For many years, powerlifting was seen mainly as a man’s sport. Although weightlifting has been considered an Olympic sport since the late 19th century, it wasn’t until the 21st century that women were finally allowed to enter all weight classes in competitive powerlifting.
Times are changing, though, and these days, more and more women are embracing and excelling at this strength-based sport. Athletes like the incredible Jessica Buettner and Kelly Reece are a testament to this.
However, even the strongest powerlifters could use a little support. One of the most essential pieces of powerlifting apparel for both men and women is a powerlifting belt.
Using a powerlifting belt is crucial when it comes to protecting your spine during heavy lifts. A belt designed specifically for powerlifting will help you to engage your core muscles, keep your spine in alignment, reduce stress on the lower back, and prevent you from overextending your spine as you lift. In doing so, the belt may also help to improve your technique, build strength, and lift more weight.
Unfortunately, many of the powerlifting belts available on the market today are designed with the male physique in mind. As a result, they can feel uncomfortable or even ineffective for female powerlifters.
Luckily, there are still plenty of high-quality women’s and unisex powerlifting belts out there. We’ve put together a list of our top 10 powerlifting belts for women, and we’re going to review them all for you today!
In a hurry? Power through the selection process with our top pick!
- Heavy-duty leather
- 10 mm thickness
- 4-inch width
- Fully adjustable
- Soft edges and lining
- Durable, ergonomic lever buckle
- Buckle replacement included
OUR TOP PICK
Measuring in at 4 inches wide and 10 mm thick, Hawk Sports’ Lever Powerlifting Belt is guaranteed to provide ergonomic, heavy-duty support as you lift.
The Hawk Sports belt is made of genuine leather and reinforced with heavy-duty stitching, which adds to the durability of the belt and lends a little detail to an otherwise very understated design.
The lever buckle closure is one of the most significant selling points of this powerlifting belt, partly because it’s so easy to use and partly because of how durable it is.
The lever is made of steel so that it won’t snap under pressure. It’s also resistant to wear and tear, such as scratching, so your powerlifting belt will look good as new for years to come. However, should anything happen to your belt buckle, Hawk Sports has included a free replacement with the purchase!
Because of the simple flip-shut mechanism of the lever, this belt is easy to slip on and off, adjust, and fasten in just a few seconds. With 12 holes for adjustment, you’ll have no trouble getting this belt to the perfect size for adequate support.
Additionally, the comfort of the Hawk Sports powerlifting belt is basically second to none. The 4-inch belt thickness provides enough waist coverage to promote full core engagement. Meanwhile, the thick suede lining and rounded edges ensure the belt won’t dig in uncomfortably, as many men’s powerlifting belts do.
This belt is unisex so that it can be used by all genders, but it’s an especially good fit for female powerlifters. It’s currently available in size small, which is the most common women’s size in terms of unisex powerlifting gear since sizes can run very large. However, women with larger waists may need a medium or even large size, which currently is not in stock.
- Heavy-duty construction
- Highly adjustable
- Comfortable edges and lining
- Easy-to-use, durable lever buckle
- Includes buckle replacement
- Only currently available in size small
The Element 26 Self-Locking Weight Lifting Belt has been the focus of lots of attention online. The main reason for this is its innovative, competition-approved design. However, we’d also like to foreground this belt as one of the best powerlifting belts on the market for women.
Element 26’s powerlifting belt features an all-nylon construction with the addition of a self-locking metal buckle. This buckle is what makes the Element 26 belt stand out. It uses self-locking technology to ensure that, despite being easy to unclasp via the release roller, it will never come undone unexpectedly, especially while you’re lifting.
While the strap and buckle of the belt are clearly of superior quality, they can be tricky to adjust, especially when the strap is fed all the way through the buckle.
Something else that stands out about this belt is, surprisingly, its overall minimalism. There are no additional inserts, straps, or mesh panels, which the manufacturers claim can be detrimental to lifting safety and performance. Instead, this belt is made up of only the essential components that promote ergonomic and effective powerlifting.
The Element 26 powerlifting belt comes in 5 color options: black, gray, green, red, and purple. Whether your powerlifting personality is subtle or striking, there’s an Element 26 belt to match it.
