Starting strength belt

Starting strength belt DEFAULT

Starting Strength 3in Single Ply Leather Weightlifting Belt

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Dominion Strength Training is the sole producer of Starting Strength belts. Our belt's design, materials, and construction have been reviewed and approved by Mark Rippetoe to carry his company's brand. We take our relationship with Starting Strength very seriously and are committed to producing the highest quality product possible.


Dominion Strength Training Lifetime Replacement Guarantee Our belts are virtually indestructible. If you manage to damage one of our belts for any reason, contact us for a hassle-free replacement, no questions asked.

  • Top grain sole bend leather. Single ply treated 6.5-7mm thick. Single prong seamless roller buckle. American craftsmanship.

  • Novices will appreciate the quick break-in and flexibility of the single ply. The superior strength and light weight of the single ply make it an excellent training belt for more advanced lifters as well.

  • All belts have 11 holes spaced 1 inch apart, providing 10 inches of adjustability. Your belt will always fit even if your waist size changes.

  • All Starting Strength belts are backed by our lifetime guarantee. We guarantee your belt will last your entire training career. If it does not, we will repair or replace any defective belt at no cost for life.


Dominion Strength Training is the sole producer of Starting Strength belts. Our belt's design, materials, and construction have been reviewed and approved by Mark Rippetoe to carry his company's brand.

starting strength leather belt by dominion strength

Starting Strength 3 inch, single-ply, weightlifting belt. Top grain sole bend leather. Single ply treated 6.5-7mm thick. Single prong seamless roller buckle. American craftsmanship.

starting strength two-ply belt old dominion strength training

Starting Strength 3 inch, double-ply, weightlifting belt. Top grain sole bend and skirting leather. Double ply oil treated treated 10mm thick. Single prong seamless roller buckle. American craftsmanship.

Choosing Your Belt

Curious about the differences between the belts? Read this discussion on Dominion Belts. Blake Wilson clarifies the construction and pricing differences between the two belts.

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Starting Strength Weight Lifting Belt 3 Inch for Powerlifting, Weightlifting, Heavy Gym Training Workouts, for Men and Women - Single Prong Seamless Roller

Starting Strength Weight Lifting Belt 3 Inch for Powerlifting, Weightlifting, Heavy Gym Training Workouts, for Men and Women - Single Prong Seamless Roller

Dominion Strength Training

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Product Details

  • The Official Starting Strength Belt is designed for heavy powerlifting and weight training of the squat, press, bench press, deadlift, and will stand up to a lifetime of abuse in the gym.
  • A 3 inch leather lifting belt is appropriate for men and women because it provides excellent support without being too stiff or bulky. A great addition for all weight training workouts.
  • Fully adjustable to last a lifetime. All belts have 11 holes spaced 1 inch apart, providing 10 inches of adjustability. Your weight training belt will always fit even if your waist size changes.
  • Designed to the standards of Starting Strength. Years of weight training experience have influenced every aspect of the design. Each belt is made by hand in the USA!
Is Discontinued By Manufacturer ‏ : ‎No
Package Dimensions ‏ : ‎12 x 12 x 3.25 inches (30.5 x 30.5 x 8.3 cm); 2 Pounds (0.9 kg)
Manufacturer ‏ : ‎Dominion Strength Training
ASIN ‏ : ‎B07N3RVF93
SizeXS, 20-30" Waist size not pants size (0 cm)
BrandDominion Strength Training
ColorOiled Leather
Waist (cm)30 Inches (76.2 cm)


Why do I need a belt?
Proper back position is critical for preventing injury when weight training, powerlifting, and performing heavy, compound lifts such as the squat, press, and deadlift. During a lift, the spine is held in position by tightening the core muscles to prevent movement. As loads increase, it is increasingly difficult to maintain enough tension to keep the back in position. A proper weight lifting belt allows greater tension by preventing the core muscles from expanding outward when they are contracted for the lift. This allows heavier loads to be lifted safely. The weight belt must not stretch to be effective. This is why fabric belts and belts with padding do not work well.

How do I use my belt?
A weight lifting belt is worn across the belly above the hips and below the ribcage. It should be tightened until slightly uncomfortable. During the lift, tighten your core muscles as normal, but do not try to "push" against the belt. If the belt moves during the lift, it is either too loose or in the wrong place.

