Reviews Gym Equipment Lifting Belts

4 Best 3-Inch Weightlifting Belts in 2024

Reviewed by: Oleksiy Torokhtiy (21 years of Oly Lifting experience)

Wearing a weightlifting belt is now extremely common, becoming a staple in many lifters’ gym kits. Walk into any gym and you’ll see beginner to elite lifters wearing a weightlifting belt to perform bicep curls in a squat rack or deadlifts on a platform. In most gyms and training centers, weightlifting belts are provided free to use. Some lifters swear by using one and others lift raw. So why should you wear one?

4 Best 3-Inch Weightlifting Belts

A weightlifting belt wraps around the waist and is generally used when lifting heavy weights. It works in 2 main ways, by providing support to your lower back when lifting and preventing your back from hyperextending when lifting overhead. Wearing a weightlifting belt helps you to increase your intra-abdominal (stomach) pressure much more than naturally bracing your core during heavy compound lifting. By adding support, a weightlifting belt should lead to better lifting performance.

Weightlifting belts vary in size, thickness, materials, and price, making it hard to decide which one to choose. The two main powerlifting belt sizes used are 3 and 4-inches. This refers to the width of the belt measured from the back. 

When choosing a belt, it’s essential to pick the right size and fit. The belt should fit securely, but not too tight and sit correctly in the middle of your back. If it’s too loose it won’t provide enough support. If it’s too tight, it may be uncomfortable and restrict your breathing. So, what’s the best belt size to use and why? 

I’ve comprehensively reviewed the top 3-inch weight lifting belts available online, looking at sizing, materials, durability, and comfort. Let’s take a look at my top 3 inch weight belt picks. 

Top 4 Best 3-Inch Weightlifting Belts Reviewed

  1. Rogue 3 Inch Ohio Belt – Top Pick
  2. Iron Bull Strength 3 inch Lever Belt – Runner-Up
  3. Starting Strength 3 Inch Weightlifting Belt
  4. Dominion Strength Training Leather Weightlifting Belt
ProductTotalSizingMaterials QualityDurabilityComfortPrice
Rogue469.5 9.5999
IronBullStrength46109999
Starting Strength44.5998.599
Dominion Strength44998.598.5

1. Rogue 3 Inch Ohio Belt – Top Pick

Rogue 3 Inch Ohio Belt
  • Available Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
  • Waist Size Range: Small (21-28 inches), Medium (26-33 inches), Large (31-37 inches), Extra large (34-41 inches), Extra extra large (38-45 inches)
  • Width: 3 inches
  • Thickness: 10 mm, Thickness tolerance +/- 1 mm
  • Material: Vegetable tanned USA leather
  • Warranty: 3 years

Even if you’re new to weightlifting, you’ve probably heard of Rouge. Founded in a garage in 2006, Rouge has become a leading brand in the weightlifting community. The company manufactures strength and conditioning equipment including barbells, power racks, sleds, and accessories. 

Rouge is the official equipment supplier, the World’s Strongest Man competition, the Arnold Strongman Classic, and the USA Weightlifting team. Since 2006, the company has grown to over 1400 team members globally and remains dedicated to supplying serious athletes at all levels, from the garage to competitive arenas. 

Produced by a trusted brand manufacturing strength and conditioning equipment globally, the 3-inch weight belt by Rogue is my top pick, getting the best total score for sizing, quality, durability, comfort, and price.

Rogue 3 Inch Ohio Belt instagram
Photo by @g_vasq93

The 3-inch lifting belt is available in 5 different sizes from S to XXL and has a thickness of 10mm +/- 1 mm tolerance, suiting a range of lifters.

It’s made from natural vegetable tanned USA leather that takes much longer to complete compared to the modern tanning method making it firm, durable, and water resistant. The vegetable tanning process gives the belt a softer feel with the same strength whilst reducing the time needed to break the belt in.

The 3-inch belt features a double prong buckle with a roller in a bright zinc finish. The Rouge branding is on the loop and on the back of the belt that goes across the back.