With an optimal 4-inch width (ideal for most women), this belt is designed to exert the perfect amount of pressure around the waist and back to encourage effective core engagement. The Element 26 belt is so good at ensuring safe and technically correct lifts that it’s been approved for use in competitive powerlifting, including at an Olympic level!
- Self-locking buckle
- Competition approved
- Five colors available
- Sizes Extra Small to Extra Large
- Can be difficult to adjust
We were so impressed with the design, construction, and functionality of the FlexzFitness Leather Power Lifting Belt - and we think female powerlifters everywhere will be, too!
This belt has been constructed according to IFP specifications, meaning it’s ideal for powerlifting in just about every way. Through rigorous testing, the belt has been rated as suitable for deadlifts and squats of over 400 lbs!
The FlexzFitness powerlifting belt is made of real, high-quality leather and put together with targeted stitching around the edges and in line with the buckle for reinforcement.
The belt is 4 inches wide and 10 inches thick, so it’s the optimal size for most female powerlifters and won’t be worn through easily. The stitching also has the benefit of providing classic, simple detailing to the single-color design.
Now it’s time to talk about the closure system because this is where the belt really shone for us. Besides making a shiny statement, the steel lever buckle adds to the durability and ease-of-use of the belt. It snaps open and shut firmly with very little resistance when closing, although it stays firmly clasped once shut.
You can get this belt in most sizes, ranging from Small to XX-Large. The colors available include black, pink, blue, and purple, all with contrasting stitch detailing.
As you might expect, the high-quality materials and construction of the FlexzFitness belt come at the cost of a less affordable price tag than some of the other products we’ll be looking at today.
If you’re on a budget, though, don’t worry - there are plenty more incredible powerlifting belts to come in this article!
- High-quality, durable leather
- Strong steel lever buckle
- Rated for 400 lbs +
- Four colors available
- Sizes Small to XX-Large
- Not very affordable
Iron Bull Strength is a big name in the powerlifting world, and it’s reassuring to see such a trusted and reliable manufacturer catering specifically to the strength training and competitive needs of women in powerlifting.
The Iron Bull Strength Women’s Weight Lifting Belt is made of neoprene. Unlike leather belts (which have their advantages), neoprene belts like this one provide plenty of breathability and feel comfortably lightweight. The neoprene is complemented by foam core tricot lining for extra comfort.
Despite how lightweight it is, this belt has a thick construction of 5 inches. This large thickness is optimal for providing lumbar support, but because of its soft construction, it doesn’t cut into the skin under the ribs as some competitor models do.
Many powerlifters, male and female, tend to disregard softer fabric belts in favor of leather belts because they assume soft belts won’t be as supportive. This might be true in some cases - but not with Iron Bull!
The Iron Bull Strength women’s belt uses a pretty unique closure, adjustment, and compression system. Combining a 12-inch velcro compression strap with a rugged steel buckle, this belt’s construction ensures that individual powerlifters can easily tailor the fit of the belt to their bodies. It also allows the wearer to determine the perfect amount of compression around the spine and core muscles.
The range of sizes for the Iron Bull women’s belt is inclusive of X-Small to Large. Unfortunately, there seems to be an issue with these belts running a little small.
Each individual size definitely feels tighter than expected, although not always to the extent that sizing up will work. Therefore, this belt may feel slightly uncomfortable until it’s broken in.
- Breathable neoprene material
- Wide construction
- Strap and buckle compression system
- Sizes X-Small to Large
- Sizing may not work for everyone
This 4-inch nylon powerlifting belt from Contraband isn’t actually contraband at all - in fact, it’s perfectly legal and approved for use in Olympic lifting!
Besides being approved for competitive use, there are several key features of this belt that make it one of the best choices for women’s powerlifting.
Boasting a thick nylon mesh construction, this belt is not only highly durable due to the strength and thickness of the material.
It’s also very comfortable and breathable. The material lends the belt a medium stiffness, which balances support with flexibility.
The hook-and-loop buckle closure is impressively strong and, following testing, has been estimated to last for 100,000 uses before it wears out.