How is this belt different from other belts?
Your Dominion Strength Training belt is made from best quality top grain sole bend cow leather. This belt will last a lifetime even with frequent, heavy use. Lower quality belts are typically made from split leather, which can stretch and is much less durable. A low quality belt may initially seem fine but will begin to stretch with the first lift and quickly need replacing. Other high quality belts are typically made to order (taking 6-12 weeks) and are very expensive. The 3 inch 10 mm size is great for both men and women because of the amount of support provided without being too stiff or bulky.

Dominion Strength Training Lifetime Replacement Guarantee
Our belts are virtually indestructible. If you manage to damage one of our belts for any reason, contact us for a hassle-free replacement, no questions asked.

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Using a LIFTING BELT - Everything You Need to Know

Lifting Belts: Everything You Need to Know

One of the most frequently asked questions I get as a coach is, “When should I start using a lifting belt?” Second after that, “What kind of lifting belt should I use?” These are both great questions. Unfortunately, there is a lot of FUD out there when it comes to the topic of lifting belts. Let’s start by tackling a couple of the most common myths and misconceptions about lifting belts.

Myth: Lifting Belts are a Crutch

I hear variations of this all the time. It’s not hard to find a “fitness expert” on YouTube or Instagram who sings the praises of beltless lifting. A common claim is that wearing a belt makes your “core” weak and that lifting beltless gives you a stronger “core.” No, that’s not how any of this works.

How a Lifting Belt Works

Let’s dive into an analysis of what precisely a belt is doing during, say, a heavy squat.

Barbell Squat

When you’re in the bottom of a squat with a heavy barbell across your shoulders, that barbell would quite happily buckle you in half and continue its journey to the ground. Of course, we don’t want that to happen. Your spine bending under a heavy load is generally A Bad Thing™. Two things are preventing this from happening: your muscles (particularly the erector spinae) and intra-abdominal pressure.

Erector Spinae

The erector spinae is a set of muscles that run along each side of your spine and function to resist spinal flexion and hold your spine in extension.

In a correctly performed squat, you take a big breath of air and brace your torso. This bladder of air, in conjunction with your braced abdominal muscles, function to restrict spinal flexion. If you’ve ever exhaled at the bottom of a heavy squat, then you know exactly how this works. You either missed the squat or buckled under the load and looked like spaghetti while you stood back up.

When you wear a lifting belt correctly, you significantly increase your intra-abdominal pressure, which allows you to lift more weight, apply more stress to your system, and thus get stronger.

What it’s not doing is, mechanically helping you lift a weight you have no business lifting. Contrast this with the canvas underpants that are four sizes too small (also known as a “squat suit”) that are all the rage in equipped powerlifting. Throw one of those bad boys on, and your anemic 315 lb squat is now a mightily impressive 465 lbs (at 3″ above parallel).

Equipped Squat

At most a lifting belt is permitting you to lift 5% more than you could without it, but that’s 5% more stress for your quads, glutes, and hamstrings (who don’t give a damn about your intra-abdominal pressure). One could argue that the belt does decrease the stress on the spinal erectors, but that is hard to quantify. What probably happens is the 5% increase in load is shared between the increased abdominal pressure and the spinal erectors.

As a coach, I’ve had dozens of lifters come to me having never used a belt, with their squat stuck somewhere around 255 lbs. We introduce a belt to their lifting, which hypothetically nets an immediate 5% boost (say, 265 lb.). We take their squat, with a belt, from 265 lb. to 405 lb. in 12-16 weeks. Then just for fun, we see what they can squat without the belt. It’s always a hell of a lot more than 255 lb.

Misconception: I’m waiting until I’m strong enough to use a belt

We’ve touched on this already in the above analysis. Let’s use that analysis to respond to this common misconception.

Your goal is to get strong. What does that even mean? Where is strong? When is one strong? It means different things to different people. It might mean being able to toss your toddler in the air or wrestle with your 10-year-old, or merely to get out of a chair without assistance. Really, your goal is to get stronger. You’re at x, let’s get you to x+1.

We get you from x to x+1 by applying stress. In this case, specific, measurable stress using a barbell. Your body adapts to this stress and voila, x+1. Lifting without a belt unnecessarily limits the stress we can apply, and thus limits how strong you can get.

