The Element 26 Self-Locking Weightlifting Belt is a nylon belt with a quick-lock buckle that makes adjustments fast and easy. It’s ideal for CrossFit, general fitness, and Olympic weightlifting. With a great price and a lifetime warranty, it’s become one of the most popular belts on the market.
Who It’s Right For
Things to Consider
The Element 26 Self-Locking Weightlifting Belt is one of the most well-reviewed and popular weight belts. This belt has been around since 2017, garnering thousands of positive reviews.
I needed to see for myself, so I bought one to test along with dozens of other weightlifting belts.
Using a weight belt correctly can help you lift heavier weights and provide back support by increasing intra-abdominal pressure. It’s a great and affordable gym accessory that’s been around for decades.
The Element 26 Belt is a nylon belt with a quick-adjustment buckle. It’s comfortable and flexible, making it a great option for functional fitness athletes.
This is an affordable belt with multiple color options and a lifetime warranty.
But it’s not for everyone.
In this review, we’ll take a close look at the Element 26 Self-Locking Belt. I’ll share the pros and cons and compare it to other popular options, including the Gymreapers Belt and the 2POOD Weightlifting Belt.
Let’s dig in.
Element 26 Self-Locking Weightlifting Belt
Element 26 was started in 2017 by a doctor of physical therapy and Army veteran to create fitness products that help athletes stay healthy.
Although they sell wraps, straps, sleeves, and more, their weight belt is by far their most popular product.
As someone who has almost exclusively lifted with leather belts over the years, I was excited to try this belt and see how it compared.
While I still prefer a leather belt for my training style, I came away impressed with the Element 26 belt. For CrossFit and other functional movements, it provides a nice blend of support and flexibility.
In addition to being affordable and easy to use, it doesn’t require a break-in period, has no smell, and looks pretty nice too.
That said, rigidity and long-term durability are limitations of this belt style.
Let’s look at the specs and get into the review.
- Material: Nylon
- Locking Type: Velcro
- Width: 4″
- Thickness: 5mm
- Size Range: XS (23″) – XXL (50″)
- Color: Multiple
Build Quality & Features
The Element 26 Belt is generally well-made. I was surprised to see this many stitched reinforcements, which bodes well for long-term durability. While still not as durable or feature-rich as some higher-end leather belts, this belt packs a lot of punch for the money.
The Element 26 Self-Locking Belt is constructed with nylon, making it a flexible but durable belt. It includes a uniform 4″ height throughout, which is the most common belt height. At 4″, it’s comfortable for most lifters and provides ideal support coverage. Shorter belts feel less supportive, while taller belts may dig into your hips or ribs.
This belt is approximately 5mm wide, which is fairly standard for a nylon belt. Like most other budget-friendly nylon belts, the Element 26 belt doesn’t have a foam core. This increases flexibility, making it great for dynamic movements. However, it doesn’t provide the same stiffness as leather belts or more premium nylon options.
The best feature of this belt is the self-locking buckle, which provides double security. By routing the strap around the sliding pin and through the other side, the buckle clinches down automatically. In the event the velcro ever came off during a lift, you’re still secured by the buckle.
On several other nylon belts that don’t have the roller pin, you immediately lose tightness if the velcro comes undone. Operating the self-locking buckle is straightforward, but there was a small learning curve at first. You can also forfeit the pin and wrap the strap directly over the buckle for a faster but less secure fit.
The entire buckle assembly is made of steel. The main buckle has a smooth chrome finish, while the sliding pin has a black knurled surface.
This belt is secured with a velcro strap, which is common with nylon belts. Velcro has advantages and disadvantages when it comes to a weight belt. On the plus side, it’s fast to operate and provides more tightness settings. On the downside, it’s less durable, and you may not get the same tightness each time.
On a leather belt with a lever or prong system, the tightness settings are fixed. With a velcro system, they inherently vary. For example, let’s say I set my velcro belt to a tightness level of 9 and then remove the belt after my set. When I put the belt back on for my next set, I may get a tightness level higher or lower than 9. In other words, it’s not as consistent, but the increased adjustment settings could be a benefit to some lifters.
Both sides of the velcro are reinforced with several stitched seams. Compared to higher-priced nylon belts I’ve tested, this one from Element 26 has even more reinforcements. That said, velcro will eventually lose some of its stick. I haven’t experienced that with this belt yet, but some customers have noted this in reviews. Granted, that was after a lot of use, but it’s something to consider compared to leather belts.
The Element 26 belt has one of the most impressive size ranges for weight belts, with six options from 23″-50″. It’s important to measure around your midsection to find your belt size. Don’t rely on your pant size. You can use a flexible tape measure or wrap a string around your waist, mark the position, and then measure the length.
Element 26 Belt Sizing Chart
- Extra Small: 23″ – 27″
- Small: 27″ – 31″
- Medium: 31″ – 36″
- Large: 36″ – 40″
- Extra Large: 40″ – 45″
- Double Extra Large: 45″ – 50″
It’s also a good idea to size down if you’re in between sizes unless you’re planning on gaining weight. For example, I have a 31″ waist, meaning I could pick a medium or small. I chose the small since it’s easier to make a smaller belt looser than a larger belt tighter.
