Weight-lifting belts have earned their place in the lifting world, and for good reason. They support your lumbar spine, promote a rigid torso and can help you hit max lifts.
"Personally, I encourage weightlifting belts when the weights are at about 80 percent of a person's one rep max," says Ryan Fischer, USA weightlifting sports performance coach, USA Weightlifting Olympic-level coach and owner of CHALK Performance Training in California. "Another time that I would suggest a belt is when someone is doing a competitive functional fitness workout, like CrossFit, and they want to minimize a lower back pump from blood flow to the spinal erectors."
With so many weight-lifting belts on the market, and different features (including leather, buckles, nylon and Velcro), it can be hard to know which is the best fit for you. So we tapped some iron-moving experts.
Get ready for some new PRs with these best weight-lifting belts.
1. Best Weight-Lifting Belt for Competition: Cardillo 450R Stock Powerlifting Belt
Cardillo is one of the best weight-lifting belt brands around. It makes durable belts that can withstand whatever weight you throw on the bar. Every Olympian and Arnold winner since 1992 has worn a Cardillo belt, according to the brand.
This brand prides itself on not mass producing its belts, but spending 12 to 14 months of TLC to handcraft each and every one. All belts comes with a lifetime guarantee, so if you ever have issues with yours, the company will fix or replace it.
"I personally like Cardillo belts," says David Otey, CSCS, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and chief content officer of the Pain-Free Performance Specialist Certification. "The craftsmanship and customizable design is an awesome add to anyone's lifting regimen."
Our favorite belt for advanced lifters, the 450R features a 4-inch double-ply construction and comes complete with two prongs. It also meets requirements of all powerlifting federations and strongman contests, according to the brand.
This everything-you-need belt is expensive, but Otey says it's worth it. "When it comes to buying a piece of equipment for protection and bracing, this isn't the time to save a few bucks and skimp for the budget option," he says.
Buy it: Cardillo.com; Price: $189.95
If you're looking for a custom weight-lifting belt, look no further. This leather belt is handmade to order. So allot at least 10 business days for the build.
"I find the thinner leather belts to be durable, hold throughout any lift and they're flexible," says Nick Lobotsky, a personal trainer based in New York. "A couple reason for this preference is that I'm not a powerlifter moving huge weights, I prefer the dynamic, Olympic lifts, and I'm also not a big guy — all these factors can alter your choice of belt."
Buy it: EliteFTS.com; Price: $70
3. Best Weight-Lifting Belt for Beginners: Rogue Echo 10MM Lifting Belt
At 4 inches wide and 10 millimeters thick, this belt is easy to buckle by yourself (unlike many other weight-lifting belts) thanks to its single-prong buckle design.
When you first put it on, the belt might feel a bit stiff against the body, so consider taking some time to break it in, as it will get comfier over time, but it will never lose its shape or durability.
Buy it: Rogue.com; Price: $52.50
5. Best Velcro Weight-Lifting Belt: Harbinger 5” Foam Core Belt
Wrap this animal-product-free nylon belt around your waist and Velcro it tightly into place. It's customizable to any size, and easy to take on and off.
"Every other belt that I have ever tried always pinched my skin and made my heavy lifts literally miserable," says Fischer. "This belt is not only comfortable, but easily foldable and compact enough to fit in any small bag, which also makes it a plus. Lastly, I really love the Velcro versus the belt loops because you can lock it in at any point versus every inch or so like a leather and metal belt. In my opinion, this is the best belt on the market."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $25
5. Best Weight-Lifting Belt With Design Flair: 2Pood Tropical Paradise Straight Weightlifting Belt
Not only does this belt support your core and back and allow you to easily transition between workouts, it also has a great design.
"This belt gives a good amount of back support during lifts, and it's easy to put on and take off," says Lulu Faria, CPT, a certified person trainer at Equinox and Barry's in Miami. "They also have the 'WODClamp' which ensures your belt won't pop off mid-lift, which can be people's fear when it comes to Velcro belts.
Buy it: 2pood.com; Price: $60
6. Best Weight-Lifting Belt for Personalizing: Inzer Advance Designs Forever Lever Belt
Want to put your name, personal logo or quote on your weight-lifting belt? You can with this one.
Bonus: "This brand is amazing with its durability," says Terrazas. This blank canvas of a leather belt also has a zinc-plated steel roller buckle that allows you to personalize the size to fit your body.
Buy it: Inzernet.com; Price: $97
7. Best Weight-Lifting Belt for Women: Rogue 3" Ohio Belt
Rogue is widely known as one of the best weight-lifting belt brands. And this belt, while good for both male and female lifters, is especially great for females with curvy waists or pronounced hips.
That's because its 3-inch design (compared with typical 4-inch belts) secures more comfortable around the waist and is less likely to dig into the hips during squats and deadlifts.
Buy it: Rogue.com; Price: $94
8. Best Flexible Weight-Lifting Belt: MRX Powerlifting Leather Belt
Made out of flexible leather, this belt provides support but also allows you to twist and turn your body if need be, without cutting into your skin.