As a coach, I tend to have my lifters use a belt either immediately, or very early in their training. The only reason I might delay is if the lifter is particularly struggling with the technique for a given lift. In that case, I might keep the belt out to limit the variables and distraction during the early weeks of their lifting.

In short, there is no “strong enough” for a belt. Once you have the mechanics down, start using one. This will allow you to pre-empt any stalls in progress you would inevitably have if you continued lifting beltless.

How to use a lifting belt

It’s not as simple as putting on a belt you might wear with your pants. Most novice lifters tend to wear their belt far too loose. The belt should be significantly tighter than what is merely sufficient to hold your pants up. On a single-prong belt, this usually means tightening it 2 to 3 holes past the “hold my pants up” level of tightness.

Lifting belt properly applied

When appropriately tight, the belt will press your abdominal wall inward a few inches. This means that when you brace your abs, your abdomen will press out against the belt. You will immediately feel the increase in intra-abdominal pressure. If the belt is too loose, bracing will do nothing, or worse you may find yourself pushing your abdomen out to seek the tightness.

The belt should by default be positioned directly over your navel. This is correct for most people. However, if you have an unusually short or long torso, you may need to adjust it up or down an inch or two.

If the belt is digging into your ribs, push it down. If it is digging into your iliac crest (the bony part of your pelvis you can feel just beneath your skin), pull it up.

When to use a lifting belt

You should use your lifting belt for at least your squat, overhead press, and deadlift. These lifts all benefit from increased abdominal pressure and the increased trunk rigidity. It’s arguable whether or not a lifting belt helps significantly with the bench press. If it does help, it certainly doesn’t function the same way as it does in the other lifts. It doesn’t hurt to use one, so just do it.

As far as when to use it during your workout: put the belt on for your final warmup set, and wear it for each of your working sets.

What type of weight lifting belt should I buy?

Dominion 3-inch Lifting Belts

Belts come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. It is essential to know what precisely to avoid when shopping.

Material: Leather. Nothing else.

Quality lifting belts are made of leather and fastened with a buckle or lever. Garbage belts are made out of nylon and secured with velcro.

Velcro Lifting Belts

Velcro wears, and it wears fast. If you’re wearing your belt correctly in training, then you should be taking it off in between your sets because it is not comfortable to just hang out in it. This means you’re fastening and unfastening your belt up to 30 times a training session. Give it three months, and your belt will have lost a significant amount of its ability to stay closed under stress. I have never seen a velcro belt that I couldn’t force open just by bracing. Trust me; you don’t want your belt popping open at the bottom of a squat.

Leather, fastened with a single-prong metal buckle or with a metal lever, has none of those problems. Yes, you will pay more, but as with many things in life: you get what you pay for. Lifting is ultimately a very inexpensive sport. You need a good pair of shoes and a good belt, and you’re good to go for years or decades. A quality lifting belt will cost $80-$150 and last a lifetime.

Thickness: 10 mm or 13 mm.

Leather belts come in varying thicknesses, typically either single-ply leather (about 5-6.5 mm thick) or a double-ply (10 mm or 13 mm thick).

I do not recommend the single ply belts. They deform far more easily than their heftier cousins. With a 6.5 mm belt, you will quickly start to see deformation around the buckle holes. Also, it’s quite easy to bend the belt across its width (from top to bottom). This is problematic for “fluffier” lifters.

New lifters should start with a 10 mm thick belt. They don’t suffer from the same problems as the thinner single-ply belts. If you’re a competitive powerlifter, then you may consider a 13 mm belt, but it is overkill for most others.

Width: 4 inch or 3 inch

Comparison of 4 and 3-inch lifting belts

My standard recommendation for most lifters is to start with a 4-inch belt. This works well for the “average” male. However, for some women, or indeed anyone with an unusually short torso, there may not be 4-inches of room between their ribs and their pelvis. You shouldn’t feel sharp pinching in your ribs or pelvis at the bottom of the squat.

For these lifters, a 3-inch belt will most likely be appropriate. Some manufacturers make belts as narrow as 2.5-inches, but I have never met a lifter who needed one.

What’s most important to note here is what you should avoid: tapered belts and anything over 4-inches in width.

