Best Powerlifting Belt: In-Depth Guide & Review (2020)

A lifting belt is an essential tool if you’re planning to go far in the powerlifting world. However, finding the best powerlifting is different from other lifting belts.

In my opinion, the Inzer Advance Designs Forever Lever Belt is the powerlifting belt you should opt for (click for today’s price on Amazon).

When I first started powerlifting, this was the belt I picked and it has been my choice ever since. It’s an ideal choice for both serious beginners and the most seasoned powerlifters.

As you get stronger, the belt will stay durable and comfortable. It’s significantly easier to break-in compared with other belts, yet stays rigid enough to support your core and back. It also has a life-time warranty.

In the following article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know before buying the ideal powerlifting belt for your needs!

Top 10 Best Powerlifting Belts of 2020

overview of some of the best options    finding the best powerlifting belt
Inzer Forever Lever Belt: #1 Pick

Finding the best powerlifting belt for your needs might be a difficult path to walk alone. Powerlifting belts vary according to materials, buckling styles, and even prices!

For that reason, I’ll cut your search process short and give you a brief overview of some of the best options that you can find out there.

1. Inzer Advance Designs Forever Lever Belt – Best Overall Powerlifting Belt (#1 Pick)

Kicking off the list with my personal overall favorite pick for a powerlifting belt: the Inzer Forever Lever Belt

This belt is made in the USA from top quality genuine leather. It also has a layer of suede finish for elegance and added slip resistance.

The belt also features four layers of high density and corrosion-resistant nylon threads that are lock-stitched to the belt. These different layers give the belt the 10 mm thickness needed for the International Powerlifting Federation competition standards.

However, the lifting belt is also available in 13 mm thickness for those elite powerlifters who need that extra thickness for lifting a ton of weight.

Not only that, but the belt is also available in multiple size options to suit all kinds of body sizes and lengths.

The belt comes with a super durable lever buckle that makes it easy to put on and tighten around the core. However, you can also find it in prongs if you prefer fine adjustability.

The belt might be a bit pricey, but it’s a once in a lifetime investment, so you won’t have to replace the belt ever again!  

In fact, I’ve used my Inzer Forever Lever belt for 13 years and it shows no sign of wear and tear.

Specifications

●       Material: leather

●       Thickness: 10 mm

●       Width: 10 cm straight

●       Closure: lever

Pros

●       Excellent for competitive powerlifting

●       Uses a quick-release lever for easy wearing and taking off

●       Extremely durable and long-lasting materials

Cons

●       A bit pricey


2. ROGUE Ohio Powerlifting Belt – Best Powerlifting Belt For Women

Rogue is one of the most popular manufacturers of powerlifting belts, so it’s no surprise that some of its belts make the list.

Rogue Ohio is an excellent lifting belt for female powerlifters. This belt is designed for athletes with smaller builds to provide them with a snug fit support without hard digging into the hips or rips of the user.

The lifting belt is 3 inches wide (7 cm). What makes this belt special is that it has a standard thickness of about 10 mm in both versions. This thickness is made from vegetable-tanned leather.

This makes it extra durable without hindering the mobility of the lifter. The belt is also water-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about your sweat eating it away.

Specifications

●       Material: leather

●       Thickness: 10 mm

●       Width: 7 cm straight

●       Closure: double prongs

Pros

●       Ideal for women and smaller athletes

●       Approved by the IPF

●       Softer than other leather options

Cons

●       Lacks a 13 mm option


3. ROGUE ECHO Lifting Belt – Best Approved Powerlifting Belt For The Money

If you’re looking for a powerlifting belt that’s approved by the IPF while saving some of your hard-earned cash, the Rogue Echo lifting belt might be a top choice for you.

The belt is made from IPF-approved genuine leathers and has all the specifications of their technical rule book met.

The leather is extremely durable for its price. In fact, the hard leather might be a bit too stiff in the beginning, so it’ll need some break-in time to conform to your body.

For example, the belt’s thickness is about 10 mm, which is the ideal standard for competitive powerlifting. Also, it’s 4 inches in width (10 cm), which makes it suitable for all body sizes.

