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Olympic Weightlifting is a sport that consists of mainly two lifts, the snatch, and clean and jerk. The main purpose of the athletes is to lift the most amount of weight combined on the two lifts, having only three attempts for each one.
The sport is a true test of strength and power, where a lot of physical abilities are pushed to the limits to determine who is the best. The mental game plays also a huge role and the athletes have to be smart about their decisions because if someone fails all the three attempts on a lift, it’s game over.
Lifting belts are very popular, being used by most athletes to reduce the risk of injuries and provide physical support during intense sessions of training and competitions. For this sport, the belts require specific characteristics for the best results possible. To make it easier for you to choose, we will talk about 5 Olympic Weightlifting Belts.
What kind of belt is the best for Olympic Weightlifting?
With this information in mind, it’s easier to figure out how a lifting belt should be like in order to be suitable for Olympic weightlifters.
First of all, in Olympic Weightlifting, it’s not all about pure strength. This sport is a combination of power, stability, explosive strength, mobility, and many other abilities, therefore a belt needs to provide enough value for most of those.
One of the main characteristics to look for is the flexibility of the belt, more exactly how much freedom it provides while still being supportive. The range of motion plays a huge role because both lifts are really complex and require a lot of body movement.
The last thing you want from a belt when it comes to this sport it’s to be extremely stiff and sturdy, which will not allow a proper movement and it will also cause discomfort.
The thickness is a personal preference, but in general, it’s a better idea to go with a thinner version, not the powerlifting type. The 13mm thickness is too much for what this sport needs, but a 10mm one and thinner variations made of nylon are perfect.
When it comes to the material, the battle is between nylon and leather, both with their advantages and disadvantages. In general, a leather belt will provide better support and it will be thicker, while a nylon belt offers more freedom and flexibility.
As a side note, the belts below are also great for sports in which the requirements are pretty similar to Olympic Weightlifting, like CrossFit.
5. Element 26 Self-Locking Nylon Lifting Belt
Element 26, which is mainly focusing on creating practical products, presents this belt as a top choice when it comes to functional training and Olympic Weightlifting because of the way it’s designed and what it offers overall.
Made of premium nylon, the belt was created for this type of training to ensure maximum performance. What differentiates this product from others is the unique fastening system, called the safe-locking system.
The belt has a uniform 4-inch width which allows it to create even intra-abdominal pressure during a lift. There are also other types of belts like tapered or with uneven width, all of them with advantages and disadvantages, therefore it’s hard to tell exactly what model is the best.
Another great aspect of this belt is the fact that it can be used in Olympic Weightlifting and Functional Fitness Competitions because the belt is fully USAW approved.
One thing worth mentioning is that the belt was used to break the deadlift record in the men’s 60-64 age class, which is really impressive. Obviously, it’s absurd to attribute the record to the belt itself, but just the courage of using it in an attempt of breaking a record says a lot.
- 4-inch wide
- self-locking system
- made of premium nylon
- lifetime warranty
- metal buckle
- 4 color choices
- the fastening system makes it more secure
- good-quality materials
- was used to break a deadlift record
- USAW approved
- perfect for functional training
- flexible yet durable
4. Schiek Sports Model 2004
Due to its contour, the sides are not as big as the rest of the belt, therefore it will not dig into your hips if you had this kind of problem in the past with other types of belts.
Due to the nylon material, you will also avoid pinching, while still having all the support you need. The materials make it really lightweight, and overall this is a great belt for functional training. The width of the belt is 4 ¾ inches in the back, but the sides and front are smaller.
The design looks premium, with 8 colors to choose from, from a classic black to a feminine pink.
- 4 ¾-inch wide in the back
- made of nylon
- hip and rib contour
- dual closure system
- 8 available colors
- stainless steel buckle
- lightweight & comfortable
- The level of support it provides is really good
- it has Velcro inside plus a second outer loop
- does not pinch during lifting because of its contour
- suitable for functional training
- the belt’s price is $49.95, which is not the best buy if you are on a low budget
3. Harbinger 4-Inch Nylon Lifting Belt
The belt is also focused on flexibility, being made of nylon, but what makes it stand out is the decent thickness despite the material. The 4-inch wide base layer is covered by another 3-inch wide strap which provides really good support.
A big advantage of Velcro belts when it comes to choosing the size is the low probability to get the wrong one, due to the fact that the belt can be tightened a lot.
On another hand, when you buy a leather belt you have to be more precise about the size, but as long as you follow the product’s chart, you should be good.
- 4-inch wide
- 3-inch wide strap
- made of nylon
- steel roller buckle
- 4 sizes (S, M, L, XL)
- considerably cheaper than other models ($17.99)
- lightweight & flexible
- has a decent thickness for a nylon belt
- easy to put on & take off
- a lot of positive feedback
- good quality for the price
- excellent for Olympic Weightlifting
the strength of the Velcro is not top-level, but still decent
2. Rogue Oly Ohio Lifting Belt
If a Velcro belt is not what you are looking for, then the best alternative for the material is leather. The rogue Oly Ohio belt has almost the same features as the original 10mm belt but it’s optimized for the needs of an Olympic weightlifter.
The biggest difference is the width, which is 4 inches in the back but 2 inches across the sides and front.
By reducing the width, the belt’s overall size is reduced which lowers the probability of unwanted contact with the bar while performing explosive moves like the snatch. Another reason for the decreased width is to provide better flexibility which is really important in functional training and Olympic Weightlifting.
Made in the USA, the belt goes through a complex process of vegetable-tanning which takes weeks, offering the leather a firm, yet flexible feel.
Overall the belt has a premium look with a brown color achieved by the same tanning process, and it will be your training partner for a long time due to the top-quality materials.
- 10+/-1mm thick
- 4-inch wide in the back
- 2-inch wide across the sides and front
- made in the USA, Ohio
- made of vegetable-tanned leather
- single-prong buckle
- reinforced stitching
- optimized for Olympic Weightlifting
- premium materials
- provides much more support compared to a Velcro belt
- firm, yet flexible leather due to the vegetable tanning process
- easy to break-in
- has a buckle guard to prevent clothing from catching on the belt
- the belt is pricey
- can cause some pinching due to the thickness
1. Fire Team Fit 6-inch Nylon Belt
The design of this item stands out with its uneven width for more freedom and with the largest back width from the list of 6 inches. This is a mid-range, lightweight, and flexible belt that you can rely on while lifting, especially on activities that require a lot of explosive movements.
Its design will allow a full range of motion without any discomfort and the good-quality Velcro ensures decent support. If the way it looks is important to you, then this belt has an advantage because it comes in 12 colors, thus there is a big chance that you will like one.
The difference between a nylon and leather belt regarding the way they tighten is the more accuracy you have with a nylon one because the Velcro allows you to adjust the exact tightness you need instead of having predetermined holes as a leather belt has.
- 6-inch wide in the back
- contoured design
- slide stop buckle
- made of nylon
- 12 colors
- lifetime warranty
- allows a good range of motion due to the construction
- optimal for functional training
- perfect for short torso individuals and females
- mid-range price
- decent Velcro strength
- the buckle ensures extra safety
- not that thick
- the contoured design may not be optimal for everyone
Top 5 Olympic Weightlifting Belts - Final Thoughts
Olympic Weightlifting is a great sport that requires a lot of mobility, therefore the tools you use must allow you to maintain this in order to have the best results possible. Using a lifting belt properly will skyrocket your performance, but it’s important to keep in mind what your goals are, in order to make sure that you know exactly what to look for.
The 5 belts presented are great choices for Olympic Weightlifting in general, but they can also be used in any other functional training as long as they bring any value.