One of the essential tools for any serious lifter is a lifting belt. Two popular choices are the 10mm belt and the 13mm belt, but they both have their pros and cons. So, which one should you choose?
Today, we’ll take a look at the differences between the 10mm belt and 13mm belt. We’ll look at the pros and cons of each and even leave you with a couple of lifting belts that you can try on your own today. Let’s get started!
What is the Difference Between a 10mm Belt and a 13mm Belt?
The main difference between a 10mm belt and a 13mm belt is the thickness. On average, 13mm belts are around 30 to 35% thicker than 10mm belts. A thicker belt means a harder surface to push against, so 13mm belts provide better support and stability.
On the other hand, the 10mm belt is the more popular lifting belt on the market, because of its ability to fit most body shapes. However, we’ll get more into the details on each difference below:
Time to Break In
The first notable difference lies in the break-in time. A 10mm belt is generally more flexible and easier to break in compared to a 13mm belt. Because there’s less thickness, the 10mm belt will adjust to your body shape faster, which can be anywhere from a few days to a month. On the other hand, a 13mm belt can take longer to break in and you might even need to use some olive oil or rubbing alcohol to act as a lubricant.
Rigidness & Flexibility
Another significant factor to consider is the rigidity and flexibility of the belts. The 10mm belt, being thinner, offers more flexibility, which might be preferred by lifters who need a wide range of motion during exercises like squats or deadlifts. 10mm belts also make it easier to practice proper breathing during the movement. Proper breathing is critical because it can affect how you perform during the exercise.
The 13mm belt, being thicker and stiffer, provides enhanced stability and core support which makes it the preferred lifting belt for heavier weight classes. Ultimately, which belt you choose comes down to your preferred lifting belt tightness. How tight should your lifting belt be? That largely depends on the exercise but the general rule is: the heavier and more demanding the exercise, the tighter you should wear your belt.
While the 13mm belt may be more uncomfortable, it has a superior strength advantage over the 10mm belt. If you’re a powerlifter and you’ve reached a plateau, the 13mm belt might be what you need to help push you over the edge. For the elite powerlifters who have already mastered bracing and form, a 13mm belt can be the key differentiator in how you place at an event.
Generally, 10mm belts are for beginner and intermediate lifters who want to practice exercises like deadlifts and squats. Advanced lifters also use 10mm belts, but may opt for a 13mm belt if they want to lift heavier weight at a consistent pace.
Both 10mm belts and 13mm belts are used to help do compound movements but thanks to the added flexibility of the 10mm belt, you can also do non-powerlifting movements. 13mm belts are only meant for powerlifting exercises, so you can only use the 13mm belt for deadlifts, squats, and bench presses–but stay away from things like barbell rows.
Price is always a consideration when making a purchase. Because of their specialization, material, and thickness, 13mm belts are usually more expensive than 10mm belts. 10mm belts also have a wider offering due to their popularity and they don’t need as much material to produce.
Take a look at what the TuffWraps team has to say about the difference between 10mm belts and 13mm belts:
13mm vs 10mm Belts: Pros and Cons
Both types of lifting belts have the same purpose, but they come with their own benefits and considerations. Take a look below to see the different pros and cons for the 10mm belt and 13mm belt.
10mm Belt Pros
- Offers a comfortable and quick break-in period
- Provides a good balance of support and flexibility
- Suitable for a variety of exercises, including powerlifting and weightlifting
- Often more affordable than 13mm belts
10mm Belt Cons
- Might lack the same level of stability as the 13mm belt for extremely heavy lifts
- May wear out faster over time with heavy and consistent use
13mm Belt Pros
- Provides maximum stability and support for heavy powerlifting movements
- Highly durable and can handle extremely heavy loads
- Ideal for experienced powerlifters and those lifting at near-maximum weights
13mm Belt Cons
- Longer break-in period compared to the 10mm belt
- Less flexible and might restrict movement during certain exercises
- Usually more expensive than 10mm belts
The Best 10mm Belts
If you’re in the market for a 10mm lifting belt, try our suggestion below:
Some key features of this belt include:
- Double-Prong Design
- Manufactured Leather for easy molding
- 4-inch belt
The Best 13mm Belts
If you’re looking for a 13mm weightlifting belt that can holds its own against heavy lifts, here’s our recommendation:
Some key features include:
- Dual-Locking Ring
- Extra-strength Velcro Strap
Should I Upgrade to a 13mm Belt if I Have a 10mm Belt?
You should only upgrade to a 13mm belt if you feel like your 10mm belt isn’t helping you complete the lift at the weight you’re targeting. As we mentioned before, a 10mm belt is more than enough to help you reach your weightlifting goals.
If you’re a powerlifter and lifting near your maximum weight, then a 13mm belt can provide the stability and support needed to get to the next level. However, if you’re a traditional lifter, then a 10mm belt is usually more than enough tol keep up with your training.
Should You Get a 10mm Belt or 13mm Belt?
The choice between a 10mm belt and a 13mm belt ultimately depends on your specific lifting style and goals. If you value comfort, versatility, and a quicker break-in period, the 10mm belt is an excellent choice. On the other hand, a 13mm belt should be used if you’re a competitive powerlifter or prioritize stability and support in your lifts.
Either way, a quality lifting belt can be a valuable investment in your safety and performance, so choose wisely based on what aligns with your individual needs.
Do you have other questions about lifting equipment? Check out our guides here: