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How to choose a weightlifting belt?

How to choose a weightlifting belt?

Choosing your weightlifting belt!

Type of training:

What do you aim to achieve with your training? Are your sessions centered around the "big three" exercises (squats, deadlifts, and bench presses), or are you seeking some additional support during your workouts?

Each variety of weightlifting belt offers unique benefits tailored to specific training styles, so aligning your belt choice with your training objectives is crucial. Here are some suggestions for optimal belt selections according to different training methods:

The best belt for each type of training:


For powerlifting, which involves heavy lifts in exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses, a leather or suede belt is often the preferred choice. These materials offer the rigidity and support needed for the high loads involved in powerlifting.

A straight style (uniform width all around) weightlifting belt is typically recommended as it provides consistent support and intra-abdominal pressure, both crucial for these types of lifts.

The thickness of the belt also matters; a belt that is 10mm to 13mm thick is often used in powerlifting due to the substantial support it provides. A belt with a lever or prong buckle closure will ensure a secure fit, which is important when lifting weights.

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Cross Training

For Cross-Training or functional training, which involves a variety of movements and exercises, flexibility and comfort are key considerations in a belt.

A nylon belt is often a popular choice among CrossFit athletes. These belts are lighter, more flexible, and easier to adjust on the fly than leather or suede belts, making them ideal for fast-paced, high-intensity workouts.

A Velcro closure is also beneficial for quick adjustments between different exercises. As functional workouts often involve both lifting and cardio or bodyweight exercises, a thinner belt (usually less than 10mm) can be more comfortable and less restrictive.

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For bodybuilding, a belt that offers a balance of support and flexibility is key, as bodybuilding workouts often involve a wide variety of exercises and movements.

Tapered leather belts are a popular choice among bodybuilders. The wider back provides substantial support for heavy lifts, while the narrower front allows for a greater range of motion during exercises such as deadlifts or bent-over rows.

The rigidity of leather can also provide the intra-abdominal pressure needed for heavy lifts.

The closure system can be a matter of personal preference, with both buckle and Velcro systems offering their own advantages.

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Strongman training involves lifting extremely heavy loads in a variety of unconventional movements, requiring a belt that offers maximum support and durability.

Leather or suede belts are commonly chosen for their rigidity and ability to withstand the intense pressure of strongman lifts.

A straight style belt is typically recommended due to the consistent support it provides around the entire waist, which is crucial for exercises like atlas stones, farmer's walks, and log lifts. For strongman training, a thicker belt, often between 10mm to 13mm, is usually chosen for its superior support.

Some strongman athletes prefer lever or prong buckle closures for their secure fit, while others might prefer the quick adjustability of a single or double-prong buckle system.

A well-fitting belt that doesn't restrict your range of motion and feels comfortable throughout your training session is essential, as strongman workouts can be quite long and grueling.

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Olympic Lifting

For Olympic weightlifting, a belt that offers support without sacrificing mobility is essential, as the movements involve a significant range of motion.

Many Olympic weightlifters prefer nylon belts for their flexibility, lightweight, and adjustability, making it easy to get a secure fit without sacrificing movement.

Tapered belts are often recommended for Olympic weightlifting, as they offer substantial support to the lower back while allowing for flexibility in the abdominal area.

The thickness of the belt is a matter of personal preference, with belts ranging from 6mm to 10mm in thickness. Some prefer a thinner belt for its greater flexibility, while others may choose a thicker belt for maximum support.

When choosing a closure system, a buckle or Velcro closure can be suitable, with Velcro being the easiest to adjust on the fly. The most important thing is to choose a belt that provides the necessary support without hindering your performance.

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General Fitness

For general fitness, a belt that offers a balance between support and flexibility is typically recommended.

Nylon belts are often a good choice for general fitness workouts, as they're lightweight, flexible, and easy to adjust. The thinner design of a nylon belt can also allow for a greater range of motion during exercises.

Tapered belts can also be a good option for general fitness, as they offer support to the lower back without restricting movement.

When it comes to thickness, a thinner belt is often sufficient for general fitness workouts, as heavy lifting is less common than in powerlifting or strongman.

The closure system can be a matter of personal preference, with both buckle and Velcro systems offering their own advantages.

Ultimately, it's important to choose a belt that feels comfortable and doesn't restrict your movement during your workout.

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