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Which Lifting Belt Width and Thickness is Best for You?

In this video I go over the differences between a 10mm belt and a 13mm belt. I also touch on the differences between a 3 inch belt and a 4 inch belt. There really isn’t a one size fits all product, so hopefully in this video it will get your brain asking the right questions so that you have the correct information before ordering. The product configuration that I recommend to MOST people is the 10mm 4″ Pioneer Cut or PAL lever from us. That configuration is going to best fit most athletes from beginner to advanced in my opinion.

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Difference between a lever, PAL and prong weight belt buckle?

What is the difference between a lever, PAL and prong weight belt buckle?

We often get asked what the difference between our weight belt buckles are. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Prong Buckle: prong goes through a hole in the opposite end of the belt and the belt tongue goes into a belt loop. Can be either rounded tongue or tapered tongue on opposite end of the buckle. Can either be single prong or double prong – both set at 1” increments. Can also be Pioneer Cut which is a single prong at ½” increment hole spacing. A prong buckle is fixed. Can not move. Example: your everyday jeans belt is most likely a prong belt.
Lever Buckle: is a mechanism you screw on to the belt with two screws on one end of the belt and on the opposite end there are 4 holes in which you hook the lever to. The lever is adjustable, however you have to remove the screws, reset in a different place and reattach the screws. The spacing is in 1” increments.
PAL “Pioneer Adjustable Lever”: is a mechanism you screw on the belt with two screws on one end of the belt and on the opposite end you screw a plate on to the belt with 4 screws. Once you have the PAL fixed to the belt, you hook it to the teeth in the plate. These “teeth” are set at 1/2” increments. You can move it up to 2” per setting. 

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Accessory & Apparel FAQ

What size knee sleeve should I order?

If you measure in between a size on our sizing chart (enter sizing chart link here), please order the next size up. Example: If your calf measures 15.5” order a 2XL.

Do you accept returns on apparel and accessories?

We do accept returns on all UNUSED accessories and apparel as long as it’s within the 14 days of delivery. You will be responsible for any incurring shipping fees.

How do I clean my non-leather wraps/straps?

Spot clean with a mild soap and warm water. Hang to dry. Do not put in washer and dryer or dishwasher.

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How to Choose the Right Weightlifting Belt for You

We get numerous questions on how to choose the right weightlifting belt so we will do our best to explain to you what we have learned and what has been passed down to us over the last 36 years in our family business. This post may touch on some of the aspects of previous posts but stay with me here and be sure to let me know if this helps… AND if you are still unclear about what weight belt to get, you can always contact us and we will help you build your perfect weight belt!

How do I choose the right style of weight belt for me?

There are 4 different styles of weight lifting belts that we offer here at Pioneer.

Power Belt – This belt is 4” (10cm) in width throughout and is, by far, the most popular belt that we produce. Most popularly used for powerlifting due to the maximum surface area to push against in the front. Options will vary and will be discussed at length later.
Training Belt – This belt is either 4” or 6” in the back and tapers to 2.5” in the front. This belt is most popular for Olympic style training and Bodybuilding. This belt comes in various options which I will discuss in length at the end of this post.
Lever Belt – This belt is 4” (10cm) in width throughout and is actually just a spin off on the Power Belt mentioned above. The lever gives the ability to cinch tighter than one would be able to with the standard prong belt and has a quick release feature to unbuckle at the end of the lift.
Bench/Oly Belt – This belt can be anywhere from 2” – 3” in width. This type belt is most commonly used for benching without hindering the arch and is frequently used for smaller athletes when a 4” belt hits the ribs and/or hips. Options later!

How do I choose the correct thickness for my weight lifting belt?

Here are the different thickness options available:

10mm – 10mm belts are our best seller and tend to have the best reviews from customers. This is also the belt thickness I recommend to almost everyone due to its feel, functionality, and support. These belts, from all manufacturers (to my knowledge), take into consideration the thickness of the suede used to get to the 10mm of thickness. Two pieces of suede (combined) can be anywhere from 1.5mm thick to almost 4mm depending on the supplier. Our belts are made from a single piece of leather that is approximately 7mm thick and then covered in suede, which brings the total thickness to 10mm. Some manufacturers make their 10mm belts with two pieces of leather and two pieces of suede.
6.5mm – 6.5mm belts are the thinnest belt we make. They are very pliable and comfortable, but they are also the least supportive option. For many general trainees, this thickness offers the best blend of support and comfort. All of our 6.5mm belts are made from a single, solid piece of sole leather.
13mm – 13mm belts are meant for the maximum amount of support but generally are the least comfortable. This thickness is most commonly purchased by competitive powerlifters or anyone that is looking for a more rigid and sturdy belt. 13mm belts with no suede will offer the most support because the leather is the maximum legal thickness for most federations. Please note that a 13mm belt with suede on both sides is about 9-10mm of leather thickness and covered in suede to reach the 13mm goal.

What are the options for customizing my weightlifting belt?

Untreated – Untreated belts are just like they sound: untreated, raw leather. These belts are cut from the bend, split, skived, and assembled. They are the most cost effective belt we offer. These do not have camo, suede or any other upgrades.
Treated – Treated belts are bare leather soaked in our proprietary blend of fish and mineral oils which help soften the leather and give it a darker finish. This is a very popular option and IMO makes the best product.
Stitched – This option is purely cosmetic on a 6.5mm belt and offers nothing more to the functionality or durability of the products. All suede, camo, or 13mm belts will have stitching included as this is one of two procedures that keep the belt together.
Single Suede – First and foremost, suede belts can be customized with embroidery. This is something that we specialize in and have had great feedback because of. We use very expensive and heavy garment suede that is usually around 1.5mm-2mm thick (keep that in mind when choosing your belt). Suede offers no support so, to be honest, it offers nothing more than aesthetics to the product if it is on the outside only.
Double Sided Suede – This is the most popular style because it is the most stylish. Every manufacturer offers a double suede belt. Suede on both sides covers any flaws in the leather and just makes for a badass belt. This option can be fully customized with the option to have different colors on the inside and out, and it can be embroidered. Remember that if you choose a 13mm double suede belt, you are getting 9mm-10mm of leather (support) and the 3mm-4mm is the suede that was mentioned in the Thickness section.
Embroidery – This is what we are quickly becoming known for. We can embroider your name, gym logo, or any other image you want on a belt which is appealing to all. We do not put our logo or company name on anything so you can truly make a belt that is YOURS!
Stitch Color – Your options here are extensive and each one can really make your custom belt stand out. Stitch color will not affect the belts performance, but can drastically change the look so be careful on your choice here!
Edging – Edging is something that comes standard with most belt companies, but I wanted to make it an option for you since this is YOUR belt! This is our most popular option and can really finish off the belt.
Powder Coated Hardware – Everyone has Nickel plated buckles and levers so we decided to expand our offerings. We now have levers and buckles in a matte black finish!

Building your perfect weight belt

Use the information above to help you during the process. If you want a cheap and durable belt to last you a long time, go with a simple 6.5mm power belt in treated or untreated raw leather one. If you want to show off in the gym or on the platform, get a suede, camo, sparkle or dyed belt and customize it as crazy as you want. Remember to take in account your torso height and training goals at all times before you spend the money on a belt you don’t need. I will always be available (during normal business hours) to answer any questions or to help you figure out what is best for you!