You’ll definitely get a lot of use out of this belt buckle, and you’ll appreciate it, too, because it’s so easy to adjust and fasten! Just feed the strap through the buckle and pull until the desired compression is achieved.
Although the buckle and strap themselves are extremely durable, it must be said that the quality of the velcro on the strap is quite inconsistent. Most customers don’t experience any issues with it, and many testimonials even express admiration at the velcro’s quality. However, for other customers, the velcro seems to wear out very quickly.
Contraband’s Black Label powerlifting belt comes in 4 classic colors. You can choose from understated black, gray, or white options, or go with the red for a bolder look.
The available size range for the Contraband Black Label belt includes sizes from Small to 3X-Large. While the range could undoubtedly benefit from an X-Small size, this is still a broad and inclusive size range, which we really liked.
- Thick, breathable nylon mesh
- Durable hook-and-loop closure
- Olympic approved
- Four color options
- Sizes Small to 3X-Large
- Inconsistent velcro quality
ProFitness is another popular brand known for manufacturing a wide range of exercise equipment. Amongst its range of products, ProFitness develops and manufactures high-quality yet affordable powerlifting apparel, including this women’s weight lifting belt.
This weight lifting belt has been designed with the contours of the female body in mind to ensure a snug, fully supportive fit. The contoured design fits tightly around the waist and back to compress the areas most in need of muscular engagement and support. Using the adjustable velcro strap, however, this belt can also work as a unisex option.
The tight fit of this 4-inch belt also helps to ensure that it doesn’t slip, minimizing uncomfortable rubbing or digging. The heavy-duty metal buckle can be trusted to keep the belt secure through even the most intense lifting sessions.
Another great bonus to mention is that the ProFitness women’s weight lifting belt is one of the most affordable products on our list, so if you’re looking for a high-quality, budget-friendly powerlifting belt, this could be it!
This belt comes in 4 colors (black, black/pink, black/red, and black/purple), and sizes range from Small to X-Large, so most female powerlifters will be able to find their size. With that being said, the sizing does run a little small, so sizing up may be necessary.
- Contoured design
- Heavy-duty strap and buckle
- Sizes Small to X-Large
- Four color options
- Sizing runs small
We reviewed Iron Bull Strength’s women’s powerlifting belt earlier, but we couldn’t continue this article without also mentioning Iron Bull’s unisex belt, which is another fantastic option for women in powerlifting.
Thanks to the contoured fit and extra width (6 inches), this belt provides complete coverage of the waist and applies targeted pressure to the abdominal muscles and the lumbar area for safe core engagement.
The belt construction is neoprene-based, which makes for a lightweight, yet tough and wear-resistant accessory. A layer of mesh has been stitched in for extra breathability and moisture-wicking.
The roller buckle closure is super ergonomic to use, with minimal effort required to feed and pull the strap through the buckle. Not only can the belt be adjusted effortlessly, but once it’s in place, it won’t move an inch. This is due to the clever auto-lock technology employed by Iron Bull.
You can purchase the Iron Bull Strength belt in a range of color designs, from single-color black, blue, red, gray, and pink to a neutral camouflage option. There’s something for almost everyone in terms of style - and in terms of size, as well, since the belt comes in sizes Small to XX-Large.
We mentioned the 6-inch width earlier in this review as a positive feature of the Iron Bull Strength powerlifting belt - which, in many ways, it is - but the extended width also has its downfalls. One such downfall is that this belt may, unfortunately, be too wide for shorter women. We’d still definitely recommend this belt to female powerlifters with longer torsos, though.
- Contoured fit
- Strong, breathable neoprene and mesh
- Auto-lock technology
- Seven available colors
- Sizes Small to XX-Large
- May be too wide for smaller women
The Dark Iron Fitness Leather Weight Lifting Dip Belt looks impressive and performs even better!
Made of 100% genuine leather, this belt is built to last. The belt can hold over 270 lbs in weight, so there’s little to no risk of it giving out on you while you’re lifting.
The dip belt features thick padding on the inside and at the edges to prevent uncomfortable digging or rubbing in the rib or hip area.
