Rogue Ohio Weightlifting belt one year review
All in all the best all purpose weightlifting belt I have seen in the market from a solid company with good client feedback. I have used mine for a year for squats up to a 150kg / 330lbs and I am all around satisfied. If you look at cost per use and lifetime of the belt the initially seemingly high price diminishes to cents.
What is the rogue weightlifting belt ?
As the name suggests it is a belt made by the american based company rogue to support you while you lift heavy stuff. Rogue Fitness is a producer of a broad arrangement of fitness products especially geared towards crossfitters and home gym enthusiasts who focus on using free weights. The products are American made and Rogue prides itself in good quality. So far i can attest for that based on my purchases with only one minor exception.
The belt comes in five sizes which range from S to XXL. I am personally 185cm tall and between 85kg to 89kg depending on the day. I bought my piece of leather from rogue in M and usually use it between the third and fourth hole depending on how tight I want to go.
On their website rogue describes the vegetable tanning process which cowboys use. I personally do not know whether this is just a good piece of marketing, but the belt is one of the best pieces of leather which touched my hands so far and still is after a year of use. The wear and tear is minimal and I have it in regular use. From my piece you can also see that at least parts of the production process are by hand, as not everything is perfectly even(which sounds bad but is actually a good thing for leather).
How do you use it ?
The belt can be used for all the main compound lifts, the deadlift, the bench press and the squat. I also use it for heavy overhead presses. I can personally not comment on how to use it with gym machines, although I like that thought to be a rather silly one. You may need to do this due to medical conditions, in which case i apologise sincerely.
I always keep the buckle in the middle of my abdominal wall for all lifts pointing straight ahead. I have seen people wearing them with the buckle slightly off to the right or the left. I think the more your navel comes forward you will tend to have it a bit off to avoid uncomfort / injury. Luckily my midwife / doctor did a proper job as I am personally not a huge fan of outwards facing navels.For setup: Find a place that is comfortable for you, but at the same time provides maximum stability for your lifts.
For all mentioned lifts except the deadlift i like to wear the belt slightly above my hips. For the deadlift I like it slightly under my rib cage and therefore higher than for the rest.
You close the buckle before starting your exercise (obviously, but as McDonald's has to point out that their coffee is hot it might be relevant to point out to buckle up first for the belt to do it's job). I aim to have the belt tight enough to brace my abdominal wall against it to produce tension, but not so tight that I feel like being squashed. Save the all out tightness crazy stuff for once in a lifetime personal record events or if you want to fit into your wife's wedding dress on a binge.
Do your set while bracing against the belt. Once finished take it off and give yourself the well earned 1 - 3 minute break before the next set.
When do you use it ?
Not on all sets. I like my warm up and my deload weeks on Jim wendler 5/3/1 to be beltless. My work sets are belted. This depends on the program you are running, but warm up sets or whenever you go "light" take the belt off. This ensures that you will not become too dependant on the belt and only use it near one repetition maximum.
For those number crunchers out there I usually start to use a belt when I lift more than 70% of my one repetition maximum or in the 50 - 70% range when I do more than five repetitions to minimize the beating my lower back takes.
Why do you use it ?
Because it is generally allowed in competition and enables you to train harder for longer to get to your results quicker. A belt will also make it less likely that you will disembowle yourself or get a hernia on your heavy lifts. Don't be frightened this is not a daily result of lifting but has happened and is unfortunately some of the stuff that gets the most views and likes on YouTube.
Additionally your spine is more protected from injury in my personal opinion. Irish doctors might disagree as you can read on the website of the mayo clinic. However I doubt that most general practioners ever even attempted a deadlift. If you lift more than me, are a doctor of medicine and have proof that lifting belts do not protect your spine from injury on heavy deadlifts and squats, please provide a comment below.
I have lifted with and without one. I lift more, easier and feel more secure with a belt. This is commonly shared by other lifters as they are worn wherever they are allowed. You seldomly see a competitive weightlifter, powerlifter or strongman not opting for a belt, when the rules allow it. Only difference is usually the make of the belt depending on the purpose it has to fullfill.
How often do you use it?
