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Without a doubt, using a belt for powerlifting is crucial if you want to stabilize your spine and get the most out of your workout. But to be frank, men’s belts can be quite uncomfortable for women, especially those with short stature.
If this sounds familiar, I can confidently say that you reached the right place! In this article, I’ll review the 10 best women powerlifting belts currently on the market. I included leather, nylon, uniform, and tapered belts to satisfy most of your needs.
In a hurry? I’d definitely recommend Rogue 3-Inch Ohio as the best lifting belt for women (click to check today’s price on Rogue Fitness). Since it measures 3”, it won’t pinch on your torso during deep movements. And with an IPF approval, you can use it in any powerlifting competition.
Alright, without any further ado, let’s start our roundup!
The 10 Best Women Powerlifting Belts
How does every belt perform? How much time will it take to “break-in”? And what are the shortcomings that might ruin your experience? Those are some of the questions that I’ll answer for each of the following belts.
Rogue 3″ Ohio Female Powerlifting Belt – Best Overall
The most common concern about lifting belts that I always hear from female athletes is the firmness. It’s absolutely annoying to have a thick leather pad constantly poking you.
That’s why I chose the Rogue Ohio Belt as my top pick. You can forget about those awful pinches thanks to its 3-inch-wide body.
The second reason that pushed this belt to the top of my list is the certification. As you’ll see later on, not all the belts can be used in powerlifting competitions. Certain specs need to be met for the belt to be allowed.
That said, this belt is IPF-approved. You can use it during any of the competitions held by this federation.
Back to the design. Rogue constructed this belt from vegetable-tanned leather. That’s the reason behind its rich, brown tone.
Since this method is natural, this leather feels much softer than the regular hardened leather. As a result, the Rogue Ohio belt takes far less time to break-in and form around your body. With a thickness of 10mm, this process becomes even easier.
Moving on to the buckle, this belt is equipped with a double-pronged buckle with a shiny zinc finish. I like that they used a roller over the buckle. This way, you can fully tighten the belt without peeling the leather.
● Certification: IPF-approved
● Width: 3”
● Thickness: 10mm
● Natural, vegetable-tanned leather
● Breaks-in faster than others
● Comes with a sturdy pronged buckle
● Double prongs are a bit time-consuming
Titan Longhorn Tapered Female Powerlifting Belt – Best Lever-Style
Just like my top pick, this belt is allowed in all the IPF competitions. The most prominent difference between the two lies in the buckle. This belt is designed with a nickel-plated lever instead of the classic prong.
Although this is a matter of personal choice, I generally prefer lever buckles, especially in competitions. To tighten the Longhorn belt, all you have to do is hook its teeth and flip the lever. As you can see, this is much easier and faster than using a prong.
Furthermore, you can simply tighten it with your hand. Pronged belts, on the contrary, usually need a rack to pull it into the maximum tightness. Since you may not find a rack in every competition, a lever belt seems like the most competent option.
For the material, Titan chose a North American sole-bend leather. It might be much firmer than the Rogue’s vegetable-tanned leather. But the tapered thickness makes up for this fact.
Toward the back, this belt measures 4” in thickness, just like the usual. It gradually gets thinner over the sides, until it reaches a thickness of 2.5” in front. This way, your back could get the full support without the belt pinching on the rest of your body.
● Certification: IPF-approved
● Width: 4” in back and 2.5” in front
● Thickness: 10mm
● Versatile sizing with 8 options
● Durable, nickel-plated lever
● Tapered width
● Thick leather construction
● The lever is quite hard to assemble the first time
4” might be too wide for some female frames
Schiek Model 3004 Women Powerlifting Belt – Most Versatile
If you don’t like how firm the leather feels, you can opt for more flexible materials that promote comfort. For this matter, the Schiek 3004 belt is the first thing that comes to my mind.
Instead of leather, this belt is fully made from neoprene. This is a highly versatile material that can be used to make things as soft as gloves and as firm as hoses. As a result, this belt can be firm enough to be used in powerlifting, yet soft enough for any other activity.
