Why should I have a Powerlifting belt?
Choosing the best lifting belt can be overwhelming because people don’t often know what specs to look for depending on their workouts.
A powerlifting belt comes in different textures and styles and you need to pick the one that suits you the best. For instance, should you choose a leather belt or Velcro? Do you need single prong, double or lever? What is the ideal thickness you should be buying? Is there any color preference?
Such questions are common among beginners because they don’t have much experience and they need someone to properly guide them. This post contains everything you need to know about the best powerlifting belt so that you can make a smart choice.
Bonus at the end: We have also put together an extract about powerlifting and how it impacts the body in different ways.
Let’s first discuss the features of the best powerlifting belts followed by an insight on powerlifting for beginners.
Features of the best powerlifting belts 2018
Velcro Weightlifting Belt Vs. Leather
You may have heard some good stuff about the Velcro belt, but let me cut a long story short, Velcro belts are not meant for powerlifting. Professional powerlifters just wear them under their regular leather belts to keep the back warm. If you have a stiff back and you need some additional support, you can then use a Velcro belt. However, the best weight belt is usually made out of leather to give you real support.
Single vs. Double Pronged
When you start looking for powerlifting belts especially custom weight lifting belts, many stores will promote a double pronged belt. However, there’s nothing exceptional about the double pronged belt in most cases. A single pronged belt works just fine under all kinds of loads and is worn by professional lifters all the time. The only difference between the two is that a double pronged belt divides the stress uniformly among the entire belt so that it doesn’t fail under heavy loads. However, if you buy a quality single pronged belt, it can help you handle even 1000lbs+. moreover, double-pronged belts are hard to adjust so you can just buy a single pronged belt for ease.
Pronged Belts vs. Lever Belts
As the name suggests, lever belts use a lever system to flip open and lock. The only reason why they are better than pronged belts is because they are easy to wear and take off. You can adjust the tightness as you like easily as compared to a pronged belt with holes.
Inzer belts are quite famous for powerlifting and the inzer belt colors are great. You can get custom powerlifting belts or buckled or even lever belts from inzer. The buckle belts are easy to adjust and quick to put on. Instead of adjusting the holes in a pronged belt, you can use a simple buckle to adjust the belt around your waist. The good part is that these belts are not really expensive and you can get a good quality at a nominal price.
The Lever lifting belt
The lever belts are divided into two major types i.e.
- Lever powerlifting belt
- Lever weight lifting belts
Even though they are comparatively new but most lifters use them because they are easy to use and have a great price range. The inzer belt reviews on the internet also suggest that these belts are easy to fit and give a custom fit to the wearer. The thickness can range from 10mm to 13 mm. If you plan on lifting very heavy weights, then you can consider using a 13mm belt else a 10mm belt would do. If you are not looking for massive support, you might as well skip the 13mm one because it is a bit difficult to wear.
Inzer lifting belt – Tapered or uniform
The inzer lifting belt is made for two types of people, powerlifters, and bodybuilders. The former being the best powerlifting belt with uniform width and the latter marketed for bodybuilding which is tapered. You can decide whether you need an inzer powerlifting belt or inzer weightlifting belt depending upon your workout orientation. Generally, the one with the uniform width is a good choice. However, if you are looking for mobility in bodybuilding instead of the big three then you can go with a tapered belt. Ideally, the uniform belt works well for squats, deadlifts, and bench.
What does a powerlifting belt do?
A powerlifting belt made of high-quality materials and manufactured by the best suppliers provides great support to heavy weight lifters. Most powerlifting belt reviews suggest the inzer or titan belts because they have a rigid wall around and have good material. To be able to lift heavy weights, the belts also have lower torso support which connects the rib cage with the hip. When there is a high pressure on the abdominal cavity, these belts provide more area to push against heavyweights. Basically, this is the purpose of a powerlifting belt as per biomechanics.
