“It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”
“Strong people are harder to kill.”
Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re either a new weightlifter/bodybuilder, or you’re considering getting yourself into the gym for the New Year.
Whichever camp you fall into, you’re likely to be motivated by the two quotes mentioned above, regardless of whether you’re primarily looking to improve your strength or just focus on aesthetics.
Being that we’re weightlifters, powerlifters and bodybuilders ourselves, we consider lifting weights to be one of the best forms of physical exercise out there, and definitely the best when it comes to building muscle.
We’re happy that you’ve decided to join our sport, and since we know how intimidating it can be the first time you step foot in the weight room, we’ve decided to write a brief introduction to the best accessories for a beginning weightlifter to use.
As you become more experienced and gain familiarity with the gym and equipment, you may find yourself wanting to purchase some more specialized gear (as most people do). But until then, here are some of the most commonly used pieces of equipment that you’ll be sure to get plenty of mileage out of.
1. Weightlifting or Powerlifting Belt
A good lifting belt is a foundational piece of equipment for just about anyone in the gym, whether you’re performing your first workout or you’re a seasoned veteran.
A lifting belt provides support for your lower back, a common point of injury, and also increased intra-abdominal pressure during certain movements.
This may all sound like mumbo-jumbo to you if you’re a beginner, so the key takeaways are that a belt will protect your back and strengthen your core.
There are a ton of different options to choose from when looking for a belt, so take a look at this article for some of our best belts and the benefits of each.
2. Power Grips
Most articles that you’ll see about weight lifting gear will recommend getting a pair of gloves, wrist wraps and lifting straps. These all have their place in the gym, but are a little outdated.
Gunsmith Fitness has developed what we like to call Power Grips. Power Grips actually replace the need for gloves, wrist wraps and lifting straps all in one easy-to-use piece of equipment.
These will help protect your hands from calluses, while eliminating grip fatigue and failure during heavy lifts.
They also have an extra wide 2 inch Hook and Loop closure to give maximum support to your wrists.
You may think this one is obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people try to lift weights in their everyday shoes.
Weightlifting shoes should be flat, with minimal soles. A lot of people will start lifting in their street shoes, or even worse try to use an old pair of running shoes. This is a big mistake.
Running shoes especially will have soft, thick soles designed to absorb impacts with the pavement, and can actually lead to more injuries if used for weightlifting.
Currently, the market is flooded with different types of weightlifting shoes that are promising many different benefits. If you’re just starting out, it’s best to keep it simple and get a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars, either low or high top.
The benefits of the Converse shoes is that they’ve got plenty of grip and thin soles, and they’re inexpensive. As you become more advanced with weightlifting, you’ll learn what you like and need in the gym, and adapt with your purchases.
Chalk is one of those things that you may not use all that often, but is cheap enough that you might as well keep some on-hand.
Chalk is useful primarily to keep your hands dry from sweat. Sweaty hands mean two things: less grip on the bar, and calluses.
A lot of people don’t care about calluses, and actually wear them as a badge of honor. For the rest of us, we’d rather keep our hands relatively smooth and for us, there’s chalk.
The power grips will help a lot with the grip and calluses as well, but they can’t be used on every exercise, so keeping a bag of chalk with your gear is always a good idea.
5. Knee Sleeves
Knee sleeves are a lot like Crossfit: some people absolutely love them, and others avoid them entirely. While the necessity of knee sleeves is still debatable, they deserve an honorable mention because they’re inexpensive and can help to prevent knee injuries, which is one of the more common injuries weightlifters may suffer from.
The main benefits of knee sleeves is in their compression element, which encourages blood flow and can also help the knee cap from moving around too much. If you’re just starting out, you may not need knee sleeves, unless you’re on a program that’s having you do a lot of squats.
Well there it is: a hand full of the best accessories for new weightlifters. While none of these accessories is actually necessary for you to start lifting, they all have their benefits.
Some, like the weight belt and Power Grips, will give you immediate improvements, while others like the knee sleeves will help you out in the long term with injury prevention.
Either way, we hope that you’ve found this article informative and that it will help you become a better, stronger version of yourself.