Should I be using lifting accessories in the gym?



What is going on gym rats, Gym N Japan here bringing another saucy post about what you should and shouldn’t be using as accessories when lifting weights in the gym! We have all seen that guy with all the gear and no idea, wear knee sleeves, wrist wraps, elbow sleeves, lifting belt and a giant dildo stuck to his forehead doing half reps in the squat rack. We want to help you to NOT be that guy. But, and this is a big butt, lifting equipment is safe and good to use and we actually do recommend it to some of you out there.





First, what equipment is out there? There’s a lot of crap let me tell you, so we are going to list pretty much all of what we think is the most commonly used and seen by gym goers and then later we will discuss why it is used and whether you need to go out and get it yourself to hit your training goals!


  • Knee sleeves

  • Knee wraps

  • Elbow sleeves

  • Wrist wraps

  • Lifting wraps for grip

  • Lever or lifting belt

  • Weight chain belt

  • Head harness for those neck gains

  • Shoulder pad for all you pussies out there - yeah you Haydon I bet you would use one

  • Condoms


Personally (Jake) I think any training device listed above can be very useful when training in the gym, depending on what your goals are.


Haydon → I think anyone with half a brain would agree that lifting accessories are super important if you want more gains, assist with injury prevention and just help you lift heavier all round. You will see below how little I use these accessories, I do admit that I probably should stop being a tight ass and buy some… One thing I don't like about accessories is some people's reliance on them.



 


Here are our reasons why for each listed briefly below:



Knee sleeves

  • Jake → They are great for providing some knee stability, increase the elastic recoil at the bottom of a squat and can provide confidence for those who have experienced or are living with injury. Typically they can also be used for powerlifters or just you big donnies in the gym who squat or lift some seriously heavy weight

  • Haydon → I personally don't use these but I probably should with my consistent knee issues. They can provide that extra stability and reduce pain. I would say between sleeves and wraps I would personally choose the sleeves because they are more convenient.




Knee wraps

  • Jake → Once again pretty similar to above, but these are for only powerlifters who squat stupid amounts of weight. Not only will they provide help getting up from the bottom but also protect the knee from crumbling under the sheer amount of weight you are lifting.

  • Haydon → Same as above but I am lazy and would opt for the sleeves due to the extra time it would take to put them on. These can provide a unique fit for each individual by adjusting the tightness etc.




Elbow sleeves

  • Jake → This one I am actually a little on the fence about. Sometimes I can see the benefit if you are lifting a lot of weight in the bench press or experience elbow pain as the compression can help a lot. But I don’t think wearing them will give you that much of ‘power boost’ in your other lifts.

  • Haydon → To be honest everyone that wears these thinks they are massive so I don't like them… They can provide some support but generally only benefit those who lift a shittonne or have joint pain when lifting.




Wrist wraps

  • Jake → I am a huge advocate for wrist straps. Of course if you are a new gym rat that doesn’t lift a lot of weight, I would say live without them. But as you climb the ranks and the weight you lift can outweigh your ability to keep your wrist neutral, then go for it, they are a great tool to assist your training. Definitely not needed but for sure helpful.

  • Haydon → Not something I use personally and will probably live without for a long time to come. If you need to use them, why not!




Lifting wraps for grip

  • Jake → I have never personally used them as I have always had a super strong grip strength, which I attribute to my years of calisthenics back in the day. But I do see the point. When training some pulling movements, often the forearms can take over, so using these straps/ or for a deadlift you just can’t hold, they can be fantastic.

  • Haydon → I have never used them but I can understand their place in the gym! I don't lift that much heavy weight so I never need it. This is another one of those accessories that people can become reliant on and not be able to use their own grip strength to lift the weight. Provided the person using them is completing the lift with correct form and genuinely can't hold onto the weight, I will allow it. Not being able to hang onto the weight can be a sign that you may be going too heavy too quickly.




Lever or lifting belt

  • Jake → Perfect for anyone doing heavy squats or deadlifts. It helps you focus on engaging your core, increasing intra-abdominal pressure to save your spine and properly brace your core. Some people can do this without a belt, but when the weight gets super heavy, it’s never a bad idea to use a belt. Probably my most used lifting tool by far!!

  • Haydon → Honestly, although controversial: I dislike lifting belts and believe that it can cause people to be lazy by relying on it instead of actually completing a movement properly. I just see so many people with no idea how to complete a deadlift or squats and just wack a belt on! Not sure why some newbies think that this belt is going to instantly make them lift heavier and prevent injury… Obviously there are some great benefits to using a belt but I believe that a lot of people turn to it way too quick.

My advice for this is: Concentrate on your technique when starting out in the gym and once you start mastering it then use the belt to assist with physical cues.





Weight chain belt

  • Jake → Great and super beneficial, something everyone should have or have access too. Great for adding weight to pull ups and dips!

  • Haydon → AYE! Here's one of the accessories I use! Mostly because the gym has them and I didnt have to pay for them haha! These are great for adding weight to your pull ups and dips as Jake said. Only bad bit about these is that you've got to be careful you don't take out your knees with the dangling plates. Also you've got to stand there awkwardly with it still attached between sets (My laziness and not wanting to unclip it).




Head harness for those neck gains

  • Jake → This one is honestly not as much of a joke as you might think. Good ol Jeff Nippard loves training a little bit of neck, and it actually can give you that thick neck, Channing Tatum look. But it’s like training calves, you actually have to do it for it to be worth your while investing in one of these bad boys

  • Haydon → These may look funny but I have heard some good things about them! I think the key with this is not to go too heavy and control the movement the whole way otherwise you will do some serious injury!





Shoulder pad for all you pussies out there - yeah you Haydon I bet you would use one

  • Jake → Everyone used it to squat when we started. I only ever consider it when doing hip thrusts, other than that, sit the bar correctly on your back and you'll be fine

  • Haydon → To be fair the shoulder pad can be used for hip thrusts too so definitely needed in the gym! Also something that is provided by the gym and I don't have to pay for yippee! Nothing worse than the bar digging into a bony part of your shoulders or hips and kinda stops you from wanting to do more weight. When I first started in the gym I needed it when doing squats but now I am finding that I don't need it.




Condoms

Haydon → You know why ;)






And that pretty well wraps things up ;) get it, because condoms are the last one!!


There are plenty of other accessories out there, some may be more useful to you and some we or you have probably never even heard of. But look, all have their time and place, just don’t be that guy that uses every single one under the sun and thinks they will give him the gainzzzzz. Because trust me, they won’t do shit if you aren’t doing the fundamentals right.



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