One of our favorite things about this belt is that it’s one-size-fits-all. Thanks to the long adjustment strap, this belt can fit virtually any waist size. Therefore, the Dark Iron Fitness belt can provide the perfect fit for women as well as men.
Something else we appreciate about the Dark Iron Fitness powerlifting belt is its classic yet unique and eyecatching design. The black leather, complemented by red stitching and the Dark Iron Fitness logo, makes for an aesthetic combination that both men and women can rock with confidence.
The adjustable strap and a pair of carabiners are also included with the purchase.
This belt does retail at a higher price than most of the belts featured on our list, but for quality and construction this good, it’s definitely worth it if you can afford it. If not, once again, don’t worry - we’ve already reviewed several affordable, high-quality products in this article, and we’re not done yet!
- 100% genuine leather
- Comfortable padding
- Beautiful design
- Includes adjustable strap and carabiners
- On the expensive side
Jayefo’s Powerlifting Lever Belt was something of a surprise addition to our top 10 women’s powerlifting belts.
Although the company’s most popular products seem to be its boxing apparel and gear, this powerlifting belt is highly functional and of excellent quality. And best of all, its sizing is unisex, so female powerlifters can also enjoy this belt’s performance and safety-enhancing features.
The Jayefo powerlifting belt is made from suede leather, with all the softness of suede and all the durability of genuine leather. It’s 4 inches wide for optimal core and lumbar support and 10 mm thick for an extra padded, firm feel. Moreover, the edges of this belt have been carefully pre-cut to make them smooth and non-abrasive during use.
Several adjustment holes are punched into the Jayefo belt to help ensure compatibility for as many wearers as possible. Once you’ve found your perfect fit, you can clasp the belt shut using the heavy-duty steel lever buckle. Although this buckle is rugged in terms of construction, it feels effortless to use.
The belt is approved according to IPF standards, so it’s safe and legal for use in competition.
This belt’s color range comprises six colors, including black, pink, blue, red, and white. All belts feature contrasting triple stitching. However, we should mention that the dyes or other treatment products used in the making of this belt may leave some stains on clothes, so it’s best to wear dark clothing with this belt.
Where size is concerned, Jayefo caters from sizes Small to X-Large.
- Suede leather construction
- Steel lever buckle
- Smooth edges
- 6-color range
- Sizes Small to X-Large
- May stain clothes
RitFit has entered the powerlifting market with a six-inch weight lifting belt that female powerlifters have been really impressed with.
The 6-inch width and stiff foam core make this belt perfect for powerlifting beginners who need to learn how to engage their core muscles properly. The extra coverage and stiffness of the compression encourage proper form so that you can focus exclusively on nailing your lifts.
A tricot lining and softbound edges are featured on this belt. So, even though the fit is tight and quite extensive in terms of torso coverage, rubbing and digging are kept to a minimum.
This belt fastens using a torque ring and hook-and-loop system with a velcro strap. This closure is easy to get the hang of and can be used to adjust, open, and close the belt quickly with minimal inconvenience or disruption.
The RitFit weight lifting belt is available in sizes Small to X-Large, and most customers are happy with their fit as indicated by the size guide, although the sizes do run a little tight to ensure support and compression.
Unfortunately, unlike that of the rest of the belt, the quality of the stitching is a bit inconsistent. While some customers find that they can benefit from this belt’s construction for years, others find the stitching coming apart after just a few uses. The belt is covered by a full manufacturer’s warranty, though, so you should be able to contact RitFit directly if you notice any issues.
- Ideal for beginners
- Six-inch width for support
- Soft edges and lining
- Sizes Small to X-large
- Inconsistent stitching quality
Best Women Powerlifting Belts Buying Guide
Well, one thing’s for certain - there are a lot of powerlifting belts out there!
Still with us? Awesome - because now it’s time to talk about how to choose the best powerlifting belt for yourself specifically.
Size is one of the main issues that make it difficult for female powerlifters to find a belt that works for them. Because most belts are still designed with the male body’s contours and proportions in mind, women often end up with belts that are too large.
When it comes to powerlifting, an ill-fitting belt can be detrimental to both performance and safety. If your belt is too loose, even just in certain areas, it won’t be able to exert the proper amount of compression against the abdominal muscles.
