Pull It Tight, Lift It Right

Chris White


San Luis Obispo, California, United States

Strength and Conditioning, Kettlebells


Dark Iron Collage


The lifting belt is one of the most misused pieces of equipment in the gym. In fact, some manufacturers don’t understand how a belt is supposed to work due to the fact that they construct belts that are wider in the back than the front.



In order to provide some value to this review, I need to help you understand the problems this belt is meant to solve. The whole point of a weight belt is to prevent spinal flexion. Most people think weight belts support the back and help to prevent injury. While that is generally true, the real answer is slightly more complex. Performing certain exercises at near-maximal effort requires you to take in a huge breath, hold it, and exhale only after the exercise is completed. This technique called the Valsalva Maneuver, increases your thoracic abdominal pressure and braces you, allowing you to lift more weight. The increased abdominal pressure for the spine helps to stabilize it which allows for better transmission of force from your hips to the bar. To make a long story short, a lifting belt provides a wall for your abs to push against.


A belt should be 3-4" wide all the way around. If it's much smaller than that, it won't provide much support. If it's much larger than that, it may not fit well between your ribs and hips. The material should be firm so it won’t wear down, which means leather should be the material of choice. The Dark Iron Fitness belt is made of top-quality cowhide that won't stretch out or tear under pressure. It also has a secure, heavy-duty buckle instead of plastic clips or Velcro closures that can break.



Dark Iron Weight Belt Collage


Dark Iron Offers Support

I typically lift 5-6 times per week and typically include Olympic lifts, heavy front and back squats, deadlift variations, and a variety of accessory exercises. I usually perform all of my lifts without any gear such as belts, straps, or wraps unless I am performing reps at 95% or above. I used the Dark Iron belt on one of my heavy squat and deadlift days and it did not disappoint. This belt provided firm support for my body's core, giving me added leverage while reducing the stress on my spine. The buckle and leather guard also provided a comfortable, non-slip fit.


Time will tell if this belt will stand the abuse during countless lifts but if you are in the market for a quality belt, look no further. The Dark Iron belt comes in five different sizes with extra adjustment holes for the perfect fit. It is also compact and lightweight making it easy to tuck away in your gym bag.


This belt would be great when used for Crossfit, body building, weightlifting, powerlifting, and other high intensity training that requires added stabilization. The cost comes in at just over $40 when you include taxes and shipping which is a steal for a well-made leather belt. If you are deciding to take the next step in your exercise routine by adding quality gear, this belt should be at the top of your list.


Dark Iron Fitness Weight Belt At a Glance
Features Made of quality leather with a durable metal buckle and full lumbar support
Sizing 4" wide, comes in five sizes, weighs 1.5 pounds
Pricing Around $40 with tax/shipping - lifetime replacements
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