Roughly for ½ to 1/3 of my lifts depending on the program I am on. 2 – 4 days a week also in correlation with how I distribute my lifting. At time of writing I use it for Mondays and Tuesdays for My Jim Wendler 5/3/1 cycle. When I was on Stronglifts 5x5 I used it three days a week and four days a week when I started Jim Wendler (I switched the routine up a bit, basically getting done more in less time).
Even though the weightlifting belt comes seemingly at a high price tag it is one of my most used items in my gym bag beside my Rich Froning Knee Wraps from Rehband and my Gangsta wrist wraps from Mark Bell. If you break the investment down on cost per use, this is a steal.
What other products are out there which do something similar?
There is a long list of different belts out there which are offered at various price ranges. I do not want to go into all of them and therefore narrow it down to one group of belts and one brand of belts which you should consider beside the rogue lifting belts.
The group of lifting belts I refer to are the ones which you get for free with a supplement shipment, lie around your local gym, are wider at the back than at the front, are made of something else than good quality leather and / or have two prongs. I would discourage you to get one of those as I most often see them to dissolve quick, be cumbersome in their handling or not provide the support for heavy lifts. The last thing you want is that your buckle opens or the belt gives in during a one repetition maximum squat. Please consider this scenario before buying a belt just because it’s cheaper or more comfortable on your kidneys when you squat down...
Some good alternatives to the rogue ohio belt are other belts of Rogue which are single purpose built. They have a powerlifting belt in their portfolio which is thicker and comes in at 13mm and an Olympic weightlifting belt which is cut out at the front so that the buckle is not in the way of the second pull. (You know what I am talking about if you need this belt, otherwise don’t bother).
The other big player in the belt industry is Inzer. I can not comment personally on the quality of these belts as I do not own one, but they are commonplace especially amongst powerlifters. Their main product has a different buckle design than the rogue Ohio belt which makes it easier to get in and out of the belt via a clip system. This has to be adjusted with a screwdriver and is therefore only practical for individual use. The Ohio belt could also be owned by a gym for several people. I do not see how that would work with the Inzer system. The buckle itself can get in the way of Olympic lifts as it looks. There are other options than this on the Inzer website too. Feel free to check them out as an alternative as the prices and the broad use seem to indicate that you will also get something which is worth its money from their end.
Who should use the rogue lifting belt?
Anyone who is serious about lifting and squats more than their own bodyweight should look into getting a belt in my personal opinion. So if your aim is to get strong and build muscle with free weights you will need it about 6 - 12 month into your progress depending on how much effort you will put in.
For everyone else whose main focus is agility and endurance this is not a must have, as they can do better with good quality skipping ropes, kettlebells and the like which are also available through Rogue.
How much do you have to invest ?
The Rogue Ohio belt comes in at 108$/85€. The Olympic lifting version at 115$/90€ and powerlifting version at 123.55$. The Ohio Belt and the Olympic belt seem to be made of the same leather and I can vouch for the quality based on my one year of use. I can not comment on the powerlifting belt, as the material is thicker and of different make. If you want to help me to improve this post, please leave a comment below for others, in case you own a Rogue Powerlifting belt. They are quite new in the portfolio as of time of writing and so is the Oly belt (about three months roughly), so expect more feedback coming out soon.
I think it is fair to charge 5€ extra for the oly belt, as there is one more production step involved (cutting out the front bit) and to charge about 10% more for a belt that has 2mm more of material compared to the Ohio, but I let you be the final judge of that for your own purchase.
The powerlifting belt is not distributed in the EU yet. Usually Rogue fixes that once they ship a container of the produce to Finland. I keep you posted on developments (by the way if Rogue reads this, I am definetly in the market for a 13mm belt).
How long does the belt last ?
If it lasts for a year under heavy load, which it did, there is nothing pointing towards that this fine piece of leather will not last you for a very long time if used to purpose. Of course, if you decide to tow a truck with it, that might work, but don't contact Rogue support for a replacement.(which also might even work, based on what i read about them)
Would you recommend it to a friend ?
If serious about strength you need this or an Inzer belt. I can not recommend Inzer as I do not own one, therefore absolutely Rogue Ohio it is. Especially as it can be used towards powerlifting, weightlifting and all members of a gym / family alike, if need be. That does not necessarily hold true for the focus solution of Inzer which needs a screwdriver for adjustments.
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