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Powerlifting belts are great to have in your gym bag if your routine includes heavy compound movements, but in order to get to the point where you can use the belt at its full potential and without any discomfort, you have a small challenge in front of you. We are obviously talking about breaking in the belt, which basically means the process of making it more comfortable to wear.
Leather, nylon, and sometimes neoprene are the main materials of which lifting belts are made of, but the process we are talking about only applies to leather products. Nylon and neoprene belts do not require to be broken in, which could be an advantage if you are looking for a comfortable belt, but you have to be aware that the support is reduced compared to leather.
Now that we know what “breaking in the belt” means, and what materials require this, it’s time to talk about how to speed up this process and have as fast as possible a belt that does not create discomfort while lifting.
1. Roll It And Leave It In The Gym Bag
2. Heat It
The heat is very convenient in this case. You can use any source of heat, but the easiest way is to use a hairdryer. After a few minutes of working on it, start to bend and roll the belt using your hands.
3. Use Some Olive Oil
Olive oil is another way to accelerate the process of breaking in your belt, and at the same time, it’s great for taking care of the leather. By greasing your belt with olive oil regularly (once every few months), you can expand its lifetime and make it look better. That’s how you do it.
Pour some olive oil in a recipient. Take a cotton piece of clothing that you don’t use anymore and dip it in the olive oil. Cover all the leather surface of the belt with it. Bend the belt using your hands to make sure the oil gets everywhere. After that, let it dry for a while. In the end, you can wipe the remaining oil with the dry part of the piece of clothing.
4. Wear It As Often As Possible
As you can see, many little tricks can be applied in order to make a powerlifting belt softer, but in the end, the most effective way is to just wear it with every occasion. It may not be what you want to hear, but by wearing it, the belt is going to conform to your body shape and be more comfortable to use. On top of that, the sweat from your shirt also plays a role in the process.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Use Your Hands
This could be seen as the unofficial way of wearing it because you are basically trying to recreate the process of having the belt on you by bending it with your hands. You can also use the trick described at the beginning, which is to roll the belt in both directions.
However, don’t get carried away by this process of bending the belt as hard as you can, because you can damage the leather. As long as you don’t exaggerate and the quality of the belt is decent, you should be fine.
How To Break In A Lifting Belt - Conclusion
Lifting heavy is a passion of many people, but besides the basic steps that should be followed at the beginning of your journey, a lifting belt has to be taken into consideration at some point, because the benefits of using one can help you achieve your goals much faster.
It’s not a secret that powerlifting belts are built to be stiff and thick, but this could be an inconvenience when you first try out the belt because it can feel like you wear a piece of metal. The process of breaking in a belt is something every powerlifter went through, but there are a few tricks that can make this experience better so you can finally enjoy your new toy.