Saturday, March 10, 2012

EFS Lever Belt Review

I've been wanting to do this review for a while and finally sat done and got it done. When Elite Fitness first started carrying this belt it was on sale. I believe it ended up being less  than $40 shipped to my house. Even so, I'm going to pull no punches. That's cheap for a belt but it's  not that cheap. Even though this is half the price of most belts I was expecting  more. In hindsight I should have just gone with a normal priced belt from Inzer or BestBelts or some  place like that. Read on for the full review.



THE GOOD

Well, it's the same width around the whole belt, 4 inches. So at least the size is right. It's not one  of those stupid Valeo belts that are like 2 inches in the front and then widen up in the back. The lever  system is nice as well. It's so much easier to take off than a double prong belt. You don't have to  fight with trying to get the belt on and tight before a heavy set so all your energy can go toward  lifting the weight. Just lock it down and get under the bar. Though to be fair we're not even talking  about things specific to this belt but rather general technology of belts in general. It's a 4 inch  lever belt. Unfortunately that's really all I can say in terms of "the good" with this belt. And before  we move on, know that I've had this belt for months and have done all I can to break this thing in,  including the unothadox techniques of strapping it down rolled into the tighest coil possible and  throwing it in the washing machine several times. I'm sorry, but you can't really break in plastic.  Plastic? yeah, read on.

THE BAD

This belt is not all leather. It's two layers of leather with a plastic stiffener sandwiched in between.  This obviously makes the belt very stiff, and it makes it so that no amount of working it is going to  get it as broken in as a normal all leather belt. Now you could argue that this is the purpose of such a  belt but this is my biggest complaint then. WHERE ON THE DAMN WEBSITE DOES IT MENTION THAT THIS IS A  PLASTIC STIFFENED BELT? Nowhere, that's where. I would not have bought it if that was the case, and  perhaps I should have sent it back straightaway. But this isn't a review about my sense as a consumer.

Perhaps in Ohio "same" means "different."
The text on the product page says it's "very similar to the Economy Single Prong Belt." And the video  posted on their website says this is the "same" belt as their Single Prong Economy Belt, except this one  has a lever action. Joking aside, it's clear that what they mean is the construction is the same. This implies that  the Economy Single Prong is also plastic stiffened, so be wary of that if you're considering that belt.

In contrast to that, here's the text off the Inzer website: "All Inzer Forever Belts ™ are one solid thickness of the finest,  select, exclusive leather. It is not layers glued together cheaply to make thickness as some other  brands." You know what else it is not? It's not made of plastic. At $40 I wouldn't care if the belt was layers  of leather glued together. But why don't you just say it's plastic stiffend on the website EFS?

Inzer Forever Lever Belt. Look ma, no plastic!
Complaint number two: this all might be fine if you're a big and/or fat guy, but smaller and leaner guys  will probably not like the belt as much. Because of the plastic it stays really rigid. It doesn't  conform well. If you have a quite rotund shape this might be fine. And the extra padding you have from  all that fat would also help. But if that doesn't sound like you this is not going to be a comfortable  belt, and no amount of attempts to "break it in" is going to change that thanks to the thick layer of  plastic in the center.

Now it's possible I'm just a small guy. Maybe the proportions of my torso are smaller than average.  Maybe I don't have enough room between my ribs and hips. Or maybe they shouldn't even bother selling  these belts in anything less than XL. I bought Large, if I remember correctly. This worked a lot better  when I was 25 lbs. fatter. Even though I still had bruises from the belt and that isn't just a right of  breaking it in because you can't really break this damn thing in. Sure to an extent. You can get it to  the point where you can actually use it. It doesn't come that way. But after that it's just not going to  get more broken in, and that sucks when you weren't expecting such a belt. Despite the fact that the  belt can be adjusted small enough to fit me now it's just nowhere near flexible enough to fit the way  one would want it to. And without the fat to cushion things it's even worse.

THE UGLY

This thing isn't ugly actually. It looks nice enough. The fact that EFS doesn't list the proper  information on their website is pretty ugly though. And the bruises it leaves on a leaner guy, well  those kinda look cool to be honest.

IN CONCLUSION

This seems like it might be okay for a fat lifter moving a ton of weight. Someone who wants a super  stiff belt that will stay that way. But for the average guy I would say skip this and go for a normal  belt that gets good reviews, like an Inzer Forever. I defenitely reccommend the lever style of belts. Or  failing that, a single prong. But I'd steer clear of EFS for belts. Pay your $80 like everyone else  who's smart and get a proper belt. Unless of course you want a plastic stiffened belt. But the fact they  don't list this on their site just pisses me off. A good belt is probably going to last your entire  lifting life anyway so why try to save $40? In the end it just means you're wasting $40 because you'll  end up buying a good belt eventually, assuming you're going to use a belt at all.

Disagree with me? Have the EFS belt and think it's awesome? Post your comments below. (just don't be an asshole about it). You're entitled to your opinion just as I am mine. Sorry if you think I'm being harsh but this is just how I feel about the matter.

- Carl

3 comments:

  1. Carl,
    Thanks for the review. I am thinking about belts now and I will steer clear of that one. I had actually heard about the nylon cores and initially thought that would be good because it wouldn't stretch. If it doesn't break it like you say, well that nylon core idea just sucks. Have you tried Dave Tates break-in suggestions (running it over with a car, and putting it in the washing machine)?
    Good Luck.
    Also thanks to your blog I was able to put together a home gym for me and my wife. Thanks and check it out here: http://squatpresspull.blogspot.com/2012/03/gym-in-closet.html

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    Replies
    1. I love how you store the whole gym in a small closet. That's so awesome!

      Regarding the belt, it does break in. I just can't see it ever getting as form fitting and nice as an worn in all leather belt. Yes I have run it through the washing machine several times and that definitely helps break it in. I did not run it over with the car. If you have a ratcheting cargo strap, rolling it up super tight when wet and then letting it dry like that really helps as well. But the fact remains there's still plastic, or nylon if that's what it is more specifically, in the middle so there's no way it's going to ever get like a worn in leather belt. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe not.

      It's still usable, especially if you have some belly fat. But it's generally true that the leaner you are the less comfortable all belts are going to be. Still I see no reason to recommend this belt over something like an Inzer Forever or Best Belts or Bob's Belts. I'm sure there are people who like the nylon core. As far as I can tell it might be better for big guys moving ungodly amounts of weights as it is with geared powerlifting. Or maybe it's just a way to keep costs down.

      But I'd rather not skimp on a belt because in theory you will probably only have to buy it once in your life if you get a good one.

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  2. Carl,
    Firstly, THANK YOU a million times over for the effort you have placed in this site. It has saved me over $2500 towards used equipment (shit in Canada is even more expensive...). I'll be construction a set of stands & a bench this weekend.

    Regarding the belt. I was (un)lucky enough to fall for brand reputation/marketing and bought The Economy Single Prong. Only when it arrived did I realize that it was a belt made of a layer of plastic glued to cheap suede. Thinking that all belts had to be broken-in, I started plying it with my hand and ended up snapping the belt. It can still be used, but needless to say, I was really disappointed.

    If I ever purchase another belt, I plan on picking up one of these (http://www.bestbelts.net/) as recommended on the SS site.

    ReplyDelete