The belt is IPF approved, available in brown, and made in the USA.

46 EXPERT SCORE

Produced by a trusted brand manufacturing strength and conditioning equipment globally, the 3-inch weight belt by Rogue is getting the best total score for sizing, quality, durability, comfort, and price.


Sizing:0
Materials Quality:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Comfort:0
Price:0

Positives:

  • Quality vegetable tanned leather
  • IPF approved
  • Big range of sizes available
  • Aesthetically pleasing design

Could be better:

  • Extra cost for larger sizes

2. Iron Bull Strength 3 inch Lever Belt – Runner-Up

Iron Bull Strength 3 inch Lever Belt
  • Available Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL
  • Waist Size Range: Small (25-30 inches), Medium (30-35 inches), Large (35-40 inches), Extra large (40-45 inches), Extra extra large (45-50 inches)
  • Width: 3 inches
  • Thickness: 10 mm (Tolerance +/- 1mm)
  • Material: Premium Quality A-grade Leather
  • Warranty: 1-year

Iron Bull Strength is a well-known name in the fitness industry. And what they wrought us is this Premium 10mm 3’’ Lever Belt.

This is the perfect belt if you’re looking for a robust but also convenient adjustment system on a top-quality weightlifting belt.

It comes in a very wide range of sizes, from XL all the way to 4XL, which is amazing as you won’t have to compromise on sizes anymore but can instead get the perfect fit for your body. The belt will cater to waist sizes from 25-50 inches. You’ll definitely be able to find a snug fit!

In order to create the best, premium-quality A-grade leather was used. This will ensure product durability and longevity. The thickness of 10m and width of 3 inches will make sure you have ample support in your midsection during even the most intense lifts.

The buckle won’t buckle even under the highest pressure. You can also quickly adjust how tight or loose you want the lifting belt to be.

The Iron Bull Strength lifting belt is approved by IPF, USAPL, USPA, and IPL. So you can compete in any competition with it.

A colossus among weight lifting belts, and a supreme value for your hard-earned money.

A weight lifting belt made for professional athletes at the highest level.

46 EXPERT SCORE

It comes in a very wide range of sizes, from XL all the way to 4XL, which is amazing as you won’t have to compromise on sizes anymore but can instead get the perfect fit for your body.


Sizing:0
Materials Quality:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Comfort:0
Price:0

Positives:

  • Premium Leather Used
  • Huge range of sizes
  • Design focused on functionality
  • Lever buckle is very adjustable and easy-to-use

Could be better:

  • 1- year warranty is low compared to others on the list
  • No color options

3. Starting Strength 3-Inch Weightlifting Belt

Starting Strength 3-Inch Weightlifting Belt
  • Available Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Waist Size Range: Extra small (20-30 inches), Small medium (25-35 inches), Medium (30-40 inches), Large (35-45 inches), Extra large (40-50 inches)
  • Width: 3 inches
  • Thickness: 10 mm
  • Material: Leather
  • Warranty: No risk lifetime warranty

The Starting Strength brand was founded by Mark Rippetoe in 2018, initially as a gym brand and training method. Rippetoe has produced several books and peer-reviewed articles alongside competing in powerlifting from 1979-1988.

The starting Strength method uses the body’s basic movement patterns in a coordinated system to force the adaptations needed for increased strength. 

Mark Rippetoe and the starting strength team partnered up with Dominion strength to create an exclusive belt for their affiliate gyms. 

Starting strength and Mark Rippetoe has teamed up with Dominion strength to produce a high-quality 3-inch weightlifting belt, making my top 3 list.

The belt is designed for heavy powerlifting and weight training and should stand up to a lifetime of gym abuse, as stated by the brand.

The 10 mm thick belt is available in 5 different sizes from XS to XXL from 20-50 inches in 5-inch increments, providing a huge range of size options.

It's made from best-quality top grain sole bend cow leather, designed to last a lifetime even with repeated, heavy use.

