Belts are an essential accessory in weightlifting and powerlifting, offering support to lifters during heavy lifts. While choosing the right belt, one of the most common dilemmas is deciding between a 10mm and a 13mm belt. In this blog post, we will dive into the differences between these two belt sizes and help you determine which one is best suited for your lifting needs.
Here is a quick comparison, to save you some time:
|Belt Size||10mm Belt||13mm Belt|
|Flexibility||More flexible and allows for ease of movement during lifts||Less flexible due to increased thickness|
|Comfort||Thinner profile, may feel more comfortable compared to thicker belt||Stiffer and less comfortable at first, but molds to body over time|
|Suitability||Suitable for most lifters, especially those engaged in general weightlifting or starting fitness journey||Favored by experienced lifters handling significant loads or competing in powerlifting events|
|Support||Provides sufficient support without being overly restrictive or uncomfortable||Offers maximum support to core and back during heavy squats or deadlifts|
|Stiffness||Less rigid compared to the 13mm belt||Extra rigidity ensures proper alignment and protection of the spine during lifts|
|Lifting Goals||Sufficient for general weightlifting exercises like bench press or overhead press||More suitable for heavy squats, deadlifts, or powerlifting competitions requiring maximum support|
|Experience Level||Comfortable and easier to adapt to for novice lifters or those new to strength training||Preferred by advanced lifters with built-up core strength and accustomed to heavier loads|
|Body Type||Slimmer profile, suitable for individuals with smaller frames or who find thicker belts uncomfortable||Added thickness provides better support, preferred by those with larger builds or prioritize maximum support|
|Price Comparison||Typically less expensive than 13mm belts||Generally more expensive than 10mm belts|
|Availability||More widely available with a greater variety of choices||Less common options compared to 10mm belts|
Understanding Belt Sizes
Before we delve into the specifics of each belt size, let’s first understand what “10mm” and “13mm” actually refer to. These measurements denote the thickness of the belt, which can have a significant impact on its durability and support.
The 10mm Belt
A 10mm belt is considered the standard size for most lifting belts. It strikes a balance between providing sufficient support without being overly restrictive or uncomfortable. Here are some key points to consider:
Flexibility: The slightly thinner profile of a 10mm belt allows for more flexibility and ease of movement during lifts.
Comfort: Due to its reduced thickness, a 10mm belt may feel more comfortable compared to its thicker counterpart.
Suitability: A 10mm belt is suitable for most lifters, especially those who engage in general weightlifting activities or are starting their fitness journey.
The 13mm Belt
On the other hand, a 13mm belt offers enhanced rigidity and stability during heavy lifts. Here’s what you need to know about this larger-sized belt:
Maximum Support: The increased thickness of a 13mm belt provides maximum support to your core and back during heavy squats or deadlifts.
Stiffness: The extra rigidity offered by a 13mm belt ensures that your spine is properly aligned and protected during lifts.
Advanced Lifters: A 13mm belt is often favored by experienced lifters who regularly handle significant loads or compete in powerlifting events.
Finding the Right Belt for You
Choosing between a 10mm and a 13mm belt ultimately comes down to your individual preferences, lifting goals, and experience level. Here are some factors to consider:
- If you primarily focus on general weightlifting exercises, such as bench press or overhead press, a 10mm belt may be sufficient for your needs.
- However, if you engage in heavy squats, deadlifts, or powerlifting competitions where maximum support is crucial, a 13mm belt might be more suitable.
- Novice lifters or individuals new to strength training may find a 10mm belt more comfortable and easier to adapt to.
- Advanced lifters who have built up their core strength and are accustomed to heavier loads might prefer the increased stability offered by a 13mm belt.
- Individuals with smaller frames or those who find thicker belts uncomfortable may opt for a slimmer profile with the 10mm belt.
- Those with larger builds or who prioritize maximum support may lean towards the added thickness of the 13mm belt.
Belt Regulations in Competitions
If you plan to compete in powerlifting events, it’s crucial to understand the regulations surrounding belt sizes. While rules can vary among federations, most have specific guidelines regarding belt thickness. Commonly, they allow either a 10mm or a 13mm belt. It’s essential to check the regulations of your particular competition before making your decision.
Material and Comfort
The two most common materials used in weightlifting belts are leather and nylon.
Leather belts are the most popular choice due to their durability and ability to conform to your body over time.
Nylon belts, on the other hand, are lightweight and offer more flexibility, making them a good choice for CrossFit and other functional fitness workouts.
A 10mm belt is thinner and more flexible than a 13mm belt, making it more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. However, a 13mm belt is more rigid and provides better support during heavy lifts.
It’s important to find a belt that is comfortable for you to wear, as an uncomfortable belt can be distracting and hinder your performance.
When trying on a belt, make sure it fits snugly around your waist without being too tight or too loose. The belt should also be wide enough to cover your entire core, but not so wide that it restricts your movement.
Size and Fit
Shorter lifters may find that a 10mm belt is a better fit for their body type. The smaller size of the belt allows for better mobility and flexibility during lifts.
On the other hand, taller lifters may prefer the added support of a 13mm belt due to their longer torso.
When determining the correct size for your belt, it is important to measure your torso girth. This measurement will help ensure that the belt fits properly and provides the necessary support. It is recommended to measure your torso girth at the narrowest point between your ribcage and hips.
