The most important piece of gear in powerlifting, the belt. Having a good belt, and using it in an effective manner can add 5-15% to your squat and deadlift. That is a significant amount. So if you plan on competing in powerlifting, a good belt is a necessity. But which belt is best? Lets start by taking a look at some of the most popular types.
Many consider the lever belt to be the best powerlifting belt available. The lever belt is different from your typical powerlifting belt which uses prongs to open and close. The main benefit over a pronged belt is convenience. With a lever powerlifting belt, you can keep it on for your entire workout. Simply snap the lever shut when you’re ready to start your set, and open it up after your set is complete and it stays on. It is extremely easy to use and can save a lot of time in the long run.
Getting the lever belt to fit tight is also very easy. You just have to snap the lever shut, whereas with a pronged belt you have to pull the end of the belt as hard as you can and then try to get the prong into the hole. It’s so much easier with a lever.
The only con to a lever belt that I can think of is the time it takes to adjust the belt. You have to unscrew two screws and move it to another set of holes and screw them back in. This isn’t a problem for most lifters that keep a consistent body weight. But if you’re trying to share the belt with someone else, it’s going to be a nuisance adjusting the belt after each set. It just wouldn’t be worth it in that case.
But if you keep a consistent body weight most of the time and hate having to put your belt on and take it off after each set, a lever powerlifting belt is for you.
Single Prong Belt
The single prong belt is the second best powerlifting belt, in my opinion. You can easily share it with other lifters, and it’s quite a bit easier to tighten than a two prong belt. There are some people that think that single prong belts aren’t as safe or as good as double prong belts but the truth is that there really is no difference in safety or effectiveness that you will be able to notice, if any at all. So if that’s something that is preventing you from getting a single prong belt, worry no more.
So if you are someone that might share your belt with others, or bulks and cuts a lot, the single prong powerlifting belt is for you.
Double Prong Belt
While this is my least favorite kind of powerlifting belt, it’s not bad at all, just harder to use than others. Is the lever belt and single prong belt more convenient? They sure are, but the double prong belt is just as effective and will get the job done just as well. The major downfall of the double prong belt is trying to get it tight. The tighter you try to tighten the belt, the harder it’s going to be, regardless of whether it’s single or double prong. Having two prongs just doubles the difficulty.
13mm or 10mm?
Belt thickness has been the subject of big debate among powerlifters for many years. The general consensus is that 13mm is better for heavier lifters and 10mm is best for light to average lifters. I’m talking body weight here.
The 13mm belts are thicker so that means breaking them in will take longer and will be more difficult. That isn’t a con in my opinion, it’s just good to know.
Which Brand is Best?
A few companies I can recommend from personal experience and talking with others: Inzer, Titan, Best Belts. You can’t go wrong with any of these companies. They all make top notch powerlifting belts.
Be warned though, it can take several weeks for these companies to ship your belt. I know with Inzer, if you order a color besides black they have to custom make it which is why it takes so long. And Best Belts custom makes all of their belts which is why it takes so long for you to receive it. I am not sure if Titan is the same way, but I would say it’s a safe bet.
Either way, before buying a powerlifting belt it’s important to read reviews about the specific belt you’re looking at.
There likely won’t be any price difference between the different types of belts, and if there is it will be minimal. 13mm belts will likely cost slightly more than 10mm belts. This is simply because they use more leather. A good belt from a company like Inzer will set you back around $100. Anything above this price isn’t going to be any more effective. So if you’re going to spend more than that, it should be for vanity reasons.
It’s important not to be cheap when it comes to your belt. Sure you can find cheap powerlifting belts that are half the price, but the quality is nowhere near the same and you won’t be supporting the powerlifting industry by purchasing from a company like Inzer or Titan. My Inzer lever belt has a lifetime warranty. That means I will never have to buy another belt ever again.
So do yourself a favor and aim for the highest quality belt you can find.