Yet, if that sizing doesn’t suit you, Rogue Echo is available in 5 length options to choose from.

provided below.

Specifications

●       Material: leather

●       Thickness: 10 mm

●       Width: 10 cm straight

●       Closure: single prong

Pros

●       Approved by the IPF

●       Durable construction

●       Easily adjustable

Cons

●       Takes weeks to break-in


4. Dark Iron Fitness Pro Weight Lifting Belt for Men and Women -Best Unapproved Powerlifting Belt For The Money

If you’re not into lifting competitively, you won’t need to stick to some specifications that are set by the IPF.

So, if you’re looking for a good powerlifting belt that saves you a lot of money in that case, consider the Dark Iron Fitness Pro lifting belt.

Although Dark Iron Fitness claims that the belt is approved, it’s not among the latest edition list of the approved belts list. The reason behind that is that it has a maximum width of about 4.5 inches (11.4 cm), which exceeds the 10-cm limit.

The double prong lifting belt is made of top quality buffalo hide leather. This makes it soft on the body, so it won’t dig into your torso or hips while lifting.

Specifications

●       Material: leather

●       Thickness: 4 mm

●       Width: 11.4 cm straight

●       Closure: double prong

Pros

●       A great choice for money if you’re not into competitive powerlifting

●       Soft but durable buffalo hide leather

●       Multiple size options

Cons

●       The coloring dye can stain your clothes


5. RDX Powerlifting Belt for Weight Lifting – Most Functional Powerlifting Belt

The RDX lifting belt is one of the superior choices for many lifters. It’s one of the most versatile and functional options that you may find out there.

The belt is made of oil-tanned Nubuck leather, which gives it an excellent balance between durability and softness.

The belt is also fortified with multiple stitching lines along the belt to help it stand the test of time. This means that you’ll be able to use this belt daily for years without worrying about its integrity.

It’s a good weightlifting belt that is also good for many other activities. These activities include general weightlifting and strongman. The belt is approved for competitive powerlifting in some federations, but not all.

Specifications

●       Material: leather

●       Thickness: 10 mm

●       Width: 10 cm straight

●       Closure: double prong

Pros

●       Highly versatile option

●       Dual stitching for extra durability

●       Remarkable classic design

Cons

●       Not approved for all powerlifting federations


6. LiftingLarge Economy Lever Belt – Best Lever Powerlifting Belt

Although the Inzer Forever lever belt remains my top option for a powerlifting belt, the Lifting Large Economy Belt counts as a great additional option with a lever closure.

This one is made entirely of leather without using filler materials. While this makes it excellent for durability, it also makes it a bit heavier than other belts.

The leather is covered with a black suede layer from the inside and the outside. This makes it super soft and comfortable while wearing for a long time.

The belt has the standard 10 mm thickness and 10 cm straight width throughout the belt. This makes it ideal for competitive powerlifting.

Specifications

●       Material: leather

●       Thickness: 10 mm

●       Width: 10 cm straight

●       Closure: lever

Pros

●       Durable lever closure

●       Ideal for lifters who prefer belts without logos

●       Heavy stitching for added sturdiness

Cons

●       A product that should last forever shouldn’t have a one year of warranty


7. Rogue Ohio Lifting Belt – Best Single Prong Powerlifting Belt

The double prong 3-inch Rogue Ohio was excellent for small build lifters and women. However, if you like the features of this belt, it also comes in a standard 10 cm wide version.

Even better, if you’re looking for a single prong belt, this one is among the best single prong options that you can opt for.

It’s made of Rogue’s American genuine leather, which makes it excellent for spinal support while powerlifting. Moreover, it sticks to all the IPF guidelines, so it’s fit for competitive powerlifting as well.

Specifications

●       Material: leather

●       Thickness: 10 mm

●       Width: 10 cm straight

●       Closure: single prong

Pros

●       Durable single prong construction

●       Approved for powerlifting competitions

●       Stylish design

Cons

●       A bit expensive for a prong buckle belt


8. Lifting Large Competition Powerlifting Belt – Best Double Prong Powerlifting Belt

Since various situations need different adjustments of your buckle, you might need a powerlifting belt that makes this easier for you.

