There comes a point in all weightlifter’s lives when their numbers reach a level where they need the support of a belt. In a world full of different options though, which one do you pick?
There are all kinds of materials, shapes, thicknesses and fastenings… and prices.
As a personal trainer and gym owner, I’ve dealt with hundreds of lever belts and have learned which ones are great for what needs, and which ones are a waste of your hard-earned money.
And that’s what I’ll be sharing with you below.
In this article, you’ll find the best belts for squats and deadlifts on the market as well as the benefits of the lever system, when you should consider using it and which belts are great and why.
It’ll leave you with more knowledge of lever belts and advice for making the best choice for your needs. In the article I’ve given you my choices for the best premium, mid range and budget lever belts on the market.
In case you’re short on time, here are my top 3 lever belts…
There’s a clear number one here for me and it’s this 13mm Rogue belt.
If we go back to first principles, we want a lever belt to be well made, stiff, secure and tight. This one ticks all of those boxes and then some.
It’s the best overall and best premium belt on the market, and it’s not even close.
Let’s start with the construction–it’s made from 13mm (half inch) genuine sole leather, making it stiff and supportive
If you’re pulling or pushing the big weights, this support is vital.
There’s a suede liner, which adds a little grip and makes the belt more comfortable. The belt is secured with a patented lock-in lever design made from nickel-plated steel.
Whilst I don’t usually comment on looks, the black lever does look awesome here.
It’s an IPF sanctioned belt, 4 inches wide and puts your safety first. The lever works fantastically, keeping you locked in tightly when lifting.
It does all of its jobs well, looks great and although it’s not cheap, it’s a premium product that you can rely on when you need it most. If you’re serious about your lifting and you want the best protection money can buy, look no further.
Couple of points here – it’s a thick leather belt, so it’ll take a little while to break in relative to EVA or suede. They also run a little large, so check the sizing information before you buy.
Even if you accept these minor points, it’s still a well-loved belt with exceptional reviews (see screenshot below), and without question, if you’re serious about your lifting, it’s the one to go with.
If you have the budget, this is the best lever belt on the market. It’s designed for higher performers, so I wouldn’t pick it for a first belt, but if you’ve got some solid lifting experience under your belt (pun intended), then this is a great choice. You’ll pay top dollar, but in return you’re getting something special.
The American Barbell lever belt is the best value of all three belts here today. For the price point the features are fantastic, hence it occupying the number 2 slot in this review.
It’s available in a range of sizes, has all the features you need in a lever lock belt and comes in at a price point that frankly, I’m amazed at.
It’s a 4 inch high belt, so it gives you ample lumbar support. At 13mm thick it’s stiff and supportive, so you can trust it to support you as your lifting numbers go up.
Whilst the leather isn’t absolute top quality (it’s suede), it’s still very, very good and will last you many years even with heavy use.
The lever locking mechanism is good quality, keeps the belt tight throughout the lifts and gives that unwavering support that you need.
Whilst the materials won’t be the absolute premium grade that you’d find in the Rogue belt, they’re more than up to the job of keeping the lower back of your everyday lifter safe and supported!
If you’re looking for a solid belt and your budgets are a little tight, this is a truly superb option. It’s a bargain price, it’s well made and it will serve you well.
At 13mm it will take a short while to break in, but being suede it won’t be as long as the stiffer leather belts. The black detail of the lever locking mechanism is a cool touch too. The best budget pick by a stretch.
At this price point, I honestly don’t think you’ll find a better lever belt. It competes on two fronts – features and price and it does a good job on both. This belt will last you from a novice to advanced lifter, and it’ll do so without breaking down. A great belt, an even better price point and the perfect solution for those with smaller budgets.
Where the Rogue belt is the Rolls Royce, the Titan belt is a higher end German car. It has all the features of the top level, but at a cheaper price point. Obscure car references aside, let me explain…
The Titan belt is 4 inches wide, so the support is good. The leather is only 10mm though, so it’s not as thick and not as supportive as the 13mm Rogue. It’s laminated leather, not sole leather so isn’t quite as good quality.
