T Nation

Attention Powerlifters of T-Nation

Hello, I am a looking for a little advice on buying a belt. I have been training for over 15 years, been a competitive bodybuilder for 8, but now I want to move on and get into power lifting. At a weight of 225, I bench 405, squat 500 and dead 450. All of these I have done training like a bodybuilder and without a belt. I think if I am going to continue to increase the poundage, I am going to have to get a good quality belt. I am looking for advice in all aspects, size (36-38 waist - going back down to 34 though), and thickness? single prong?, double prong?, lever lock?, good places to buy? Any other aspect I forgot to mention. I am finally recovered from my hernia operation and getting back into training, so I have a few weeks before I am pushing up the big weights again. I appreciate any and all help. In Him - Matt

Note - training like a bodybuilder implies for size and cosmetics, not raw power and strength. It by no means implies anything about intensity and difficulty of the workouts. In faith- Matt

Matt, if you go to a site called monstermuscle.com they sell belts, there’s a forum there, too. The strongman guys we train with on Fridays use the belts with the double prong.

Another suggestion would be to go to a powerlifting meet and see what the competitors are using. Also, if you perform a search using USAPL as your search word, all the state USAPL sites will appear. Find yours, contact your local USAPL chairperson, and ask them, too. I hope this helps.

I like the lever belts, you can cinch them much tighter and they are easier to work with than the 10-13mm prong belts. Make sure you find out the maximimum thickness allowed in the federation you chose, before buying the belt.

R. Chef,
What is most common, competing seems a long way away for me right now, but I hate to have a belt all broke in and find out it is too thick. Apparently thicker is better? Also, I read that the lever is hard to adjust and one may need to reset it on a daily basis. Help a renegade colleague out, more info please. In faith- Matt

For the thickness of the belt, determine what federation or organization you are going to lift in and see what their guidelines are, my lever belt is 13mm and I only use it for max singles, other than that I dont wear one. The lever belt will get a much tighter fit than a prong belt especially if youre using a 10mm or 13mm pronged belt. 10-13mm pronged belts can be very difficult to adjust and tighten until they are broken in and the one I had never got that tight, so I had to punch another hole in it, and it still wasn’t as tight as my lever belt. The lever belt is adjusted with a screw. You can move the lever to premeasured holes and then screw it in. If you set it right you can get a tight fit or snug fit without locking it out, then when you lock it out it’s super tight, so you get more play with the lever belt. At first you might have to spend a few minutes figuring out which hole is right for you in the locked and unlocked position. But after that, in my opinion it is much easier to work with than a prong belt. Each lifter has his preference some prefer the prong and others prefer the lever, so I’m not sure which is most common among other lifters. Even if you had to reset it on a daily basis(not that you will) it only takes a few seconds to re-adjust the screw.

Heh, i know this hardly qualifies to be in the same thread as Matt Slaymaker, but I’ve been thinking about getting into competitive Powerlifting as well.

One tiny difference, Matt has been training since i was in Diapers. I’m looking to compete in the teen division at a bodyweight of 242, but have absolutely no idea how to go about getting started.

I’ve found my state’s USAPL site and sent an email to the chair. The state championship is next November and was wondering what, by way of paperwork and eligibility i have to do between now and then? Does this vary from state to state? Thanks.

I would reccomend a lever belt. I have a two prong buckle belt and a lever belt. I am using the lever belt now because it is much easier to get on and off. At my last competiton I had trouble getting my buckle belt on because I usually cinch it tight around my waist by wrapping the free end around the power rack and tugging, of course at the meet there was no power rack so I was screwed.

Single prong will be plenty for you right now. In addition, NEVER wear your belt on an extremely tight notch. It should be at least one notch loose so that you can properly push your abs into the belt to create a larger and more stable base (midsection) to drive from. Wearing it too tight will not allow you to do this and take away power from your core. Read everything that Dave Tate has ever written and you will fully understand.

Lever lock by far can get it much tighter and snugger than prongs go for a lever lock if ur the only one using it…


I respectfully disagree with pushing the abs into the belt. If you correctly activate the tva you end up sucking the abs in a little bit not extending them, which puts you in a much stronger position than extending the abs into the belt or just plain extending the abs.

Matt let me chime in on this. In regards to your belt, you can find really good ones at Monster Muscle.com…They are pricey though, so you may also look on E-bay, that is where I got mine. The Powerlifters belt is a pretty basic hunk of leather. It is not theses fancy, fit comfy Shiek belts. They should probably be the same width all the way across the belt, not one that tapers in the front. I prefer the two prong, and really the regulations on the thickness of belts in most federations is pretty easy to be in line with. the thicker, the more stiff, but also the more sturdy. As far as width, you need to look at the federations (WABDL, USAPL, USPF ETC) and see what the standard is. In regards to the tightness to the belt, well I like mine pretty darn tight, but not so tight that I can not fill my stomach up with air, and PUSH out on the belt with my belly. Before I under stood this concept, I could only squat 651 for one in competiton, with some work, and this technique I am over 700lbs. (Squat is by far my best lift) I am so happy to see the sport of Powerlifting growing, and to the dude who needed info on how to get started. Go to a meet, talk to everybody, and find a mentor or someone to workout with, they will show you the ropes. I have mentored over 30 people now, and I love every minute of helping this sport grow. GOOD LUCK…PS: Matt keep the faith.

Ive seen pics of Fred Hatfield squating, he was the first person to ever squat over a thousand pounds i think and is considered one of the best squatters of all time. In the pics his belt looks very loose. On his forum he spoke of wearing the belt loose for some reason or another. It might be worth looking into. Cause if he and Louie Simmons recomend it, its got argueable the two most influential people in powerlifting behind it.

Thanks to all, now I have an idea how to spend my Christmas money. In faith - Matt

The university I volunteer at utilizes the method i mentioned of tightening and slightly sucking in vs. extending the abs against the belt. I believe there was also mention of this same method on the Supertraining group. Either way I respect the knowledge of the staff I volunteer for, so I use this method vs. extending against the belt.

Sorry to ask again call me stupid but which method was the one mentioned on the supertraining group. I got the impression that it was the one that you use but the post seemed a tiny little bit amiguous. Thanks

I believe the Supertraining threads were against extending the abs into the belt. They supported the slightly sucking in method. But like I said I’m not positive.

Siff, both in the Supertraining group and in the books Supertraining and Facts and Fallicies of Fitness says that sucking the abs in is incorrect, and that he knows of now elite powerlifters or weightlighters who practice this method. He has also repeatedly poked holes in the “abs-in” theory, saying it is faulty.