Tapered Lifting Belt

Tapered belts are usually narrower in the front (2-3 inches) and wider in the back (4-8 inches). This is foolhardy. Manufacturers sell these to people who think the belt’s purpose is to protect their back somehow. That’s flat-out wrong. The width of the belt in the back has nothing to do with the safety or health of your back under load. Remember, the belt is a tool to increase your intra-abdominal pressure (which helps your back), but it provides no means of mechanical protection for your back. Even worse, the narrower width in the front means the belt is less effective at resisting your braced abdomen, and thus less effective at maintaining increased intra-abdominal pressure.


Most new lifters should buy a single-prong lifting belt. I don’t see a point in the double-prong belts; it’s just something else to fiddle with while trying to get into and out of the damn thing. You can also buy what’s called a lever belt; it uses a lever to close the belt. This makes it far easier to tighten the belt adequately. The downside is that you can only adjust the size of the belt with a screwdriver. If you need a 3-inch belt, you may also have difficulty finding one with a lever.

Recommended Lifting Belts

My go-to recommendation for belts these days is Dominion Strength Training. They make high-quality 4-inch and 3-inch single-prong belts. Not only are they high quality, but they also ship in 2-days via Amazon Prime. Fast shipping is nearly impossible to come by in the quality belt market. Additionally, they’re made in the USA by a member of the Starting Strength community.

Dominion Strength Training 3" Lifting Belt

If you want more color variety or custom embroidery, then I would recommend going with either Best Belts or Pioneer. Going with either of these guys means you’re going to wait anywhere from 4-8 weeks to get your belt because they are handmade to order. I should note that I have seen some first-hand quality control issues with some Pioneer single-prong belts: crooked holes and split rollers on the buckles.

I use a 4-inch wide, 10 mm Inzer Forever Lever belt. I’ve experimented with a 3-inch belt on deadlift, but these days I stick with my 4-inch belt. I did break a prong off of my lever one day by casually tossing the belt on the ground. This seems to be a problem with many lever belts. For some reason, the metal used in the lever tends to be somewhat brittle. If I were to buy a new lever belt these days, I’d probably go with Pioneer over Inzer.

Written by David Abdemoulaie · Categorized: Articles


Belt starting strength

weightlifting belts

Inertia is the capacity possessed by physical objects that makes them resist any change in their property of motion. “An object in motion tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest,” you know, that old saying. Inertia also describes the tendency of your typical human being to continue doing exactly the same thing he’s been doing, despite the fact that a moment’s reflection might indicate that this is stupid.

I’m certainly not above the possession of a considerable quantity of inertia myself, although I try to remain open to suggestion, and to continued reflection upon my ingrained habits. I occasionally become aware of a flaw in my thinking, or lack thereof, which merits correction. When I do, I’m compelled to share The Revelation.

Today’s Revelation: Most people have no business wearing a 4-inch power belt for the deadlift. Unless you’re tall or long-waisted, a 4-inch-wide standard power belt is too wide to permit a correct lumbar position at the start of a correct deadlift.

First, the lifter’s belt provides a way to increase the effectiveness of the muscular contractions around the thoracic and abdominal cavities during a heavy lift. It works by giving the muscles around the spine something to contract against, so that they can produce a harder isometric contraction with the belt than they can without it. Like throwing a wiffle ball versus a baseball, or like learning to clean with a piece of PVC instead of a barbell, it is hard to produce force against little or no resistance. The belt provides this resistance to the trunk muscles, and the result is a harder contraction when the belt is worn.

Muscles contract along their length, and the rectus abdominis, the erector spinae, the obliques, the transversalis, and all the small muscles of the pelvic floor are no different in this respect. When they contract isometrically, they brace the skeletal components to which they are attached. The belt enhances this contractile ability.

When your abdominal muscles are not tightened, they hang in a position most graciously described as “convex outward.” They relax away from the spine in a lengthened configuration. When you contract them, they shorten, changing from slightly convex to straight, thereby reducing the volume inside the abdominal cavity somewhat. This reduction in volume results in an increase in pressure. Since your gut contents are mostly water, and since water is not very compressible, the hydrostatic/hydraulic effect of this compression acts across all the margins of the abdominal cavity, in effect stiffening the shape of the chamber.

