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Throughout Valeo’s 40 years of experience, they’ve been notorious for combining high quality with affordability.
In this article, I’ll review the Valeo 4-inch lifting belt. With a flexible nylon construction, this belt is ideal for general strength training, Olympic weightlifting, and Crossfit.
Valeo provides two versions:
The VLP Valeo Lifting Belt (tightens with velcro)
The VCL Valeo Lifting Belt (tightens with a cam buckle).
Before dissecting this belt further, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons.
- Highly affordable
- Padded with waterproof memory foam
- The cam-buckle version is easier to tighten
- The non-anatomical design might cause it to ride up your torso while squatting
- Not approved for competitive powerlifting competitions
- Beginner and intermediate lifters who are purchasing a belt for the first time
- Competitive bodybuilders
- Competitive Olympic weightlifters
- General gym goers
Not Recommended For
- Competitive powerlifters since they will need a thicker leather construction (not nylon) for maximal loads
- Those who prefer a “lever” style belt (if you don’t know what this is, then it’s not a concern for you)
Things to Consider Before Buying a Lifting Belt
To end up buying a suitable lifting belt, you have to consider many factors. But to save your time, I can sum up these factors in only one thing: your workout goals.
If you’re interested in powerlifting, you’ll need a belt that features sturdy leather construction and a metal closure system — either a prong or a lever. In this case, I’d recommend the Inzer Forever lever belt.
Although leather belts can withstand extremely heavy loads, they fall short of comfort. You’ll have to tolerate chafing and bruising for a considerable period before the belt breaks in and conforms to your body’s shape.
For these reasons, many people like to opt for nylon weightlifting belts, such as the one I’m reviewing today. Not only do these belts feel more comfortable, but they may also feature anatomic designs that can suit highly dynamic workouts, like the snatches and cleans. This is why they’re the favorite options for Olympic lifters, CrossFitters, bodybuilders, and general gym-goers.
Valeo 4-Inch Lifting Belt: Detailed Review
In this section, I’ll start discussing everything related to the Valeo lifting belt — the construction, comfort, performance, sizing, and so forth.
Design and Build Quality
The second part is a polyester webbing, which is stitched onto the core frame. That part is the one that holds the velcro pads and the steel buckle.
Overall, the belt feels sturdy and well-made. The stitching holds up for a long time, and the velcro doesn’t wear out prematurely, which is no mean feat at this price range.
Thanks to the memory foam construction, this belt can conform to your body’s shape right out of the box. You won’t have to tolerate the painful digging and chafing you’d typically experience with most leather belts.
I also love the brushed tricot lining, which is a waterproof fabric with an excellent moisture-wicking capability. This way, you can wear the belt throughout your workout session without having to put up with that awkward clammy feeling.
This is one of the reassons why it made my list of top 10 women’s powerlifting belts.
When wrapped at the maximum tightness, this belt provides enough support for general strength training and light-to-moderate lifting. If you’re interested in heavy lifting, skip to the end of this article. I’ll list a bunch of leather alternatives that can really pack a punch.
One of the significant flaws of the Valeo belt is its non-anatomical design. In other words, it features a consistent width throughout the whole length, while most weightlifting belts start wide over the back and taper gradually toward the front.
This anatomical design gives room for your legs and rib cage to move without impingement, which is crucial for dynamic workouts like snatches and cleans. Without that design, the Valeo belt tends to ride up your torso whenever you dive into a deep squat, even if you wear it at the tightest setting.
Closure System: Two Options
Valeo produces two versions of this belt that varies in nothing but the closure system.
The Valeo VLP tightens with the typical velcro system that’s featured on almost all weightlifting belts. After wrapping the belt core around your body, you should thread the webbing through the metal ring and pull it back on itself. The harder you pull, the tighter the fit.
When you become happy with the tightness, all you have to do is attach the webbing to the hook pad that’s stitched over the belt. Luckily, that pad is broad enough for you to fine-tune the tightness.
When you’re happy with the tightness, you just have to push the cam lever down on the webbing to secure it. Afterward, you should slide that lever into the D-ring attached right next to it, which will prevent it from snapping off while lifting.
Even though this system is supposed to be more convenient than plain velcro, it sure takes some getting used to. Plus, the fact that that buckle is made of plastic puts a huge question mark over durability. I think Valeo should’ve made it from sturdy metal that wouldn’t wear out by traction.
This is why I recommend the velcro construction over the cam lever.