I’ve used this belt on squats, deadlifts, power cleans, and more. I’m most impressed with its performance on functional movements, bodybuilding exercises, and high-volume/lightweight sets.
When training with heavier loads, I feel the more flexible construction doesn’t provide the level of support I prefer. If you’re lifting heavy, especially on deadlifts and other compound movements, I recommend going with a leather belt or a nylon belt with a foam core (e.g., Rogue USA Nylon Belt or 2POOD Weightlifting Belt).
However, I love the comfort and freedom this belt offers. I have no problem wearing it during dynamic movements, and I prefer it over more rigid belts in some instances. I also like the low-profile shape of the belt, which reduces the risk of the bar making contact with the front.
One of the benefits of nylon belts is that they generally come in various colors. The Element 26 Self-Locking Belt has eight colors, including black, white, OD green, tan, navy, red, pink, and purple.
Some other belts, like the Gym Reapers Quick-Locking belt and 2POOD belt, have a wider color/pattern assortment. For instance, Gymreapers has several camo options, and 2POOD has dozens of unique designs.
Overall, it’s a nice-looking belt. The OD green is true to color, and I like the raised rubber E26 patch.
The Element 26 Self-Locking Belt is one of the most reviewed belts on Amazon. With an average rating of 4.5/5 from thousands of reviews, customers love its easy-to-use lock, comfort, and color options. Most customers were happy with its support, but several reviews pointed out that it wasn’t stiff enough for heavy lifts.
This belt also receives positive feedback at element26.co, where it has an average 4.8/5 rating.
Element 26 offers an impressive lifetime warranty on this belt, which covers issues arising from manufacturer’s defects. Several customers reported a positive experience going through the warranty process, resulting in full replacements at no cost.
To ensure you’re covered, you must register your belt at Element’s website.
Element 26 Self-Locking Belt vs. Gymreapers Quick-Lock Belt
The Gymreapers Quick-Lock Belt is another popular, budget-friendly nylon weight belt. Like the Element 26 belt, it has thousands of positive reviews for all the same reasons.
Ultimately, these are essentially the same belt. Their specs are virtually identical, with color being the only primary difference.
Gymreapers has nine color options vs. eight on the Element 26 belt. While they share a few colors, Gymreapers has a more neutral palette, while Element is a bit more vibrant. Gymreapers also has three camo patterns if that’s something you like.
One thing to keep in mind is that Element 26 shows their XXL going to 50″, while Gymreapers goes up to 49″. That likely won’t make much difference, and all other sizes are the same.
Pricewise, the Gymreapers belt is less expensive by pennies, and they both offer lifetime warranties.
If you’re deciding between these two, I recommend basing your choice on size availability and color.
Element 26 Self-Locking Belt vs. 2POOD Straight Weightlifting Belt
The 2POOD Straight Weightlifting Belt is a higher-end nylon belt. It’s the official belt of USA Weightlifting, and while it has similar specs, there are a few things to point out.
First, the 2POOD belt has a foam core, making it thicker and noticeably more rigid than the Element 26 belt. If you’re lifting heavy weights, you may appreciate the extra support.
Second, the 2POOD belt has more velcro surface area. Where the Element 26 belt has 10.5″ of velcro, the 2POOD belt has 15″. This extra length doesn’t make the belt tighter, but it can reduce the risk of the velcro coming undone.
Third, 2POOD has a much larger design catalog. From standard colors to unique and fun patterns, they’re at the top when it comes to aesthetics. You also have the option to upload your own logo, design, and colors to create something personal.
Both belts use the same quick-lock feature, making them easy to use. However, Element 26 has more reinforcements throughout the belt, including additional stitching through the velcro zone.
Element 26 also has a broader size range by several inches, making it a better choice for small or large-framed lifters.
The 2POOD belt is roughly twice the price of the Element 26 belt. If you need a more rigid structure and have a bigger budget, go with the 2POOD belt. Otherwise, it’s hard to beat the value of the Element belt.
Pros and Cons
- Very budget-friendly with free shipping
- Nylon construction creates a flexible but durable belt
- Self-locking is easy to use and provides double security
- Multiple color options
- Lifetime warranty
- Not as supportive as leather belts for heavy lifting
- Velcro may become less sticky after extended use
The Element 26 Self-Locking Weightlifting Belt uses nylon and a roller buckle to create a flexible, secure, and durable belt. I like the ease of use and appreciate the double security with the buckle and strap. While I found the belt to lack stiffness for heavy deadlifts, I was impressed with its overall performance.
This is an excellent belt for beginners, recreational lifters, or anyone who’s not pushing extreme amounts of weight. I also recommend it to anyone training in CrossFit because of its versatility, quickness, and comfort.
Considering the price and lifetime warranty, it’s hard to find a better deal.
Element 26 Belt Rating
The Element 26 Self-Locking Weightlifting Belt is a budget-friendly nylon belt. Its quick-lock buckle is easy to use and secure. I recommend it for CrossFitters, Olympic weightlifters, and general fitness athletes. For the price and warranty, it’s one of the best belt options on the market.