10mm vs 13mm Belt: Which Is Best for You?

Weightlifting belts come in two standard thicknesses: 10mm and 13mm. Knowing which thickness to choose, a 10mm vs 13mm belt, can make a huge difference to the functionality and comfort of your lifting belt. In this article, we’ll lay out the benefits of each and make recommendations for different strength training applications.


  • 10mm belts are the most common, being more comfortable.
  • 10mm belts are more flexible and easier to ‘break in.’ 
  • 13mm belts are designed for super heavy lifting.
  • The majority of lifters should opt for a 10mm belt.
  • Elite lifters should consider a 13mm belt.

Differences Between a 10mm vs 13mm Belt

Weightlifting belts generally come in a standard width of four inches. Some of them may taper at the front so that the fastening area is two to three inches wide. The major difference between powerlifting belts, though, is their thickness. 

Lever belts and prong belts both come in 10mm and 13mm options. 

A measure of a belt’s thickness records the distance in millimeters from the surface of the belt that contacts your skin or clothing to the surface furthest from you. The two most common belt thicknesses are 10mm and 13mm.

A 13mm lifting belt is 30% thicker than a 10mm belt. It, therefore, has 30% more construction material. A thicker belt is naturally more rigid than a thinner one. 

The whole purpose of a weightlifting belt is to create intra abdominal pressure as you lift a weight. This creates greater force as your core pushes against the belt. This enhanced force can be utilized to help you complete the lift. 

It’s easy to think that a belt that is 30% thicker will provide you with a substantial boost in strength. But that’s not exactly the case. Many elite-level powerlifters use 10mm belts, and many records have been smashed with them. A 13mm belt will provide more support for your extra heavy lifts, but this will not necessarily translate to increased poundages. 

10mm Lifting Belts: Features and Benefits

Weightlifting belts generally have a standardized width of four inches. The thickness of the belt can vary, with 10mm being the most popular. This thickness provides a balance between flexibility and rigidity. It’s neither too bulky nor too restrictive. 

More Versatile

A thickness of 10mm is enough to provide sufficient stiffness to enhance intra-abdominal pressure, stabilize the spine, and reduce the risk of injury. Because it’s not as rigid as a 13mm belt, it can be used for various exercises, including squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses. 

You can also do non-powerlifting exercises with a 10mm lifting belt. These may include Bulgarian Split Squats, Bent Over Rows and Barbell Lunges. 

Greater Comfort

The lack of rigidity makes a 10mm belt more comfortable to wear. You won’t feel like you’re wearing a corset, which is not true with some 13mm belts. The enhanced flexibility of a 10mm lifting belt will allow you to breathe more naturally. A too rigid belt may impede your breathing, making you hold your breath. This is never a good idea. 

Easier to Break In

Weightlifting belts go through what is known as a breaking-in period. Over the first few weeks of using a new belt, it will conform to the shape of your body, become more flexible, and enhance wearer comfort. Leather belts go through a greater breaking-in period, as they can better mold to the user’s body shape.

10mm belts require less breaking-in time than 13mm belts. That’s because they are thinner and more flexible. A thicker belt will be more rigid, requiring more time to contour to the user’s body. 

Less Expensive

10mm weightlifting belts are cheaper than 13mm versions. That’s because it requires less construction material. Depending on the brand and the material used, you can save some serious money by opting for the thinner version. 

Greater Range

There is a greater availability and range of 10mm weightlifting belts than for its 13mm counterpart. So, if individual styling is important to you and you want to have as wide a choice as possible, you will want to go with a 10mm belt. 

13mm Lifting Belts: Features and Benefits

A 13mm weightlifting belt is 30% thicker than a 10mm belt. Here’s how that can benefit you:

Increased Rigidity

A 13mm lifting belt is considerably more rigid than a 10mm belt. It is stiffer, harder and provides more core support. If the belt is leather, it will provide a greater level of rigidity than a velcro belt. 

This increased rigidity comes at a price, however. The thicker material can be quite uncomfortable, especially if the edges of the belt dig into your skin. Some people also find it harder to breathe naturally in a 13mm belt compared to a 10mm version.

Greater Support

A 13mm thick belt provides more support, creating greater intra-abdominal force than a 10mm belt. Lifters with heavy frames and/or who are carrying a lot of belly fat, may be better off with a thicker belt. 

The thicker belt allows for more intra-abdominal pressure as the abs push against the surface of the belt. This increased force may contribute to a successful lift. However, the difference is not great. It might only manifest itself when lifting your max weight on squats and deadlifts. 

Powerlifters who find themselves stuck on a strength plateau should consider switching from a 10mm belt to a 13mm belt. The extra thickness, allowing for greater intra-abdominal force, might be just what is needed to break through the strength plateau.

Powerlifting Specific     

A 13mm weightlifting belt is designed to be worn when doing the three powerlifting exercises:

  1. Squat
  2. Deadlift
  3. Bench Press

In contrast, a 10mm belt can be used for a wide variety of exercises, including bodybuilding moves like bent over rows and barbell lunges.                             