As a result, engaging the core muscles properly under heavy loads can be more difficult, and the spine may end up bearing most of the weight. Since the lack of compression may also affect spinal alignment, this can be quite dangerous and may result in spinal injury.
The best way to avoid incidents like this is to make sure you’re buying a belt in the correct size, to begin with. Although the sizing systems currently in place on the powerlifting market can make this easier said than done, it’s possible to set yourself up for success through a few simple steps.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is to measure the smallest part of your waist (just above the navel). As you do this, it’s a good idea to engage your core and abdominal muscles as you would while actively lifting.
This will ensure that your measurement is accurate to your lifting form as opposed to your resting posture. On this note, please remember that you should not try to judge your powerlifting belt size by your pants size.
Once you have your measurements on hand, you will need to carefully consult the size guide of any belt you’re considering buying.
Different manufacturers adhere to different sizing standards, so it’s unlikely that a small powerlifting belt from one brand will be exactly the same size as a small from another brand.
Belt width can be a contentious issue in powerlifting. Belts for powerlifting can vary in width by a margin of several inches, which can make all the difference in terms of comfort and functionality. However, it’s impossible to give a truly ‘ideal’ number for powerlifting belt measurements because this will be largely dependent on the wearer’s body.
In addition to all of this confusion, finding a belt of the correct width can be more difficult for women than men. This is because, as we’ve already discussed, powerlifting belts are often still constructed based on men’s measurements.
Frequently (although, of course, not always), women will have shorter torsos than their male counterparts due to the average 12-centimeter (4.7-inch) height difference between men and women. This means that the perfect width for your average male powerlifter is unlikely to be equally as comfortable and effective for most women in the sport.
What we can say as a general guideline is that 4 inches seems to be the sweet spot of belt widths in powerlifting. A 4-inch belt will, more often than not, provide enough abdominal and lumbar coverage to compress and engage the muscles.
You won’t find many powerlifting belts slimmer than four inches because it’s generally agreed that these don’t provide enough supportive coverage. However, you can find powerlifting belts with five and six-inch widths, as demonstrated by our product selection.
Admittedly, the broader belts can be a bit hit-and-miss due to sizing issues. More often than not, they tend to start to encroach onto the rib area and cause discomfort. We’d only recommend opting for a belt wider than five inches if you’re on the taller side.
The most common and preferred material for powerlifting belts is leather. This rugged, load-bearing, wear-resistant material is definitely ideal for providing unyielding support and compression during demanding lifts.
However, a recurring problem with leather belts is that they often feel very stiff, which can push them past the point of being supportive and into uncomfortable territory.
When you add excessive stiffness to the problem of sizing for women’s powerlifting belts, finding a belt that is both supportive and comfortable can be a real challenge.
There is also an ethical perspective from which to consider powerlifting belt materials. Now that the benefits of a plant-based diet are becoming more widely known, many powerlifters are turning to plant proteins to keep their strength up. The choice to eat a plant-based diet may be strictly health-related, but many vegan athletes also make the switch for environmental or ethical reasons.
Incidentally, most vegan powerlifters happen to be women. Examples of mind-blowingly strong vegan powerlifters include Hollie Kempton (who can deadlift three times her body weight), the award-winning Sahyuri Lalime, and 62-year-old Australian champion Glenda Presutti.
The point of us telling you all of this (there is one, we promise) is to demonstrate that the tides are changing when it comes to the powerlifting community’s idea of the perfect belt. Until quite recently, you wouldn’t find that many powerlifters advocating for non-leather belts. However, nowadays, the practices involved in leather manufacture are more frequently questioned, and more and more weight lifters (including professionals) are seeking out equally durable alternatives. As a result, the quality of softer fabric-based powerlifting belts has improved.
Neoprene, once considered a relatively substandard material for powerlifting belts, has surged in popularity. Because it’s a synthetic rubber material, neoprene has an excellent balance of flexibility and stiffness.
It’s also super durable and wear-resistant without being too heavy, which is a common problem with leather belts. Neoprene is also a breathable and moisture-wicking fabric, ideal in a sport like powerlifting, where sweat is expected.
