A weightlifting belt may not have a long list of features, but it’s a valuable tool that can help keep you safe, stable, and supported during your training sessions. As a longtime rugby player and strength athlete, I’ve been using a powerlifting model from EliteFTS that’s withstood plenty of punishment over the last eight years without sustaining any tears. But even though investing in a fully leather belt can be expensive, you don’t have to spend $150 (or more) to enjoy a more secure lifting experience. Enter the Element 26 Hybrid Weightlifting Belt — an affordable option that combines the stability of a leather belt with the flexibility of a nylon one.
In this Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt review, you’ll learn how a company started by a doctor of physical therapy and a US Army veteran developed a cost-effective solution to solve the problem of having to select between two different styles of belts.
- The Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt pairs premium leather with high-quality nylon to give you the best of both belt material worlds, as the former offers superior stability and the latter adds extra comfort.
- The velcro strap and self-locking buckle system keep you well-secured so you can safely perform deadlifts, squats, and other heavy lifts with more confidence.
- This self-locking weightlifting belt is versatile enough to be used by powerlifters training to hit PRs to CrossFit enthusiasts crushing dynamic Olympic lifts like power cleans and snatches.
Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt Pros
- Element 26 offers this hybrid weightlifting belt in five different sizes, which means most lifters should have no trouble finding one that fits comfortably around their belly buttons. From extra small (23 to 27 inches) to extra large (40 to 45 inches), there’s a wide range of options for lifters of all sizes.
- The self-locking mechanism allows for smooth transitions between sets. You can easily unlock the buckle and adjust the strap to take the belt off while you rest, and it stays securely in place when you’re ready to lift.
- At around $60, this versatile weightlifting belt represents excellent value. Although it’s significantly cheaper than a fully leather belt, it’s made of high-quality materials that protect your lower back and core during heavy lifts and other athletic movements.
Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt Cons
- A fully leather belt will provide superior stability to this hybrid version from Element 26. If you want the most support, the SBD 13MM Lever Belt is one of the best weightlifting belt options for powerlifters and athletes who train with heavy loads. Just be prepared to pay north of $300 once you include shipping and taxes.
- While our testing team felt comfortable using the self-locking buckle, a belt with a lever buckle system may provide an extra layer of assurance and security. However, this comes down to a matter of personal preference.
- The uniform four-inch width of the Element 26 Hybrid Belt could cause discomfort for some athletes. Because it’s not tapered in the front, the belt can cause some breathing restrictions, depending on your body position.
Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt Specs
|Premium leather belt wrapped in nylon
|XS, S, M, L, and XL
Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt Rating
The weight belt world includes a wide variety of build materials, designs, and uses. Our Breaking Muscle team of certified personal trainers, CrossFit loyalists, and strength and conditioning coaches have collectively performed thousands of reps of squats, deadlifts, and other exercises over the years wearing dozens of different weight belts. After training with them extensively, we used a proprietary scoring system to rank them based on factors such as design, durability, and versatility.
Here’s how the Element 26 Hybrid Weightlifting Belt scored.
|Rating (out of 5)
|Design and colors
|Construction and materials
Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt In-Depth Review
Before you make room for the Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt in your gym bag, you’ll want to make sure it’s the best fit for your style of training. After all, even though it can be used for different types of workouts, you may prefer the fit and feel of a tapered belt or the stability and security of a thicker one. We’ll take a closer look at key components like value, versatility, and durability so you can complete the checkout process with zero worries and 100 percent confidence.
Price and Value
Available on element26.co and Amazon for $59.97, this hybrid weightlifting belt won’t make a huge dent in your gym equipment budget. In fact, you could easily spend double that amount to get a fully leather belt specifically suited for powerlifting — such as the 13mm Forever Lever Belt by Izner — which costs about $140.