Comparative Analysis: 10mm vs 13mm Lifting Belts

Thickness and Rigidity:

  • 10mm: A 10mm belt provides a balanced blend of flexibility and rigidity. By providing an adequate amount of stiffness, it is able to improve the pressure within the abdominal cavity, stabilize the spine, and lessen the likelihood of damage. The 10mm belt’s inherent flexibility makes it possible to do a wider variety of exercises.
  • 13mm: The 13mm powerlifting belt is significantly more robust than the 10mm belt since it is thirty percent thicker. It is possible that the rigidity will help in lifting higher weights because it adds to a greater intra-abdominal force.


  • 10mm: The 10mm weight belt can be used for a wide range of exercises, including squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, Bulgarian Split Squats and bent over rows.
  • 13mm: The 13mm weight lifting belt is primarily designed for powerlifting workouts, and in comparison to the 10mm version, it is less adaptable


  • 10mm: The 10 millimeter belt is better in terms of comfort because of its flexibility and reduced rigidity. When opposed to its thicker version, it requires less time to break in and allows for natural breathing to occur during heavy lifting
  • 13mm: Some people may find the 13mm belt to be less comfortable, despite the fact that it offers a higher level of support. The increased rigidity, particularly in leather belts, might cause discomfort, and the thickness may make it difficult for the body to exercise its natural breathing system.

Breaking-In Period:

  • 10mm: A 10mm belt requires less time to break in because it conforms to the shape of the body more rapidly. This causes the breaking-in period to be shorter. Lifters who wish to quickly enjoy the highest possible level of comfort after purchasing a new belt will find this to be an excellent feature.
  • 13mm: Due to its thickness and increased rigidity, a 13mm belt has a longer breaking-in period. It takes more time to contour to the user’s body shape, particularly in the case of leather belts.


  • 10mm: 10mm belts are cheaper than their 13mm counterparts. This cost difference is attributed to the reduced construction material required for the thinner belt.
  • 13mm: The thicker construction of a 13mm belt contributes to a higher cost. If budget constraints are a consideration, this may influence the decision towards a 10mm belt.

Specialized Use:

  • 10mm: Suited for a wide range of exercises, the 10mm belt is not limited to powerlifting. It accommodates various lifting styles, making it a versatile choice for lifters with diverse training routines.
  • 13mm: Tailored specifically for powerlifting, the 13mm belt is ideal for lifters aiming to maximize intra-abdominal pressure and core support during heavy squat, deadlift, and bench press work.

FAQ's: 10mm vs 13mm Lifting Belts

Q: Will a 13mm weightlifting belt help me lift more weight?

A: Despite the fact that the additional thickness of a 13mm belt will result in better intra-abdominal bracing, there are no studies that have been conducted that demonstrate that you can lift more weight with a 13mm belt as opposed to a 10mm belt. Your capacity to lift greater weight is more dependent on your strength, technique, and training program.

Q: Are there other weightlifting belt thickness besides 10 and 13mm?

A: Yes, there are a variety of different lifting belt thicknesses. Belts with a thickness ranging from 6 to 8 millimeters are available for purchase. When it comes to regular weightlifters and bodybuilders who wish to use a belt for a variety of exercises, such as bent over rows and barbell lunges, these belts are extremely popular. 

Q: What weight lifting belt thickness is best for beginners?

A: A 10mm lifting belt is recommended for powerlifters who are just starting out. This thickness offers the optimal compromise between the degree of flexibility and rigidity attained. In addition to this, it is easier to wear and more comfortable than the 13mm belt, which is more rigid. At the same time, a 10mm lifting belt will supply a sufficient amount of intra-abdominal force to sustain your lift. 

Q: Can I use a 10mm lifting belt for powerlifting competitions?

A: Yes; a significant number of powerlifters compete using a lifting belt that is 10 millimeters in thickness. 10mm belts continue to offer sufficient support and are more adaptable than 13mm belts. However, you should always check the rules of the competition in order to guarantee that the belt you want to wear is up to the appropriate specifications.

Q: Is there a breaking-in period for both 10mm and 13mm lifting belts?

A: Yes, a breaking-in period is required for both 10mm and 13mm lifting belts. Over the course of the first few weeks of use, the belt will adjust to the contours of your body, become more flexible, and improve the sense of comfort experienced by the wearer. However, due to the fact that they are thinner and more flexible than 13mm belts, 10mm belts often require less time to break in than 13mm belts.

10mm vs 13mm Belt: Bottom Line

The majority of lifters will be better off with a 10mm weightlifting belt. This belt thickness is more comfortable, allowing for easier breathing. It’s also able to be used with a greater variety of exercises and doesn’t take as long to break in. 

If you are an elite level heavy lifter, you may benefit from a 13mm belt. The extra thickness will deliver maximum support to provide greater intra-abdominal force, potentially allowing you to lift more. People with large frames may also be better off with a 13mm lifting belt. Finally, those who are stuck on a lifting plateau on one or more of the three powerlifting moves might be able to break through by switching from a 10 to a 13mm weight lifting belt. 

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