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If you’re looking to push your squat, clean and jerk, or snatch PR, using a good weightlifting belt might be the way. This weightlifting accessory isn’t a fashion statement (unless you’re into super tight, thick, W-I-D-E leather belts), but it can provide extra back support, help you maintain correct form, and increase intra-abdominal pressure.

We’ve selected the best weightlifting belts for different types of workouts and experience levels. We’ve also got a few tips on picking the right one for your next lifting session.

We consulted the latest research and user feedback to see what matters most when considering the best belt options. Here are the main factors:

  • Fit. A good weightlifting belt should have a good range of adjustment — whether that’s extra holes or a good length of hook and loop — for you to get a snug fit. We looked for belts that came in the most standard sizes and those that offered a wide fit range, from the smallest to the largest.
  • Materials. These belts have to be durable and strong to withstand the pressure created by your abs and the weight lifted. Leather and nylon won out most of the time. Materials also factor into comfort. A stiff, sturdy belt might be great, but not if it hurts too much to get deep into your snatch or squat.
  • Closure strength. A weak closure can pop just when you need to create the most pressure. The belts needed strong closures for the type of lifter they’re meant to fit.
  • Comfort. If the belt hurts, you won’t wear it. Comfort comes down to the materials and the fit. You need both if you’re going to wear the belt as it was intended.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $25
  • $$ = $25–$50
  • $$$ = over $50

Best overall weightlifting belt

Dark Iron Fitness Weightlifting Belt

  • Price: $$
  • Material: leather
  • Sizes: 5 sizes, fitting waists from 23 to 49 inches (in.)
  • Closure: double prong
  • Color options: black with red

The Dark Iron Fitness Weightlifting Belt offers just about everything you need from a high-use belt. It’s made of leather that’s 5 millimeters (mm) thick and has complimentary red stitching.

This model is USAPL-approved, meaning it’s approved for deadlifts or squats up to 600 pounds (lbs.). (For anything over that, you’ll need a 10-mm or thicker belt.) It’s also approved for competition use.

Each of the five sizes comes with plenty of extra holes for adjustment. A snug fit with the double prongs helps maintain intra-abdominal pressure. The 4-in. width provides adequate back support for average-size users.

However, some users report that the black leather seeps/leeches into clothing, so it may discolor clothing or athletic equipment.

Pros

  • sturdy materials but soft enough for quick break-in
  • lots of adjustment holes for the best fit
  • 4-inch width provides excellent support
  • thick buckle roller for easier adjustment

Cons

  • some colors may seep into clothing

Best budget weightlifting belt

RitFit Weightlifting Belt

  • Price: $
  • Material: foam core covered in tricot
  • Sizes: 4 sizes, fitting waists from 22 to 51 in.
  • Closure: hook and loop
  • Color options: black

The RitFit Weightlifting Belt saves a few dollars but still supports your back in lifts under approximately 350 lbs. It has a 6-in. foam core covered in a tricot weave fabric. The belt has a contoured shape to provide wider support through your lower back.

A hook-and-loop closure system allows for quick size adjustments. The 4 sizes cover waists ranging from 22 to 51 in. That’s a wider range than most other belts, and users with larger waists find this model to be a good fit. The RitFit also gets bonus points for washability. Unlike a leather belt, it can be hand washed and hung to dry.

The downside is that the hook-and-loop closure system doesn’t have the durability for lifting more than about 350 lbs. You heavy lifters out there will probably need a lever or buckle closure to keep your belt on.

Pros

  • handwash and air-dry
  • largest size fits bigger waists well
  • 6-inch width works wells for taller users and long torsos
  • curved design for back support

Cons

  • may not provide enough support for lifts of more than 350 lbs.

Best weightlifting belt for beginners

Element 26 Self-Locking Weightlifting Belt

  • Price: $$
  • Material: nylon
  • Sizes: 5 sizes, fitting waists from 23 to 45 in.
  • Closure: hook and loop with self-locking buckle
  • Color options: green, Miami pink, purple, white, midnight blue, black, ranger tan, red

The Element 26 Self-Locking Weightlifting Belt’s hook-and-loop closure with a self-locking buckle helps beginners get a snug fit and won’t come undone. (On the downside, it can be hard to get the belt undone!)