If you need to regularly adjust your belt for different situations (i.e. tighter for squats and looser for deadlifts), a double prong buckle will do the trick for you.

This belt is made of genuine leather of great quality. Not only that, but the inner layers of the lifting belt are also made of leather, which makes it remarkably durable while lifting 100s of pounds daily.

The leather is also covered with a suede layer that makes it soft and comfortable to wear for a long time.

Additionally, it has no logo in the background, which keeps you in the safe zone in some powerlifting competitions (certain types of logos are not permitted on the competition platform)

Specifications

●       Material: leather

●       Thickness: 13 mm

●       Width: 10 cm straight

●       Closure: double prong

Pros

●       Ideal for all kinds of competitive powerlifting

●       Highly adjustable

●       Double suede layers for added comfort and slip-resistance

Cons

●       Isn’t ideal for abdominal and core tightening


9. Rogue’s 4″ Nylon Weightlifting Belt – Best Nylon Powerlifting Belt

Another powerlifting belt from Rogue. However, this one is a bit different from the others. For starters, this one is made from nylon.

Nylon is a fully synthetic fabric with no inclusion of leather whatsoever. This makes this belt an excellent alternative for vegans who prefer to avoid animal hide leathers.

Nylon is also characterized by being ultra-durable. While it might not be as durable as leather, it still packs a lot of sturdiness needed for support and longevity.

It’s also extremely affordable, which makes it a great option for buyers on a budget. The lightweight nature of the belt makes it ideal for multiple weightlifting movements. One thing you should know is that this belt is that it’s not fit for competitive powerlifting.

Specifications

●       Material: Nylon

●       Thickness: 10 mm

●       Width: 10 cm straight

●       Closure: steel tensioning buckle

Pros

●       Ideal for buyers on a budget

●       A perfect alternative for vegan weightlifters

●       Lightweight and easy to wear

Cons

●       Not approved for competition

●       Less durable than leather


10. Economy Single Prong Pink Belt- Pink Powerlifting Belt

Last but not least. If you prefer color variety, you can try this powerlifting belt. It’s covered on the inside and the outside with pink suede.

This makes it ideal for women powerlifters who want to match their gear. However, the belt has a lot more quality than you might expect!

For example, the leather used in this belt is ultra-durable for its inexpensive price. Also, it has 6 rows of stitching throughout the belt, which ensures a decent level of durability.

The seamless roller buckle is also designed to not get in your way while lifting the bar close to your body.

Specifications

●       Material: leather

●       Thickness: 10 mm

●       Width: 10 cm straight

●       Closure: single prong

Pros

●       Impressive color

●       Approved by the IPF and other competitive powerlifting federations

●       Heavily stitched for heavy-duty usage

Cons

●       The straight prong makes it hard to remove


Benefits of Wearing A Powerlifting Belt

Powerlifting is all about pushing your body beyond its biological barriers and limits to lift as much weight as your muscle allows you to.

This requires a tremendous amount of strength and muscle coordination for you to do it the right way.

The powerlifting belts are extremely popular within the lifting communities for a lot of reasons. Here’s a list of all the true benefits that you might get by using a powerlifting belt.

Stabilize Your Back and Reduce Spinal Stress

powerlifting belt helps in reducing the spinal stress and stabilizes your back while listing a ton of weight

While all the other benefits of a powerlifting belt might be a subject of debate among lifters, this one is the only benefit that’s agreed on among the community.

A powerlifting belt is rigid enough to brace your abdomen from the back as well as the core. This helps in reducing the spinal stress and stabilizes your back while listing a ton of weight.

Reminds You to Stay Tight

While powerlifting a ton of weight, you need your body to stay in top tension condition all the time. In other words, you need to keep your core tight to stabilize your body and avoid injuring yourself or even failing the rep.

Powerlifting belts are designed to be noticeably tight around your torso region. This extra tightness can be a perfect internal reminder to keep your core tight all the time.