The belt provides a restriction to the outside diameter of the gut, and “hoop stress” (like the force applied to the iron hoops of a wooden barrel by the liquid inside) is applied around the circumference of the trunk outward and distributed across the whole belt more or less evenly. When the abdominal contraction occurs the slightly expanding muscle bellies can only expand inward due to the restricting “hoop tension” of the belt, which increases the pressure in the gut. This is why wider belts work better than narrower belts – they cover more of the gut. The belt encircles the muscles around the spine, its purpose being to not deform at all under the pressure, and this is why thicker belts work better than thinner belts. Unlike knee wraps or a squat suit, the belt doesn’t act on a flexing joint, storing energy in its material during flexion and giving it back during extension. The belt doesn’t act at all – you do.

weight lifting belt anatomy

The harder muscle contraction, combined with an increase in pressure within the abdominal cavity provided by the hoop tension from the belt, and “capped” on top by the pressure effects of the Valsalva in the thoracic cavity, provide the rigidity in the trunk that makes it an effective transmitter of force to the bar.

Paul Chek and others have been fond of claiming that the belt de-conditions the abdominal muscles, apparently assuming that the belt is a passive device that works all by itself. I remember seeing a rather tasteless photo slide presentation in a video clip of one of Chek’s seminars, that featured a female weightlifter losing bladder control during a clean at what was apparently the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. His claim was that her incontinence was due to wearing her belt. He was apparently unfamiliar with the actual pelvic floor anatomy, the mechanism by which the urethra remains closed, and the possible effects of childbirth, genetics, and hormones in her rather personal, and in fact relatively common, situation. The sycophantic shrieks of agreement from the gals in his front row haunt me to this day.

Anyone who thinks that any part of the trunk musculature is relaxed during a heavy deadlift, belt or no belt – well, I don’t know what to tell you. This essay is by no means a complete examination of the mechanics of belt use in strength training, but one of the ways the belt works is by allowing you to produce a harder muscular contraction against it than you can without it, and anyone who’s paid any attention to what happens under a heavy squat or pull already knows this.

A harder isometric contraction of the abdominal wall prevents any deformation or relaxation of the “pressure vessel” aspect of the system, thus preventing any dissipation of support during the lift. The combination of the harder isometric trunk muscle contraction made possible by the belt and the fact that the heavier weight you’re lifting provides more training stimulus than the lighter weight you’d be lifting otherwise, means that using the belt allows you to get stronger. Depending on your training emphasis, this is probably a good thing.

As a general rule, post-novice lifters use the belt for last warmups and work sets on heavy days, having learned how to use it correctly. Lifters with chronic back injuries may decide to use it for all sets after 135, depending on the nature of their injury. The correct use of the belt involves learning how tight it needs to be to work, experience being the only way to learn this. Too tight, and you’re stretched up too far to make an effective isometric contraction. Too loose, and there’s nothing to push against. A loose belt is merely decorative.

Once it’s tight, take a great big breath, crunch down on everything isometrically, forget the belt is there, and do the rep. I disagree with the recommendation to push out against the belt because, strictly followed, this motion will usually produce some degree of lumbar flexion. Better to rely on the correct belt tension and the Valsalva to allow your trunk muscles to do their job better with the feedback about contractile intensity provided by the belt.

If squats or deadlifts are performed for multiple reps, the process is repeated every rep. Presses should be reset at the bottom of each rep, depending on the style of press you’re doing. Multiple reps on the bench can be performed on one breath by an experienced lifter wearing a belt.

When you put a wide belt around your natural waist, the bottom edge of the belt may drape down over your ASISs (your Anterior Superior Iliac Spines – your “hip pointers”) on your pelvis, or it may ride a little higher, depending on your natural waist length. If your ribs are close to your iliac crests, like mine, it’s going to ride lower, down close to your hip crease.

In this position, when you go into hip flexion to set your back for the pull, the lower edge of the belt usually touches your upper thighs. If it’s higher, it won’t, and this discussion will not apply to you. But if you’re shorter, or short-waisted, or you coach someone who is – and this adds up to lots of people – you really need to think about the effect of the belt touching your hip flexor area. 

Proprioception is “the sense of the relative position of neighboring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement (from Wikipedia).” Proprioception is the result of all the accumulated “telemetry” gathered about your body’s position in space, and the positions of all the parts of your body as they relate to each other. This telemetry is provided to your brain by your sense of position against the floor (your feet), by the tension in your muscles, the sensations around your joints, and through seemingly mundane factors such as pressure against your skin from your clothing. For example, one of the other ways the belt works is by providing proprioceptive feedback to your abs, obliques, and erectors.