The lever lock is in place, but it’s stainless steel rather than nickel-plated. See what I mean? All the features are there – they’re just done a little more cheaply.
The reality is a lot of people won’t even really notice the difference. Alongside that, the 10mm thick leather won’t take as long to break in and the reduced stiffness may suit some people.
If you’re not pulling huge weights, you may even prefer it. Of course the other trade off is that you’re paying around half the price of the Rogue belt, so that’s not to be ignored.
The Titan is a great belt and if you don’t have the budget or the requirement for the Rogue, it’s a perfect mid-range choice. It’s stiff, supportive, locks well and doesn’t cost the earth.
If you want a great quality belt but don’t want to pay the highest prices, this Titan lever belt is an excellent option. It’s very well made, it’ll last you a long time and will help take you from a novice to an advanced lifter. Being 10mm thick it’ll suit all but the very strongest of powerlifters. For the vast majority, it’s a great choice.
First of all, let’s clear up what a lever belt is. You may be searching for something that isn’t suitable for your needs.
A lever belt is a lifting belt that is secured with a metal lever. It provides a rock solid and secure fastening that doesn’t budge, so when you’re sticking up big numbers and want a thick, strong and secure belt that won’t budge, it’s the go-to choice. The lever is a quick-release mechanism that goes on and off easily.
A lever belt is widely accepted as the most secure and supportive type of belt there is in lifting circles. They tend to be paired with a thick (10mm-13mm) leather, but occasionally they’ll be made with EVA. As a rule, unless you’re on a tight budget, go with the leather belt.
Lever belts tend to be most popular with powerlifters because of the level of support, security and stabilization. They’re not usually used in CrossFit or weightlifting because they’re bigger, thicker and stiffer than most weightlifting belts, which can hinder technique and movement in more dynamic exercises.
Some lever belts are ‘personalizable’ by fixing the lever locking system in place with screws, giving you an accurate setting each time without the guesswork.
Prong belts are the more common lifting belt fitting – you’ll see them amongst general population lifters in your local commercial gym. They’re available in different materials and with a wide array of purposes, mostly around providing the lumbar spine with a little support. They have multiple uses and are a more versatile type of belt, so why would you ever pick a lever belt over a prong?
It’s about specialist tools for specialist jobs. Lever belts are specialist powerlifting belts and do a job other belts just can’t do.
Lever belts are more secure. They ‘lock’ around the abdomen, so offer the highest possible level of lower back support. There’s a few clear reasons why you’d pick a lever belt over a prong belt…
It’s not to say prong belts aren’t very good – they’re fantastic, they’re just not specialist equipment. Sometimes you need the right tool for the job.
The best lever belt is the one that suits your needs – if you like something lighter, thinner and more flexible, a 10mm belt will be more suitable than a 13mm belt. If however you want maximum rigidity, the thicker belt is the one to go for.
The same goes for materials – some people like the stiffer support of the leather, others like a more forgiving suede or EVA. It’s a question of needs and preferences. There are ‘overall’ positives, which I’ll discuss in the review.
In this section, I’ll outline the belts I believe represent the top 3 lever belts on the market, with a best overall, best mid range and best budget pick.
A belt is best worn when you’re lifting towards your maximum and you need the extra lumbar support. It is NOT to be worn for your general lifting – if you need a belt to perform your curls, I’d suggest you spend more time working on your core and less time picking belts.
If you’re a powerlifter hitting reps at 90-100% of your one rep max then there’s benefits to wearing the power belt…
Whilst there’s no reason to ever not work on your lifting technique or to try to improve your back and core strength, a good belt gives you a technical and mechanical advantage. It also provides a slight safety net against a potential injury from a weak link or poor lifting technique.
According to the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF), here are the rules around what makes a belt legally sanctioned for powerlifting competition…
In this article I’ve explained the what and why of lever belts – what they are and why you’d want them. I’ve gone into detail about construction, materials and user experience. I hope that you understand exactly what you want and why you want it.
I gave you three lever belt options – all great belts, but from different points of the market (top, mid and budget price ranges). Pick the one that best suits your circumstances and requirements – you won’t go wrong with any of them.
Here’s the list again…