| June 6, 2021
Read time: 3 min.
Once you've developed a good understanding of strength and powerlifting basics, as you begin to improve in the sport, it's important you utilize proper equipment. There is a lot of controversy, and rather an opinionated perspective on what the right equipment really is, when the true answer to it, is there is no real right or wrong answer. The viewpoint of the individual is reflected upon how they feel, what may work for some may not work for others.
I am going to highlight my top choices in every category so that it may help you gather some insight on what may be the best choice for you. These categories will be labelled in a fashion that I see the most important, the order in which you may choose to gather your full gym suit, as you will notice, will add up. I have tried to offer high quality recommendations, that can also be easy on your budget. I would highly recommend Inner Strength products, they will have everything you need, or A7 Canada, they have top tier customer service and ship very quick. This article is to outline raw powerlifting, not equipped.
I believe that a weightlifting belt is an extremely important tool, especially for loads 80% and up, be sure to make sure that you truly understand the breathing mechanism in which you must perform to get the most out of your belt. This maneuver is called the “Valsalva Maneuver.” To properly execute this maneuver, in simple terms, you must take a very deep breath as full as you can, then you close and exhale against a closed glottis which is what allows air to go in and out of your windpipe. When performed correctly, the air can not escape your lungs, this increases intra-abdominal pressure. It makes your body more synergistic, and you then become a complete unit, allowing motor units to better fire, increases stability, and is the true reason that your back is being protected, along with everything else. You can not rely on the belt to independently protect your back, this is not its purpose alone. You maintain this maneuver throughout the entire lift until it is complete. This breathing technique should be practiced several times and should become skilled before moving on to the next step of purchasing a belt, and you shouldn't rely on your belt for all of your working sets. Personally, I do all of my warmups without a belt up to about the 80% mark, only thereafter do I put it on. This helps with core strength and stability drastically.
Your more common belts have either a latch, or a prong. I would advise against velcro, this may be used for beginners for its cost effectiveness. Personally, years ago I have had the misfortune of a velcro belt coming undone mid squat. The last thing you want is pressure shift while squatting (speaking from experience, here).
SBD (latch) $285 - $310
To me, the SBD latch belt will always be king, it has a leather exterior and a suede internal cover, very comfortable while performing any compound exercise, keeps the body firm and tight and doesn’t shift around when it is put on correctly. I find one of the biggest benefits to this belt is the amount of simple adjustments you can make. I fluctuate 20lbs between competitive weight, and off season training weight, so this adds a lot of desired versatility.
Inzer (prong or latch) $105 - $152
This is a very good, price efficient vs. quality belt, very versatile, comfortable and also adjustable, although for the latch version it does require a tool to change (dime or quarter). The prong version is efficient and simple.
The quality of this belt is fantastic, generally sold as a 10mm, they have a soft core layout, allowing the walls to be a little bit more flexible. It can favor different sizes of athletes and may be a better choice for this reason, very comfortable, but will take some adjustments of learning how to make this belt “stiffer” so to speak, the double prong is also another useful tool for more security.
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