When choosing the size of the lifting belt, some novice lifters depend on their regular pant size. This is wrong because you would never wear your lifting belt at such a low level on your hips; it typically sits at or slightly above your belly button. This improper measurement is the reason why many reviewers are saying that this belt runs small.
To pick the right size, wrap a fabric tape measure around your body at the level of your belly button. Pull the tape tight until it starts to dig lightly into your skin, and write down the measurement.
Throughout the process, it’s important to breathe normally and relax your muscles. Sucking in your stomach will get you an unbearably small belt.
Now pick your ideal size from the following table:
|Size||Valeo VLP Measurements||Valeo VCL Measurements|
|Small||22–29 inches||28–30 inches|
|Medium||30–36 inches||31–36 inches|
|Large||37–43 inches||34–39 inches|
|X-Large||44–51 inches||38–43 inches|
|2X-Large||52–59 inches||43–48 inches|
|Check sizing and pricing on Amazon||Check sizing and pricing on Amazon|
Approval for Competitions
Naturally, you can wear whatever belt you like inside the gym. You should only care about how comfortable and effective it is. But if you’re planning to participate in a professional competition, your belt must meet the following requirements in order to be allowed on the platform.
IPF & USAPL Technical Specifications for Belts
- The belt should be constructed from leather or vinyl.
- It shouldn’t be wider than 4 inches, nor thicker than 13 mm.
- Laminations are allowed, either stitched or studded.
- Additional padding or bracing layers are strictly prohibited.
- It can tighten with a single prong, double prongs, or a lever buckle.
- Velcro isn’t permissible.
What Do the Lifters Say About the Valeo VLP 4-Inch Belt?
To make sure the Valeo belt is worth the money, I scoured the internet to gather as many reviews as possible. Thankfully, the vast majority of lifters were happy with what the belt has to offer.
- One customer bought the VCL version for her husband, who ended up liking the lightweight, affordable build.
- Another customer confirms that the belt is machine-washable, explaining that it held up well for about two years.
- The last customer lays stress on the high-quality build of the VCL belt, but he argues that it takes some getting used to.
Alternatives You Can Buy Instead of the Valeo VLP Belt
As I said earlier, the Valeo belt will probably break under hefty loads. I’ve written a full guide that reviews the 10 best lifting belts on today’s market, but here are the top three:
1. Schiek 2004 Lifting Belt: The Best Nylon Option
I won’t be exaggerating if I say that the Schiek 2004 Model is the gold standard of nylon belts.
Unlike Valeo, this belt features two velcro layers: one on the webbing and another on the core itself. This indeed provides more reliable support, making the belt useful for a broader range of workouts.
The second feature I like is the anatomic design. This belt fits perfectly over your hips and ribs, and it also widens toward the front, which allows for more effective breathing and bracing. But just like Valeo, this belt isn’t approved for competitions.
How It Compares to the Valeo Belt
- More solid support
- Features two layers of velcro
- Anatomical design
- More expensive
- Not approved for competition
If you liked the previous belt, but you still hate nylon, check this one. It features the exact design of the 2004 Model, except that it’s made from leather and it tightens with a prong buckle. Price-wise, it’s understandably more expensive than any nylon belt, but it’s still more affordable than most leather belts.
Unfortunately, this belt is also prohibited in professional competitions.
How It Compares to the Valeo Belt
- Made of genuine leather
- Provides way better support
- Can be used for heavy lifting
- More expensive
- Not approved for competitions
If you’re interested in competitive lifting, the Inzer Forever belt should be your best bet. I’ve been using it for over 13 years and it hasn’t changed a bit, except for minor scuffs on the suede exterior. You’re guaranteed to max out way before the leather construction breaks, if ever.
Best of all, Inzer produces this belt in numerous versions. You can find it in two thicknesses: 10mm and 13mm, both supplied with prong and lever closure systems.
How It Compares to the Valeo Belt
- Made of high-quality leather
- Premium support
- Approved for competitions
- Covered with a lifetime warranty
The Final Word
Do I recommend the Valeo 4-inch lifting belt? Yes, but not for everyone. This belt should be great for light lifting and general strength training. People with a short torso will appreciate the 4-inch width, although it might tend to ride up while squatting.
Remember, if you’re planning to compete, you won’t find anything better than the Inzer Forever belt. It’s a bit more expensive than usual, but I think it’s a worthy investment.
Check out today’s price of the Valeo 4-inch lifting belt on Amazon.