Helps You Overcome Minor Back Pains

Ever noticed how pressing certain pains and tight bandages can soothe minor pains?

If you already developed dull lower back pains, using a lifting belt can help you overcome or reduce the severity of the flare-ups that arise while lifting.

However, you need to know that lifting belts are no cure for any pain, which is tested and assured by scientific communities. In fact, lifting belts can cause back pains if used improperly.

Instead, you may count on your powerlifting belt as a part of your rehabilitation program to continue lifting some heavier weights with a minor injury in the lower back.

Slows Down The Fatigue Build Up in Competitive Powerlifting

In competitive powerlifting, you need to do 3 max attempts for squat, deadlift, and bench press during a meet with the final one being a deadlift.

Since deadlifts usually need extra strength from your mid and lower back, you might want to save some of their power till the very end. On the flip side, completely depleting their strength on squats and bench presses means that your deadlift will be much weaker.

Although the fatigue is going to build up anyway, using a lifting belt while bench pressing and squatting might actually help you slow down this effect.

As you know, this extremely minor difference can actually make it or break it while lifting competitively.

Non-Powerlifting Benefits

Besides physical benefits, a powerlifting belt can also be a mental activation tool that helps you maintain top form and tension throughout your whole powerlifting training session.

Linking your brain with a certain trigger factor has been well researched for decades now. In fact, it’s scientific name is mental rehearsal. According to many sources, there’s solid proof that it works for athletes in general.

Once you wrap the powerlifting belt around your torso, your brain starts to go on “full powerlifting mode”. With time, every powerlifter will experience this sensation of being “more ready” for lifting once the belt is on.

Another benefit of using a lifting belt is to keep your shirt in place while doing geared bench presses. In that case, any kind of belt will do if you’re not lifting in a competition.

What Makes A Powerlifting Belt Approved For Competition?

If you’re going to lift competitively, there are some requirements that you’ll have to stick to. While these conditions might be too complex, I’ll simplify all the things that you need to know about them regarding the brands and the specifications.

Brands

To make things easier, the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) issues a list of all the approved brands that can be used at their sanctioned competitions.

Only apparels, wraps, and belts from the brands that are officially registered and approved by the technical committee of the IPF are approved for use in their powerlifting competitions, whether they’re local or worldwide.

Here’s a list with all the approved products categorized by brands, so you can make sure that your powerlifting belt is fit for IPF sponsored competitions. But, if you’re not planning to lift competitively, this shouldn’t be a problem for you.

Specifications

The previous list of approved brands is made according to the technical rule book of the IPF. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most important specifications that you need to keep in check.

●       Materials: can be made of leather, vinyl or other similar non-stretch materials of one or more layers

●       Gluing and stitching the fabrics together are both allowed

●       Single prong, double prong, and lever buckles are permitted.

●       Maximum allowed thickness is 13 mm

●       Maximum allowed width is 10 cm

As you can see, most of the technical rules of specifications match many belts on the list, as most brands try to make their belts according to competitive standards.

What To Look For In A Powerlifting Belt?

As you can see, there are many aspects and specifications that affect the quality of a powerlifting belt and your experience with it.

To make the best out of your investment, you need to pick the ideal set points for this wide variety of features and aspects.

In the following section, I’ll provide you with an overview of these aspects. This can help you choose the ideal one for your needs.

Material: Velcro vs. Leather

choosing material of the powerlifting belt, velcro or leather

The material of the belt is one of the most critical factors while choosing a powerlifting belt. 

If you’re a beginner, you can use a velcro belt.  

They’re easy to put on and off. However, they lack the support needed for actual powerlifting. Also, they’re not fit for competitive powerlifting (i.e. they’re not approved).

They’re only good for keeping some tension of your core while lifting. 

However, they cost much less than a leather lifting belt, so they’re a great choice if you’re on a tight budget.

On the other hand, leather belts are the golden standard for serious and competitive powerlifting. They carry all the benefits you might get from a lifting belt, such as excellent support and durability.

Leather lifting belts are classified into genuine leather, grain leather, and full-grain leather. While genuine leather is considered the lowest grade of leather, they still carry a decent level of durability that you’re going to need for powerlifting.

