Weight belts provide support for the lower back and reduce low back stress by compressing the abdominal muscles. They are especially useful when performing squats or overhead barbell lifts. Weight belts help weightlifters maintain the proper form while lifting and prevent hyperextension of the lower back during overhead lifts. Wearing a weight belt also makes you more aware of your posture as you lift. Choosing the correct size weight belt is important for comfort and safety. A weight belt needs to be worn tightly to maximize performance. Weight belts should only be worn for short periods of time and during maximal or submaximal lifts, as in squats or deadlifts.
Run the tape measure around your middle, crossing over your navel. Breathe normally; do not hold your stomach in and do not compress your stomach by pulling the tape measure too tight. This will give you the most accurate waist measurement and help you select the correct size weight belt.
Wear your workout clothes when shopping for your belt. These will be what you will wear when you use the weight belt and will give you the most accurate fit.
Find the belts that match your waist measurement. Weight belt widths range between 4 and 6 inches. Tall people should use a 6-inch width; shorter people need a 4-inch width. Choose the width that corresponds to your height.
Choose a nylon or leather weight belt. Leather is heavier and has support that is more solid. Nylon is lighter and has some give in the fabric. Nylon belts will put less pressure on your hips.
Try the weight belt on, securing it so it fits tightly. This is how it should be worn when lifting. The belt should be snug and support the lower back. Practice a weightlifting move that you would do while wearing the belt. A properly fitting weight belt won't cut into your ribs.