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When deciding between which powerlifting belt to purchase, you’ll be faced with the question of whether you should get a lever or prong belt.
So what are the differences between a lever vs prong belt? While a lever belt will cost more, you can secure it in one simple movement. The prong belt has either a single or double prong. It’s not as easy to secure, but it gives you the option to wear it either tighter or looser depending on the lift. Both the lever and prong belt offer similar level of support.
Neither the lever or prong belt is better than one another. You’ll see both types of belts being used at the elite-level of powerlifting. It simply comes down to personal preference. So, in this article, I’ll weigh the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision on which belt is best for you.
In A Hurry? Here Is My Recommendation
If you want my quick opinion on whether you should buy a lever or prong belt, I would lean slightly toward the lever belt.
The lever belt is easier to get on and off, which matters quite a bit because when you’re getting fired up for a big lift you don’t want to worry about messing around with your belt.
In addition, while both belts offer the same level of support, you can get the lever belt tighter around your waist compared with a prong belt. Therefore, if you like a tighter belt setting, then the lever belt is the better option.
The best lever belt is the Inzer Forever Lever Belt (click for today’s price on Amazon).
I’ve used this belt for 15 years, competing at the World Championships in powerlifting. It's easy to break in, fits extremely comfortably, and will last you a lifetime.
Lever vs Prong Belt: 5 Things To Consider
Powerlifting belts come in both lever and prong styles. The prong style is further broken down into single and double prong.
Neither the lever or prong belt performs better than one another, but there are definitely some differences between the two that might make one style suit you better based on your individual lifting situation.
So, let’s cover the 5 things to consider when deciding between the prong vs lever belt.
1. How Easy Is The Belt To Secure?
The lever belt is much easier to secure compared with the prong belt.
When I talk about ‘securing the belt’, I’m referring to how easy or hard it is to get the belt tight around your waist and close the buckle.
You might not think this is a big deal, but when you’re trying to focus for a big lift the last thing you want to be thinking about is securing your belt.
This becomes more of an issue if you’re a competitive powerlifter, and you only have a certain amount of time to get your equipment set before having to walk onto the competition platform.
As the name suggests, a lever belt uses a lever system. You hook the teeth of the belt onto the holes you want and flick the buckle close. This process literally takes 1-sec to get the buckle shut.
A prong belt is similar to how any normal belt works when you wear pants. You pull the strap of the belt through the loop and pick a hole that fits your torso.
However, with a prong belt, you might need to use a rack as an anchor point to pull the strap more secure depending on how tight you like to wear the belt. In powerlifting competition, there isn’t usually a rack back-stage for this purpose, so you usually need a friend to pull on the belt to get it tighter.
This becomes more of an issue with a double prong belt because you can usually get one prong in the belt hole, but not the second prong. Honestly, a double-prong belt is totally unnecessary in all situations.
2. How Tight Do You Like To Wear The Belt?
You can get a tighter fit by wearing a lever belt compared with a prong belt.
If you prefer to wear your lifting belt as tight as possible then the lever belt will give you the ability to do so. This is not to say that a prong belt isn’t tight around the waist. It’s just that the lever system allows you to close tighter settings on the belt compared with the prong-style buckle.
To be clear, not everybody likes a tight belt setting. A tighter belt doesn’t necessarily mean better.
There’s usually a ‘sweet spot’ for how each person likes to wear their belt in terms of tightness.
You don’t want to have a belt so tight that you can’t perform proper ‘breathing and bracing’ technique, which I wrote an entire article about. This is the process of engaging your core against your belt to create ‘supraspinal stiffness’.
For example, if you wear a belt so tight that you can barely breathe, there would definitely be some diminishing returns on implementing the effective bracing technique.
Broadly speaking, however, a tighter belt will allow you to feel more secure under the heavier weight. I discuss the tightness of belts more in my article comparing the 10mm vs 13mm belt and 3 or 4-inch belt.
3. Do You Need To Adjust The Size of The Belt?
The lever belt is more difficult to adjust the size compared with the prong belt.