We correct high squats caused by proprioception problems all the time. If your sweats are tight on your legs, or if your very fashionable board shorts catch on your knees when you squat, they tighten more as you squat deeper, and at some point this proprioception provides erroneous data about your depth. We correct this by either pulling the sweats up higher into the crotch until the binding against thighs is diminished, or changing the lifter into stretchy sweats or shorts so that the tension from the material against the legs is gone. If tight pants are the problem – and it often is, so think about this when you train – this immediately corrects the situation.

The belt against your thighs does the same thing, but in this case it affects the very critical position of your lower back. After you take your grip on the bar, the hardest part of the deadlift setup is pulling all of the flexion out of your low back. If the lumbar spine is not locked flat in extension, the low back cannot be an efficient transmitter of force between the hips and legs and the arms. The locked lower back is what allows the force generated at the extending knees and hips to move the bar, and any change in lower back position during the pull – like any loss of rigidity in the abdominal support structures – is power lost from the system.

And if the hips lock out in extension before your rounded lower back straightens out, you’re probably going to have to hitch the bar to finish the pull. A rounded upper back can be an advantage mechanically, by shortening the distance between the hips and the bar and by providing a more extended knee position to start the pull from, but a rounded lower back usually means a missed attempt.

When you set your lumbar spine into extension at the start of the pull, your belly moves down between your thighs, and the belt goes with it. When your back is set, the belly/belt assembly will fit between your thighs with a varying degree of tightness. But if your waist is short and the belt is too wide, it touches your upper thighs at the hip flexors during the process of squeezing out the last of the lumbar flexion.

This contact between belt and upper thigh provides incorrect proprioceptive information about the degree to which you have extended your back. The belt is telling your back that it is fully extended when it is not, and this can cause you to pull from a position of incomplete lumbar extension. An inadequately-set low back is not strong for a heavy pull, and is a good way to tweak your back too. I see many contest deadlifts pulled with incomplete lumbar extension using a 4-inch belt.

Some people have already figured this out. Konstantinovs pulls with his belt set in a much higher position, well off the hips. Lilliebridge too, and other examples show that this problem is being addressed, although perhaps not the best way. If the belt is to provide pressure in the abdominal cavity, it must be positioned across the lumbar, under the floating ribs, so that the center of the belt is across the center of the abdominal cavity. This creates the best pressure distribution for support of the lumbar spine.

Konstantinovs can wear his belt any way he wants to – I would never presume to tell any experienced competitor how to wear a belt – but I’m asking you to think about a different approach. I think the main problem is that too many people try to make their 4-inch squat belt work for the deadlift too. The reason: inertia. Just plain old never giving it any thought. It just hasn’t occurred to them that maybe the deadlift is sufficiently different from the squat mechanically that a completely different approach to the equipment might be necessary. Advanced lifters consider such details, and you should too.

The squat is quite obviously different from the deadlift. The squat starts at the top, loads eccentrically into the bottom, and rebounds back up, while the deadlift starts from the bottom concentrically. The squatter gets squeezed into the bottom of the range of motion with help from the load, while the deadlifter has to assume the hardest position of the lift unloaded, with no help from the weight at all. If the squatter wears a belt that jams up the bottom of the ROM, good! It aids the rebound. But the same jamming can interfere with the deadlifter’s ability to squeeze into the most efficient position to pull from, with no help from a loaded descent, creating an incomplete back-set and a power leak even before the pull begins.

Granted, a wider belt provides better abdominal containment and more uniform hoop tension than a narrower belt. But if it keeps you from getting into the correct position to pull effectively, it hardly matters that it works better for part of the job. If you can’t get set correctly, you can’t pull correctly.

The answer is to stop thinking of your squat belt as “The Belt” and start thinking of the deadlift as different movement that probably needs a different belt. A functional belt must be stiff enough that it doesn’t stretch under the tension applied to it during a heavy pull, so it still has to have some thickness. But it doesn’t need the same width as a squat belt – which was codified at 4-inch/10cm by the IPF in the early days of the organization. A belt for the deadlift works better if it fits better, and this may mean that a 3-inch, 2.5-inch, or even a 2-inch belt at a 10 to 13mm thickness works much better for you as a support that does not interfere with the set-up. And even though it is narrow, it still reinforces the pull quite well.

