The Lifting Belt Digs Into Your Ribs – What is the best solution?

We're an affiliate

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Thank you if you use our links, we really appreciate it!

For various reasons, a lifting belt might be uncomfortable to wear, creating unpleasant situations for the fitness enthusiasts, who often choose to completely give up on it for this reason and miss the opportunity to take their workouts to the next level. This problem appears most of the time when the belt is made of leather, it has a decent thickness, and the width is at least four inches.

Fortunately, there are many ways to make this experience better, or completely avoid it. If the lifting belt digs into your ribs or you just want to avoid buying one that might do this, here are the best things to do and keep in mind.

Wear A Thick Sweatshirt

Most of the time, this problem occurs on just a few exercises, like the deadlift and squat. If that is the case, then you can wear a thick sweatshirt when you do these exercises.

By doing this, you have a thick material between the belt and your skin, therefore the discomfort will be reduced a lot or even completely gone. On top of that, lifting heavy with a sweatshirt on looks cool and it could offer you the motivation to hit a new personal record.

Experiment With The Belt Placement

Wearing the belt a little bit lower, just for the exercises that create discomfort or pain, might be a good solution. This depends on the width of the belt because for the most common model, which is 4mm wide, doing this might make the belt dig into the hip bone.

Also, a belt with a smaller width in the abdominal area offers more space to experiment with the placement. There are also products with a downward angle that fits the body better.

Change The Tightness

You might think that reducing the tightness for some of the exercises will reduce the support, but actually it’s not always true. In fact, a lot of athletes switch the tightness between exercises. In general, for the deadlift, you can loosen the belt a bit to allow a full range of motion without any discomfort.

This depends entirely on the type of belt. A prong belt will make this a lot easier for you because you can just use another hole. If you own a lever belt you are in the least favorable case, because you need a screwdriver to adjust it. Unless you want to always have a screwdriver in your gym bag, you might want to find another solution.

The model that allows you to adjust it to an exact tightness is Velcro because you can tighten the strap without worrying about pre-existent holes.

Have Patience - Most Belts Become More Comfortable Over Time

The problem might even be nonexistent. Most of the leather belts, especially the thick models, become much more comfortable over time. If you have just bought one recently, it’s going to get more flexible after a few workout sessions, so give it one more chance.

The time it takes to break-in depends on the thickness and type of leather. There are also models on the market that come pre-broken-in and can be used straight out of the package, most of the time the ones which are not too thick or are made of nylon.

Buy A Velcro Belt

Velcro belts are superior in terms of comfort, therefore buying one can solve the problem instantly. It is true that the support is not as good as the leather version, so you have to consider this aspect as well. It is also easier to carry in the gym bag. This model is really easy to put & take off, and it can be adjusted to the exact desired tightness, instead of choosing a hole as you do with a prong belt. We recommend the Shieck Sports Model 2004, which has a downward angle for a better fit on the body.

Main Characteristics

  • 4 ¾-inch wide in the back
  • made of nylon
  • hip and rib contour
  • dual-closure system
  • 8 available colors
  • stainless steel buckle

Buy A Belt With A Smaller Width In The Front

The easiest fix is to have a belt with a smaller width in the front than in the back. This way, it will not be big enough to dig into the ribs or hips and the support will be decent.

A smaller width in the front makes the belt perfect for exercises that require more mobility, like the bent-over rows and functional training. There are plenty of items in this category, but the RDX 4-inch Padded belt is our recommendation.

Main Characteristics

  • 4-inch wide
  • made of cowhide leather
  • double-prong steel buckle
  • dual stitching
  • contoured design
  • 10 precision-spaced holes
  • dual belt holders

Buy A 3-inch Wide Leather Belt

If none of the possible solutions above doesn’t solve your problem, your best shot is to buy a 3-inch wide leather belt. This way you will be able to maintain the same support of a leather belt, the only difference being the width. Just a difference of an inch in width can have a tremendous impact on how comfortable the belt is, therefore if you had issues with bigger models or you have a short torso, this is probably a wise choice. The best aspect is that the thickness has nothing to do with this, so it’s easy to find models thick enough for heavy training. Also, a belt that has the same width everywhere allows you to create more intra-abdominal pressure. One of the top belts in this category is the Rogue 3-inch Ohio, an IPF approved top-quality product.

Main Characteristics

  • 10+/-1mm thick
  • 3-inch wide
  • double-prong buckle
  • water-resistant genuine leather
  • made in the USA
  • top-quality materials & stitching
  • solid construction

The Lifting Belt Digs Into Your Ribs - Final Words

It isn’t worth missing the positive impact that a lifting belt has on your fitness journey just because it can be uncomfortable to use. There are plenty of things to do, and many other products to choose from, therefore you should not give up on wearing one because of this. In most cases, it might just be a matter of time until the belt loosens a bit and becomes good to wear.