Speaking of moisture-wicking, if you’re a beginner powerlifter who doesn’t regularly lift too much weight yet, a lightweight nylon belt could be perfect for you.
A nylon powerlifting belt will provide superior comfort and ventilation, especially where mesh paneling is involved. It won’t be too stiff or dig in at the edges like leather belts. As long as it’s fastened tightly enough, it should provide enough compression to be supportive outside of really heavy loads.
Because you’ll essentially be relying on your powerlifting belt to help you practice safe and effective lifting, it’s imperative that it doesn’t unexpectedly come undone when you’ve got 150 lbs on your shoulders. You’ll also need your belt closure to be easy to use, so you’re not continually wasting time messing around with your belt buckle instead of lifting.
The two most common types of closures incorporated into powerlifting belt construction are lever buckles and hook-and-loop buckles.
We can’t objectively say that one kind of closure is better than the other because superiority largely depends on quality and ease-of-use, which vary across both types. However, you can get an idea of which kind of buckle might work best for you by familiarizing yourself with both closures’ key features.
Many powerlifters will swear by lever buckles because, when made of steel, their solid, rugged construction makes a belt extra durable. Lever clasps also tend to be easier and quicker to operate than prong or hook-and-loop buckles because they basically just snap down into place once you’ve pulled the adjustment strap through.
Another critical advantage of lever buckles is that they can usually be adjusted more incrementally than other buckle types, making it easier to achieve the snuggest, most comfortable fit for your body.
However, hook-and-loop buckle, strap, and velcro closures also have their advantages. For one thing, in your typical hook and loop system, if either the velcro or the buckle gives way, you’ll still receive some level of support from the other component of the closure system.
If your lever buckle breaks, on the other hand, it will be pretty useless immediately, and the replacement (assuming we’re talking about a high-quality steel buckle) will be more expensive.
Moreover, hook-and-loop style belts tend to be more affordable, to begin with, so beginner powerlifters and those sticking to a budget are likely to appreciate these closure systems.
In our opinion, all of the belts we’ve reviewed for you in today’s article are fantastic products in and of themselves. However, additional features are always appreciated and can even drastically improve your experience of using the product.
Buckles and closures are integral to belt construction, but they’re also the features most likely to develop weaknesses over time. This is because heavy lifting puts a lot of strain on the belt, which pulls at the closure system. Eventually, buckles may break or just pop off altogether (although this shouldn’t be a common occurrence with high-quality products).
A replacement belt buckle, therefore, is a highly desirable addition to a new powerlifting belt. This additional feature ensures that you can throw your new belt straight in at the deep end with heavy weights, knowing you have a replacement buckle on hand just in case.
A carabiner is another accessory you might not have thought of as complementary to your powerlifting belt, but it definitely can be! You can use a carabiner to attach chains to a collar on your barbell for extra resistance training, or just use one to hang your belt from for storage convenience!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a belt for powerlifting?
There’s no official regulation in any powerlifting scenario that mandates the use of a belt, in competition or otherwise. However, a belt is a very wise investment for anyone trying to increase the amount of weight they lift.
If you’re adding heavier plates to your barbell, it’s a good idea to strap on your belt for extra support and core encouragement while your body gets accustomed to the extra weight. A belt can also be useful for long training sessions when your core muscles begin to get tired.
However, it’s not advisable to use a belt all the time because you want your core to engage automatically on its own rather than depending entirely on the belt.
Are powerlifting belts bad for you?
No, powerlifting belts in and of themselves are not bad for your health or physical fitness. But like most other accessories that rely on compression, they can become more harmful than helpful under certain circumstances.
As we mentioned above, the first common issue is that wearing a powerlifting belt too often can decrease your normal muscle function due to dependence. This might actually cause your physical strength to suffer because you’re not actively using your abdominal muscles as much.
The other main risk is related to blood pressure. As well as putting pressure on your muscles, a powerlifting belt compresses your blood vessels. For short periods of time, this shouldn’t have any harmful effects.
But if done regularly and for a long time, your blood pressure may become too high. In severe cases, heart problems and strokes may occur, and injuries like hernias may be triggered or worsened.