When it comes to the whole fitness process, wearing the correct gym gear is one of the most neglected topics. The topics such as Workout Routine, Nutrition and Supplementation are given the most emphasis and rightly so but it is important (in my opinion) to have the correct gear and use it in a fashion to extract the maximum benefit out of it. In this article we’ll be going over what they are, their benefits and some of the mistakes that you might want to avoid.
Anyone who has been to a gym knows about this piece of equipment/gear. Weight Belt is basically a wide belt that you wear around your waist which in turn provide stabilization while performing heavy compound movements such as Deadlift or the Squat.
- Increases Intra Abdominal Pressure – A study conducted by Harman EA, Rosenstein RM, Frykman PN, Nigro GA on Effects of a belt on intra-abdominal pressure during weight lifting. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1989;21(2):186-190 suggests that using a weight belt while performing a lift increases Intra Abdominal Pressure which in turn reduces the stress on lower back region which helps you through the comprising positions that you face while performing lifts, for example – Lower Portion of the Squat.
- Performance Enhancer – You’ll experience the performance enhancing capacity of a weight belt when you perform exercises with and without it. The added stabilization really goes a long way in helping you through the lifts.
- Valsalva Maneuver – You do this without the weight belt added in. For instance, while performing the Squat, you unload the bar, nice deep breath and Squat down. Now, the air in your stomach acts as a stabilizer on its own but with the weight belt, the stabilization increases even more because you are pushing against a nice hard belt around your body.
- Choosing The Incorrect Belt – You want a belt with a consistent size through its length. You do not want the ones that are wider at the back but really slim at the front. The idea is to have the least difference between the back and front width as most of the belts generally tend to get slimmer at the front, you want to maintain a decent width. Choose a belt that is relatively wider at the front too.
- Wearing The Belt Incorrectly – You do not want to wear the belt either too tight or too lose, it should be nice and snug around your waist over the belly button. It is important that the belt sits right on top of your abdominal wall muscles. Do not position the belt below your stomach, even if it might seem more comfortable. This will not benefit you during your lifts.
- APRODO Unisex 6’’ inch Wide Nylon Eva Waist Support Belt Sport Pressurized Weightlifting Bodybuilding Fitness Squatting Training Lumbar Back Supporting Sport Safety Belt
- APRODO Power Guidance Nylon Weightlifting Belt Lumbar Waist Support Trainer Protector Belts for Weight Lifting Fitness Sport Gym for Men and Women
In simple terms, wrist straps are sewn pieces of cloth or leather that loop around your wrist and the bar that make it easier to hold on to a heavy weight. They are commonly used by bodybuilders and casual gym-goers, but wrist straps can be extremely valuable to powerlifters and other strength athletes, too
- Stabilizes Your Wrist – While performing Heavy Pulling Exercises, it is highly likely that your grip strength might give out. Enter Wrist Straps, they not only help you in your pulling movements by providing extra force but this way you are able to focus on larger muscle groups to the maximum of your ability.
- Using With Wrong Exercises – Wrist Straps are primarily supposed to be used with Pulling Exercises so do not bother using them while performing pushing movements.
- Overuse – This is the most common mistake that I have seen people make. Do not be using the wrist straps all the time, they are supposed to be used when your grip strength starts to fail, if you can perform 12 reps of deadlift without using them, you are good to go. Do not bother using them. This way you’ll be able to work your grip strength which is critical if you want to get strong.
Commonly worn by competitive powerlifters and bodybuilders, knee wraps are made of the same elastic material that is typically found in wrist wraps. They are designed to be wrapped around the knee in a spiral or diagonal method for use in squats.
- External Compression – The joint getting under very heavy weight might be heavier than you are used to is going to feel a little unstable in the knee joint itself, the patella tendon and the patella itself can be tracking left or right and you feel really unstable under that heavy weight. This gets a little unsafe and can lead to injury. This is when the External Compression comes into play, what happens when you use a knee wrap is that it immediately stabilizes your knee joint so that there’s no unsafe movement going on in the joint due to less stabilization because of the weight that you are lifting.
- Elastic Energy – Just like a spring being pulled into a stretched position, the elastic properties of the wraps store this energy and then transfer it to the lifter during the ascent of the lift. In fact, research has shown that wearing knee wraps can lead to 20% more speed out of the bottom of the squat.
- Exceeding Your Weight Lifting Capacity – As you all might have guessed, a knee strap will help you lift more weight immediately because of all the mechanism I have talked about in the previous two points.
- Hiding Underlying Problems – There are a lot of people who use knee wraps because they feel pain without them, this is NOT how you are supposed to be using knee straps. If you are experiencing knee pain then you have to solve the issue insteading of masking it by using knee straps.
- Improper Use – While using knee wraps or as a matter of fact anything in general, you should know the correct method of using them. Make sure you do your research before using them.
- Excessive Use – Moderation is the key when doing anything in general and the same applies with Knee Wraps. Make sure you are not using them all the time. When you are pushing against your 90–100% ORM that’s when you are actually supposed to be using them. Do not use them at 70–75% ORM because then you’ll create imbalances for yourself because you are relying on accessores far too much.
Weightlifting wrist straps are a workout accessory designed to relieve pressure on your wrists and forearms when moving large amounts of weight. You wrap the straps around the bar or dumbbell to take pressure off of your grip when the weight is heavy.
- Provide Support – The purpose of a wrist wrap is to provide support to the wrist joint during heavy or max effort lifts in pressing movements and overhead lifts. During these movements, the wrist can be pulled into excessive extension under load and result in compromised mechanics, possible injury, and failed lifts.
- Overuse – What you need to understand is that they are not fashion accessories that you should be wearing all the time especially when you are doing pulling exercises.
- Using With Wrong Exercises – If you are doing pulling movements like lat pulldowns, deadlifts or maybe pull ups — this is not where you are supposed to be using them, they are not made for that purpose.
There you have it, the essential pieces of gym gear that you should have on your person and how to use them effectively. Tell us about your favourite gym gear in the comment section down below. Have a suggestion about Science Behind Fitness? Make sure you let us know!
- Effects of a belt on intra-abdominal pressure during weight lifting
- Patellar tendon straps decrease pre-landing quadriceps activation in males with patellar tendinopathy
- The effect of a patellar strap on knee joint proprioception in healthy participants and athletes with patellar tendinopathy
- Effect of a patellar strap on the joint position sense of the symptomatic knee in athletes with patellar tendinopathy
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