What Size Lifting Belt Should I Get? (Sizing Guide & Chart)

Weight lifting belts are valuable tools you can use to aid your main compound lifts, such as the deadlift, squat, bench press, and many others. When it comes to buying a lifting belt, there are many aspects to consider, but the main one is size.  

If you’re sitting there wondering, “What size lifting belt should I get?” – This article is for you.

By the end of this article, you’ll know what size lifting belt is best for your weight, shape, and height.

Weightlifting belts are often used by powerlifters, bodybuilders, weightlifters, Olympic lifters, and many other gym-goers to help them lift more weight.  

Using a weightlifting belt helps you lift more weight by creating intra-abdominal pressure as your core pushes against the walls of the belt.

The increased core pressure helps stabilize the spine and stiffen the core so the weight you’re lifting doesn’t cause it to give in.  

Most weightlifters find that using a belt is extremely useful when lifting over 85% of your 1RM. 

When it comes to choosing your weightlifting belt, size matters; having the wrong size belt is as bad as not using one.

The last thing you want to do is render your weightlifting belt useless.

how to choose weightlifting belt size

If your weightlifting belt is too small (or tight), you won’t be able to produce the necessary intra-abdominal pressure needed to assist your lifting. And if the belt is too big (or loose), it won’t be tight enough and will move around too much.  

There are several factors to consider when choosing the best size weightlifting belt for you. The main factors are your waist measurement and your body weight.  

Other factors such as your height will matter too, but we shall talk about that in a moment. The main measurements you need to know are your waist and body weight. 

The table below gives you a rough idea of what size belt you should be looking at buying. Try not to guess your measurements; it’s always best to use accurate, up-to-date measurements to purchase the right sized belt.

Belt Size (S-XL) 

Belt Size (S-XL) 

Body Weight (lb) 

S 

24-29 

100-150 

M 

30-33 

150-180 

L 

34-38 

180-220 

XL 

39-43 

220-260 

XXL 

43+ 

260+ 

The weightlifting belt size table above can be used to size both men and women. Just be sure to follow the sizing tips in the next section.

Also Check Out - Best Women's Weightlifting Belts


How To Find The Correct Size Lifting Belt For You 

There are several pointers to finding the correct size lifting belt for you.  

To start, your waist will be one of the most important deciding factors for figuring out what size weightlifting belt is best for you.

You need your weightlifting belt to be in the “Goldilocks” zone; you don’t want it too tight as you won’t be able to breathe into it, but you also don’t want it too loose... you need it just right.

To accurately measure your waist follow these pointers: 

  • When you’re measuring your waistline, it’s not performed as you would measure for a pair of pants; the tape should go just above your navel (belly button) 
  • Don’t breathe in; this will give you an incorrect size.  
  • Breathe normally during the measuring.  
  • Don’t pull the tape too tightly.  
  • Wear your normal gym clothing. The belt is going to be placed over your clothes when you’re in the gym.  

How To Measure Your Waist: 

  1. 1
    Grab a measuring tape or piece of string (check it’s long enough to wrap around your body).  
  2. 2
    Stand in front of a mirror so you can see your entire body.  
  3. 3
    Hold the tape just above your belly button and wrap it around your body. Ensure the tape is level all the way around. 
  4. 4
    Relax your breathing and use a pen to mark the tape.  
  5. 5
    Compare your measurement to the sizing table in this article, and congratulations, you now have your weightlifting belt size. 

Factors Affecting The Size of Lifting Belts 

There are several other factors outside of waist size that will affect the size of the lifting belt you’ll need.  

Belt width

Weightlifting belts are available in several different widths. The most common sizes are 4 inches and 6 inches.

I’ve found the 4-inch belt to be best suited for shorter gym-goers, and the 6-inch belt is best for taller individuals.  

Choosing the wrong width belt can cause it to dig into your body while you're exercising and can interfere with the barbell. CrossFit and Olympic lifters tend to favor a 4-inch belt as it allows them a little more movement.  

Belt material 

Several types of material are used for weightlifting belts, and the most common are leather or nylon.  

The leather belts are what you see most old school bodybuilders using in the 70s and 80s. You know... the type Arnold Schwarzenegger would use.  

Leather belts provide you with more support than other materials and limit maneuverability. Some users won’t find them suitable for CrossFit or similar workouts. 

If you're going to be performing traditional weightlifting movements like the squat, deadlift, and bench press, then leather is probably the best choice for you.  

Nylon belts are more forgiving and allow you to move more. This makes them ideal for Olympic lifters and if you’re performing CrossFit styled workouts which involve explosive movements like power cleans.  

Read More - Powerlifting Vs Weightlifting

Are you cutting or bulking? 

If you’re in the cutting phase of your training, your waist measurements will be much smaller than when you’re bulking. Take this into consideration and maybe order two belts, one for cutting and another for bulking during the "off-season."  

what size lifting belt do i need

Common Lifting Belt Size Questions 

What does a belt do for lifting? 

A lifting belt helps increase the intra-abdominal pressure of your core to help you lift more weight and push harder while helping you maintain the correct spinal position.  

When should I start using a lifting belt? 

Most gym-goers could benefit from using a weightlifting belt, but there are some considerations to make. Firstly, you should always learn how to perform exercises such as deadlifts, squats, and others without a belt.

This will help you learn the correct form with an engaged core without relying on the belt. Most weightlifters use a belt when they’re lifting anything over 85% 1RM. I’ve always found a combination of belted and unbelted work is best, as it helps eliminate weaknesses in your body.  

Do lifting belts prevent injury? 

A common misconception is that weightlifting belts support your lower back. While this may be partially true, it’s not going to help an existing injury. However, using a belt can help you maintain a neutral spine during heavy loads, and this will help you prevent injury.

But, use the belt too often, and you risk detraining your core muscles. Always have a balance and train your core without a belt for the lower weight lifts.  

Should you deadlift with a belt? 

Providing you've selected the right size weightlifting belt, and you're planning on lifting over 85% of your 1RM, there is no reason why you shouldn't try and use a belt for the deadlift. Using a belt will help you maintain a straight spine during the movement.  

But, if you’re training for a competition such as powerlifting, one of the main lifts is the deadlift, and it’s often regulation to perform the exercise without a belt. Always be aware of this; the last thing you want to do is get caught out. 


Conclusion

Weightlifting belts are brilliant accessories to have in your arsenal. They help increase your intra-abdominal pressure, increasing your core’s stability, enabling you to lift more, and keeping your spine in a neutral position 

Yet, finding the right sized weightlifting belt can be a challenge.  

Use the pointers in the article above and determine which is the best weightlifting belt size for you.

Last Updated on June 27, 2022

Paul J