Tightening the Schiek 3004 can’t be any simpler. If you don’t like the complicated levers and the tiring prongs, you’ll definitely love the velcro pads sewn over this belt.
Don’t worry, though. The velcro won’t easily unlock in the midst of the workout. This is possible with the secondary neoprene strap that sits on top of the main belt. After securing the first velcro, this strap locks with another velcro after passing through a one-way metal buckle.
The versatility of the Schiek 3004 isn’t only about the material, though. Instead of the uniform thickness, this belt is designed with a contour that follows the convexity of the hips and ribs. This way, you can easily walk and bend while being comfortably supported by this belt.
On the downside, this belt isn’t approved for any professional powerlifting competition. Then again, its affordable price fits the daily personal use in gyms. If you’re interested in reading more about this belt, check out my complete Schiek Lifting Belt Review.
● Certification: none
● Width: 4.75″
● Equipped with double velcros
● Not approved in powerlifting competitions
May not provide as much support as a leather-style belt
Valeo VLP 4” Women Low-Profile Powerlifting Belt – Best Budget
Lifting belts shouldn’t be reserved only for competitions. You can also use them if you just casually lift weights. But in this case, you don’t have to burden your budget with fancy equipment. You can get pretty acceptable performance with this highly-affordable belt.
For the main bulk, Valeo constructed this belt from memory foam. As you might imagine, this material will seamlessly conform to your body without pinching on any part. This fact alongside the affordable price puts quite surprising value to this belt.
However, when you try tightening the Valeo VLP, you might not be that satisfied. It has a nylon strap sewn throughout its length. To tighten, it passes through a metal torque ring back to a velcro pad.
Yes, you can fine-tune the tightness to match your exact preference. But may not be secure enough. Under heavier weights, it might suddenly unlock, which would raise the risk of injuries. Therefore, I’d recommend reserving it for light lifting only.
Thickness is uniform over the whole belt at 4”. But over the ends, Valeo opted for rounded corners that mildly decrease the thickness. This enhances the belt’s comfort as it’d never pinch on your torso. Want more info on this belt? Check out my full Valeo 4-Inch Lifting Belt Review.
● Certification: none
● Width: 4”
● Padded with memory foam
● Rounded ends and uniform thickness
● Highly affordable
● A lot of users complained about inaccurate sizing
● The stitching might start fraying sooner than expected
● Its velcro won’t support heavy loads
Iron Bull Weightlifting Belt For Women – Most Supportive Nylon
As we established earlier, leather is the gold standard for strength and firmness. Nylon is a comfortable option that lacks heavy support. If you’re hesitant between both extremes, you should find peace of mind in this belt.
Thanks to its reinforced nylon construction, it brings the best of both worlds. And with its affordable price, it poses as a great alternative for the pricey leather.
For maximum benefit, this belt is designed with two parts. The first one is an ultra-wide 5.5” pad that encircles the back and ends over your sides. Since this part is only intended to support the back, its extra width is actually a pro rather than a con.
The second part is a regular nylon strap. On one side, this strap has a metal buckle with a roller. When you’re ready to tighten this belt, you’ll have to pass the strap inside the buckle and reverse it to reach the velcro.
The buckle roller seems like a small insignificant component, but it’s actually quite important. When the nylon strap rolls over, you’ll be able to pull it into the maximum possible tightness with the least effort.
The only thing I wish was different is the stitching quality. Several Amazon buyers were disappointed when the belt tore apart after using it for a couple of months.
● Certification: none
● Width: 5.5” toward the back
● Reinforced nylon construction
● The metal buckle is equipped with a roller
● Ultra-wide back support
● Poor stitching quality
Contraband 4010 Women Powerlifting Nylon Belt – Most Flexible
If you want something to support your back over the entire workout, this belt could be your best bet. With a light nylon construction, this belt would be far more comfortable than its competitors.
On the inside, Contraband padded this belt with a durable nylon mesh to improve how it adapts over your body. And with the natural flexibility of nylon, it’ll be absolutely easy to perform any exercise while wearing it.
