6 Gym Accessories You Might Want To Try

Written by Michael Semenza

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March 13, 2023

When it comes to weightlifting, there are certain tools and accessories that are important for anyone who wants to improve their strength, fitness, and overall health. These accessories can help you perform exercises more effectively, safely, and comfortably. There are many benefits that come from the use of weightlifting accessories.

Injury prevention: Weightlifting accessories such as lifting belts, wrist wraps, knee sleeves, and elbow sleeves can provide additional support and stability to your joints, reducing the risk of injury during heavy lifting.

Increased performance: Weightlifting accessories such as weightlifting shoes, lifting straps, and chalk can help you lift heavier weights, perform exercises with better form, and increase your overall strength and power.

Comfort: Weightlifting accessories such as lifting gloves, sweatbands, and compression gear can help keep you comfortable during your workouts by reducing friction, wicking away sweat, and providing compression to your muscles.

Versatility: Weightlifting accessories can also add variety to your workouts and allow you to target specific muscle groups more effectively. For example, resistance bands, foam rollers, and massage balls can be used for warm-up exercises, mobility work, and post-workout recovery.

Overall, weightlifting accessories can be a valuable addition to your gym routine, helping you to achieve your fitness goals more efficiently and safely.

There are a few weightlifting accessories I use personally that I recommend to everyone. They have kept me injury free for years, taken my training to the next level and have helped me reach my goals faster than I would have without them.

Lifting Belt

Weightlifting belts or lifting belts, are worn around the waist during weightlifting exercises to provide support and stability to the lower back and core muscles. They are typically made of sturdy materials such as leather or nylon and have a buckle or fastener to secure the belt around the waist. They come in different sizes and widths, and the width of the belt can vary depending on the type of lifting being performed. When worn properly, a weightlifting belt can help increase intra-abdominal pressure, which provides additional support to the lower back and helps stabilize the spine during heavy lifts. This can help reduce the risk of injury and allow for heavier lifting. They are commonly used by powerlifters, bodybuilders, and other athletes who perform heavy lifts such as squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses. Albeit they are not necessary for all weightlifting exercises and should only be used for exercises where the lower back is under significant stress.

How to use:

  • Choose the right belt: Look for a belt that fits snugly around your waist and is made of high-quality materials. The belt should be at least 4 inches wide and 10mm thick.

  • Position the belt: Place the belt around your waist so that the back of the belt is just above your hip bones, and the front of the belt is resting on your abdomen.

  • Adjust the fit: Fasten the belt securely, but not so tight that it restricts your breathing or movement. You should be able to fit a couple of fingers between the belt and your body.

  • Use the belt during heavy lifts: Take a deep breath and push your stomach out against the belt to create intra-abdominal pressure. This pressure will help to support your spine and prevent injury.

  • Remove the belt after lifting: Once you have finished your set, release the pressure on the belt and carefully remove it.

Always remember that a weightlifting belt is not a substitute for proper technique and form. It is merely a tool to help you lift heavier weights safely.

Straps

Weightlifting straps are designed to help you grip and hold onto weights during exercises. They are typically made of materials such as nylon or cotton. They work by increasing your grip on the weight, making it easier to hold onto for longer periods of time. This can be useful for any exercise where a strong grip is essential for proper form and execution. When using them it is important to ensure that they are properly secured around your wrists and the weight to avoid any slippage or injury.

How to use:

  • Begin by wrapping the strap around your wrist, making sure that the loop is facing downwards.

  • Next, wrap the strap around the barbell or dumbbell, making sure that the loop is on top of the weight and the loose end of the strap is hanging towards the floor.

  • Hold the bar or dumbbell in your hand and grasp the loose end of the strap with your fingers.

  • Use your other hand to tighten the strap by pulling on the loose end, making sure that the strap is securely wrapped around the weight.

  • Finally, grip the bar or dumbbell tightly and begin your lift.

When using weightlifting straps, it’s important to keep in mind that they are not a replacement for grip strength training. It’s still important to train your grip strength regularly to avoid becoming overly reliant on the straps. Additionally, make sure to use the straps only for heavy lifts and not for every exercise, or this will lead to dependence on the straps.

Elbow Sleeves

Elbow sleeves are a type of fitness accessory that is designed to provide support and compression to the elbow joint during weightlifting exercises. They are typically made of neoprene or a similar stretchy material and are worn over the elbow joint. The primary purpose of them are to provide additional support and stability to the elbow joint during heavy lifts. They can help increase blood flow to the elbow joint and reduce the risk of injury by providing additional cushioning and compression. They are commonly used by weightlifters, powerlifters, and other athletes who perform heavy lifts such as bench presses, overhead presses, and pull-ups. They can be especially beneficial for individuals with elbow pain or discomfort, as they can help reduce pain and inflammation.

 When picking a pair of elbow sleeves it’s important to select a size that fits snugly around your elbow without being too tight or restrictive. Also, it’s important to choose a sleeve with the appropriate level of compression for your needs. Some sleeves provide more compression than others, and it’s important to choose a sleeve that provides enough support for your specific needs.

How to use:

  • Select the appropriate size: Lifting elbow sleeves come in various sizes, so it’s important to choose the size that fits snugly around your elbow without being too tight or restrictive.

