Great size. Look thick. Solid. Tight.
These are first words that entered my mind when I took the Inzer Forever 13mm lever belt out of the box.
Actually, I intended to order a single prong belt, but I’m glad I made the mistake of purchasing the lever belt because the lever buckle is so convenient. It’s super easy to tighten and loosen the belt in between sets.
This belt is measured on a metric & Imperial scale. It’s 13mm thick, which is a little over half an inch. It’s also described as 4” wide from top to bottom, which interestingly enough is an Imperial system of measurement.
Why do they use the metric system for thickness, and then use the Imperial system for width??? I have no idea. It’s confusing!
Why I Needed A New Belt
Before I decided on the Inzer Forever 13mm belt, I was using the Schiek Power Leather Contour Belt (Model L2004). But I’ve read that the maximum width for a belt in powerlifting competitions is 4”, and the Schiek belt is 4-3/4" wide at the back. This prompted me to upgrade my belt to something that would conform to the rules of powerlifting.
Just to let you know, I’m the type of person who likes to buy quality items that will last me forever. Whatever it is, it may be more expensive upfront, but if it’s well constructed, it will end up being cheaper in the long run.
Coincidentally, the Inzer Forever 13mm lever belt is appropriately named for the types of products I like to buy - stuff that lasts Forever!
Here’s a couple of pictures below comparing the Inzer Forever 13mm belt to the Schiek L2004 belt. Notice the difference in the thickness:
Ordering An Inzer Belt In Canada
Although I could have ordered the belt through the official Inzer website, I decided not to because I have read on a few forums that ordering from the official Inzer website resulted in the common-but-ridiculous UPS brokerage fees for Canadians.
I’ve also read some horror stories about people ordering from the official Inzer website, and not receiving their products for several weeks.
I wanted to avoid any brokerage fees and excessive delays, so through a Google search I found the website InnerStrengthProducts.ca, who are a distributor of Inzer products in Canada. They were quick to communicate via email, and shipping was fast too (I ordered on Sunday February 26, 2012 and it arrived 6 business days later on Monday March 5, 2012).
The belt was $100, and taxes/shipping was $19.97.
When I opened the box, there was a super thick, super hard leather belt. This thing was really stiff and felt like a 2x4 when I first took it out!
The total length of this belt is 36”, or 3 feet. There are 12 notches which are spaced about 1” apart.
Enclosed in a sealed plastic bag were the metal lever buckle, a metal plate with 2 holes in it, and a couple of screws.
There wasn’t any instructions in the box, but attaching the lever buckle to the belt itself was simple and intuitive.
I wanted to get a 10mm belt, but InnerStrengthProducts.ca only sold the 13mm version.
I’ve read that 13mm is suited for very large lifters, but I’ve also read a few forum posts of people who are similar to my size who have no problems with a 13mm thick belt.
With this in mind, I went ahead and ordered the 13mm belt.
My waist is about 36-37”, and going by the Inzer website, that would put me in a large (34-38”). For some reason, I ordered a medium (30-33”)! I do not know why, but luckily for me the belt fits me fine as long as I use the last 2 holes on the belt.
Also, I can re-position the lever buckle on the belt to make it fit someone with a smaller waist.
Here’s a video of how the lever belt works:
As you can see, it’s super easy and super fast to tighten and loosen the belt.
Much easier than with a single or double prong belt.
By far my favorite part of the Inzer Forever belt is the lever buckle.
Tightening the belt before a set and loosening it in between sets is really easy and takes no effort at all.
Compared to a single or double prong belt, it can sometimes be a struggle to tighten the belt down to the right hole. What I used to do with my Schiek belt is suck in my gut and use brute force to pull the belt until it was tight enough for my liking.
Inserting the prongs into the holes of the belt sometimes took a few tries. Often times it would seem tight enough, but then I would inhale and the belt would loosen, forcing me to re-tighten the belt again. This Schiek belt is double pronged, so I would need to make sure I get both prongs in the holes, which added an extra bit of pain-in-the-ass-ness to the whole process.