The 3-inch belt is fully adjustable, with 11 holes spaced 1 inch apart giving 10 inches of adjustability. The belt is designed to the standards of Starting Strength with the brand stating their years of weightlifting experience have influenced all aspects of the belt design.

Each belt is handmade in the USA and features the Starting Strength branding on the end of the belt. The brand offers a lifetime warranty, guaranteeing the belt will last for your entire training career. If not, the brand will replace or repair the belt at no additional cost.

44.5 EXPERT SCORE

It's made from best-quality top grain sole bend cow leather, designed to last a lifetime even with repeated, heavy use.


Sizing:0
Materials Quality:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Comfort:0
Price:0

Positives:

  • Top grain sole bend cow leather material
  • Large range of waist sizes
  • Lifetime warranty

Could be better:

  • No logo or brand name

4. Dominion Strength Training Leather Weightlifting Belt

Dominion Strength Training Leather Weightlifting Belt
  • Available Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Waist Size Range: Extra small (20-30 inches), Small medium (25-35 inches), Medium (30-40 inches), Large (35-45 inches), Extra large (40-50 inches)
  • Width: 3 inches
  • Thickness: 10 mm
  • Material: Leather
  • Warranty: No risk lifetime warranty

Dominion Strength Training is a small family business owned by Blake and Katie Roache. Blake is a Mechanical Engineer and Katie is a Microbiologist. 

After starting in functional fitness, they struggled to find a good-quality belt available on the market. This led them to start making belts, initially working with overseas suppliers before moving production to Florida, USA after inferior hardware that was rusted upon delivery. 

Dominion Strength Training manufactures and sells exercise and fitness equipment, mainly weightlifting belts and physical therapy arm exercisers. The brand states it provides top-quality leather weightlifting belts made in the USA.

Produced by a small family-owned business in the USA, the belt by Dominion Strength Training is a great quality 3-inch weightlifting belt and rounds out my top 3 list.

The belt is available in sizes ranging from XS to XXL in 5-inch increments ranging from 20-50 inches and has a thickness of 10 mm.

The belt is made from top-quality grain sole bend cow leather, designed to be durable and not stretch with use. The 3-inch belt has 11 holes with 1-inch spacing to give 10 inches of adjustment.

Made by the same brand involved in my second option, this belt is designed and fabricated by lifters for lifters. The brand states years of weightlifting experience have guided every aspect of the belt design.

The belt features clear branding on the belt loop and is available in black. It comes with a lifetime warranty, with the belt guaranteed to last your entire training career or the brand will replace or repair the belt for free.

44 EXPERT SCORE

The belt is made from top-quality grain sole bend cow leather, designed to be durable and not stretch with use. The 3-inch belt has 11 holes with 1-inch spacing to give 10 inches of adjustment.


Sizing:0
Materials Quality:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Comfort:0
Price:0

Positives:

  • Very aesthetically appealing design
  • Well priced
  • Small Family run business

Could be better:

  • Single clasp buckle

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What to Look For in a 3-INCH Lifting Belt: 4 Factors to Consider

If you’re thinking of buying a 10mm 3-inch weightlifting belt, and none on our list is to your liking, I suggest you consider the following four factors when trying to determine the best one for you.

1. Purpose

Weightlifting belts are engineered to increase intra-abdominal pressure and thus provide additional support to the spine during heavier lifts. So long story short — increasing performance and minimizing the chance to sustain injury. A 3-inch belt is an amazing choice because it offers enough support without being too bulky or restrictive.

woman getting ready for training

2. Material

The most popular materials used for lifting belts are leather and synthetic materials like nylon. Leather is usually more expensive, and offers more support, but these belts are also usually not as comfortable as their synthetic brethren. When deciding on the material, also think of material quality. Getting better quality materials is usually a surefire way of squeezing out more performance and ensuring higher product longevity.

