A Guide To The Best Weight Lifting Belts For Squats and Deadlifts
A weight lifting belt aka powerlifting belt is a belt designed to provide support and stability for your back when performing certain exercises such as squats and deadlifts. It is also be used for other exercises as well but the two named are the most common.
The weight belt works by you pushing your abdominals out against it, this then increased abdominal pressure and generates increased anterior pressure for the spine which helps to stabilize it.
Men’s and women’s weight belts are slightly different but women can use men’s belts too if they prefer. Nonetheless we’ve also compiled a comparison table of the best weight lifting belts for women.
How To Choose The Best Weight Lifting Belt
We’ve analysed a large number of weight belts to decide what we feel the best weight belt is, but as the best weight lifting belt for one person might not necessarily be suitable for someone else, we’ve compiled a table of our top 5 best weight lifting belts.
To ensure you buy a weight lifting belt that’s suitable for you, it’s important to understand the features of a weight belt and how it can help you. Therefore we’ve listed the features below:
Material – Certain materials will be more durable than others which will give you more support especially when lifting very heavy weights. A leather weight lifting belt is one of the stronger more durable ones.
Width – The width of the belt helps you with the correct technique and posture, a 4 inch width is sufficient enough.
Secured by – Prong or velcro, prong especially a double prong buckle offers a more secure fit without any danger of the belt coming loose. However you might find that you’re in-between buckle sizes, one size up might be slightly too big, one size down might be slightly too small.
Velcro is usually secure but might wear out and not stick as well over time or might not be as secure when lifting very heavy. The fitting however will be tailored to your size as the velcro will allow the belt to fit to your exact size.
Size guide – To find out what size you are, you need to measure yourself. This guide will tell you how to measure a weight belt for your size.
Support level – It’s better to have a weight training belt that provides more support rather than less. Although belts that provide maximum support usually costs more money.
Top 3 Best Weight Lifting Belts For Women
Although many belts are unisex, some manufacturers specifically design weight lifting belts for women.
When To Use It
You should only use a weight belt for heavy sets, if the weight is under 80 percent of your one repetition maximum then you shouldn’t be using the weight belt as this can discourage your muscles.
If you can lift the weight without the weight belt then this would be better as you’re not relying on the added support of the weight belt. If the weight is above 80 percent of your one rep max but you feel you can lift it without the weight belt and injuring yourself then don’t use the weight belt as your muscles will strengthen and get use to that weight.
The only exercises you should be using a weightlifting belt for is squats, deadlifts, clean and jerk and split snatch the reason why is because these exercises puts the most strain on the back muscles. You do not really want to be using the weight belt for other exercises as you don’t want your muscles to depend on it.
- Enables you to increase your maximum weight.
- Provides support and stability for your back.
- Gives you more confidence when lifting.
- May help prevent injury to your lower back.
- Lower back muscles may not get as strong.
- Your body may get too used to the added support of the weight belt causing a widely uneven muscle distribution between the abdominals and lower back.
We feel a weightlifting belt should be added to your training gear, but it should only be used for certain exercises such as squats, deadlifts, clean and jerk and split snatch. Avoid using the weight belt for other exercises such as bench pressing and bent over rows as this can prevent your lower back muscles from developing.
A weight belt can help and assist you to improve your performance on the exercises mentioned above but doing those exercises as natural as possible will increase the strength of your lower back. A weight belt should not be used if the weight you’re lifting is less than 80 percent of your one rep max.