The 10 Best Lifting Belts

Updated May 10, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Whether you use weights for body sculpting, strength training, or in competition, make sure you stabilize your back muscles and torso to prevent injury and excess strain. A durable lifting belt will help minimize the risk of spinal flexion, allowing for a better biomechanical position, and will give you the support needed to maximize your efforts. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best lifting belt on Amazon.

10. Harbinger Ultralight

The Harbinger Ultralight has an unobtrusive design, so it hugs the body without impeding motion or breathing. Its steel buckle and Velcro closure allow for quick and painless adjustments on the fly, but they do require constant tweaking.
  • helps to keep muscles warm
  • will crease if not stored correctly
  • not good for extreme or fast lifting
Brand Nike
Model 9.306.012.001.-P
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Gabor Fitness Epic Performance

The affordable Gabor Fitness Epic Performance has a soft tricot lining for comfort, and though it does absorb body odor and sweat, it is washable. The four-inch-high rear tapers down to three in the front, to help brace the back while allowing for unimpeded bending.
  • low profile closure system
  • fully waterproof foam core
  • velcro can fail over time
Brand Gabor Fitness
Model pending
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Inzer Advance

If you want to show off your patriotism in your next competition, the red, white and blue Inzer Advance has got you covered. Of course it's also available in some less conspicuous options, too. It's a professional quality model that can withstand the strain of heavy loads.
  • doesn't irritate the skin
  • quick-release buckle
  • some find it too stiff
Brand Inzer
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. RDX Cowhide

At six inches, the RDX Cowhide is wider than most of the competition, making it highly supportive and a good choice for heavy lifters doing squats, military presses, and more. It will definitely last a long while, though it does require some time to break in.
  • wicks away moisture
  • doesn't retain odors
  • sizing runs small
Brand RDX
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Fire Team Fit Olympic

The Fire Team Fit Olympic has multiple individual pads that offer the core support needed for deadlifts, while managing to provide an adequate level of flexibility, so it won't dig into your sides or belly when bending down or performing squats.
  • lightweight feel and sleek look
  • material breathes nicely
  • not ideal for heavier lifts
Brand Fire Team Fit
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. ProFitness Genuine Leather

The ProFitness Genuine Leather is made from buffalo hide, which is known for being one of the most durable and long-lasting forms of this material. This translates into a belt that will last through years of daily use for the most dedicated lifters.
  • supportive yet comfortable
  • quality stitching throughout
  • unisex style and shape
Brand ProFitness
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Bear Komplex

This model from Bear Komplex allows for quick adjustments, so you can tighten it fast if you suddenly feel you need more support. It is extra wide at your lumbar region, right where most people generally need a little extra rigidity to prevent injury.
  • good choice for crossfit
  • high-quality velcro holds up well
  • cool bear claw marks logo
Brand Bear KompleX
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Schiek Nylon

The Schiek Nylon has a shape that narrows on the sides to lessen the chance of it hindering your movement. This intuitive option is designed with a downward thrusting angle that hugs your back and your hips for a more natural alignment.
  • lots of colors to choose from
  • secure dual closure system
  • made in the united states
Brand Schiek Sports
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

2. Rip Toned 4.5-Inch

The Rip Toned 4.5-Inch is a good choice for men or women, and is ideal for everything from bodybuilding to CrossFit. It is made with an extra-wide Velcro strip that stops it slipping in order to help maintain support when it's needed most.
  • machine washable
  • sturdy metal clasp won't fail
  • effective at preventing injuries
Brand Rip Toned
Model pending
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Dark Iron Fitness

The Dark Iron Fitness is made from high quality leather with six rows of heavy-duty stitching to ensure it can withstand intense use for years to come. It has a near uniform thickness throughout, which helps to provide the maximum amount of support.
  • runs true to size
  • backed by lifetime replacements
  • feels weightless when wearing it
Brand Dark Iron Fitness
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Choosing Your Lifting Belt

If you have spent much time in and around gyms where people are lifting weights, you have likely seen your share of lifting belts. These are the broad, rugged bands that weightlifters often wear wrapped around the lower torso while completing squat lifts, military presses, and other exercises. Just as a support brace can help protect a person's spine and lower back when he or she is lifting heavy loads at work or at home, a lifting belt protects the body during the use of heavy weights, reducing the chance of injury and helping to maintain proper form.