3. Thickness & Width

Thickness and width will determine how much support a lifting belt will provide. The 10mm thickness (usually accompanied by a +/- 1 mm margin of error) is standard for most belts. And it strikes a good balance between support and comfort. The 3’’ width is preferable for lifters with a shorter torso, or for athletes that require a greater degree of flexibility, for example, Olympic lifters.

4. Closure system

For closure, you’ll usually find a prong buckle on leather belts or a Velcro system on a nylon belt. On others, you can also find a lever. If you are looking for ease of use, then lean towards levers. Buckles (such as you have on a lot of leather belts) tend to be more adjustable but are also much trickier or more annoying to use. Velcro strikes a good balance between adjustability and fastening swiftness but is usually lacking the support or longevity that you get with a lever or a buckle system.

3 vs 4 Inch Lifting Belts 

Both 3 and 4-inch lifting belts are popular sizes to use when lifting. The belt width that's right for you depends on your build, hip width, and what you need the belt for. The 1-inch size difference offers different pros and cons for lifters and makes the sizes suitable for different uses. So what are the pros and cons of each and should you choose a 3 or 4-inch powerlifting belt?

squats with belts

Pros and Cons of 3 Inch Lifting Belts

Whilst the 3 inch weight belt is less common than the 4-inch, many lifters prefer them due to the benefits gained from the smaller size.

Positives:

  • Increased flexibility and range of motion
  • Approved for use in competitive weightlifting and powerlifting
  • Less expensive compared to the bigger belt sizes

Could be better:

  • More suitable for smaller lifters or bench press specialists
  • Not as widely produced as 4-inch belts

Who Needs a 3-Inch Lifting Belt?

1. Shorter Lifters

If you're a shorter lifter with a smaller torso, wearing a 4-inch belt may be uncomfortable to use by digging into your torso during lifting.

This may make the 3-inch belt a better option, allowing increased range of motion and flexibility when lifting, allowing you to focus on proper bracing and technique and increase your lifts. 

2. Bench Press Specialists 

If you're a bench press specialist competing in bench press competitions, the 3-inch belt size may be a better choice.

When performing a bench press, you only need to support your lower back. The mid-back needs to flex and arch backward, meaning the 4-inch belt may be uncomfortable and limit your range of movement.

3. Fitness Athlete

If you're a fitness athlete, most exercises are performed using a full range of movement meaning you may benefit from the increased flexibility the 3-inch belt offers.

Fitness generally involves multiple different types of lifts and Olympic movements, making the 3-inch belt an ideal choice. 

lifting belt in use

Pros and Cons of 4 Inch Lifting Belts

The 4-inch lifting belt is the more popular size choice amongst lifters, offers increased back support and comes in a wider range of colors, and styles.

Positives:

  • Increased core + back support
  • Wider range of colors and styles available
  • Approved for use in competitive weightlifting and powerlifting
  • Suitable for a wider range of lifts

Could be better:

  • More expensive compared to 3 inch belts
  • Less flexibility offered and may dig into torso
  • May not be suitable for smaller lifters

Who Needs a 4 Inch Lifting Belt?

1. Larger Individuals 

Due to the size of your torso, if you're a larger individual you will benefit more from the 4-inch belt option. 

You want the belt to sit tight against your back and core, but not so tight that it limits movement and makes lifting uncomfortable. If you're a larger individual, a 3-inch belt may not be suitable for your torso and take the focus away from natural bracing and performing the movement correctly.

Tips From the Champ

When in the market for a 10mm 3-inch weightlifting belt, it’s best to check the leather quality, as this will determine how much stability the belt provides. Opt for high-quality leather. Also, consider sizing options, as a wide range of options will save you from having to compromise on a fit that doesn’t suit you perfectly. A tight and easy adjustable buckle will help with mid-set adjustments, if necessary, and will also help keep your midsection stable during heavy lifts. A longer warranty (3 years to a lifetime) will help with brand trust and peace of mind.

Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Olympic Weightlifting Champion

2. First-Time Belt Users

If you're a beginner lifter, starting with the 4-inch belt is a better choice. Chances are you're not specializing in any movement quite yet and will benefit from the wider range of uses a 4-inch belt offers.

Once you get used to a 4-inch belt and grow in size over time, you may wish to switch to a 3-inch once you have more lifting experience.

3. Competitive Lifters

The additional core and back support offered by the 4-inch belt makes it the best choice if you're a competitive lifter.

Your main goal is to lift as much weight as possible. Using the maximum permitted competition width to provide the maximum amount of extra support makes the most sense. 

training using lifting belts

FAQ

How Thick Should A Weightlifting Belt Be?

The thickness of your lifting belt depends mostly on your ability level and goals. A 10 mm belt would be a better choice if you're a recreational lifter as it's more comfortable, offers increased flexibility, and doesn't take as long to break-in.

If you are an elite level lifter, using a 13mm belt may give that extra bit of performance needed despite being less flexible and harder to ‘break in’

Do I Need A 3 Or 4-Inch Lifting Belt?

Choosing a 3 or 4 inch powerlifting belt depends on your needs and goals.

If you're a first-time lifter, larger individual, or competitive powerlifter, the wider range of suitable exercise uses and increased core and back support offered may make the 4-inch belt a better choice.

Whilst not as commonly used, a 3 inch powerlifting belt is a worthwhile investment in some cases. If you're a smaller lifter with a shorter torso, a bench press specialist, or simply feel you need more flexibility, a 3-inch belt is the way to go.

Which Lifting Belt is the best?

Both 3 or 4-inch weightlifting belts can be used for lifting in and out of competition. The right choice depends on your goals and ability level.

If you're a smaller lifter, bench press specialist, or feel you need more flexibility and range of motion when lifting, go for a 3 inch lifting belt.

The 3 inch lifting belt manufactured and sold by Rouge is an excellent choice and my top pick, earning the highest total score for sizing, the material used, durability, and comfort. 

What belt size is your favorite and why? What experience do you have using 3-inch weightlifting belts? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Also read:

References:

  1. TJ Fink, "The best weightlifting belts in 2022" Tom`s Guide, https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/best-weightlifting-belts
  2. Wasim Kagzi, "3 Or 4-Inch Powerlifting Belt: Choosing The Best Belt For You" MuscleLead, https://musclelead.com/3-or-4-inch-powerlifting-belt/ (March 16, 2021)
  3. "Mark Rippetoe" Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Rippetoe

Why Trust Us?

With over 20 years in Olympic Weightlifting, our team does its best to provide the audience with ultimate support and meet the needs and requirements of advanced athletes and professional lifters, as well as people who strive to open new opportunities and develop their physical capabilities with us.

All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

The product testing process is described in more detail here

Ihor Shymechko

Author: Ihor Shymechko
Pro Olympic Weightlifter, Coach

Experience: 26 years
Best Results: Snatch – 208 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Ihor has been a professional weightlifter since 1996, boasting over two decades of competition experience. His notable achievements include clinching the European Championship in 2009 and securing a silver medal in the 105kg division at the Senior World Championships in 2011. Ihor represented his country in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics. After retiring from competitive weightlifting, he transitioned to coaching, leveraging his vast experience to guide athletes who now compete on both national and international stages.

View author’s page

Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Reviewed by: Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Olympic Weightlifting Champion

Experience: 21 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 200 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Oleksiy Torokhtiy is a professional athlete boasting 20 years of experience in Olympic weightlifting. With multiple European and World titles under his belt, he has showcased his prowess in two Olympic Games (Beijing 2008 and London 2012). Upon concluding his illustrious career, Oleksiy dedicated himself to coaching. By 2022, he had conducted over 200 weightlifting seminars worldwide. He is the visionary behind an international sportswear and accessories brand known for its motto, “Warm Body Cold Mind.” Additionally, he is an esteemed author and the creator of a series of training programs and eBooks.

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