Looking for the best weightlifting belts for CrossFit?
Well, buckle up and enjoy the ride through this Athletic Muscle guide, as I'll be taking you through the ins and outs of the weight lifting belts. We'll go over:
- What exactly are weight lifting belts?
- What are the different kinds of weight lifting belts?
- What to look for when buying a weight lifting belt?
- Why you should wear a weight lifting belt?
- And the top 5 weightlifting belts.
Ready to set a new personal best on your next 1 rep-max clean and jerk? Or maybe you're looking to chalk up and deadlift like Sam Dancer in the 2016 CrossFit Games and save your lower back. Let's get into this guide!
Overall #1 Pick
Updated As of 12/8/19
When choosing between heavy-duty leather weight belts and various brands of nylon weight belts, I had to choose the Element 26 Self-Locking weight belt.
It has all the features that you need when looking for a weightlifting belt for CrossFit. It's versatile, just like your workouts. It offers great support for your heavy deadlifts and your Olympic lifts. It has a self-locking feature to keep your belt in place whether you're lifting, jumping, running, climbing or anything your WoD throws at you. This belt will work just as hard as you do.
The belt is also Crossfit competition approved, so you don't have to worry about showing up to your sanctional to discover that you can't use all of your equipment.
Did I mention that it comes with a lifetime guarantee?! This squashes the typical downside with nylon belts with velcro straps, which have been known to come off the belt.
- Top 6 Best Weight Lifting Belts For CrossFit
- What Are CrossFit Weight Lifting Belts?
- Should You Wear Weight Lifting Belts For Crossfit?
- What Are The Different Types of CrossFit Weight Lifting Belts?
- What do you look for when buying the best Weight Lifting Belt For Crossfit?
- Top CrossFit Weightlifting Belts Reviewed
- Final Thoughts On Weight Lifting Belts for CrossFit
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Top 6 Best Weight Lifting Belts For CrossFit
In a rush, check out our top picks for weightlifting belts for CrossFit athletes. Keep reading or more information related to each!
What Are CrossFit Weight Lifting Belts?
CrossFit Weight belts are generally large belts that wrap around the wearer's abdomen to give them additional intra-abdominal pressure and back support while performing heavy single motion powerlifting movements or more dynamic Olympic lifts.
A weight lifting belt made specifically for a CrossFit athlete is generally more flexible, which is why nylon and really any other elastic materials are so popular among brands over more rigid materials like leather.
Should You Wear Weight Lifting Belts For Crossfit?
The short answer is; yes, you should wear a weight lifting belt for Crossfit. Unless you workout out a globo gym where the majority of your workouts consist of using an isometric machine where there is little to no core activation or running on a curved treadmill being "impressed" by the number of TVs on the wall, something a fitness manager once said to me about their gym, then you don't need a weight belt.
Read Also: What are the best knee sleeves for CrossFit?
Here I'll break down some great points on why you should wear a weight lifting belt.
If you're reading this, then I'm sure you know by now how taxing a WoD is on CrossFit athletes, and no matter what, your form will break down and you'll need extra support to get you through.
Studies show that weight belts can greatly increase intra-abdominal pressure during exercise. But what does it mean for you?
This pressure allows your abdominal and lower back, also called your rectus abdominis and erector spinae, muscles to remain engaged properly and keep your spine aligned. It should be stressed that there is no substitute for good form, but when maxing out or pushing yourself to the limit, your form will falter.
This is where the belt comes in. It will help provide additional support for your back by keeping the core muscles engaged throughout the exercise.
What this means for you, is that you are able to do more deadlifts or squats for longer.
Read Also: What are the best Crossfit rowing machines?
It should be stressed that there is no substitute for good form. The belt's job is not to do the lifting for you, but to help you continue to lift with proper form. And when maxing out or pushing yourself to limit your form will falter, and this piece of equipment can prevent back injuries and increase your performance by delaying the fatigue of your core.
Ah yes, performance, the thing every crossfitter is striving to increase. But how can a simple belt help me perform better? It all comes back to that intra abdominal pressure, which from this point we'll call IAP.
Studies show that the use of a weight belt can actually increase the speed at which you can perform an exercise. A group of lifters were tested with a weight belt vs those without a belt. The ones with a belt performed their 8 rep max squat faster than those without a weight belt. Surprisingly, that's not even the most impressive part of this study.
Read Also: What are the best knee wraps for squatting?
The belt wearers actually sped up the speed of their squat toward the end of rep range, from 3.56 to 3.34 seconds! That means as your competition is growing tired and slowing down, you are actually speeding up.
Sure, keeping all the discs in your spine in place is cool, and moving better is nice and all. But what if I told you that a belt can actually make you stronger?
I know we've all been guilty of walking into a gym box and seeing the weights put on the board by your fellow crossfitters from the morning classes and think to yourself "pfft... I can beat that". Well, throw on a weight belt and you just might. Another study showed that an individual's power output was actually increased while performing a max squat vs those that weren't wearing one.
So next time you're tempted to throw on a couple of half-pound plates to one-up your buddy, throw on a weight belt and you just might get the lift.
