If you follow my Instagram, then you know I’m a fan of using a plethora of what I call “Gain-cessories” to get the most out of every workout.
These Gain-cessories are meant to protect, warm and compress, and stabilize my joints and muscles through intense workouts.
While lifting all natural raw can seem like the manliest thing to do, sometimes it’s necessary to use equipment that will allow you to safely get the most out of each lift. There’s really no use in causing a hernia or straining your wrist when you could have easily avoided injuring yourself in the first place.
Now don’t be quick to jump on the Gain-cessories wagon before taking time to strengthen your joints, tendons, core and overall musculature properly. But once you have developed a solid foundation, these pieces of equipment can greatly enhance your overall strength and safety.
Here are some of my must have Gain-cessories that you will always find in my Gym Bag.
Your tendons and ligaments grow much slower than your muscles develop which can create difficulty when it comes to any pressing or stabilizing exercise.
Wrist Wraps are meant to enhance your overall stabilization and security in your wrist when the weights increase past what they can endure.
There’s no doubt that wrist wraps are most useful for me through heavy Bench Pressing and Strict Pressing, but I also use them for weighted dips, push ups or even planks.
In order to get the most out of your wrist wraps, choose a set that is thick enough to create added support, and also allows for you to adjust the tightness easily before and after lifts. When wearing them, start at your lower hand below the thumb and across the palm and then proceed to around your wrist. By covering your lower palm and wrist you’ll get the most stability possible and also not look like a newbie in the gym.
I personally like to take off my wraps after each set and reapply them so I don’t lose circulation, and so I can properly adjust the tightness for each lift. It’s almost become a ritual for me to put them on certain ways before my heaviest lifts.
Make sure not to use your wrist wraps for every set. Start the warm up sets raw, an then wear your wraps as the weight increases to your heavier working sets. This will ensure that you continue to strengthen the muscles, joint, tendons and ligaments involved in wrist stabilization and work to prevent future unnecessary injuries.
We’ve all seen the gym bro that does everything from calf raises to curls in the squat rack with his weight belt on, but that is definitely not what the weight belt was originally created for.
While weight belts can be used at a corset by gym bros everywhere, they are really meant for overall core support and stability while providing you with a solid surface to brace your core in during heavy lifts.
They are most useful for lifts that can put your core or back in a compromised position, or for exercises that require extra support for heavy weight loads. Lifts such as the Squat, Deadlift, Bent Over Row or even at times Bench Press can greatly benefit from the right Weight Belt.
To start you may be able to achieve a noticeable difference from a thin leather or canvas lifting belt that you can find at your local sports equipment store. For the more advanced lifter, I recommend finding a leather belt that ranges between 7-13mm thickness with a 4 inch width.
Start by wearing your belt across your belly button, but don’t be afraid of trying slightly above or below for your personal needs in different lifts. Adjust the tightness so that you can brace your core against the belt, but not so tight that you can barely breathe or are causing bruising.
And most importantly, build a solid foundation of core strength before using your weight belt. It’s meant to be added support, not a crutch for your lack of development.
I’ve been cursed with somewhat smaller hands which definitely get in the way of pulling heavy weights.
Lifting Straps have made it possible for me to easily hold a heavier weight that my grip strength may not be able to on its own.
These straps are most beneficial for any pulling movement that your muscles are stronger than your current grip strength. I get the most out of my lifting straps when performing deadlifts, row variations, pulldowns, or even upright rows.
There isn’t too much of a difference between the different lifting straps on the market, but I do prefer to use quality leather lifting straps. Whether you go with canvas or leather, you want to make sure that the straps are made to hold the weight that you intend to use them for. There’s nothing worse than rowing a heavy weight, and having a lifting strap rip right off your wrist.
While these Lifting Straps will help you lift a heavier load than you may be able to hold, don’t neglect your grip strength along the way. I like to include Farmer’s Carries and Plate Finger Holds throughout the week to help build my grip strength. With a solid grip strength and lifting straps, you’ll be able to build far greater strength than just on their own.
Other Gain-cessories To Consider
These three Gain-cessories are my staple pieces of workout equipment, but there are various other ones that I use on certain days, or certain lifts to protect and strengthen.
Weight Lifting Shoes