Powerlifting Belt vs Weightlifting Belt: Which One Is Best for You?

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Written By Samarjit Sinha

Working out for 10 years | Has a home gym | CPD (UK) Certificate holder in Fitness

Powerlifting Belt vs Weightlifting Belt: Which One Is Best for You?

Wondering about a powerlifting belt vs a weightlifting belt? Well, fret no more, my fellow fitness enthusiasts, as I’m here to shed some light on this perplexing dilemma.

When it comes to lifting heavy weights in a home gym, having the right equipment can make all the difference in your performance and safety.

Safety first!

Powerlifting Belt Vs Weightlifting Belt

So, my fellow iron warriors, the choice between a powerlifting belt and a weightlifting belt depends on your lifting aspirations.

The answer lies within your lifting style and goals.

Let’s explore the details!

Main Differences Between Powerlifting vs. Weightlifting Belts

USI Tricolor flag powerlifting belt

[Top 10 weightlifting belts]

1. Material: Rigid vs. Flexible

For powerlifters, who lift heavier weights and perform less dynamic movements, a rigid belt is needed for maximum bracing ability.

For weightlifters, who perform more dynamic movements like clean and snatch etc and hold the load overhead, a flexible belt is preferred for comfort and flexibility.

The lifting style and load determine whether a rigid or flexible material is best suited for the lifter’s needs.

Powerlifting Belt vs Weightlifting Belt: Which One Is Best for You? 1

2. Design: Straight vs. Tapered

Powerlifting belts are straight-cut only, while weightlifting belts come in both straight-cut and tapered designs.

Straight-cut belts offer good stability but can get in the way during deep squats or dynamic movements.

Still heavy squatters, deadlifts often will use only straight belts.

Tapered belts, on the other hand, provide added flexibility for movements that require a high degree of mobility.

Like you would do with a clean and press.

Powerlifting belts are always made with stiff leather with suede interior, while weightlifting belts are made of softer leather with suede, nylon, neoprene, or a combination of all three.

You will need powerlifting belts for strength exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.

And weightlifting belts are ideal for dynamic lifts including Olympic movements and CrossFit workouts.

Overall, the decision between a straight-cut or tapered belt will depend on if you do heavy-weight bench presses or do clean and presses.

Powerlifting Belt vs Weightlifting Belt: Which One Is Best for You? 2

3. Buckle Belt vs. Velcro

Powerlifting, belts typically use a buckle that is either a prong or lever mechanism, while weightlifting belts use velcro.

A prong buckle is similar to a normal belt, where you pull the strap through the loop and pick a hole that fits your torso.

A lever buckle uses a clamp system, which is slightly more secure and easy to take on and off.

Crossfitter takes off their level belts in style.

But who are you going to show off in your home gym? huh?

Jokes aside, level buckle belts are more reliable and long-lasting as well.

But they do cost a premium price.

For weightlifting, a velcro belt is recommended to keep the barbell as close to the body as possible during movements.

Also, velcro straps do not make the buckle section right. So you can move freely.

Powerlifting Belt vs Weightlifting Belt: Which One Is Best for You? 3

4. Rules: Powerlifting vs. Weightlifting

The rules and regulations for using lifting belts differ between powerlifting and weightlifting. In this article, we will provide a detailed list of the rules for using powerlifting belts and weightlifting belts, highlighting any differences in regulations.

Rules for using Powerlifting Belts:

  1. Should be constructed from leather, vinyl, or some other non-stretchable material.
  2. Laminations that are stitched or glued are acceptable.
  3. Cannot contain any padding, bracing, or other forms of support.
  4. May come with a single prong, two prongs, or a lever.

Rules for using Weightlifting Belts:

  1. Cannot be wider than 12 cm.

Main differences between Powerlifting Belts and Weightlifting Belts as per the rules goes are:

  1. Powerlifting belts are prohibited to be worn under lifting suits, while weightlifting belts can be worn over the costume.
  2. Powerlifting belts cannot contain any padding, bracing, or other forms of support, while weightlifting belts do not have this restriction.
  3. Powerlifting belts may come with a single prong, two prongs, or a lever, while weightlifting belts do not have any restrictions on the type of buckle.
  4. Weightlifting belts cannot be wider than 12 cm, while there are no restrictions on the width of powerlifting belts.

5. Weightlifting Belts Are Easier to Wear

Weightlifting belts tend to be thinner and made of more flexible materials, making them easier to wear and stay.

And those tapered belts and velcro closure system allows a greater range of motion and can be adjusted more easily to find the right fit.

Powerlifting belts often leave a mark on your body and is very rigid to wear for longer periods of time

6. Powerlifting Belts are Made of Thicker Material

Powerlifting belts aim to provide as much rigidity and support as possible, with thicknesses typically ranging from 10mm to 13mm and made of rigid leather.

These belts provide greater stability for heavy-resistance powerlifting exercises and are designed to resist even the heaviest of lifts.

In contrast, weightlifting belts are usually much thinner and made of gentler materials that allow for more flexibility to perform dynamic movements, with thicknesses ranging from 5mm to 10mm.

If you are not lifting above your body weight then you can do away with weightlifting belts!

powerlifting belt size by KOBO

7. Weightlifting Belts Can Be Wider than Powerlifting Belts

Weightlifting belts tend to be wider than powerlifting belts due to competition rules that allow weightlifting belts to be wider than powerlifting ones.

Weightlifting belts generally are around 4.75 inches wide, whereas powerlifting belts can only be a maximum of 4 inches wide.

The size is predetermined by the rule made by their respective boards.

8. Powerlifting Belts are Expensive

Powerlifting belts are generally more expensive than weightlifting belts due to the use of leather, suede material and expensive fastening systems, such as bigger prongs or a lever.