While leather lifting belts are a bit pricer when compared to other belts, such as nylon and velcro, they offer the true level of spinal support you need while lifting tons of weights. For example, Rogue’s Nylon Weightlifting Belt.

There are also other materials that are used for powerlifting belts. For instance, the belts can be made of vinyl plastics, like thermoplastic polyurethane and nylon.

While the IPF approves the use of vinyl belts in competitive powerlifting, it’s highly unlikely to find elite lifters relying on any material but high-quality leather lifting belts.

Thickness: 10 mm vs. 13 mm Belt

most lifting belts on the market range between 10 mm and 13 mm

Another thing that you might come across while searching for a powerlifting belt is its thickness. In fact, the thickness is as important for a beginner powerlifter as it is for an advanced one.

The thickness of your belt has a critical role in determining the level of support you’re going to have while powerlifting.

Ideally, most lifting belts on the market range between 10 mm and 13 mm. However, the proficiency level isn’t always the main factor while picking the ideal thickness.

Instead, choosing between these belts depends on many factors. These ones include the level of support you need, your body type, and other specifications that I’ll discuss later. Here’s a breakdown of each one of them, so you can choose the one that suits your body.

The 10 mm Belt

The 10 mm belts are the more popular standard of powerlifting belts, and they’re also more affordable than the 13 mm ones.

As you know, most lifting belts are made of tough leather materials. This makes the belt a bit more challenging to wrap and adjust around your torso.

However, with a 10 mm belt, this “break-in” time will be much faster. This means that you’ll get used to the belt more as it conforms to your body with every workout.

The 100mm belts are also less rigid than the 13 mm counterparts. This makes the 10 mm belts sit more comfortably on your waist in most cases. That’s why they’re great belts for beginners in general.

If you want to take things professionally, the 10 mm belts will come in handy. They’re approved for competitive powerlifting. Yet, with their versatility, you’ll be able to use them in multiple workouts in the gym.

The 13 mm Belt

The 13 mm Belt is usually fit for the elite level lifting. It’s more expensive and usually used by people who can make the most out of it. Here’s what you should know about them. Similar to the 10 mm ones, they’re also fit for competitive powerlifting.

The 13 mm belts are 30% thicker than 10 mm ones, so they’re also noticeably more rigid than them. The extra rigidity is great for support and stabilization of your back, so it can help elite lifters to pull higher weights.

Also, the extra rigidity accounts for a longer break-in period as well as noticeably less sensation of comfort while wearing. While the 10 mm can be used for different workouts in the gym, it’s much more difficult to do the same with the 13 mm one.

So unless you’re a competitive powerlifter trying to push your body beyond its biological limits, the 13 mm belt is a bit overkill.

Buckle: Prong vs. Lever

two types of reliable buckles for powerlifting belts on the market, prong and lever

One of the most crucial considerations while choosing a powerlifting belt is its buckle type. As a rule of thumb, there are two types of reliable buckles for powerlifting belts on the market.

These ones are either prong or lever. In fact, prong buckles can also be single like Rogue Ohio Lifting Belt or double like Lifting LargeCompetition Powerlifting Belt. Let’s have a quick look at their features, so you can choose the ideal fit for you.

Prong Buckles

Prong buckles are the classic closures for most belts, whether they’re powerlifting or any other weightlifting type.

They come in various configurations, including single and double prongs. Although three-prong powerlifting belts can be found, they’re extremely rare to use and require ultra-special conditions when compared to the other ones.

This type of closure has an excellent level of security. Yet, it’s durability level can be a bit inferior to lever buckles, especially when the prongs are paired with flimsy belt materials.

However, what makes them really stand out is the ability to adjust them. While both buckle styles are easy to adjust, prong belts are significantly quicker for adjustment around your waist.

This ease of adjustment is extremely important to secure a snug fit, which can vary depending on many factors, such as clothing thickness, food and water intake, type of lifts, and more.

On the flip side, prong buckles are notorious for being extremely time-consuming when you’re putting it on and taking it off.