Tightening this belt should be hassle-free with its wide velcro pads. You can finely adjust the tightness thanks to the collared, metal buckle. However, just like most of the other nylon belts, a single velcro closure won’t properly support heavier loads.
The only comment I have is on the logo placement. Contraband stitched a large rubber logo on the end of the tightening strap.
Worst of all, it made it almost large enough to occupy the whole thickness of the strap. This way, it’ll inevitably press on your hands whenever you try to close the belt.
That’s why most brands keep their logo on the back. Even if it was placed anteriorly, it would just be a lightly stitched fabric.
On the bright side, Contraband promises a full refund within 30 days of purchase. If you weren’t satisfied with the design, you can return it, no strings attached.
● Certification: none
● Width: 4”
● Flexible nylon construction
● Sturdy metal buckle with a collar
● 30-day full refund
● 1-year warranty
● Improperly-placed rubber logo
Harbinger Women’s Nylon Weightlifting Belt – Best Lightweight
If you want something that you’d barely feel, you should love this 8-ounce belt from Harbinger.
With its flexible foam core, it’s guaranteed to be super flexible, comfortable, and lightweight through your whole workout.
On the inside, this belt is lined with a plush tricot lining. This adds a lot to the overall comfortable feel. It also prevents sweat from excessively building up, which decreases the likelihood of bad odors.
Over the back, this belt measures 5” in thickness. But as it progresses toward the front, it gradually gets thinner until it reaches 3” (check out my full review of the Harbinger lifting belt).
To tighten the belt, Harbinger used a nylon strap that runs through the whole length. They also added a heavy-gauge steel buckle with a large roller. This way, you’ll achieve the tightest fit with the smallest possible effort.
I have to say that the design of this belt is by far my favorite. The soft black nylon fits perfectly with the pink strap.
If you don’t prefer pink, you can opt for a merlot or purple strap. But unfortunately, the belt body itself has to be black.
● Certification: None
● Width: 5” in back and 3” in front
● Padded with plush tricot fabric
● Equipped with heavy-gauge buckle
● Attractive design
● Doesn’t have a wide color variety
● Some customers complained about inaccurate sizing
Fire Team Fit Women’s Powerlifting Belt – Most Comfortable
To be fair, comfort is a quite tricky subject. Every one of us has a somewhat unique anatomy that dictates what would be comfortable and what wouldn’t. Still, the best way to approach this is by getting a contoured belt like this one.
Your ribs and hips are curved. The vast majority of your muscles don’t run in a straight line. That’s why contoured belts are always more comfortable than straight ones.
The maximum width is, expectedly, toward the back with an approximate of 6”. This is especially useful for people suffering from problems in the lumbar region. This thickness will fully cover this area, decreasing the possibilities of injuries.
But it isn’t only about the contour, though. The extra-thick padding featured in this belt literally hugs your body with every bit of tightness you add.
In terms of creative designs, this belt easily surpasses the others. It has versions colored in green camo, pink camo, and even the stars & bars of the American flag.
On an absolutely kind note, Fire Team Fit dedicates $1 from every sold belt to a non-profit organization supporting American combat veterans. I absolutely prefer supporting businesses that focus on their social responsibilities.
On the downside, some customers were upset when the velcro straps were damaged within a couple of months after purchase.
● Certification: none
● Width: 6”
● Contoured, comfortable shape
● Super-creative designs
● Your purchase would help combat veterans.
● Some belts have poor velcro pads
BeSmart Women’s Powerlifting Lever Belt – Best Camouflage
As I said earlier, lever belts are my personal favorite. I always recommend them for their unmatched tightness and prolonged durability. But some people usually get bored with their regular, uncreative black/white designs. If this applies to you, consider this belt from BeSmart.
The actual material is still the sturdy 10mm-thick leather. But instead of the black suede, BeSmart stitched a green camouflage fabric over its face. To complement this design, they added a black matte lever.
This belt features the usual width of 4”. To make the edges softer, BeSmart chose to bevel rather than round them. This way, you’ll benefit from the whole effective width without these annoying pinches during deep movements.