A heavy-duty metal buckle or lever can make a quality powerlifting belt over 1000 INR.

Whereas weightlifting belts tend to use less material, have smaller buckles, and sometimes come in nylon, making them less expensive. Quality weightlifting belts range from 450 INR.

The difference in cost is justified by the durability of a quality belt, which can last for years.

If you do some workout routine like starting strength and you like those three big exercises then I would suggest you get a powerlifting belt instead of the low-cost weightlifting belt.

Thick leather gym belt by KOBO

9. A wayyyy longer break-in period for Powerlifting Belts

Powerlifting belts tend to have longer break-in periods than weightlifting belts due to their thicker leather material and steel buckle.

The thickness of the leather belt matters a lot.

13mm belts will take even longer to break-in.

Some would even roll their leather belts to make the breaking period shorter.

On the other hand, the weightlifting belts tend to have a quicker break-in as they are made of gentler materials that do not dig into the sides during lifts.

Nylon belts often have 0 minute of break-in period.

10. Weightlifting Belts are Super Flexible

Olympic weightlifting belts offer more flexibility during movement due to their tapered nature and thinner design.

Unlike powerlifting belts, weightlifting belts do not require as much thickness, providing more flexibility for dynamic movements.

The tapered style of weightlifting belts also allows for slimmer ridges on the sides, minimizing interference during lifts. Some weightlifting belts are even made of nylon, offering extreme flexibility while still providing good support.

In conclusion, Olympic weightlifting belts strike a balance between flexibility and rigidity, providing the necessary support and stability for heavier lifts with less risk of injury.

12. PS: Powerlifting Belts Are for Non-Dynamic, Heavy Compound Exercises

Both types of gym belts offer support to the lower back during lifts, they differ in their design and intended use.

You should wear powerlifting belts during non-dynamic, heavy compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, bent-over rows, and overhead presses.

Due to their thickness, they provide more support to the lower back than weightlifting belts and are designed to resist even the heaviest of lifts, sometimes over 250 kgs.

But I highly doubt the number of people who will try to lift 250 kgs alone in a home gym.

Weightlifting belts are flexible and are worn during dynamic lifts that require a lot of technique, such as the snatch, clean, and lunges.

You also can wear them during bench press, deadlifts and squats but they do not provide as rigid support as leather gym belts.

Powerlifting Belt vs Weightlifting Belt: Which One Is Best for You? 4

Are You a Powerlifter or Weightlifter?

If you’re primarily doing heavy compound lifts, a powerlifting belt will provide the necessary support and stability.

If you’re doing Olympic lifts, a weightlifting belt will allow for a greater range of motion and flexibility.

For home use where you are not crossing your bodyweight you will not even need a weightlifting belt.

But for stability and safety you can wear one and in this case you should opt for the low cost weight lifting belt.

Powerlifting belt vs Bodybuilding belt

For bodybuilding purposes, the weightlifting belt may be the ideal choice.

Bodybuilders prefer a more flexible and velcro-style belt, as they tend to wear a belt for all exercises in the gym, not just a few heavy movements.

Weightlifting belts offer a balance between support and flexibility, which is necessary for dynamic exercises like the Olympic lifts.

They also provide added comfort due to the padding at the back.

Do note that to wear the belt only for exercises that require it, in order to develop natural core strength and avoid over-reliance on the belt.

Don’t wear a belt while doing bicep curls, please.

Amazon weight lifting belt

Can you use a weightlifting belt for powerlifting?

If you’ll be mainly doing heavy compound movements like squats and deadlifts, a more rigid powerlifting belt would be more suitable. However, if you’ll be focusing on Olympic lifts, a weightlifting belt would be more appropriate.

If you’re lifting very heavy weights, a powerlifting belt would provide greater stability and support, reducing the risk of injury.

But f you’re lifting lighter weights, a weightlifting belt should work for home gym purposes.

The reduced rigidity of the belt may lead to decreased stability and support, which could increase the risk of injury.

If powerlifting movements are a significant part of your training program, a more rigid powerlifting belt would provide greater support and stability.

If that is not the case then you should save money and go with a weightlifting belt.

What happens if you don’t wear a belt when lifting?

A lifting belt is a supportive tool used by weightlifters to stabilize their torso and maintain proper form while lifting heavy weights.

The purpose of this belt is to prevent injuries and improve performance by increasing abdominal pressure.

By not wearing a belt you may be at risk for various injuries such as spinal compression, hernias, and muscle strains.

But all these happen only when you are lifting over your body weight.

This is because lifting heavy weights without proper support can put excessive pressure on the spine, leading to spinal compression.


About The Skinny Author

Author HomeGymindia.in

Working Out for 10 years | Owns a home gym |Certificate course done on Improving Aerobic Fitness, Diet | CPD (UK) Accredited Certification on Fitness

Yo Friends, this is Samarjit! A skinny guy who is building his tiny home gym.

I have successfully gained 10 kgs in 10 months going to commercial gyms. And I have been working out on and off for about 10+ years now.

I have gone swimming, done martial arts, Olympic lifts and body-building-type workouts!

I canceled the gym subscription as I was more into making my home gym for workouts. And getting ready, then getting my cycle and ride to the commercial gym seemed a drag after 10 hours in the office.

Thus, I needed a home that I could access at any moment!
And I started building my home gym!

I had to research a lot to build my home gym and decided to share effective, budget-friendly home gym machines, and nutrition to buy as per your goals here in homegymindia.in

If you have question then contact me here

Ps: The author is highly experienced with making small workout routines, understanding and guiding people to get gym equipment, and setting up the home gym as per their Fitness goals.

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