Weight Lifting Accessories – What You Really Need
There is a huge array of different accessories available for weight lifting and it’s easy to get overwhelmed which actually help you reaching your goals and which are complete waste of time. Well let me help you to gain understanding what weight lifting accessories you might want to consider!
The #1 thing to mention first is that all of these accessories listed here are just that, accessories. You don’t want them to become your essentials so you cannot train without them anymore. Your #1 priority should be lifting without ANY accessories and use these tools to get used to heavier weights or use these for maximum attempts.
So let’s look what are worth the investment:
#1 Lifting Straps
You’ve probably seen these used by some guys and girls in the gym. They are the things hanging down from peoples wrists. Usually lifting straps are used to enhance grip strength and take the strain off from your forearms and thus giving better concentration to your back. One of the most common practices is using these in Deadlifting with double overhand grip. Usually the grip strength is not there and you have to use over-under grip which can lead to muscle imbalances so to counteract this you can switch the hands of over-under or using double overhand grip. With straps you will ensure that the bar will not roll of from your hands so eventhough you wouldn’t have the grip strength to pull, the straps will keep the barbell in your hands with quite minimal effort. Another common use for straps are with any pulling movements since again it gives a better concentration to your back when you don’t have to worry about the grip strength.
#2 Lifting Belt
A great equipment for those who like to lift close to their maximum potential, usually in the 1-3 rep range. Also as you progress in the gym and the loads get heavier and heavier lifting belt becomes a great tool to keeping you injury free. But before you’re moving weights under two times of your total weight the lifting belt shouldn’t really be your concern. The belt should be used to gain a bit more strength to your lifts so you can progress using it as a tool to get used to heavier loads what you cannot move without it. Also training history and the amount of weight and injuries will affect to the usage of the lifting belt. More important than the belt is to learn how to brace your core without it. And using the belt is also a skill. The idea of the belt is that you’ll push your belly against it you don’t just slap it on really tight and start lifting. You have to learn the correct breathing and bracing technique to use the belt like it’s supposed to be used.
#3 Olympic Lifting Shoes
What olympic lifting shoes will do for you? They will help you to hit proper depth when squatting and possibly make deadlifting a more natural motion if you’re not very flexible. Olympic Lifting Shoes have a thick heel and they’re thin under the toes. This causes your ankles to be in a tilted forward angle and you don’t have to have so much ankle mobility. When squatting you should always try to push with your heels and mid-foot and minimze the strain on the ball of the foot, because if you push on your ball of the foot you will put a lot of pressure to your knees and that might result in a knee pain. And if you’re pushing a lot with your toes, using olympic lifting shoes will usually just make you push more with them and this can lead to even bigger knee problems. So be sure to check that your squat technique is good before you start using olympic lifting shoes or they might do more harm than good for you.
#4 Wrist Wraps
Some people might experience wrist pain after they’ve been working out a while especially with all pressing exercises such as bench press and overhead press. This is actually quite common and it might be a good idea to include some wrist wraps to assist those wrists and stabilize the press.
Along with lifting straps Chalk is a great assistance for making that grip really hold on. It’s inexpensive and works really well. Personally I like to use chalk more than lifting straps BUT when I get to really heavy weights I might use them both. The only minus using Chalk is that some gyms have prohibited the use of it which really sucks.
#6 Foam Roller
An essential tool for keeping you injury free. As you workout with heavy weights on a regular basis you’re bound to get tight muscles / fascia. And when some muscles get too tight they basically shut down and cannot function properly which leads to decrese in performance. This is where Foam Roller comes into play. You can dig deep to your muscles with foam rollers such as Rumble Roller. By massaging the deep tissues of the muscles you can relax the tonic muscles and increase your mobility so you can use proper form when lifting which is absolutely crucial. These may sound irrelevant but trust me, if you don’t start any mobility work now you will when you get injured. I know, I’ve been there. My glutes got so jammed up from deadlifting that they pulled my lower back to cramp and this resulted in lack of mobility since I couldn’t pick anything up from the floor and also ridicilous lower back soreness. After I started Foam Rolling and using Lacrosse ball my mobility was better than every before.
#7 Lacrosse Ball
Essentially the same as the Foam Roller but with the ball you can dig even deeper. The ball is good for really specific trigger points such as in the glutes or shoulders. Some people though are perfectly fine with just the foam roller, especially Rumble Roller which is essentially a mix of them both. But I myself couldn’t get good enough results with foam roller so I recommend using Lacrosse ball or basically anykind of ball which is quite hard to really dig deep into the muscle.
These accessories are very good options to consider if you want to increase your performance in the gym. By all means they are not mandatory BUT they are the ones that really do work. The most important ones probably being the foam roller and or lacrosse ball and lifting belt.
Remember that the #1 priority shuould always be to train without any accessories and the accessories are there for giving you that bit extra push to your workouts. They are tools which can be implemented and used to progress in a safe and efficient manner.
So to recap all the important points in this post let’s look at this bullet point list:
- Your basic foundation should be build without accessories
- The accessories are used to prevent injury and assisting when working with heavier loads
- Lifting straps help to use more of your back and improving grip strength BUT not actually make it stronger
- Learn to use Lifting Belt correctly and use it for maximum efforts
- Olympic weight lifting shoes might be a good thing to consider if you have tight ankles
- If you’re experiencing pain when doing pressing exercises Wrist wraps might be a good solution
- Chalk is great for giving more grip and thus far handling heavier loads without the use of straps
- Foam Roller and Lacrosse Ball are ESSENTIAL when lifting heavy on a regular basis
That is all there is to it guys and girls. Check out my comprehensive article for beginners on how to build muscle HERE!
Did you find this article helpful? Got questions or suggestions in mind? Leave me a comment down below, I’d love to hear what you think!
Remember to train hard and train SMART!