How to Find the Right Weightlifting Belt
If you're new to lifting or just want to level up, a properly fitted weightlifting belt can be an excellent way to both prevent injury and increase the amount that you lift. However, before you buy, it's a good idea to gather some information to help you buy the right type for you.How can a weightlifting belt be helpful?
If you want to be able to safely move more weight, a properly fitted belt helps to increase intra-abdominal pressure. This pressure increase supports and stabilizes the spine, which in turn helps to prevent injuries. For those new to lifting with a belt, it may feel a bit uncomfortable at first - much like a back brace would. Once you learn to brace your abdominal muscles against the belt, though, you may find yourself able to lift more than before.What type of belt is right for you?
Generally speaking, you'll find weightlifting belts made for either powerlifting or Olympic-style weightlifting. Powerlifting belts tend to be stiffer all around, as they're designed primarily for squats and deadlifts. Since Olympic weightlifting involves more dynamic motions like the snatch and clean and jerk, Olympic belts tend to be more flexible.
While this isn't a hard and fast rule, powerlifting belts are usually the same width all around your torso. This belt type can be uncomfortable at first, and it will definitely take some getting used to. Many Olympic belts are wider at the back and more tapered at the front, expanding your range of motion and keeping you comfortable throughout your workout.What materials are available?
Whether you're looking for a brand-new weightlifting belt or hunting for an open box deal, there are plenty of materials to choose from. Here are some that you may find as you shop:
- Leather. Much like a new pair of boots, a leather belt is likely to be a bit uncomfortable at first. With wear and use, it will "break in" and start to conform to your body.
- Suede. Some leather belts have a suede backing, and other belts are made entirely of suede. Suede has the advantages of leather, but its textured material means that it resists slipping.
- Neoprene. This is a softer, more flexible material, and it is often found on belts for Olympic lifting.
- Nylon. Like neoprene, nylon is light and flexible, making it a great option for beginners or those who don't plan to lift too heavy.