When I’m referring to adjusting the size’, I mean whether you want to have the belt looser or tighter around your waist.
It’s not that you can’t make one belt tighter or looser compared with the other, it’s just that the lever belt takes a bit more time to do so compared with the prong belt.
When you buy a lever belt, you adjust the belt to your preferred tightness, and then that’s the same level of tightness that you’ll have each time you put on the belt.
If you want to adjust a lever belt tighter or looser after you initially set it up, you will need a screwdriver. You’ll unscrew the lever from the back of the belt and then move it either up or down the belt accordingly. The entire process takes about 5-min
However, with a prong belt, wearing a belt tighter or looser is as easy as pulling the strap of the belt more or less depending on the hole size. You can get it tighter or looser within a matter of seconds.
You might be wondering why you would want to adjust the size of the belt. Well, there are several reasons:
- How you wear your clothes: If one day you wear a t-shirt and the other day you wear a sweatshirt, it will impact the size your belt needs to be.
- Hydration/food intake: If you’re lifting with a full stomach or not it will affect the size of the belt you need for your workout.
- Time of day: some lifters find that if they lift in the morning the belt can be tighter than if they lift in the afternoon.
- Type of lift: it’s fairly common that lifters like to have a tighter belt setting for squats and a looser belt setting for deadlifts.
- Warm-up sets: some lifters like to wear the belt looser when doing warm-up sets, and then wear it tighter for their working sets.
Related Article: Powerlifting vs Weightlifting Belts
4. Quality of Belt
If you buy the right belt, whether it’s a lever or prong belt, you shouldn’t have any issues with the quality.
A lifting belt is something that you should only buy once, and it should never break or need to be replaced. This is why I only recommend buying from reputable brands because a lifting belt should last a life-time.
However, some people like to cheap-out and buy knock-off belts. If you do, make sure you know that you won’t get the longevity out of your belt that you would if you simply went with a reputable brand.
You might see some reports that lever belts are lower quality because the lever will break.
This is NOT the case when buying from a reputable belt manufacturer. You basically get what you pay for. So if you want quality parts, don’t cheap out.
I’ve had my Inzer Forever Lever for 15 years and it’s indestructible.
Take a look at my head-to-head comparison between the Inzer Belt vs SBD Belt.
Lever belts are more expensive than prong belts.
If the price is a concern for you, know that you’ll probably be spending about $20-30 more for a lever belt than a prong belt.
With that said, I wouldn’t make a decision based on cost, but rather, consider the other factors I’ve mentioned already. If you’re leaning towards getting a lever belt, don’t pick a prong belt because it’s $20-30 cheaper.
Unlike other pieces of lifting gear that you might need to replace every few years, you’re not going to replace your lifting belt. You’re making a belt investment for the long-haul.
So for the amount of money that you spend now, trust me, you won’t have to buy another one.
Lever vs Prong Powerlifting Belt: Choosing The Right One & Buying Options
By now, you should have a clear idea of which one is going to suit you better.
As I said, I think most people should use a lever belt because it’s easier to get on and off and can give you a tighter fit. However, if you value being able to change the belt size frequently, then the prong belt will be your best bet.
Here are my top buying options depending on which belt style you choose.
Lever vs Prong Belt: Pros & Cons
Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of the lever vs prong powerlifting belt.
- Provides a secure fit
- Ability to get extra tight
- Easier to get on / off
- More expensive
- Harder to adust sizing
- Provides a secure fit
- Easier to adjust sizing
- Less expensive
- Ability to get extra tight limited
- Harder to get on / off
For most people, the decision to get a lever or prong belt will come down to personal preference.
I would suggest that most powerlifters get a lever belt because over time they will want to have a tighter fit, especially under heavier loads.
I would recommend the prong belt only if you 100% know that you like to have a looser fit for one lift over another. For example, having a looser fit for deadlifts over squats.
If you do go with a prong belt, don’t buy the double-prong. It’s unnecessary and will only make it harder to get on and off.
My top lever belt is the Inzer Forever Lever Belt.
My top prong belt is the Rogue Echo Lifting Belt.
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