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Leather Belt Thickness and The Belt You Should Buy

Mar 13, 2019

The right leather belt thickness is a big factor when choosing a good belt that works for you.

It will give you all the strength and support that you need to make all those lifts and presses the best they can be.


Powerlifting Belts vs Weightlifting Belts

There are two main kinds of belts: powerlifting belts and weightlifting belts.

Generally speaking, powerlifting belts are for people who frequently lift heavy in squats and deadlifts, or powerlifting movements.

Related: The Best Weight Lifting Belt

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Leather Belt Thickness and The Belt You Should Buy - Lifting during crossfitWeightlifting belts are for people who do Olympic lifting–snatches and clean and jerks — CrossFit, and bodybuilding.

Dark Iron Fitness’ best-selling weightlifting belt is adjustable, with a non-slip comfortable fit that won’t ride up or dig into your body.

The most obvious feature that differentiates the two kinds of belts is their width.

The widths of weightlifting and powerlifting belts use very intentional designs.

A powerlifting belt runs approximately 10cm, or 4 inches, wide and is consistent all around.

For powerlifting, you want a greater surface area in the front for your abs to “push against” when you breathe into your stomach.

By doing this you create greater intra-abdominal pressure to protect your spine under such heavy loads.

Now you can squat more weight because your spine is more stable.

On the other hand, if your belt is too wide in the front for weightlifting movements, it might interfere with the exercise.

Leather Belt Thickness and The Belt You Should Buy - Tapered weight lifting beltA weightlifting belt typically has a 4 inch-width for back support, and tapers off in the front.

Some weightlifting belts may also have extra padding in the back.

The belts that are a lot wider in the back than in the front do not have as much surface in the front to press your abs against.


Why Do You Need to Wear a Belt?

A thick, stiff, powerlifting belt may help you reach your PR with your front squat.

But what if you are the type of athlete who combines heavy front squats with 300-meter sprints?

The time and energy you spend taking off your powerlifting belt between exercises may be annoying and it will slow down your workout time.

The other option is to keep your thick belt on while sprinting or doing your cardio, but you may find that uncomfortable.

Related: Best Back Support Belt for Lifting


Leather Belt Thickness — Choosing a 10mm or 13mm Belt

For first-time belt-buyers, trying to decide between 10 and 13 thickness can be intimidating.

The thickest and most durable belts are 13 mm thick.

13 mm is the thickest width allowance in powerlifting federations.

While 13 millimeters is sturdier and offers more support, it can be very uncomfortable and too much for many lifters.

Its primary use is by athletes who plan on moving a huge amount of weight.

If you are debating between the two put on a 13mm belt and see how it feels when you are trying to get into the proper lifting position.

Most lifters, even the really strong ones, typically lift with a 10 or less.

The traditional weight lifting leather belt is less than 10mm thick.


Leather Belt Thickness — The 4 Inch Powerlifting Belt

Leather Belt Thickness and The Belt You Should Buy - Powerlifter wearing beltFor most people, 4″,  or 10 cm is the maximum width that sits comfortably between their ribs and hipbone.

This is also the maximal width allowed for most powerlifting federations.

Women might prefer a belt that is somewhat less wide.

This will depend on whether or not the belt is causing discomfort at the ribs or hipbone areas.


Leather Belt Thickness — Leather Powerlifting Belt or Suede Powerlifting Belt

Leather Belt Thickness and The Belt You Should Buy - Dark Iron Fitness’ Genuine Leather Weight Lifting BeltFor powerlifting, most lifters prefer belts made out of leather.

They tend to have better construction, are more durable, and stiffer.

A suede belt will feel softer, won’t shift around as much, and is probably more comfortable.

A weightlifting belt is made of full grain, top grain or split leather.

Suede is actually split leather.

Full grain and top grain leather are from the top of the animal’s hide.

The fibers in the top layer are closer and therefore more durable.

Using leather is very popular in both Olympic lifting and CrossFit when athletes are focusing strictly on strength.

With a leather belt, you don’t have to worry about the belt “popping off” under heavy loads and pressure.

This can happen with unsecured hook and loop belts.

Unlike a hook and loop belt, leather belts have a buckle that can be pulled as tight as needed without worrying about it becoming undone during mid-lift.

The tighter you pull your belt, the more internal pressure is built, which translates to more stability, which means more weight can be lifted.

Leather belts are perfect for squatting or deadlifting heavy weight.

Related: How to Choose Your First Weightlifting Belt


Dark Iron Fitness’ Genuine Leather Weight Lifting Belt

Our top-quality weightlifting belt made out of rugged cowhide is head and shoulders above the competition.

It has thousands of reviews, more than any other leather belt, and almost a perfect score of 5 stars.

Its 4” height dependably supports your back, abs, and entire core so you can lift more without straining the spine or back.


Leather Belt Thickness — Test Your Belt For Fit and Comfort

You will never know if that belt will work for you if you don’t wear it while doing your favorite lifts and movements.

There are 4-inch wide belts, but you can also find belts that are 3 inches or 2.5 inches wide.

For most people, 4 inches is that sweet-spot width between the rib cage and hip bone.

When you try on a belt, start off by having your belt go around your belly button, not your hips.

You definitely want to avoid having the edge of your belt painfully pinching you while you’re trying to hoist a scary amount of weight, or any part of your belt catching the bar during the movement.

If that’s the case, you might like a belt that has a slight taper in the front.

Related: How To Choose A Weightlifting Belt


Final Thoughts on Leather Belt Thickness

Leather Belt Thickness and The Belt You Should Buy - Dark Iron Fitness Sizing GuideGoing with a belt that matches your style of training is the best and quickest way to narrow down your choices.

For beginners, a belt that’s thinner and less wide will probably be more comfortable and usable in the short-term.

Of course, you want immediate benefits, but you also want to keep your long-term goals in mind.

You probably want to keep getting stronger, right?

A good, high-quality belt, will last forever or until you outgrow it.