Although its specs follow the IPF regulations, the brand itself isn’t accredited. Therefore, you won’t be able to use it in professional competitions.
Do I like everything about it? No. BeSmart could’ve used a heavier material for the lever. They claim that it’s unbreakable, but the customer reviews disagree. Some of them said it broke after lightly using the belt for months.
But since it’s a lot cheaper than other leather belts, it poses as a quite acceptable alternative for recreational lifters.
● Certification: none
● Width: 4”
● Thickness: 10mm
● Heavy leather construction
● Attractive camouflage design
● A low-quality lever that breaks after months of use
LiftingLarge Economy Pink Lever Belt – An Honorable Mention
I couldn’t end my list without mentioning the Economy belt from Lifting Large.
It’s been gaining a lot of popularity recently as an affordable alternative to the gold standard Inzer Forever Lever Belt.
It’s incredibly rare to find brands credible enough to mention the exact composition of their products. This gets even rarer inside the affordable category. A lot of businesses use this as an umbrella to cover their rubbish quality!
Luckily, this isn’t the case with this belt. LiftingLarge used 100% leather for the belt’s core. Then, they stitched a pink suede on top with 4 rows of high-quality nylon yarn. To keep it looking tidy, there are no logos printed on the belt, not even on the inside.
Tightening this belt should feel like a breeze with its chrome-plated lever. A lot of customers were super happy with the lever’s durability since it’s usually the first to break in affordable belts.
Best of all, this belt meets all the IPF regulations. You’re allowed to use it in any of their competitions. I think this is a huge advantage, especially when you consider its super-affordable price.
With a thickness of 10mm, this belt won’t feel annoyingly-firm like its 13mm-thick competitors. It’ll break-in and conform to your body’s contour before you know it.
● Certification: IPF-approved
● Width: 4”
● Thickness: 10mm
● 100% leather construction
● Sturdy lever covered with a 1-year warranty
● Breaks-in faster than others
● The stitching isn’t durable as more expensive belts
Check out my complete list of Powerlifting Equipment For Women, which includes 9 must-have items if you’re a competitive lifter.
Main Differences Between Male & Female Lifting Belts
Technically speaking, women’s lifting belts don’t have special materials that exclusively fit females. But like other sportswear, women’s powerlifting belts usually come in smaller sizes to fit the smaller anatomy of female athletes.
While men’s belts are often made with a width of 4”, women usually suffice with 2” or 3”. If you used wider belts, they might bruise your ribs and hips. Not to mention that they’ll inventively restrict your movement, which would decrease your gains.
Although women can use leather belts normally, I’ve seen a lot of my female friends opting for nylon. They prefer the latter for its flexibility and ease-of-use.
However, if you’re planning to enroll in powerlifting competitions, leather is your only choice. Nylon is completely banned since it doesn’t provide enough support for heavier weights.
Check out the difference between a 3 and 4 inch powerlifting belt.
What Are the Benefits of Powerlifting Belts for Women?
Wearing a powerlifting belt is a sure way to instantly enhance the quality of your workout. This happens through the following effects.
It Reduces the Spinal Stress
When your muscles push against the lifting belt, your intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) rapidly increases.
To avoid getting into complicated medical concepts, think of this added pressure like a balloon inflating inside your abdominal cavity. As it inflates more, it’ll stabilize your spine by pressing against it from the inside.
And since you’re working out, your back muscles are already supporting the spine from the outside. As a result, your spine will be kept in the best neutral position during the whole workout. This decreases the chances of injuries by over-extension, over-flexion, or lateral flexion.
Need a recommendation on the best women’s powerlifting shoes? Check out my review where I looked at 7 popular shoes!
It Produces Better Yields
Having something for your muscles to press against is the shortest way for bigger yields. When you lift without the belt, you can’t really feel how much your muscles are contracting. The added proprioception allows you to feel this force and increase it to reach your full limits.
Related Article: Should You Wear a Lifting Belt For Bench Press?
