July 11, 2023 4 min read
Whether you’re a die-hard weightlifter or a newbie to the scene, you need the right gear to maximize your workouts.
The strength training community has a culture and language all its own. It can be a bit overwhelming if you’re just getting started. With that in mind, we’re taking a closer look at weightlifting essential accessories, why they’re used, and what to look for in a quality product.
Lifting belts are popular among both competitive and recreational weightlifters. The idea is that by increasing intra-abdominal pressure, belts activate your core muscles and help stabilize your spine while lifting heavy loads.
Some strength coaches swear by lifting belts and say they can help prevent injury by reducing stress on the spine during exercises like squats and deadlifts.
Whether belts actually help prevent injury is a hotly debated topic and the science inconclusive. But one thing most people in the fitness world seem to agree on is that a lifting belt can improve performance during weight training.
What to look for: There are several different lifting belt styles. These include Olympic belts, which are wider in the back and usually made with more flexible material. Powerlifting belts are thinner and stiffer and are more commonly used by recreational lifters. When shopping for a belt, consider factors like thickness, material (leather vs. nylon or other synthetics), and closure type (prongs vs. Velcro).
We can’t blame you if you’re confused by all the gearmongers out there claiming that only their products support your wrists and hands while lifting. If you go with the recommendations in most fitness articles, before you know it your gym bag will be filled with gear you may never use.
What to look for: Buying separate hooks, straps, gloves, and grips is old news. Today, there are better options. Versa Gripps are the 3-in-1 solution you need. These innovative grips are like hooks, straps, and gloves, all in one. Designed to assist athletes of all levels, Versa Gripps are made with proprietary non-slip material to improve your grip on the bar and help eliminate grip fatigue. With built-in arch support, a quick-release safety feature, and one-hand grip movement, they help you train better.
Although weightlifting puts less rotational (twisting) pressure on the knees than sports like football and basketball, knee injuries are still common among weightlifters. Moves like squats and deadlifts put vertical pressure on the knees, and bad form can lead to injuries.
Knee sleeves help stabilize the kneecap and encourage blood flow. If you’re on a program that includes a lot of squats and deadlifts, play it safe with knee sleeves—especially if you have a history of knee problems or injuries.
What to look for: You don’t want an overly tight knee sleeve limiting your motion during squats and deadlifts. Find a style that’s flexible yet supportive. Look for a breathable, sweat-wicking fabric blend (a combination of spandex, nylon, and latex is ideal). If you have a history of knee injuries or need extra support, opt for a design with a built-in patellar (kneecap) pad.
Shoes are often overlooked when it comes to weightlifting. But if you wouldn’t run a marathon in dress shoes, you shouldn’t lift heavy weights in flimsy running shoes or trainers. Good foot support and stability are essential when you’re doing moves like squats and deadlifts. One slip of the foot is all it takes to get injured.
Proper lifting shoes feature a solid, raised heel, which helps you maintain correct posture and form. The raised heel prevents you from leaning forward during heavy lifts. This not only reduces the amount of stress on your back, it also activates your quadriceps more intensely, forcing your muscles to work harder. And that’s a good thing.
What to look for: A raised, solid heel with good cushioning and a stable outsole that stays in place as you push and pull weight. Search for a shoe with solid upper construction, which can help protect your foot from dropped objects.
Visit any gym and you’re bound to see weightlifters sporting compression gear. There’s ample evidence that commercial-grade compression garments aid recovery after training.
A 2017 meta-analysis found that compression gear had the biggest impact on recovery from strength training. In other words, compression gear is most likely to help weightlifters recover their strength and power after a workout versus other athletes (like cyclists).
What to look for: There are lots of compression clothing options on offer, but not all are created equal. When choosing compression gear, look for a compression rating of at least 20-30 mmHg. Anything lower than that won’t compress your muscles enough to be effective. Also look for garments with graduated compression, which aid circulation by pushing blood toward the heart.
The last thing you need when lifting heavy weights is slippery, sweaty hands. Chalk is a mainstay among rock climbers to aid their grip, and the same principle applies in weightlifting. By absorbing moisture and drying out your skin, chalk increases friction between your hand and the bar. This can help you perform better, and it can reduce calluses.
What to look for: Search for professional-grade powder chalk that’s specifically made for rock climbers, weightlifters, and gymnasts. Most chalk bags have a simple design with drawstring closure. Wearable chalk bags fit around your waist with an adjustable strap. They keep your chalk handy and are less likely to get lost or misplaced.
That sums up our list of the best weightlifting accessories. Happy training!
Versa Gripps are premium weightlifting grips that help enhance your mind–muscle connection, so you can lift heavier weights and get in those extra reps for maximum gain. Multi-functional, durable, and easy to use, Versa Gripps are ideal for weightlifters of all levels. They can be used for all pushing and pulling exercises, taking the place of gloves, straps, and hooks. Find your style and start training better with Versa Gripps.
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