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Before we can talk about what to look for in a lifting belt, it’s important to know the purpose of it, because many people have misconceptions about this topic.
When you decide that it’s time to buy a lifting belt, there are several aspects to take into consideration, because you can find different types of lifting belts on the internet, with different sizes, prices, and materials.
As a beginner, it could be a difficult choice to make, therefore after riding this article you will be able to differentiate a good lifting belt to one that you should stay away from.
What does a lifting belt do?
The main purpose of a lifting belt is not just to support your back. When you perform a compound movement, you often heard the advice of engaging your core.
This is true, but nobody tells you how. If you just flex your abdominal muscles like you are on the beach and 5 girls are about to pass by you, it’s wrong. It’s not the most optimal way to engage your core.
You are supposed to fill your stomach with air and then brace your core. This will allow you to be a lot more stable and stronger overall. The way I think about it is by comparing the body to a soda can, shaken really hard.
What is really going on there? Well, the air from inside is ‘pushing out’, while the ‘walls’ are holding it, creating such a hard surface that is almost impossible to bend. This is what happens in your body if you master this technique.
By wearing a belt you basically help the abdominal muscles and lower back to do their job better. A lifting belt will also prevent the hyperextension of the lower back during a lift and allows you to create more intra-abdominal pressure.
You can find a full tutorial on how to wear a belt in this article.
This is probably one the main aspect to take into consideration because it will affect how your belt feels, how flexible it can be, and how much support it provides. The two main materials often used are leather and nylon. Obviously, the first one is the most popular and I think that for a lot of people is the best option, but let’s talk about the differences between these two so you can choose whatever fits you more.
The fastening system
For the leather belts, there are 3 options: single-prong, double-prong, and lever. The buckle and the lever are most of the times made out of solid metal, and they can be introduced in the holes of the belt, even though for the lever belts this process could be a little different because you need to adjust a few things.
When it comes to nylon belts, the buckle is also made of metal, but the strap that tightens the belt is made out of nylon. This type of belt is also known as Velcro.
The support level
The points definitely go to leather. Regardless of the thickness, the support a nylon belt provides is substantially lower compared to one made of leather.
Single-Prong vs Double-Prong vs Lever
If you choose to go with a leather lifting belt, as I mentioned earlier, you have these three options. Well, which one is the best?
Very easy to adjust and if you choose a good-quality product, it offers enough safety. It’s really easy to share this type of belt with someone, because it doesn’t require any additional adjustments.
In my opinion, there is no much difference between this and the first option, but if it makes you feel safer you can go with it. A downside would be that a double-prong belt is a little harder to put on and take off, which can be annoying at some point.
This option will allow you to put on and take off the belt really easily, and it also provides great support and safety. If this is your choice, I recommend that you buy a good-quality belt from a well-know brand, because for cheaper ones the lever might break during a lift.
This type of belt has to be adjusted using a screwdriver, therefore if you want to share it with someone or you want to adjust the tightness during the workout, this could be an inconvenience.
After the belt it’s adjusted properly, it’s really easy to use. It’s actually very satisfying to unlatch it by just pulling the lever.
Another cool thing about a lever belt is that you can leave it on yourself after you’ve done your set, because the lever allows you to relieve the pressure but the belt will still stay where it is, without creating any discomfort. When you are ready to do, you can just latch it and you are ready to go.