"This belt is great for anyone from a novice to an advanced lifter," says Otey. "Dual hole belts provide an extra layer of protection for more secure fitting."
The 4-inch wide belt is available in sizes small to 3XL, and can easily be adjusted, via the stainless steel clasp, to fit your particular waist and body.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $37
9. Best Weight-Lifting Belt for CrossFit: Iron Bull Strength Weightlifting Belt
Take a weight off your shoulders when you wear this belt that features an auto-lock fastening system, and will never fail even under the heaviest of pressure and weight.
Put it around your waist, pull it tight, and Velcro it into place. The body of the belt is made out of vegan-friendly neoprene, but it has an outer mesh layer, making it extremely breathable, so you won't have to worry about getting too sweaty and slipping around.
"A Velcro belt is great for a sport like CrossFit," says Faria. "They're easy to put on and take off, but they also still give enough support to help you brace." The contoured shape of this belt will fit comfortably against your body, too.
10. Best Weight-Lifting Belt for Advanced Lifters: ProFitness Genuine Leather Weightlifting Belt
Two belt holes are better than one, according to Otey. With a five-out-of-five rating from almost 4,000 reviews, you know you're getting a quality product that works when you purchase this genuine leather belt.
Adjust the strap on this 4-inch-wide belt, and don't worry about it coming undone or slipping mid-lift. This belt works for beginners as well as seasoned lifters alike.
If you have any issues or don't like the bet, the company allows you to return in within 60 days for a full refund.
11. Best Weight-Lifting Belt for Novice Competitors: RDX 4-Inch IPL & USPA Approved Powerlifting Leather Gym Belt
Made out of Nubuck leather that's known for its unmatched sturdiness, this belt provides essential spinal as well as full body support as you push or pull heavy weight.
"It's a solid quality belt for novice lifters," says Terrazas. Fasten it tightly using the lever clasp, and you won't have to fear about it loosening during deadlifts.
In case you're considering your first competition, it's also approved and recognized by the International Power-lifting League & United States Power-lifting Association.
Buy it: RDXsports.com; Price: $53
12. Best Inexpensive Weight-Lifting Belt: Jayefo Sports Leather Weight-Lifting Leather Belt
The lever clasp on this belt makes it easy to strap on and it allows you to quickly make adjustments if need be. The thicker design makes it a good belt for powerlifting, Lobotsky says. The suede leather material won't irritate or chafe your body, either.
The brand also offers a lifetime warranty, so if anything happens to the belt, or if the clasp breaks, you can have it replaced.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $26 - $40
13. Best Weight-Lifting Belt for Powerlifting: EliteFTS Darkside 13MM Power Belt
Calling all powerlifters: This is the belt for you. A premium leather belt, it's the perfect blend of durable and easy to break in, so even when you tighten it, you won't have it cutting into your skin.
Buy it: EliteFTS.com; Price: $115
14. Best Double-Prong Weight-Lifting Belt: Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Pro Weight-Lifting Belt
One of Amazon's best sellers, this leather belt is one that you will own for years without the fear of ripping, tearing, or breaking it, thanks to the quality materials it's made out of, like buffalo hide leather.
"A belt won't work well if it's too flimsy or if it's not the right size, meaning it's too big or too small," says Faria. So it's great that this belt comes in sizes that range from extra small to extra large, so you'll be able to choose one that fits your body. With this tool, you'll feel confident lifting heavy.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $40
What to Know Before You Buy a Weight-Lifting Belt
When looking for the best weight-lifting belt for your needs, there are some important considerations into account. Follow these steps for your best fit possible.
1. Match Material with Function
Exactly how you plan to use a weight belt makes a big difference in terms of which one is the best for you.
Are you going to be using the belt for powerlifting? In that case, a thick and sturdy leather belt might be a good option. "Since you do not need to worry about bar path in a power lift, you can use the thicker belt without an issue," says Lobotsky.
"If you're lifting weights, a thinner leather belt allows for the bar to get around the belt without obstruction and doesn't affect pulling form," he says.
For CrossFitters or other athletes who want to be able to move freely in their belts, more flexible nylon or neoprene can be great options. They are also ideal for anyone looking for vegan weight-lifting belts.
2. Pay Attention to Fit
Weight-lifting belts are sized for a reason, and it's important to use the company size guides to figure out which size will correctly fit you.
"Most gym members are wearing them significantly too loose — almost like they're wearing them as fashion statements from what I commonly see," says Fischer. "The belt needs to go very tight if you're choosing to use it perform a one rep max, like so tight that you can only handle it for that one rep and then you need to take it off."
3. Check Out Fastening Types
If you're looking to perform a big lift and you need your belt fastened securely without any chance for movement, you'll want a belt with prongs or double prongs.
"You can get these belts much tighter than the Velcro, and you do want that belt pulled tight," says Lobotsky.
If you like to adjust the belt often, taking it on and off a lot throughout your workout (like with CrossFit), Velcro might be the better way to go.
"I would use a Velcro belt for a workout that has a single lift that you're repeating with more weight each time, as I would want to loosen it quickly to take breath before stepping up to the bar again," he says.