Best weightlifting belt 2022 to crush your next deadlift and squat PB

The best weightlifting belts are ideal for powerlifters, strongmen and gym-goers alike

Best weightlifting belt: pictured here, the back of a bodybuilder wearing a Gymreapers lifting belt
(Image credit: Gymreapers)

Who needs the best weightlifting belts? Anyone who wants to crush their next workout without risking back injuries. As great as they are, heavy compound exercises such as deadlifts and weighted squats put your lower back under a lot of stress, and the best lifting belts can help reduce some of this stress to enable you to lift heavier. 

Lifting belts are probably not the first workout gear you will get, but if you want to build mass in the gym by lifting heavy, you'll need one asap. And when we say heavy, we mean heavy: belts can provide support during the most strenuous deadlift and squat sessions.

If you prefer to work out at home, check out T3's best home gym equipment guides: we have a guide on the best dumbbells (the single most essential home gym buy), best weight benches (for working on the pecs like you mean it), best kettlebells (functional training tool at its best) and best pull-up bars (build back muscles like a pro).

You might also need to supplement your weight process with protein, especially if you're skinny, so have a look at our best protein powder and best weight gainer guide. We can also help you learn the secrets about how to gain weight if you're skinny; essential read for people wanting to put on weight.

Leather vs velcro weightlifting belts: which one should you get? Is one type better than the other? What even is a double prong? Let's find the best weightlifting belt for your needs. Even more weightlifting belt-related questions are answered here: Weightlifting belt – what does it do, plus when and how should you wear it?

Best weightlifting belts to buy right now

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How to choose the right weight lifting belt?

There are a few things you need to consider before buying a weight lifting belt.

Firstly, material: the most popular versions are made out of either leather or neoprene. Leather belts tend to be more rigid as well as being sturdy, offering ample amount of lumbar support for even heavier lifts. On the other hand, neoprene belts are more flexible and lighter, fit in your bag better and mould to your body shape more.

Weight lifting belts also come in either 4-inch or 6-inch sizes. This doesn't mean the length of the belt but the width of the middle area of the belt where it supports your back. The 6-inch variety provides more lumbar support whilst the 4-inch version is less restricting.

Speaking of sizes: although weight lifting belts use the same sizing names as other items of clothing (small-medium-large and so on), they aren't the same size as said clothes. So, if you buy medium t-shirts, a medium weight lifting belt might be too small for you. Always check the sizing guides before you buy one to avoid disappointment and the hassle of returning and replacing your belt with the retailer.

There are also different fastening methods you can choose from. Some weight lifting belts use quick-release buckles that can be fastened and unfastened with one hand and other belts have heavy-duty double-pronged buckles.

The neoprene ones most usually use a quick-release fastener whilst the leather belts use pronged buckles. In theory, the double-pronged leather bands are the strongest, but saying this, weight lifting belts don't have to hold actual weights, they 'only' have to support your back and abdomen when you lift (or squat). So, having a tensile strength that can hold a small truck might not be all that useful. For added peace of mind, though, you can always get a really strong belt.

Should you use a belt when lifting?

Whether you should use a lifting belt depends on a variety of factors but generally speaking, you can get away with not using one – not even for deadlifts or squats – for a long time as long as you perform these exercises with the correct form. That said, you should never compromise on form, even when you wear a lifting belt. They can give you some support but won't be able to undo the damage you can do by not activating your core before heavy lifts.

As an example, and this is definitely not a rule of thumb, just a personal anecdote, I can do four sets of 12 deadlifts using 1.5 times my body weight without using a belt. The amount you can lift without a belt can vary from person to person, and the most important thing you can do is to listen to your body: once you feel a strain on your lower back, start wearing a belt. Especially if you do deadlifts/squats often (e.g. you're a powerlifter).

Matt Kollat
Fitness Editor

Matt is T3's Fitness Editor and covers everything from smart fitness tech to running and workout shoes, home gym equipment, exercise how-tos, nutrition, cycling, and more. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar (opens in new tab) and Fit&Well (opens in new tab), and he collaborated with other fitness content creators such as Garage Gym Reviews (opens in new tab).