While investing that type of money may get you maximum durability and stability, it may not be necessary. Since the Element 26 Hybrid Weightlifting Belt brings the best of both worlds by using leather and nylon, you can perform just about any type of workout without having to worry about a lack of support. At about $60 and capable of handling nearly anything you throw its way, this belt earns 4.5 out of 5 stars for price and value.
Design and Colors
It’s easy to see why so many users enjoy the design of the Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt. At six millimeters thick, it has sufficient girth to support your core and lower back. Plus, a four-inch-wide profile makes it well-suited for performing squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.
How do those measurements stack up against other weightlifting belts? Rogue’s USA Nylon Lifting Belt is just a hair thicker (6.35 millimeters), with the same four-inch-wide profile on the front and sides and a slightly wider (five-inch) back. Meanwhile, even though the fully leather SBD 13mm Lever Belt features a uniform four-inch-wide design like the Element 26 belt, it’s substantially thicker, measuring 13 millimeters.
Most importantly, Element 26 paired a self-locking buckle with a velcro strap to provide security and peace of mind. While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with nylon belts, relying solely on velcro to keep you locked in while you lift can be risky. Rather than taking any chances of the belt coming undone during a deadlift or a squat, Element 26 doubled down by designing an easy-to-use system that our testing team highlighted as one of the belt’s standout features.
Unfortunately, Element 26 didn’t get creative when it came to color choices. Available only in black, their hybrid belt won’t capture much attention from a visual standpoint. Ultimately, though, the user-friendly design helps it earn 4 out of 5 stars in this category.
Construction and Materials
Don’t let the relatively cheap price tag fool you. Element 26 built this hybrid weightlifting belt to last by using high-quality materials, including 100 percent premium leather and premium nylon. Heavy-duty stitching near the top and bottom edges provides added reinforcement — along with a nice visual touch.
Meanwhile, the self-locking buckle and heavy-duty Velcro strap give two layers of protection during your workouts. Overall, our testing team found the Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt to be well-constructed and more than capable of serving as your only belt for years to come. All in all, it earned 4.5 out of 5 stars in this area.
Having the ability to quickly tighten or loosen your weightlifting belt can make a major difference in how smoothly and efficiently your workout goes. Thankfully, our testing team enjoyed a stress-free experience adjusting the Element 26 belt during their training session.
The velcro strap inserts into the self-locking buckle to ensure the belt doesn’t come loose. Yet even though the system is ultra-secure, the strap is easy to adjust so you can take the belt off and catch your breath between sets. This also comes in handy during CrossFit-style workouts, as you can quickly remove the belt while making a seamless transition from one movement to the next. In addition, the ability to make the belt as tight as you want allows for even pressure distribution and better breathability.
With no issues tightening, loosening, or removing the belt entirely, it earns 5 out of 5 stars for adjustability.
Thanks to its hybrid leather-nylon design, this is where this belt truly shines. Both beginners and professionals will appreciate the ability to use this belt for everything from powerlifting to CrossFit-style training that requires more movement and agility. Our testing team found that the belt provided adequate lower back support for heavier lifts while still retaining enough flexibility to protect your abdominal muscles and core during WODs and other types of generalized strength and conditioning work.
Does that necessarily mean this belt is the best for powerlifting? A fully leather version that’s at least a few millimeters thicker, such as the Rogue 10mm Lever Weightlifting Belt, will outshine this Element 26 belt in that area. Plus, because most powerlifting federations stipulate that a belt must have a prong or lever-style adjusting mechanism, you cannot use the Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt in sanctioned competitions. However, a thick, heavy-duty powerlifting belt will likely be too rigid and uncomfortable to perform CrossFit workouts, Olympic weightlifting, and functional fitness activities.
On the other hand, a nylon weightlifting belt won’t give the same stability and support as a leather one. So, Element 26 did well to design a hybrid version that can serve multiple purposes at a rock-solid level. Checking the box for versatility, this belt easily earns 5 out of 5 stars.
