belts, they often assume they’re reserved for experienced lifters or only for powerlifting competitions. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth! Weightlifting belts can be a helpful tool for anyone looking to improve their strength and form in various exercises. Not all weightlifting belts are created equal, though. In this article, we’ll break down the different types of lifting belt and how to choose the right one tailored to your needs.
What are the different types of weightlifting belts?
There are a few different types of weightlifting belts you’ll come across, but the two primary categories are powerlifting belts and Olympic lifting belts.
Powerlifting belts tend to be wider and thicker, measuring around 10mm to 13mm. Powerlifters typically use heavier weight loads and maximal effort lifts, so having a thick and sturdy belt helps to support and stabilize their core. These belts can be made of leather, suede, or other materials, with a single or double prong buckle.
Olympic lifting belts, on the other hand, are narrower and softer, usually measuring between 6mm to 10mm. Olympic lifts, such as cleans and snatches, involve more dynamic movement patterns and require more flexibility in the torso. Therefore, Olympic lifting belts provide more mobility, allowing for a greater range of motion. These belts are often made of nylon or other lightweight materials with a quick-release buckle.
How to choose the right size weightlifting belt?
When measuring for a weightlifting belt, it’s essential to use a tape measure and measure around your belly button. This measurement will determine the size belt you need, as weightlifting belts come in different waist sizes. Avoid measuring around your hips or waist as you would for a clothing size.
Once you have your measurement, you’ll typically add 2-4 inches to determine the size belt you need. This extra space allows you to fasten the belt tightly to your waist and adjust it as needed for different exercises.
Should you choose a single or double-prong buckle?
Weightlifting belts come with a single-prong or double-prong buckle, which secures the belt in place. While both types of buckles function similarly, some lifters prefer one over the other.
Double-prong buckles have two prongs that secure the belt, offering a more secure fit than single-prong buckles. They can also distribute the pressure more evenly across your abs, making them a great choice for heavy lifts. However, they can be a bit more challenging to adjust, and some people find them less comfortable.
Single-prong buckles are more straightforward to adjust and generally more comfortable for most lifters. They’re also easier to fasten and loosen between sets, and you don’t have to worry about the prongs digging into your stomach. Keep in mind that single-prong buckles may loosen during maximal effort lifts and require readjustment.
Should you choose leather or nylon?
When it comes to the material of your weightlifting belt, you’ll typically choose between leather and nylon. Leather belts are the more traditional option and tend to be more durable. They can also become more pliable and form-fitting over time, which some lifters prefer.
Nylon belts are lighter and more flexible than leather and generally more affordable. If you’re just starting with weightlifting and aren’t ready to invest in an expensive leather belt, a nylon belt can be a great option to start.
What are some additional features to consider?
Aside from the basic types and features of weightlifting belts we covered above, there are other aspects to consider when choosing the perfect belt for you. Some belts come with additional padding or contouring around the back or front of the belt, for example, that can help provide a customized fit.
You may also want to consider the thickness of your weightlifting belt, depending on your personal preferences and goals. For example, some intermediate lifters may prefer a thicker belt to support heavier lifts, while others may prefer a more flexible belt for greater mobility.
Choosing the right weightlifting belt can be a challenging process, but understanding the different types and features can make it easier. Consider your goals, exercise preferences, and personal preferences when selecting the perfect belt for you. By choosing the right weightlifting belt, you can get the support and stability you need to take your workouts to the next level.