This model also comes in several colors and 4 sizes, fitting waists from 23 to 45 in. It’s made of thick nylon that resists stretching for a continued good fit over time. A standard 4-inch profile along the entire belt provides even all-around support.

The support level of this belt may not be enough for you if you’re a powerlifter — unless you’re sticking to lower weights. But if you’re a beginner, it’s got everything you need.

Pros

  • resists stretching
  • self-locking buckle supports hook-and-loop closure
  • sturdy but lightweight
  • great for support

Cons

  • self-locking mechanism can be difficult to undo

Best weightlifting belt for cross-training

Gymreapers Quick Locking Weightlifting Belt

  • Price: $$
  • Material: nylon
  • Sizes: 6 sizes, fitting waists from 23 to 49 in.
  • Closure: hook and loop with locking buckle
  • Color options: black, gray, green, navy, red, tan

The Gymreapers Quick Locking Weightlifting Belt features thick, sturdy nylon in a uniform 4-inch width. A uniform design works well for a wide variety of lifts, which is the hallmark of cross-training.

Those transitioning from deadlifts to pull-ups can leave the belt on or get it off quickly with the quick-release lock. The hook-and-loop closures offer a secure fit for lifts up to 400 lbs.

It comes in 6 colors and 6 sizes, fitting waists from 23 to 49 in. However, if your waist is pushing the limits of the size recommendations (if you’re inch 34 on a belt meant for a 31- to 34-in. waist), the hooks and loops may not stay in place.

Pros

  • quick-release lock allows for quick transitions
  • excellent support for a variety of lifts
  • uniform 4-in. support

Cons

  • hook-and-loop closure may be inadequate for waists at the high end of the size range
  • not great for lifting heavier weights

Best weightlifting belt for powerlifting

Inzer Advance Designs Forever Lever Belt

  • Price: $$$
  • Material: leather
  • Sizes: 3 sizes, fitting waists from 22 to 58 in.
  • Closure: lever
  • Color options: royal blue, black, multi, navy blue, fuchsia, purple, turquoise

The Inzer Advance Designs Forever Lever Belt works best for the three power liftsbench, squat, and deadlift. Uniform 10-mm-thick leather provides pressure and support through your abs and lower back. Advanced lifters will appreciate the lever lock, which is nearly impossible to undo during the heaviest of lifts (unlike hook-and-loop models). Each of the sizes includes extra adjustment holes to get a comfortable fit.

The Inzer is available in nine sizes, but finding all nine isn’t always easy. In theory, it’s available for waists from 22 to 58 in., but you might not be able to find every size or color. Still, if you’re focusing on power lifts, this belt can potentially increase your max and keep you safe while doing it.

There’s always a downside, and with this one, it’s the price and the fact that the tight, secure design doesn’t work as well for cross-training or Olympic lifts.

Pros

  • 10-mm thickness for ultimate support
  • wide size range
  • lever locks tighter than buckles or hook and loop for heavier lifts
  • stiff with a tight fit

Cons

  • expensive
  • not good for cross-training or Olympic lifts

Best weightlifting belt for Olympic weightlifting

ProFitness Genuine Leather Workout Belt

  • Price: $$$
  • Material: leather
  • Sizes: 4 sizes, fitting waists from 24 to 49 in.
  • Closure: double prong
  • Color options: black/red, black/white

The ProFitness Genuine Leather Workout Belt has the quality for frequent use, and that makes it reliable for clean and jerks and snatches. Top grain leather on the outside and soft suede on the inside provide stability and comfort so users can focus on form.

This belt has reinforced rivets for added durability and two strong prongs that keep the fit secure. ProFitness also has great customer service if you have issues with sizing.

Pros

  • high quality construction and materials
  • suede lining for better comfort
  • reinforced with rivets
  • double-prong design adds strength

Cons

  • sizing can be off

Best weightlifting belt for women

Iron Bull Strength Women Weightlifting Belt

  • Price: $
  • Material: nylon
  • Sizes: 4 sizes, fitting waists from 23 to 46 in.
  • Closure: hook and loop with buckle
  • Color options: black/blue, black/mint, black/pink, black/purple

The Iron Bull Strength Women Weightlifting Belt is specifically designed for women. However, most of the time, men and women can wear the same belts as long as they buy one to fit their waist size. But if you want a model that’s easy to adjust for changing waistlines, the Iron Bull fits the bill.