After sucking in my gut, holding my breath while using my arm power to tighten the belt, and coordinating the double prongs into the double holes, I had to take a short break before my set simply because I felt a little winded from putting on my weightlifting belt!
I’m not sure how long this whole process took me on average, but multiplied by the number of sets I use a belt, and the number of times I workout in my lifetime, it would add up to a lot of wasted time and effort.
But with the lever buckle, I can tighten and loosen the Inzer Forever belt with my pinky in about 1 second.
Resizing The Belt
The great thing about the lever buckle is that I can unscrew it, reposition it on another pair of holes on the belt for another person.
This process takes about 2 minutes more or less. All you need to do is unscrew the 2 holes from the back of the belt that is attaching the metal lever to the leather belt, reposition to the desired location, and screw it back in.
Is 13mm Too Thick?
Short answer: No.
At first, I was concerned that a 13mm belt would be too thick for my size and the weight I was using. 10mm seems to be the norm for most people, but from what I read, it doesn’t appear that those who purchased the 10mm Forever belt have tried a 13mm.
After using this belt for about a month, I can say that the 13mm thickness works fine.
So if it works fine for me (5’4” ~200lbs) it should be fine for most people.
Breaking In The Belt
I thought I had to break in the belt, but apparently this applies to non-lever belts.
In actuality, the belt did not need to be broken it. It was ME that needed to be broken in!
At first, wearing this super thick, super stiff belt was very uncomfortable. But after wearing it on and off around the house for a few days, and re-adjusting the tightness of the belt a few times (I had it too tight at first) I got used to it.
During sets of deep squats, I still get bruises on my hip bone (Illiac crest area). But I do not notice this until AFTER the set. During the set, I’m focused on getting the weight up and not being pinned while squatting.
It took a few workouts to get used to this belt.
At first, I had it on too tight, and I felt light headed just walking around! I had to unscrew the lever buckle and reattach it to the last 2 notches on the belt, and it was a perfect fit.
When I first started wearing the Inzer Forever lever belt, I had the belt positioned too high around my waist. This caused my stomach fat below the belt to gradually compress as I descended into the squat.
This was VERY painful.
All I needed to do was push the belt down so that the bottom of the belt was just above my Illiac crest. I no longer have that uncomfortable and painful feeling of pinched stomach fat while I squat, but I do have bruises on my hips and red marks on the sides of my waist after a workout.
My core feels tight during all my lifts (squat, deadlift, overhead presses etc). There is no give with this belt even if I try forcing my body to lean forward, unlike my older Schiek belt.
If I’m pressing and taking the bar out of the rack, I’ll wear the Inzer belt.
However, I’ll wear my old Schiek belt if I’m power cleaning (or power reverse curling) the bar before pressing it overhead. The reason why is because I’m paranoid of smashing the bar into the lever buckle and breaking it while I lower the barbell from my shoulders. It’s unlikely to happen, but that possibility is completely eliminated if I wear another belt.
Also by wearing my old belt instead of the new Inzer belt, I’m making use of it rather than let it collect dust in the corner of my home gym.
Here’s the Inzer Forever belt in recent action:
I am concerned about the lever buckle eventually breaking. I’ve been told the lever buckle eventually will break, and have seen pictures online of broken buckles.
Apparently Inzer does have a guarantee on their products:
“If your buckle breaks you can get a replacement lever from them for the cost of shipping.”
However, this can be a hassle and I’m not sure how much shipping would be for the replacement lever to Canada.
They do sell replacement buckles at around $25.
But even though there’s a chance of the lever buckle breaking in the future, the time saved and convenience of quick and easy tightening and loosening of the belt is worth the potential expense of a replacement buckle.
Lever buckle makes tightening the belt quick and easy before a set. It also allows me to loosen the belt after a set.
13mm is fine for me, and I’m not very big.
If you want to upgrade your existing belt like I did, or buy your first belt, the Inzer Forever lever belt will probably be your last.