Traditional lifting belts were made out of leather -- usually several strips layered over one another, in fact -- and featured a large metal buckle with multiple adjustments made possible by pre-formed holes. It is still easy to find many weightlifting belts in just this style, and for many athletes the classic approach will serve best. Leather's inherent strength and rigidity allows these belts to offer plenty of support to the wearer's core and spine, though they can be less comfortable than more flexible options made using different materials and featuring more ergonomic shapes.

Many modern lifting belts are designed to follow the natural curves and contours of the human body, with a shape that is slender above the hips, broad across the middle of the back, and that can be easily adjusted across the belly. Materials such as neoprene and nylon offer more flexibility than leather, while belts that secure using hook-and-loop closure (frequently referred to by the brand name Velcro) offer a more customizable fit. Some lifting belts feature built in layers of padding and/or are made from materials that offer excellent moisture wicking properties and breathability, both of which are ideal for wearing as you sweat your way through a workout.

All of that said a more supple, more comfortable lifting belt might not be your best choice; lifting belts are not designed to be worn for extended periods of time, and frankly their primary purpose is not comfort, but rather safety and support. A thick, rigid belt that is not all that comfortable but which holds your body in proper posture during a power lift is a better choice than a softer belt you practically forget you are wearing.

Basic Safe Weight Lifting Techniques

A weight belt is only intended for use during standing exercises such as deadlifts or squats. If you are engaged in any other form of workout, even one that uses a great deal of weight, such as a bench press, you should remove your lifting belt. These units can only create the abdominal and spinal support for which they were designed when you are on your feet, and can in fact cause injury when worn improperly. This is especially true if you are exercising in a manner that rotates or bends the torso, such as riding a bike or doing crunches.

These belts should also be removed even for standing exercises wherein you are not nearing your maximum single repetition limit. Using a weight belt when lifting weights light enough that your body can easily support itself without assistance may hamper the development of the very muscles you are targeting. A weight belt can limit the strength development of the lower back in particular; its regular use should be offset by exercises targeting the lat and oblique muscle groups.

In short, remove the belt when you don't need it. But when you are about to complete "maximal" lifts -- a set of low repetition, heavy weight squats, jerks, or barbell rows, for example -- strap on and secure that weight belt before you ever touch a weight.

Proper leg positioning is critical for safe and effective lifting of heavy weights. It's also important that you choose proper footwear. Heavy weightlifting merits the use of shoes with soles that will not compress; eschew the air pocket-filled soles of running shoes for sneakers with solid rubber bottoms, such as Converse or even basic wrestling shoes. The air-filled soles can reduce your stability and lessen the transfer of power from your body to the lift.

Also make sure to keep your torso aligned with your legs and as upright as possible, heeding the old adage to "lift with your legs, not your back." Your head should always be upright and your chest slightly raised.

And though it should go without saying, never attempt to lift more weight than you are certain you can safely manage. It is easy to incur a sudden, serious injury when working out with heavy weights even under safe circumstances; minimize the chance of hurting yourself by keeping the weight within your range of capabilities and, whenever possible, by not working out alone. (Training with a certified instructor can give you the knowledge to exercise safely on your own -- consider investing in several sessions

Other Gear to Aid Proper Lifting

As noted above proper shoes are important for safe and proper weight lifting. That topic brings up little debate in the exercise community. What you should have on your hands, however, is another story entirely. Many "purists" will say that wearing gloves while exercising is a bad idea, as they can reduce the control you have over the weights. Gloves also reduce the buildup of callous that will provide natural grip and protection over time. Ultimately, it is a personal decision whether or not you choose to wear gloves while lifting.

Wrist wraps are generally accepted as a smart accessory. These wraps helps support your wrists and prevent the over-extension injuries that can be caused by lifting heavy free weights. Most such wraps do not cover the palms or fingers, and thus won't inhibit development of callous. Gym chalk can aid your grip primarily by minimizing the moisture (a.k.a. sweat) on your hands while still allowing for a natural feel of metal against skin.

Also don't forget how much strain lifting heavy weights can put on your knees; as you squat beneath hundreds of pounds of weight plates, your knees are subjected to incredible amounts of pressure. Just as a lifting belt can help prevent damage to your back, knee braces can reduce the risk of injuring these critical joints. Consider a compression-style sleeve or an actual solid brace that prevents certain articulations of the knee.

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Last updated on May 10, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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