It has a long 12-in. hook-and-loop adjustment area to get a tight, sturdy fit no matter what time of the month it is. The wide 5-inch width may be too wide for shorter torsos. But the belt is lightweight and comfortable for a wide range of lifts.

Pros

  • 12-inch hook-and-loop area for easier adjustment
  • high quality construction
  • lightweight but sturdy

Cons

  • may be too wide for shorter torsos

Best double-prong weightlifting belt

Iron Bull Strength Powerlifting Belt

  • Price: $$$
  • Material: leather
  • Sizes: 5 sizes, fitting waists from 25 to 50 in.
  • Closure: double prong
  • Color options: green, purple, blue, pink, red, gray, black

The Iron Bull Strength Powerlifting Belt includes heavy-duty double prongs and several holes on each size for a better fit. It’s made of 10-mm-thick leather, which is thick enough to take heavy long-term lifting. There’s enough strength in it for power or Olympic lifts. However, stiff edges may cause some discomfort.

This Iron Bull is made in five sizes and fits a wide range of waist sizes. The buckle and prongs are extremely secure — so secure that the belt can be hard to take off. Cross-trainers might want a belt that’s easier to adjust.

Pros

  • high quality 10-mm-thick leather
  • fits a wide range of waist sizes
  • many adjustment holes with each size

Cons

  • stiff edges can be uncomfortable during some lifts
  • buckle can be difficult to release

Weightlifting beltPriceMaterialSizesClosure type
Dark Iron Fitness Weightlifting Belt$$leather5double prong
RitFit Weightlifting Belt$tricot with foam core5hook and loop
Element 26 Self-Locking Weightlifting Belt$$nylon5hook and loop
Gymreapers Quick Locking Weightlifting Belt$$neoprene6hook and loop
Inzer Advance Designs Forever Lever Belt$$$leather9 (some sizes difficult to find)lever
ProFitness Genuine Leather Workout Belt$$leather4double prong
Iron Bull Strength Women Weightlifting Belt$$nylon4hook and loop
Iron Bull Strength Powerlifting Belt$$$suede leather5double prong

Weightlifting belts can sometimes seem like strictly a preference thing. Here’s the deal, though: They can help you reach a new level in your weightlifting and support the spine while doing it. Once you start lifting your body weight or more, the added support of a belt is a good idea. But that’s not the only time you might want to strap in.

A weightlifting belt helps build intra-abdominal pressure when you’re doing the Valsalva maneuver, a breathing technique used when playing some musical instruments, when blowing up a balloon, or (surprise, surprise) when lifting weights. Most people have performed this maneuver without knowing it while giving the big heave-ho to a particularly difficult bowel movement.

The Valsalva maneuver helps you lift more and is used to increase your max. Even if you aren’t lifting your body weight, you may plateau. A weightlifting belt may help you push through and lift more.

A word of caution: Don’t rely on a belt alone to get you to lift more. And consider consulting a personal trainer or coach who has experience with the specific lifts you’re aiming for. Better technique coupled with a belt may give you the best chance at SAFELY lifting more.

Weightlifting belts also support the lumbar spine. The research surrounding this benefit tends to show that belts support the lower spine rather than protect it from injury, although many of the studies on the topic are older. After all, most review boards aren’t really keen on approving a study in which participants could herniate a disc, so they focus on support rather than injury.

A weightlifting belt can also be helpful if you’re recovering from a minor back injury. However, talk with your doctor before returning to a weightlifting routine, whether you’re using a belt or not. In some circumstances, certain lifts can do more harm than good.

Are there cases where a weightlifting belt isn’t a good idea?

You might want to hold off on using a belt if your lifting form is not yet correct. For example, if you aren’t getting low enough in your squat or snatch, focus on technique first. Good form is always most important when lifting.

Some medical conditions can also mean that a weightlifting belt isn’t the best idea.

The added pressure of a belt causes a temporary spike in blood pressure. If you’ve got high blood pressure, that spike could cause problems. The added intra-abdominal pressure caused by a weightlifting belt can also contribute to the development of a hernia if you’re prone to them.

