So you have decided to get yourself a Belt for safety or to enhance lifting performance, but your unsure which type of belt to get, here I discuss the differences between a Powerlifting Belt and a Weight Lifting Belt.
Physical Differences Between a Powerlifting Belt and a Weight Lifting Belt
The first difference you will notice is that a Powerlifting Belt is the same width all the way around, is a minimum of 10mm thick, is made from high quality leather and will be secured with either a Single Prong, Double Prong or Lever Buckle. A Weight Lifting belt most commonly found at the gym will be wider at the back and narrow at the front, thickness will be less than 10mm and will be manufactures from light leather or synthetic material, They are usually secured with either a double prong buckle or Velcro. Weight lifting belts are also often padded at the back.
Why a Powerlifting Belt is Better than a Weight Lifting Belt
Unless your doing Olympic lifts.
As I explained in the last article Weight Lifting Belts and How to Use them , when you lift you abdominals are pressed against the front of the belt as part of creating a “Block”, Due to a Powerlifting Belt having a larger, thicker and more supportive area at the front of the belt, the lifter is able to create a better block and stronger lift using a powerlifting belt, especially for the key lifts of Squat and Deadlift.
So why use a weight lifting belt at all? With the Olympic lifts a wide belt at the front will interfere with the lifting technique for the Olympic lifts.
There are only minor differences in buckles and is mostly concerned with personal choice because all of the buckles except velcro are equally secure. A single Prong buckle is easier to secure when the belt is tight but a double prong belt looks good. A lever buckle is the easiest to secure but has the slight drawback of being more time consuming to adjust if you like to have your belt at different levels of tension for different lifts. Velcro is easy to secure the belt but will pop open when enough abdominal pressure is put on the belt when lifting.
Powerlifting Belts for Competition
Different federations also have sightly different rules but in addition to requiring a belt to be from an approved manufacturer, the IPF rules for belts include ….
The main body shall be made of leather, vinyl or other similar non-stretch material in one or more laminations which may be glued and / or stitched together.
It shall not have additional padding, bracing or supports of any material either on the surface or concealed within the laminations of the belt.
The buckle shall be attached at one end of the belt by means of studs and / or stitching.
The belt may have a buckle with one or two prongs or “quick release” type (“quick release” referring to lever.)
Width of belt maximum 10 cm.
Thickness of belt maximum 13 mm along the main length.
TIP. To get the most support from a weight lifting belt for Squat and Deadlift, Place the back of the belt at the front.