Right now, few makers offer a selection of narrow belts. Dean Best does, and he does a great job. If more of you ask for them, the market will respond. You may decide to deal with the issue by moving the belt up your waist, and if you’re cheap or just broke, that’s okay too. But give this some thought. A narrower belt for the deadlift will fit easily into your gym bag, and it might immediately help your pull.

T-nation's version of this article appeared 3-31-2014

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The Starting Strength Belt with Blake and Katie from Dominion Strength

Dominion Starting Strength Leather Weightlifting Belt Review: Minimal, Effective, Great Looking Belt

We review free products that we receive and participate in affiliate programs, where we may be compensated for items purchased through links from our site.

See our disclosures page for more information.

Dominion Strength has teamed up with Mark Rippetoe and the guys at Starting Strength to create an exclusive belt for their new affiliate gyms. The Starting Strength Single Ply Weightlifting Belt from Dominion Strengthuses a 7MM thick piece of top grain sole bend leather combined with a seamless roller buckle to create a simple, yet long-lasting weightlifting belt that performs as well as it looks. Although we'd suggest the 10MM thick belt we've reviewed previously, this is a great option for those that like a thinner belt.


Dominion Strength
Dominion 3-Inch Starting Strength Leather Belt
Dominion 3-Inch Starting Strength Leather Belt

Dominion Strength Training is the sole producer of Starting Strength belts. Our belt's design, materials, and construction have been reviewed and approved by Mark Rippetoe to carry his company's brand. We take our relationship with Starting Strength very seriously and are committed to producing the highest quality product possible. Dominion Strength Training Lifetime Replacement Guarantee Our belts are virtually indestructible. If you manage to damage one of our belts for any reason, contact us for a hassle-free replacement, no questions asked.


Shop deal

Dominion Strength is offering yet another quality weightlifting belt option among the many currently on the market. There really has never been a better time to buy a belt for strength training than right now. Not only are there a plethora of options, but due to so much competition in the industry, companies are pricing their belts to sell. The Starting Strength Single Ply Weightlifting Belt from Dominion Strength is a perfect example of this. Not only is the belt built using premium materials, but the belt is right around $100 shipped to your door. The idea behind the belt is similar to the equipment Starting Strength has employed Texas Strength Systems to product for their affiliates–age with the use of the product. So, the belt should begin to develop a nice patina from the oils and sweat off your body as well as conform to your waist area. If you want a minimal, natural leather belt, this is your best option.

What We Like about the Dominion Starting Strength Single Ply Weightlifting Belt

There's something special about using a high-quality piece of equipment—this is especially true for you weightlifting belt. Putting it on should increase your confidence to get under the bar, it should feel stable when strapped across your torso, and you should know that no matter how often you use it, that it's going to perform as well as the first day you got it. My dad was a powerlifter before I was born and as I was a child, but when I started training he passed his belt down to me to start using. I still use the same Inzer Power Belt often and will no doubt be able to pass the belt down to my son. This is what a good belt should give its owner the opportunity to do.

The Dominion Starting Strength Single Ply Weightlifting Belt, although simple, is a belt that has heirloom qualities. First of all, it's extremely simple in its design. Featuring a single piece of treated 6.5-7MM top grain sole bend leather, there is no stitching or glue to come undone and what you see is what you get. No doubt about it, using a single-ply belt is vastly different from a multi-ply belt like what is traditionally used for powerlifting today. It feels less secure, the belt stretches more (especially in the beginning), and it's much more flexible. However, although these are negatives for some, for others they're positives.

The break-in time on the belt is next to nothing (it felt better out of the box than my SBD Belt feels after nearly a year of heavy use) and due to how light and thin it is, I find myself using it for movements I wouldn't normally use a belt for, like bench and overhead press. I've noticed after using the belt through a few workouts that it's stretching less than it did in the beginning, and I expect this to continue to get better over time. Due to the thinness of the belt, it's much more flexible than other power belts you'd find. In fact, although I use this belt for deadlifts, I see it much more suited for bodybuilders or even Olympic Weightlifters (I'd love to see a contoured version of this belt for Olympic Weightlifting.)