How Can Women Use Their Weightlifting Belts Properly?
If you want to maximize the potential, you must pay attention to how you’re wearing the belt.
Generally speaking, lifting belts should be placed just beneath your ribs. Try to keep their lower border above your belly button. A lot of athletes prefer to place it lower to promote comfort. But in this position, it won’t deliver the maximum back support.
Before tightening the belt, take a breath, and brace your abdominal muscles. Now close the belt so that it feels slightly tight on your contracted muscles.
Obviously, too loose belts would be practically useless. And making them too tight would actually do more harm than good.
Never Use It for Masking Injuries
Please, do yourself a favor and never wear a lifting belt to cover a painful back. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Ignoring the problem would only make it worse and more difficult to treat.
Are There Any Risks for Wearing a Lifting Belt for Women?
If used properly, lifting belts wouldn’t cause any risks in either women or men. But just like any other thing in life, too much is too bad.
It Increases the Blood Pressure
Remember our simple balloon analogy? Well, it doesn’t only press against your spine, it also compresses your abdominal blood vessels. In other words, wearing lifting belts raises your blood pressure, especially the systolic.
If the belt was used briefly, this shouldn’t be a problem. Blood pressure normally increases during workout anyways.
But doing this on a regular basis might put athletes into a bigger risk for strokes and other cardiovascular diseases.
It Might Weaken Your Muscles
Wait a minute! How can lifting belts produce better gains and weaken the muscles at the same time? Well, they certainly won’t happen simultaneously. The outcome depends on how you’re using the belt.
The problem happens when you fully depend on the belt and ignore bracing with your muscle. As you might imagine, the belt will successfully do the job, leaving your muscles to relax. This gets especially harmful when athletes start to wear their belts for the whole day.
Looking for workout gloves? Check out my reviews of the best women’s workout gloves.
Competitive Powerlifting: What Belts Are Approved for Women?
If you checked my 10 recommended belts, you’ll see that only 3 are approved for professional competitions. IPF, or the International Powerlifting Federation, require belts to have the following features in order to be allowed in competitions.
● It has to be made from leather, vinyl, or any other non-stretching materials.
● It can be laminated with glue or stitching.
● It shouldn’t be padded.
● It can be equipped with a lever, a prong, or double prongs.
● The buckle must be stitched or studded.
● It shouldn’t have any logos unless approved by IPF.
● The width shouldn’t be bigger than 4”.
● The thickness shouldn’t exceed 13mm.
● The buckle must not be wider than 13mm.
● The tongue loop can’t be wider than 2”.
Obviously, you won’t have to inspect every belt to see whether it satisfies the rules. I preferred to briefly mention them to avoid buying counterfeit products.
The Approved Brands
To save your time, here is the full list of brands that produce IPF-Approved belts.
● Iron Tanks
● Lifting Large
● Super Training
● Strength Shop
● Beast Genetics
Key Features to Look for When Buying a Women’s Weightlifting Belt
The most important factors to consider in lifting belts are the material and the thickness. That’s why I’ll discuss them in their own sections later on. For now, we’ll take a look at the firmness and the contour.
Pick a Suitable Firmness
Personally, I like a lifting belt that feels firm enough to brace my muscles against. But some of my friends, especially females, prefer the opposite. They like the inherent freedom of flexible nylon belts.
If you’re lifting in your gym, there’s no right or wrong. You can use whatever feels comfortable. But in powerlifting competitions, as established earlier, you won’t be allowed to use nylon.
Moreover, it’s important to know that leather might produce bigger yields because your muscles will have to do more work to push it. Similarly, the flexibility of nylon will decrease spinal bracing.
Related Article: Should You Wear a Lifting Belt For Squats and Deadlifts?
Look for Contoured Outline
The most notable difference between powerlifting and weightlifting belts is the design. Powerlifting belts have the same width throughout their length. Weightlifting belts, on the other hand, start with a wider back and end with a thinner front.
Again, in your gym, you’re free to do whatever you like. For female athletes, I always recommend weightlifting belts. The thinner front will provide more wiggle room to catch a deep clean or snatch weight overhead.