Lever Buckles

Lever buckles are the newest type of buckle closures for lifting belts. They’re praised for providing excellent qualities to powerlifting belts while costing a small bit more than conventional prong buckles.

As you already know, velcro powerlifting belts are only fine for beginners. What makes lever buckles special is that they combine the velcro’s ease of putting on and off with prong’s durability.

In fact, a lever buckle will be much more durable when compared to a prong buckle of a lesser quality belt. Lever buckles also make it much easier to extra tight.

The only drawback of lever buckle is that they aren’t as swift when it comes to adjusting the belt around your waist.

Which One to Go for?

If we’re talking in terms of money, prong buckles are less expensive than lever ones. You’ll be saving about 20 to 30 bucks by opting for prongs instead of a lever.

Since the price difference isn’t huge and you should be buying a powerlifting belt once in a lifetime, you need to consider a long term investment on this one.

That’s why I recommend going for a powerlifting belt with a lever buckle because they’re much easier to adjust and quicker to put on and off.

In that case, Inzer Advance Designs Forever Belt is a great lever buckle powerlifting belt. However, if you prefer adjustability, prong buckles would make your life much easier!

Width: Straight vs. Tapered

The width of the lifting belt determines the size of the supported area in the back. Different types and lengths of bodies require different belt widths. However, the IPF limits the maximum width at any point of the lifting belt to 10 cm.

In some cases, you’ll find a tapered lifting belt that’s significantly wide in the back, which makes them unapproved for competition. Not only that but if a belt is too wide, it’ll also greatly affect your mobility and flexibility.

Yet, if you’re not competitive powerlifting, the general width of a lifting belt shouldn’t make a huge difference in your performance.

Powerlifting Belt vs. Weightlifting Belt:  What’s The Difference?

To answer this question, I asked a professional weightlifter, and he gave me this response:

“So, weightlifting belts can be leather, however, the weightlifting belts abide by different regulations in terms of width and thickness.  

They’re thinner, which makes them more playable and allows for more mobility in deep weightlifting movements.

You’ll also notice that weightlifting belts are usually tapered, so they’re skinnier around the front and sides than the back.

In weightlifting, the buckles might get in the way at the finish positions in many movements where the bar hits them on its way up when the lifter keeps the bar close. That’s why weightlifters also prefer velcro over buckles.

However, I do have a buckle on my belt, but that’s a personal preference that many weightlifters consider an offset.”

How To Use A Belt Properly

To make the most out of the powerlifting belt, you have to know how to use it correctly

To make the most out of the powerlifting belt, you have to know how to use it correctly. However, the process is extremely simple once you keep in mind the main function of the belt.

Simply, the belt works by increasing the pressure on your abdomen and core to support your back.

As I mentioned earlier, the thickness of the belt also affects the quality of the exercise you’re doing. For example, implementing the right breathing technique while lifting is one of the crucial factors while picking the right thickness for you.

So, you need to tighten the belt enough that you can’t fit your finger between your abdomen and the belt.

However, it needs to have ample space to allow you to breathe into your abdomen to create this tight sensation.

How To Wear A Belt For Squats & Deadlifts

Here’s how you wear the belt on your own.:

  1. Choose the right area for the belt (usually in the middle of the abdomen for squats and deadlifts)
  2. Place the belt around your back
  3. Pull the end of the belt towards the buckle section
  4. Secure the end around the buckle
  5. Suck in the stomach
  6. Tighten the prongs or the lever to the maximum level
  7. Tuck the rest of the belt through the loop
  8. Test the best out for adjustment

Conclusion

wrapping things up, a good powerlifting belt must be easy to break-in while staying super durable to support your back. For that reason, I pick Inzer Advance Designs Forever Lever Belt as my number one recommendation.

The belt is super reliable and easy to wear and take off. It has been perfect for me as a beginner as well as an advanced lifter, so it should last you for a long while too.

However, if you’re on a budget and looking for a competitive-friendly alternative, you can go for ROGUE ECHO Lifting Belt. it can give you multiple benefits of a powerlifting belt for a fraction of what an elite-grade belt will cost you.