What Are The Different Types of CrossFit Weight Lifting Belts?
There are essentially two different kinds of weight lifting belts that each have their own pros on cons, depending on the workout:
Leather Weight Belts
Leather weight belts offer the most support during your workouts and our favored for powerlifting movements such as deadlifts or squats. They usually have a double-prong or a metal buckle to help secure the belt into place.
Since they are made from genuine leather they have little to no give and give you the utmost lower back support while performing any movements. This is why powerlifters tend to favor leather weight belts. The aspects of these belts do have some drawbacks.
The rigid design of these belts can restrict your range of motion and breathing ability, which isn't ideal when performing high-intensity or dynamic WoDs. Sizing tends to be an issue with these belts. Since they are buckled into place using premade holes, finding the ideal fit is difficult if you find yourself in between sizes.
Nylon Weight Belts
Nylon-weight lifting belts offer great support and more versatile due to their velcro strap; which many Olympic weightlifters, even strongmen favor. Their versatility allows them to be easily adjusted to the size perfect fit for you. With nylon belts, you can also easily adjust the belt mid-workout allowing you to tighten the belt for a round of heavy deadlifts, loosen it up so you can easily drop down for a round of bar facing burpees.
A downside to these belts is the velcro strap. Depending on how tight it is, it can pop off during a lift if you're bracing really hard. Another con to the nylon belt is that the velcro strap can come off the belt entirely after repeated use.
What do you look for when buying the best Weight Lifting Belt For Crossfit?
The best thing to look for is the comfortability of the belt. Your WoD will be lacking in intensity if you're forced to adjust your belt every couple of reps. You also don't your belt to impede your ability to move properly or efficiently throughout your workout. There is no bigger buzzkill than a no rep when you're already struggling with the lift. Make every rep count!
The versatility of your weight belt is also a very important aspect. A crossfitter has to take many things into consideration when looking for the best belt.
Powerlifting athletes only need to worry about heavy lifting. And in the world of bodybuilding, no one is concerned with how fast they are moving.
Read Also: High bar or low bar squat, which is better?
A CrossFitter has to look for a workout belt that will allow them to several different movements all while being timed.
Another big component is the actual support of the belt. These belts are supposed to give your core additional support while you're performing heavy deadlifts, Olympic lifts, and even overhead movements.
I should add that the sizing of your belt is a bit different than the belt you use to support your pants. The correct way to measure yourself for the best belt for you is to use a tape measure around the waist. The tape measure should wrap around your torso starting at the belly button. This is the same method to be used for men and women.
Top CrossFit Weightlifting Belts Reviewed
The Element 26 Weightlifting belt is the go-to weight belt for any and all of your CrossFit workouts. The belt is built for performance, which is what CrossFit is all about, performance. If you're a CrossFitter you're constantly striving to perform your best, and this belt will help you do that with its premium nylon, metal-locking buckle, and equal pressure distribution.
Bear KompleX Strength Weightlifting Belt
- Comparable to the Element 26
- Larger with for additional back support
- Great reputation
The Bear KompleX company has a great reputation for putting out fantastic equipment for CrossFit athletes, they were even a sponsor for the 2019 CrossFit Games, and their weight lifting belt is no exception. Their belts come a bit wider than the other nylon belts on the list, which allows them to provide more lower back support for heavy weight lifts.
Fire Team Fit's weightlifting belt offers many features as the Element 26 weight belt. It comes from a veteran-owned company that donates $1 for every belt sold to a non-profit to support US Combat Vets. It also loved by many CrossFit gym-goers.
Harbinger has been providing quality equipment for 30+ years, so they had to make the list. It offers an ultra-light foam core to support your core during your heavy lifts. The fabric is comfortable against the skin so you can wear it under your shirt or strip your shirt off a la Mat Fraser style.
I had to put at least one leather belt on the top 5 list. Leather weight belts are not nearly as versatile as their nylon counterparts, but they do have their place. They're not ideal for a metcon workout but if yourself doing the CrossFit total workout, you'll be glad you had this belt in your bag. It's premium leather, double stitching design, and lever belt provide the more support than you could ask ever as for.
Dark Iron Fitness' leather belt also made the list to add a slightly cheaper alternative to the RDX. They have a double-pronged locking ability which will not break like the mechanical lock of the RDX. Again, I wouldn't buy the Dark Iron Fitness belt for your first belt, but if you need to add a belt to your arsenal of gear, then this is a great and cost-effective option.
Final Thoughts On Weight Lifting Belts for CrossFit
For CrossFit weightlifting belts, there are many avenues you can go down, but for this review I found the best weightlifting belt to be the Element 26 Self-Locking weightlifting belt, it certainly earned Amazon's choice.
It has all the versatility of a high-quality nylon belt without sacrificing security during your WoDs. The self-locking feature keeps the belt in place so you can maintain focus on where it needs to be, the workout.
The lifetime warranty puts your mind at ease when considering the durability of a nylon belt. The competition approval is an added perk to those that are looking to compete.
Adding a weight belt to your duffle bag is a great investment. You'll find yourself strapping on your Element 26 belt for all your strength training, Olympic lifting, or metcon workouts.