Weightlifting is now a legitimate pastime for regular guys as well as bodybuilders. The long list of science-backed benefits includes higher testosterone, better sleep, more confidence and even better, more frequent sex.
But after lifting for a while, most guys hit a plateau. There’s a limit to how heavy you can safely lift without certain parts of your body failing, such as your abs during a heavy squat set. This is where weightlifting belts come in.
Weightlifting belts support your lower back and abs by increasing internal pressure. This lets you load up on the pounds and put strong muscles to the test – such as your shoulders, legs and back – without hurting yourself. Some of the best lifts, such as deadlifts, barbell rows and squats, get better with a belt. Even the bench press – everyone’s favorite lift – can be made safer with a belt that prevents over-arching of the back.
If you’re ready to upgrade your weightlifting sessions, check out the weightlifting belts below. We’ve rounded up 7 of the best that you can buy on Amazon, and sorted them out by weightlifting discipline, price and level of expertise.
1. Dark Iron Fitness Leather Weightlifting Belt
This leather belt from Dark Iron Fitness is our top pick. A slightly less rigid, comfortable fit makes it perfect for the recreational, bodybuilding-style workouts that most guys do regularly. It’s well-priced at $40 (some belts can get up to $100), but the real kicker is a lifetime warranty where Dark Iron will send you a new belt if your’s ever fails. And with over 4,200 reviews and 4.8 stars on Amazon, it’s by far the best-rated too.
2. Harbinger Nylon Weightlifting Belt
If you’re going to entrust your midsection to a budget belt, go for this nylon belt from Harbinger. It has a versatile 4” thickness that works for bodybuilding, and a customizable velcro closure that makes it great for crossfit training. Although it comes with an incredible $15 price tag, reviewers say it’s actually very well-made. This versatility and low price makes it a great buy if you’re not quite sure whether you want a weightlifting belt yet.
3. Valeo Contoured Weightlifting Belt
BEST LUMBAR SUPPORT
Targeting your lumbar (the lower back) with a contoured belt like this one from Valeo doesn’t actually give your abs and back muscles a break. In fact, it does the opposite by engaging them more but provides support that makes it safe. This translates to a better workout, and with this $17 Valeo belt, it doesn’t have to cost much either. Use it to improve your overall form or increase repetitions.
4. ProFitness Leather Workout Belt
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
If this is your first time buying a weightlifting belt, we suggest this one from ProFitness. It has a simple 4”, all-leather construction that’s great for recreational lifting. At $24-$29 (depending on your size) it’s relatively inexpensive, so it’s not a big deal if you don’t end up using a belt that often. Plus, ProFitness offers a 60-day money-back guarantee if you realize that a belt isn’t for you.
5. Fire Team Fit Weightlifting Belt
BEST FOR CROSSFIT
Weightlifting belts were originally intended for classic lifting, but crossfitters are now adopting the piece as well. Extra back and ab support is still a safety and performance upgrade for crossfit, but you’ll need the proper belt. This Fire Team Fit belt is our recommendation because it has a lightweight nylon build and a velcro closure that can be perfectly adjusted for different movements throughout your workout.
6. Flexz Fitness Weightlifting Belt
BEST FOR POWERLIFTING
Traditional powerlifting (single-rep squat, bench press and deadlift) isn’t as popular among recreational lifters, but it’s a great endeavor if you’ve been lifting for a while. If you decide to give the sport a shot, a great belt is essential for safety. Most powerlifters opt for a lever buckle belt like this one from Flexz Fitness because they comply with competition regulations, offer serious support, and can be quickly removed for rest between bouts.
7. Inzer 10mm Lever Belt
If you’re a seasoned lifter or you just want the best-of-the-best, go for this Inzer lever belt. It’s made of a single piece of 10mm leather (most belts have sections that are glued or stitched together), making it incredibly strong. This also improves how the belt ages, as it morphs to the shape of your body over time. It’s more expensive at $100, but you certainly get what you pay for.