  • Slide the sleeve over your arm: Put your hand through the top of the sleeve and slide it up your arm until it covers your elbow joint.

  • Adjust the fit: Make sure the sleeve is positioned correctly around your elbow joint and adjust it as needed for a comfortable fit.

  • Use the sleeves during your workout: Lifting elbow sleeves are designed to be worn during weightlifting exercises, so put them on before you start your workout.

  • Wash: After your workout, remove the sleeves and wash them according to the manufacturer’s instructions to keep them clean and in good condition.

Elbow sleeves can provide additional support and stability to the elbow joint during heavy lifts, but they are not a substitute for proper form and technique during exercises. It’s important to use them in combination with proper form and technique to maximize their benefits and reduce the risk of injury.

Gloves

Lifting gloves are designed to provide grip and protection to your hands during weightlifting exercises. They are typically made of materials like leather, neoprene, or synthetic materials and have padding or reinforcement in the palm area for increased grip. The main purpose of lifting gloves is to provide a better grip on weights and equipment. They can also help protect the hands from calluses, blisters, and other types of hand injuries that can occur during weightlifting. They are particularly beneficial for people with weak grip strength or those who are prone to hand injuries.

How to use:

  • Choose the right size: Make sure you choose gloves that fit your hands comfortably to guarantee maximum comfort and protection.

  • Put the gloves on: Put them onto your hands and adjust them so they fit adequately. Make sure the gloves are not too tight. That can restrict circulation and cause discomfort.

  • Grip the weights: Use the gloves to provide a comfortable and secure grip on the bar or dumbbell. The gloves should allow you to maintain a firm grip without slipping or causing discomfort.

  • Remove the gloves: After your workout, remove the gloves and allow them to dry out thoroughly before storing them away. This will help prevent the buildup of sweat and bacteria, which can cause the gloves to deteriorate over time.

Knee Sleeves:

Weightlifting knee sleeves are designed to provide support and compression to the knees during weightlifting exercises. They are typically made of neoprene or a similar stretchy material and are worn over the knee joint. The primary purpose of them is to provide additional support and stability to the knee joint during heavy lifts. They can help increase blood flow to the knee joint and reduce the risk of injury by providing additional cushioning and compression. They are commonly used by weightlifters, powerlifters, and other athletes who perform heavy lifts such as squats, deadlifts, and lunges. They can be especially beneficial for individuals with knee pain or discomfort, as they can help reduce pain and inflammation.

How to use:

  • Choose the right size: Make sure you select weightlifting sleeves that fit your elbows or knees properly to ensure maximum comfort and support.

  • Put the sleeves on: Slip the sleeves onto your elbows or knees and adjust them so they fit snugly around the joint. Make sure the sleeves are not too tight, as this can restrict circulation and cause discomfort.

  • Perform your exercises: When lifting weights, use the sleeves to provide additional support and compression to your joints. This can help improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and prevent injury.

  • Remove the sleeves: After your workout, remove the sleeves and allow them to dry out thoroughly before storing them away. This will help prevent the buildup of sweat and bacteria, which can cause the sleeves to deteriorate over time.

Again, it’s still important to keep proper technique and form while using sleeves. They are meant to provide additional support and compression to the knees, but they cannot prevent injury if your technique is incorrect. Additionally, it’s important to regularly wash your knee sleeves to prevent the buildup of sweat and bacteria.

Lifting shoes

Weightlifting shoes are a type of footwear designed specifically for weightlifting exercises. They typically have a solid, raised heel that helps lifters maintain proper form and technique during lifts such as squats, deadlifts, and Olympic lifts. The raised heel is typically made of hard plastic or wood and can range from 0.5 inches to 1.5 inches in height, depending on the lifter’s preference and the type of exercise being performed. The shoe also has a firm and non-compressible sole, which provides stability and helps transfer power from the lifter’s legs to the ground. Weightlifting shoes may also have additional features, such as straps or laces that help keep the foot secure and stable during lifts, and a stiff upper that provides support and helps prevent the foot from rolling or shifting during exercises. Some weightlifting shoes also have breathable and moisture-wicking materials to keep the foot dry and comfortable during intense workouts.

How to use:

  • Put on the shoes: As with any type of footwear, the first step is to put on the weightlifting shoes. Make sure they fit snugly and securely, without any slipping or sliding around.

  • Adjust the straps or laces: If your weightlifting shoes have straps or laces, adjust them to your preferred level of tightness to ensure a secure fit.

  • Position your feet: When performing lifts such as squats or deadlifts, position your feet flat on the ground with your heels firmly planted. The raised heel of the weightlifting shoes will help maintain proper posture and balance throughout the exercise.

  • Use the stable base: The non-compressible sole of the weightlifting shoe provides a stable base for your feet, helping you to generate more force and power in your lifts. Make sure to utilize this stable base by driving through your feet during the lift.

AGAIN, all of these accessories can help improve your form and technique, but they are not a substitute for proper training and practice. Be sure to focus on maintaining good form and technique during your lifts without the use of these tools whenever possible and seek guidance from a qualified coach or trainer if needed.

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