3 Pieces of Basic Equipment For the Expert Lifter
First let us state that lifting equipment is a support in order to get your body used to the heavy loads. It gives you the aid you need in progressing to heavier lifts. Try to train with as little as lifting equipment as possible, use it as a stepping-stone to overcome plateaus. Using this equipment properly will reduce your risk of bodily injury while performing heavy loads.
Show Your Workouts the Belt!
The weight belt is one of the most commonly used pieces of equipment in the gym. Wearing a weight belt reduces stress on the spine, creates better body biomechanics, and produce all around better performance.
Ideally you want to wear this when performing low back intensive workouts such as squats or deadlifts. Studies have shown because wearing a weight belt forces you to draw more power from your legs, lifts have actually been seen to be 10lbs heavier while wearing the belt!
How Do I Use It?
In order for the belt to work for you, you have to wear it properly. You want a belt that is 4-6 inches thick with even pressure distribution across the width of the belt.
Using it is simple. Just wear it like you have worn any other belt before, make sure that it is tight against your waist without cutting off your breathing.
Before lifting take a deep breath and press your stomach outwards to create pressure between your lower back and abdomen. This locks your body in place and forces you to draw the power from your legs. As you go through your rep slowly exhale until you have ended the rep and repeat for each rep.
Things to Note:
Weight belts are for lower back intensive workouts; you do not need to wear them for the entirety of your workout! Nothing looks more ridiculous than the bro wearing his belt to do curls.
This piece of equipment is meant to build up your strength so you can perform the lift without aid, use it as such.
Sit Down and Strap Up!
Lifting straps are another common piece of equipment you probably see around the gym. This type of equipment is utilized so lifters can focus on the pull portion of the lift, taking grip out of the equation.
Now you may be saying: “But grip is important! How will I perform unaided lifts without a strong grip?” The answer being that there are a multitude of other workouts you can use to strengthen your grip, but you shouldn’t sacrifice heavy lifts due to weak grip. This is where lifting straps come in handy!
Typically made of nylon, canvas or leather. Lifting straps are an essential piece of equipment when performing numerous rounds of heavy lifts that require a pull movement. Such as dead lifts, barbell shrugs, stiff leg deadlifts and many others.
How Do I Use It?
So many people use the straps wrong and they can work against you if not worn properly. So listen up; without twisting the strap, run the regular end through the looped end. Now place the strap around your wrist so that the loose end points away from your body and runs directly in line with your pinky.
Now, here is where everyone gets it wrong. Grab the bar normally, and wrap the strap around the bar going underneath the bar first, not over. Once the straps are in place you can tighten them by grabbing the wrapped strap, not too tightly, and roll the bar back towards your body.
Just A Little Wrap Session
Knee & Wrist wraps are a great piece of support to use for those with ache joints If knee pain stops you from performing squats or weak wrist stop you from pressing, then these wraps are for you.
Wraps allow for a spring at the bottom of your movement, the elastic material tightly wrapped around the joint gives a little boost to ensure you have enough support to make it through the lift.
How Do I Use It?
Start at the top of the knee and work your way down. When you are wrapping, be sure to overlap the last wrap by half of its width. You should end up about an inch below the bottom of your kneecap. Once you finish, tuck in the loose end. Don’t wrap too tightly because it’s really painful and you don’t want your feet to go absolutely numb from lack of blood flow. If you can see any of the skin on your knees between individual wraps, then you wrapped incorrectly. Try overlapping a little bit more.
Wrist wraps are very simple. Before performing a pressing movement, wrap your wrists as tight as you need. If your wrists don’t stay straight, wrap tighter.