These belts also lessen the stress on the lower body by reducing spinal shrink. Highly recommended for the big three these belts aid with spinal erection for heavyweights. When lifters are in a standing position and doing front press the belt helps prevent hypertension in the back and avoid the bending or twisting of the back. Good belts by quality brands provide support and safety for the lifters whether male or female. After each set, loosen your belt and adjust it before doing your next set. A strong torso along with a quality belt can improve the efficiency and capacity of the lifter. Since powerlifters have to lift incredibly heavy weights either on their chest or arm muscles, it is a wise choice to use a professional belt made out of the best materials. As mentioned above, a single pronged belt of 10mm thickness is an ideal choice for most lifters. However, you can consider asking your trainer for the specs depending upon the sets you are lifting and the exercises you are performing. One important thing to note here is that powerlifting belts are NOT weightlifting belts and the function of both is different.
How Powerlifting belts are different from weightlifting belts
Most beginners ask whether they need a powerlifting lever belt or a weightlifting belt, since they are new they don’t know the actual difference between the two. To sort this out, we have explained the difference between both types of the belts and when they should be used.
Tongue: The main difference between the two belts is the tongue. Powerlifting belts have a 100mm belt and a uniform width around whereas the belts made for bodybuilding have a 60mm tongue and a 100mm back brace. The latter also has a lower back pad.
Buckles: The buckles in both the belts are different as well. Even though you can get powerlifting belts in different buckle types, the weightlifting belts have a buckle and single prong. The buckles may be single prong, double prong or lever to quickly adjust and easily fit. Some lifters prefer the double prong while others think lever belts are great because they can be easily adjusted and worn.
Thickness: As discussed earlier, powerlifting belts can range from 10mm to 13mm but they have a uniform width. If you have to compete in IPF, the standard thickness shouldn’t be above 10mm. However, the weightlifting belts are not uniform throughout and have different tongue and back braces.
Flex: Powerlifting belts are stiff and rugged because they do not flex with the body. On the other hand, the weightlifting belts are softer and they flex with the body more.
Now you know the specs of both types of belts you can easily decide which one to buy. The best weight lifting belts are ideal for cases where you need mobility and soft support. However, if you want to focus on squats, deadlifts, and bench exercises, then a single prong powerlifting belt would be the best choice for you. The main objective in powerlifting exercises is to keep the back stiff and the body tight to avoid any injuries or twisting of the back. Since powerlifting belts have no or little flex, they are the right choice for lifting heavy weights and aid maximal power output.
Powerlifting effects on the body
Powerlifting is different than weight lifting because it focuses on building strength and performance instead of the overall appearance. Both are different forms of a sport but some individuals compete in both. Even though there is some overlap between training for both, still the two are separate and have a different impact on the body. You might some powerlifters who look fat and chubby even when they have greater strength as compared to bodybuilders. Here is how powerlifting effects the body as compared to bodybuilding.
The Platform vs. the Stage
Powerlifters basically focus on the big three exercises as a platform including squats, deadlifts, and benches. The bodybuilder solely focuses on how he looks, how well formed are his muscles and how toned is his body. The powerlifter does not care much about how he appears but how much weight he can lift. Powerlifting is more about increasing the overall capacity of the body whereas bodybuilding is about a good aesthetic appearance of the body and the muscle size. If you are a powerlifter, you should try titan lifting belts to support your mission.
The idea is that the person works out unless he is no longer able to perform another rep and reaches muscular failure. This concept is based on improving muscle hypertrophy. However, the same cannot be applied to powerlifting. In powerlifting, you have to train for power, strength, and capacity of the body. You cannot push your body to the point of muscular failure because it sets the routine back and is not ideal for the body. Muscle failure can lead to poor form for the powerlifter which is not a good sign.
Maintain body fat
Excess fat is not good for anyone, let alone athletes. However, bodybuilders have strict diet plans and patterns because they have to stay lean all the time and cannot afford to consume excess fats at all. Powerlifters, on the other hand, don’t have to stay lean as much and can afford to carry some extra fat. Powerlifters are not very strict about their diet and eating patterns because showing off their body is not their primary focus. The core focus is how much weight they can lift and how effectively they do it. You would often spot powerlifters out of shape but you cannot say the same for bodybuilders.
