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4 Inch Straight Belt Hurting when DLing

The only belt I have at the moment is a 4 inch straight belt, and it’s absolutely perfect for squats but when deadlifting it hurts me so bad that I actually end up being better deadlifting without a belt at all. The day after deadlifting with the belt I actually feel like my hip bones and the bottom of my rib cage is bruised.

What i was thinking of doing was getting a different belt for deadlifting, however I’m not exactly sure what type of belt to get to eliminate this issue. I’m torn between either getting a tapered belt or getting a straight 3 inch belt. Advice?? which is better to eliminate the issue?? are tapered belts as bad as people say?

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A lot of people have issues finding a good starting position with a belt in general. I reckon you can’t get into the same position you do beltless with a belt. It takes practice, I had the same issue too for a while.
I use a 4in belt during deadlifts and it bruises the hell out of my lower ribs or hips depending on where I wear the belt. Try taking a higher belt position on deadlifts and see how that feels. If you really need a new belt I’d look into deadlift belt. (Soft-ish belt made specifically for comfort in the deadlift)

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You get used to it or try wearing your belt higher. The other thing is you may not be bracing tight enough, so you’re being folded into the belt. If this is the case then you probably want to sort that out.


I’ve tried wearing the belt a bit higher before but it doesnt appear to make a difference. I was under the impression that I was having this issue due to the width of the belt being too much for my torso (not sure if that’s the right word) length.

Seconded on all of this. I hated pulling with a belt at first and actually got up to 500 without one; when I tried to introduce it again later, I moved the belt higher than I ever thought it was supposed to be worn (just under my pecs, basically, fully above my navel) and now it feels quite natural, really.

A lot of people get bruises and ache when they start wearing a belt, you will get used to it. Eventually it won’t hurt as much, but you still have to find the right position and tightness.

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  • Pull the front up higher
  • Push the front down lower
  • Get a thinner belt
  • Gain weight
  • Loose weight
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Definitely brace harder and deal with it if you can. The same thing happened to me. Is the belt new? If so, once it gets broken in it will feel better.

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I don’t have issues with my new belt, but my old belt really cut in. The buckle on the old belt was sharp, and the edges of the belt were sharp corners. Both are 4" belts, just my upgraded belt has filleted (rounded) edges.

I was able to get some benefit out of the old belt, by wearing it very loose, but still I was able to press my abs against it. It was not ideal, but better than going beltless.

Had the same issue with my Inzer belt and recently switched to a Pioneer and absolutely no problems deadlifting with it. I know Inzer puts a thin layer of plastic between the leather and assume this is what leads to it being painful.

Where? I have an Inzer belt and I don’t see any plastic. What makes it painful is that the leather is hard and stiff, it digs into your skin and leaves bruises and abrasions. Even now that I have been using it for several years and it doesn’t bother me at all, it still leaves red marks around my mid section.

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You won’t see the plastic as it’s super thin. Can’t remember where I read the article but it discussed the construction of several powerlifting belts and Inzer was one of several that put such a layer in their belts.

Bottom line is that the Inzer does not conform to the shape of your body and therefore more uncomfortable when deadlifting. The Pioneer is by far the most comfortable belt I’ve worn. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a new belt right now another option is the Spud, Inc. deadlifting belt. It’s not leather but rather a cordura like material.

Tapered belts are so skinny up front, they can easily end up like, under your belly. Good for not getting bent over backwards during overhead lifts. Not great for preventing you from getting pulled forward or rounded over in the deadlift.

My girlfriend is 5’8" ish, she has a 3 inch belt and loves it. Its the “P2 Old School” belt from Elitefts. It’s legit. Elitefts is constantly having sales.

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I don’t see how a thin layer of plastic is going to make any difference when the leather is already as hard as plastic. I have never even touched a pioneer belt, that might be much more comfortable. One thing people seem to overlook is that most belts need to be broken in, when I got mine I spent a fair bit of time rolling it up in both directions (with the lever removed) and that made some difference, but it’s still stiff. Some belts are supposedly pre-broken-in, certainly not Inzer.

I don’t think that any federation will allow the Spud DL belt, it needs to have either a buckle, lever, or quick release.

The main purpose of wearing a belt for powerlifting is that it gives you something to brace your abs against and basically adds artificial thickness (and therefore stability) to your midsection. Tapered belts don’t do that at all, they just prevent hyperextension on overhead lifts - which is why weightlifters use them. Totally useless for PL though.

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Search “how to break in a powerlifting belt”, there are all kinds of videos, articles, and threads on various forums. Breaking it in will make a big difference. You might also have to wear it looser than on squats, you could try that as well, but sometimes you just have to accept that it won’t feel good. I have done some high frequency training in the past and I was wearing a belt 5-6 days a week, the edge of the belt that tucks underneath (if you have a lever belt you will know what I mean) was digging into my skin and I was bleeding. I started putting a rag under there to reduce the friction a bit, it still hurt but sometimes it’s “no pain, no gain”. They don’t call this powerlifting because it’s easy and feels comfortable.

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I like the spud inc DL belt for DL. I use a 4 inch belt for squats. No belt for BP.
Suspenders to hold up my fat jeans

My new belt is Pioneer, and even though it is barely been used, so it is not broken in it is very comfortable. It is the best belt I have worn.

I bought it though EliteFTS. They sell Pioneer belts branded as EliteFTS brand.

The belts from EliteFTS are made by Pioneer. That is why they are so good.

If you get them from EliteFTS they seem to be considerably cheaper too!


Are there any feds that allow it in competition?

Not sure. I’m sure they are fine for most strongman competition.
I’ve used a 6.5 belt in the past also 4 inch, that was also better than my 13mm.
I haven’t seriously competed much since the 1980s, except small local fundraising.
Things were a little different back then.

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