Some belts, like the Schiek Model 3004, go the extra mile by incorporating curves that fit your hips and ribs.
Should Women Wear Velcro or Leather Powerlifting Belts?
To be frank, powerlifting belts rarely use velcro. Instead, their leather bodies are secured with prongs or a lever.
Prongs and Lever: Tighter but Bulkier
Affordable leather belts are usually tightened with a single or double-pronged buckle. Just like pants’ belts, you have to pull the belt strap and hook the tongue inside a suitable hole. For maximum tightness, some athletes like to pull the strap on a rack.
Lever belts are much easier to use. You start by loosely hooking its teeth on their dedicated holes. Then, you have to flip the lever into the predetermined tightness. If you want to adjust the tightness, you’ll have to use a screwdriver.
In weightlifting, prongs and levers can be extremely dangerous. As you try to snatch the weight overhead, it might hit the buckle and cause serious injuries.
See more differences between prong vs lever belts in my other article.
Velcro: Thinner but Weaker
Obviously, velcro belts would be the safest option for weightlifting since the barbell wouldn’t have anything to hit.
However, velcro isn’t as secure as buckles. It might accidentally open as you’re trying to lift heavy weights.
Still, velcro is much easier to close. You’ll be able to fine-tune the tightness to exactly fit your preference.
Related Article: How Tight Should A Lifting Belt Be? (Breakdown Per Exercise)
Should Women Wear 10mm or 13mm Powerlifting Belts?
If you decide to opt for velcro, nylon, or any flexible belt, you shouldn’t worry about the thickness. It’s actually rare to find brands that describe this feature anyways.
With leather, however, it’s crucial to check the thickness since it’ll directly impact the performance.
10mm Belts: Comfortable but Less Supportive
If you’re still exploring the powerlifting world, I’d definitely recommend going with 10mm belts.
Without a doubt, having less thickness of leather around your waist would be far more comfortable. The belt wouldn’t pinch on your torso during deeper movements. Moreover, belts with this thickness would break-in faster by conforming to your body’s curvatures.
As your body gets stronger, you might want to increase the thickness to accommodate your new strength.
13mm Belts: Better Performance but Less Versatile
Some athletes may find a 13mm belt to be too firm for some exercises. In fact, I know some athletes who prefer to use it only for squats, leaving the deadlifts and bench presses for a 10mm belt.
Worst of all, if a 13mm belt feels uncomfortable, don’t expect it to improve any sooner. It’ll take a lot of time to break-in.
But to be fair, the added thickness can be an excellent way to get bigger and faster yields. That’s why advanced powerlifters tend to upgrade their belts after they master the basics.
See more differences between 10mm vs 13mm lifting belts in my other article.
Looking for a workout vest? Check out my reviews of the best women’s weighted vest.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should you start wearing a lifting belt?
There’s no one right time at which everyone should start wearing a belt. Generally speaking, you should try it when you feel that your body is ready to step up the training. The important question is how to use it rather than when to start. Lifting belts are mainly intended to relieve spinal stress. Therefore, they shouldn’t be used except with exercises that directly load on your back. These include squats, deadlifts, strict presses, Olympic lifts, etc.
Why do you wear a belt when lifting?
When you wear a lifting belt, your intra-abdominal pressure increases, which supports your spine from inside. Moreover, it increases the activity of your muscles, which braces your back from outside. So all in all, a lifting belt is used to decrease the likelihood of back injuries and allows you to lift more weight.
After my elaborate research, Rogue Ohio is surely the best women’s powerlifting belt of 2022. It offers a great balance between flexibility and support with its 3-inch leather construction.
If you don’t want to waste time on prongs, you should consider the Titan Longhorn Lever Belt. It measures only 2.5” in the front, which would give a lot of freedom when you’re catching a deep clean.
For non-competing athletes, the Schiek Model 3004 would be the most versatile belt. The contoured outline won’t restrict your hips and torso by any means.
Remember, be kind to your body and never use belts to cover the pain.