Belt Thickness and Support
When it comes to lifting belts, one of the key differences between a 10mm and 13mm belt is the thickness. The 13mm belt is 30% thicker than the 10mm belt, which can provide additional stiffness and support during heavy compound movements.
However, this extra thickness can also make the belt less comfortable and more restrictive.
If you’re a serious lifter who regularly performs heavy compound movements, such as squats and deadlifts, a 13mm belt may be the better choice for you.
The added stiffness and support can help you maintain proper form and prevent injury, especially when lifting near your maximum capacity.
However, if you’re just starting out or prefer a more versatile belt, a 10mm belt may be a better option.
It’s important to note that the thickness of a lifting belt is not the only factor that affects its support. The quality of the materials, the design of the belt, and how well it fits your body can all impact its effectiveness.
A high-quality 10mm belt may provide more support than a lower-quality 13mm belt.
When choosing a lifting belt, consider your individual needs and preferences. If you have a history of back injuries or need extra support during heavy lifts, a thicker belt may be necessary. However, if you prioritize comfort and flexibility, a thinner belt may be a better option.
Types of Belts: Lever vs Prong
There are two main types of weightlifting belts: lever belts and prong belts. Both types are designed to provide support and stability during heavy lifts, but they differ in their fastening mechanisms.
Lever belts have a lever mechanism that allows you to quickly and easily tighten the belt to your desired level of tightness. The lever is usually made of metal and is attached to the belt with screws. To tighten the belt, you simply pull the lever, slide the belt to your desired tightness, and then release the lever to lock it in place.
One of the main advantages of lever belts is that they are very easy to use. You can quickly adjust the tightness of the belt between sets without having to take the belt off. Lever belts are also very secure, as the lever mechanism locks the belt in place and prevents it from coming loose during a lift.
Prong belts, on the other hand, use a prong-and-hole system to fasten the belt. The belt has a series of holes punched into it, and a metal prong is inserted into the hole to tighten the belt. Prong belts can have either a single prong or a double prong.
One advantage of prong belts is that they are usually less expensive than lever belts. They are also more adjustable, as you can insert the prong into any of the holes to get the desired level of tightness. However, prong belts can be more difficult to adjust between sets, as you need to remove the prong and reinsert it into a different hole.
Which Type of Belt Should You Choose?
If you value ease of use and security, a lever belt may be the better choice for you. If you prefer adjustability and cost-effectiveness, a prong belt may be the way to go.
Powerlifting and Training Considerations
Choosing the correct belt can greatly impact your performance in powerlifting and training.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind when deciding between a 10mm and 13mm belt:
Powerlifting competitions: If you plan on competing in powerlifting competitions, it’s important to check the rules and regulations regarding belt thickness. Many competitions only allow belts up to 10mm in thickness, so a 13mm belt may not be allowed.
Training goals: Your training goals can also impact your belt choice. If you’re looking for a belt that provides maximum support and stability, a 13mm belt may be the way to go. However, if you’re looking for a more versatile belt that can be used for a variety of exercises, a 10mm belt may be a better option.
Comfort and fit: It’s important to choose a belt that fits properly and feels comfortable during use. A belt that’s too tight or too loose can negatively impact your performance and even cause injury. Make sure to measure your waist and choose a belt that fits snugly but allows for some breathing room.
Price: Price can also be a factor when deciding between a 10mm and 13mm belt. 10mm belts are typically less expensive than 13mm belts, and may be a better option if you’re on a tight budget.
Break-in period: Keep in mind that 13mm belts can have a longer break-in period than 10mm belts. This means that the belt may feel stiff and uncomfortable at first, but will eventually mold to your body and become more comfortable over time.
Belt Versatility and Specific Movements
When it comes to versatility, the 10mm belt is the clear winner. It is more flexible and easier to break in compared to the 13mm belt, making it a great choice for a variety of movements, including powerlifting and compound exercises. If you are looking for a belt that can be used for multiple exercises, the 10mm belt is the way to go.
However, if you are looking for a belt that can provide maximum support for heavy lifting, the 13mm belt is the better option. It is stiffer and provides more support for your lower back. This makes it ideal for heavy squats and deadlifts.
For powerlifting movements, both belts can be used, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Some powerlifters prefer the added support of the 13mm belt, while others prefer the flexibility of the 10mm belt.
For compound movements such as the squat and deadlift, the 13mm belt is ideal due to its added support. However, the 10mm belt can also be used for these movements, especially if you are looking for more flexibility and mobility during your lifts.
When it comes to mobility, the 10mm belt is the more versatile option. Its flexibility allows for more movement during exercises, making it easier to achieve a full range of motion. The 13mm belt, on the other hand, can be restrictive and limit your mobility.
Finally, the shape of the belt can also play a role in its versatility. Both the 10mm and 13mm belts come in different shapes, including tapered and straight. The tapered shape can be more comfortable for some lifters, while the straight shape can provide more support for your lower back.
Price, Brands, and Availability
Generally, 10mm belts are less expensive than 13mm belts. This is because they require less leather and material to produce. Additionally, 10mm belts are more widely available, which means you have more choices to choose from.
Some of the most popular brands for lifting belts include Inzer, Rogue, and SBD.
Inzer Forever Lever Belt is one of the best 10mm lifting belts out there. It is made from high-quality leather and features a lever buckle for easy adjustments.
You can find lifting belts at most fitness stores or online retailers.