Element 26 had maximum durability in mind by crafting the belt from 100 percent premium leather. A resilient material that can withstand the toll of being used time after time, I can attest to the toughness and durability of leather, as my powerlifting belt has held up well for nearly a decade. That should give you plenty of confidence about investing in a belt that’s not only sturdy but also versatile.
And if you have any worries about the belt’s ability to hold up over the long haul, Element 26 includes a lifetime warranty. Although the policy does not cover normal wear and tear, it does cover any manufacturing defects. Overall, this belt earned 4.5 out of 5 stars for durability.
Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt vs. 2POOD
At just north of $50, you won’t find many belts that can compete with the versatility and value of the Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt. Still, it’s impossible to ignore another strong contender in the sub-$100 category: 2POOD.
Their four-inch-wide weightlifting belt comes in at a similar price point ($65 on Amazon; $50 on their website as part of a Black Friday sale) and is compliant with USA Weightlifting standards. Available in six sizes (XXS to XL), the 2POOD belt features their WODClamp™ locking system, which reinforces the velcro and adds security and support.
However, unlike Element 26, 2POOD did not incorporate leather into the design. Instead, they used a combination of velcro and Cordura nylon to give you the flexibility to lift heavily and still be able to move around without restrictions. That tradeoff may not suit you if you primarily focus on powerlifting-style workouts, as leather provides superior stability. Yet with an average rating of 4.6 stars on Amazon, it’s clear 2POOD’s cross-training belt has left a strong impression on hundreds of satisfied customers.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for maximum support for heavy lifting, your best bet is to go the Element 26 route. If you’re more concerned about general protection for more dynamic workouts, the 2POOD nylon lifting belt will get the job done for about the same cost.
Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt Customer Reviews
Element 26 hit a home run by releasing a belt that accommodates such a wide range of users. Receiving widespread praise for its user-friendly design, the Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt has earned a rating of 4.6 stars based on 113 Amazon reviews as of the time of this publication.
One customer appreciated the ability to make small adjustments and that the belt worked great for heavier lifts. Another satisfied user pointed out that the belt provided “plenty of support for an amateur lifter.” Overall, many liked the combination of rigid leather with comfortable nylon (plus the velcro strap).
However, a few reviews mentioned the belt’s thickness (or lack thereof) as a potential drawback, noting that this model from Element 26 is not as thick as a traditional powerlifting belt. This is an important factor to keep in mind if you primarily focus on the big three lifts.
Final Verdict: Is the Element 26 Hybrid Leather Weightlifting Belt Worth It?
Based on its high-quality construction, and excellent versatility, the Element 26 Hybrid Weightlifting Belt deserves a spot in your gym bag. Capable of being used for WODs or heavy lifting sessions, it provides plenty of lower back and core support without being overly restrictive. If you’re looking to invest in one belt that suits multiple styles of training, this well-priced model from Element 26 will certainly get the job done.
To protect your lower back and provide better stability during your lifts, you should position the Element 26 Hybrid Weightlifting Belt around your belly button. Pull the strap through the self-locking mechanism, loop it back through, and tighten the belt until it creates intra-abdominal pressure. Then, use the velcro strap to secure everything together.
A hybrid lifting belt can be used for traditional strength exercises like the squat, deadlift, and bench press, as well as Olympic lifts and CrossFit-style workouts that are more dynamic. While there are belts specifically designed for powerlifting that are thicker and fully made of leather, they’re also more expensive. On the other hand, fully nylon belts don’t provide sufficient support for heavy lifts, making a hybrid one a great choice for many athletes and home gym owners.
The primary factors you should keep in mind when choosing a belt size are your weight, waist width, and the type of exercises you want to perform with the belt. You should be able to squeeze your index finger between you and the belt, which means you have sufficient space to breathe out and still be able to brace your core.
Also, remember that powerlifting belts tend to be thicker and more rigid than their hybrid or Olympic-style counterparts. For a detailed sizing chart, visit the element26.co website.