The 3" width of the belt I received is designed primarily for pulling. Although I've tested 3" belts for squats, they aren't ideal for my body type. If you have a very short torso, then 3" can work great for squats, but I keep this style of belt for my time on the deadlift platform. Due to how thin the belt is, it's pretty important that the edges are rounded and sanded so the belt doesn't dig into your obliques and stomach. I've noticed Dominion Strength pays attention to the details, which can be seen everywhere from the pressed Starting Strength logo to the buckle system. Although a small detail, the buckle utilizes a seamless roller buckle that's used by pretty much all of the premier belts we've reviewed like from the likes of Pioneer Fitness.

We definitely feel confident in recommending the Dominion Starting Strength Single Ply Weightlifting Belt, however, we'd suggest most people upgrade to a multi-ply belt like the 10MM belt we reviewed here. We like the single-ply for its flexibility, but prefer a stiffer belt for max lifts. If you use a belt for a lot of accessory work or want something a bit more minimal, this is one of your best options.

How Do We Like the Thickness of the Belt?

The Dominion Starting Strength Single Ply Weightlifting Belt is listed as being 6.5-7MM in thickness depending on the cut of top grain sole bend leather used. A traditional power belt is anywhere from 10MM to 13MM (some are even 15MM, which is a bit much in my opinion.) 7MM, although not ideal for powerlifting, still works. Some people simply prefer a thinner, more flexible belt compared to something like the behemoth known as the SBD Belt from which world records have been made. Although for the squat we like both a thicker and wider belt, the 7MM thickness of the Dominion Starting Strength Single Ply Weightlifting Belt feels great. I prefer using the 10MM version but not grossly so. I've found myself switching off between the 10MM and 7MM belts for deadlifts now that I have the option and will likely continue doing so. I like the mental effect of doing heavy warm-ups with the single-ply belt and then switching to the multi-ply belt for heavier sets. Even if it doesn't change anything physically, it does mentally (I also leave my shoes loose until my heavy sets for this same reason.)

How Does the Dominion Starting Strength Belt Compare to the Competition?

There are a ton of good, quality belts on the market today and here's the thing, there's only so much innovation that can come with a metal prong and leather belt. We've seen how Pioneer with Steve Strohm created the Pioneer Cut Belt that allows greater size customizations without decreasing the security of the belt and although that's an innovation, it's still minor. I say this to point out, that you should be looking less for innovation from a weightlifting belt, and more for quality materials from a company with good customer service and a price you like.

The Dominion Starting Strength Belt single ply version comes in both a 4" and 3" version. I've noticed they recently came out with a double ply version for Starting Strength that we'd love to recommend in the 4" variety. The quality of the Dominion Single Ply Starting Strength Belt is about as good as a single ply belt can be made. The leather is high-quality, the roller buckle is made to last, the rivets are strong, and the logo press is done very well. The holes will stretch over time due to the thickness of the leather, but this is what you expect from a belt of this sort. If you want a minimal belt that is single-ply, I see none on the market that are superior to this one. There may be others that offer more customization options, but they're not inherently better performers or longer lasting.

Full Rating

Dominion 3-Inch Starting Strength Leather Belt

Materials Quality – 4.8

Dominion Strength has teamed up with Mark Rippetoe and the guys at Starting Strength to create an exclusive belt for their new affiliate gyms. The Starting Strength Single Ply Weightlifting Belt from Dominion Strength uses a 7MM thick piece of top grain sole bend leather combined with a seamless roller buckle to create a simple, yet long-lasting weightlifting belt that performs as well as it looks. Although we'd suggest the 10MM thick belt we've reviewed previously, this is a great option for those that like a thinner belt.

Where to Purchase


Dominion Strength
Dominion 3-Inch Starting Strength Leather Belt
Dominion 3-Inch Starting Strength Leather Belt

Dominion Strength Training is the sole producer of Starting Strength belts. Our belt's design, materials, and construction have been reviewed and approved by Mark Rippetoe to carry his company's brand. We take our relationship with Starting Strength very seriously and are committed to producing the highest quality product possible. Dominion Strength Training Lifetime Replacement Guarantee Our belts are virtually indestructible. If you manage to damage one of our belts for any reason, contact us for a hassle-free replacement, no questions asked.


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