It is usually believed that the bigger the muscle, the stronger it is. However, the muscle growth and size will vary between powerlifters and bodybuilders. Bodybuilders lift moderate weights in longer reps ranging from 6-12. But powerlifters lift heavier weights and lesser repetitions. The average repetitions a powerlifter does is up to 5 with loads that can go up to 85 percent of a one-rep maximum. The heavy training in powerlifting increases myofibrillar hypertrophy. This means that the level of the fluid in the muscle increase. This is the reason you would often see powerlifters who don’t look very muscular but they have a good strength to weight ratio. When you are lifting heavy weights, a titan powerlifting belt can help you do it efficiently.
Less is more in the long run
One thing about powerlifting is that you should increase stress on your muscles gradually. Do not go from three reps to five in just one day or continue varying exercises because that will exert a higher pressure on your joints and the central nervous system. If you want to improve your performance and strength over the long run, then you should work up to 2-3 reps that are 85% of one rep max. Remember that your body can stand stress up to a certain level and you should not cross that suddenly. Train your body in a certain manner and if you aim high, take small steps to achieve it in the long run instead of going super hard on yourself in just one day.
The Pros and Cons of Powerlifting Training
Powerlifting is a great exercise to stay fit, build strength and increase stamina, however, it has some drawbacks as well. Here is how powerlifting is good and bad for people.
1. Great focus on strength
The best part about powerlifting is that it focuses on building strength and increasing the capacity of the body to perform extremely critical physical tasks. Whether you wish to lose those extra pounds or build a strong physique, you can use powerlifting to achieve your fitness goals.
2. The technique and form
Another great thing about powerlifting is that it puts emphasis on good form which in turn leads to a complete range of motion. Most trainers have their own technique that they teach because anyone can copy a program but it is a real athlete who develops his technique through continuous learning and experiment. People can execute programs well when they have an insight to the entire program and its applications.
People who are passionate about powerlifting, train so hard and develop such a pattern that the technique becomes natural for them. They don’t have to worry about it or consistently remind themselves of following it. They learn a technique with experience and it stays with them. Therefore, they can perform better and stay safer.
Unlike other exercises or fitness techniques, the focus in powerlifting is crystal clear. The entire exercise revolves around the big three exercises, squats, bench and deadlift. The focus is always the same and there are no distractions. You just have to perfect these three week after week and month after month. A powerlifter even 5 years ahead of a beginner will have the same goals so there is nothing confusing.
Don’t take risks or get involved in activities that will affect your form or disturb your focus.
Even though we have discussed the good things about powerlifting, the same things can turn out to be bad if not kept in balance.
1. Only concerned about Maximal Strength
Powerlifters spend an entire lifetime training in the 1-5 range and they stick to it.
However, bodybuilders and other fitness trainers would not recommend training in such low rep ranges. This is a clear difference between powerlifting and other forms that its core is maximal strength
2. Lifting as much as possible is not always the best thing
Powerlifters place a huge emphasis on developing a technique and sticking to it, however, the same cannot be used in performance training or keeping the body in shape.
3. Narrow focus
Even though having a clear focus is great, powerlifters are obsessed with the big three exercises. This limits their performance and other exercises do not get the attention or importance that they deserve.
Benefits of Powerlifting
The best thing about powerlifting is that it improves the strength of your back muscles, leg muscles, and upper body. If you have a good powerlifting routine, each muscle in your body will be benefited by it. Each of the three exercises focuses on different body muscles. If you do squats, you will strengthen your leg muscles and hip muscles.
If you are struggling to lose the extra pounds from your body and burn up the calories, then you should definitely try powerlifting. This is an intense form of training that not only helps burn calories but also improves your body structure and metabolism in the long run so that excess fats do not get accumulated fast.
One out of five women in the United States suffers from osteoporosis. But, resistance training is a great way to battle osteoporosis. This type of exercise increases the density of minerals in the bone and reduces the risks of osteoporosis. If you are a female hoping to get serious about powerlifting, make sure you have a good women’s powerlifting belt to enhance your workout.
Final Thoughts about Powerlifting Belts Reviews for 2018
Powerlifting is a great exercise for building strength and improving body performance for both men and women. Try seeking help from a professional trainer to make sure you are reaping the desired results. Remember to keep a distinct line between this form of exercise and do not confuse it with weightlifting or other forms. If you are a beginner to powerlifting, then you should look for top powerlifting belts as per the specs mentioned in the article.