If you’re concerned about price, you can get a decent weightlifting belt for less than $30. It’s a versatile investment that you can wear at the gym, when moving furniture, or when working in the garden.

Weightlifting belt pros

  • increases intra-abdominal pressure
  • supports lumbar spine
  • adds lumbar support when recovering from injury
  • acts as a physical reminder to maintain good form and intra-abdominal pressure during lifts
  • warms the back muscles, prepping them for lifts

Weightlifting belt cons

  • can get in the way of proper form for some people
  • can increase blood pressure
  • may aggravate or contribute to development of a hernia, thanks to added abdominal pressure
  • may increase reliance on the belt rather than developing proper lifting form

If you’re ready to buckle/strap/lever into a weightlifting belt and lift like the Hulk, here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Waist circumference. Measure around your natural waist. For many people, that’s just above the belly button (not your hips, ladies). Buy a belt where your waist measurement falls in the middle of the size recommendation to make sure you can tighten the belt enough.
  • Material. Leather is the sturdiest and most durable option. However, if you’re not looking to lift more than 300 lbs., a nylon or neoprene belt may be more comfortable.
  • Closure. Hook-and-loop closures are easiest to adjust, but they wear out more quickly than buckles and prongs or levers. If you really want to cinch yourself in, opt for a belt with a lever. They tend to offer less size adjustment, but you can often do heavier lifts because the lever withstands higher pressure than hook-and-loop closures and is more durable than a buckle and prong.
  • Thickness. Belts that are 10 to 13 mm thick offer the best support and durability. However, some people find that these restrict their movement. Opt for a thinner belt if you want to remain more flexible.
  • Width. Four inches is pretty standard, but consider the length of your torso and your hip width. Those with a longer torso may want a 5- or 6-inch belt for added support. Women and those with shorter torsos may want to stick with a standard 4-inch width for a more comfortable fit.
  • Texture. Suede leather has the sturdiness and durability of leather but a softer feel, which can prevent pinching and discomfort at the bottom of your lifts. If leather cuts into your skin, nylon or neoprene are often more comfortable.

Still undecided about going for a weightlifting belt? Here are our answers to some common questions:

Do weightlifting belts really help?

Weightlifting belts really do help when used in conjunction with correct lifting form. You can press into the belt with your abdominals to increase intra-abdominal pressure and lift heavier weights. Belts also add support in your lumbar spine to protect it from added strain and may potentially prevent injury.

At what point should I start wearing a weightlifting belt?

If you’ve plateaued, a belt might be your way to push through. However, small technique corrections could also help you lift more, so make sure your technique is spot-on. You may also want to start wearing a weightlifting belt if you’re lifting your body weight or more. A belt is like an extra layer of support and safety as you lift more weight.

Does a weightlifting belt weaken your core?

There is no conclusive evidence that weightlifting belts weaken your core. Poor technique and form are more likely to cause this than wearing a weightlifting belt.

Make sure to get experienced coaching when learning new lifts. Good technique will protect you from injury and help you reach your full potential by training you to correctly activate your muscles (abs and otherwise) as you lift.

Can I squat heavy without a belt?

Yes, you can squat heavy without a belt. But make sure you’re using good form before maxing out. That means spending plenty of time squatting at lower weights under the close supervision of a trained coach or personal trainer who specializes in weightlifting.

How tight should a weightlifting belt be?

A weightlifting belt should be snug but still allow you to move through your full range of motion. Getting low in your lifts is important for technique and for building muscle strength. If the belt’s tightness prevents you from getting as low as you need to, loosen it a notch or replace it with one that fits better.

Weightlifting belts can help you increase your weightlifting max while supporting your lower back. But you need one that fits well and allows you to maintain correct form during each lift. Make sure to get a belt that fits your waist measurement (not your pants size) so you have enough belt and adjustment range to get a snug fit.

You may want to wear a weightlifting belt if it helps you increase intra-abdominal pressure and lift heavier weights. But you don’t necessarily have to wear one, especially if it gets in the way of good form. If you find that it gets in the way, focus exclusively on technique and form before returning to the belt.