I actually didn’t even use gym gear for a while. Not because I thought it was cheating or anything like that, I mean Olympic power-lifters use it all the time. I guess I just never really thought about it.
But when I recently started using the following gym gear, my max lifts literally went up overnight. My bench went up 10%, my squat went up 15%, and my deadlift went up a whopping 25%.
If you’re a guy who’s trying to get bigger in the gym, or if you’re just trying to get stronger and leaner, I highly urge you to use gym gear for the major compound lifts.
Best Deadlift Straps
If you’re trying to lift heavy ass weight off the ground, there will come a point where your grip strength won’t be able to keep up.
“Just increase your grip strength,” some might say. What I would say to them, is that they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.
When you deadlift, you’re using your hamstrings, calves, lower back, glutes, quadriceps, and traps to lift the weight off of the ground…and you think that your measly forearms will be able to hold the same amount of weight that all of these muscles can lift up?
This is where gym gear comes in.
If you want to break deadlift PR’s and instantly increase your deadlift weight, you MUST use lifting straps. There’s no way around it.
The straps accomplish two things:
- They give you a better grip around the barbell
- They wrap around your wrists, taking some of the load off of your grip strength.
Your forearms will still grow massively, but the difference is that you’ll be able to lift more now because like I said, after a certain point (like 405 pounds) your forearms can’t really hold on that well.
Some people prefer to use lifting chalk instead—personally I prefer the straps, but chalk does give you a better grip than nothing at all. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
How to Use Deadlift Straps
- Wrap them around your wrists, with the padded part on your palm side.
- Wrap the straps around the barbell a few times, as tight as you possibly can.
- Grab onto the part of the barbell that you wrapped and proceed to deadlift.
That’s it. Just using deadlift straps like this can drastically increase your max deadlift records.
Best Knee Wraps
These are the ones that I use for squatting. Like I said, I saw an instant 15% increase in my squat. And to be honest I probably could’ve put more weight on, but I didn’t want to push it—I’d rather focus on perfecting my form before I move on.
Knee wraps are essential gym gear for two main reasons:
- They heat up the fluid in the knees, making them more flexible and less prone to injury.
- They take some of the stress off of the tendons in your knee, making you less prone to injury and making it easier to squat.
What I will say is this, however: only use knee wraps if you’re trying to max out.
If you’re just doing a “warm up” or “easy set,” don’t use wraps, because you want to train the tendons in your knees to get used to mild stress. Only use knee wraps when you’re trying to lift heavy fucking weight, like if you’re doing the Body of an Alpha “Day 2: Lower Body Strength.”
Some people prefer knee sleeves like the ones below:
Personally, I think that this is a mistake. Knee sleeves only really warm up the joint fluid, which is good, but they don’t provide the same amount of tension on the tendons like knee wraps do.
In other words, you won’t be able to lift as heavy if you use knee sleeves. Knee wraps are the key to lifting heavy.
How to Use Knee Wraps/Straps
- Wrap once around your upper shin, right below the knee.
- Wrap diagonally across the kneecap.
- Wrap twice around the lower quad—right above the knee.
- Then, wrap down diagonally over the kneecap.
- Wrap once more around the upper shin, right below the knee.
- Tuck the end of the wrap under itself securely and proceed to squat.
That’s it. That’s how you use knee wraps.
Best Wrist Wraps
Wrist wraps are must have gym gear if you’re going to be doing heavy overhead press, bench press, curls, or skull crushers.
Generally speaking, the wrist is the limiting factor for these lifts—when your strength exceeds your wrist’s ability to support the barbell, your wrist will bend backwards and stress the ligaments and tendons.
These are especially good if you have a lot of wrist pain. I personally used to have wrist pain every time I went to the gym, and when I started using gym gear (particularly wrist straps) I saw a huge decrease. Like the pain was maybe 10% what it was previously.
If you’re trying to do heavy bicep curls, the tendency is for the wrist to bend, as well—your biceps are obviously much stronger than your wrists, so if you want to fully train your biceps for strength, getting some wrist wraps is pretty important.
The same goes for skull crushers. For any exercise where your wrist is prone to bend (weighted dips, bench press, OHP, etc.), it’s a good idea to use some wrist wraps to minimize the risk of injury and allow for you to lift heavier weight.
How to Use Wrist Wraps
- Stick your thumb through the little loop
- Wrap the wrist wrap around your wrist (duh), but make sure that the lower part of your palm is covered (just 1/4″)
- This is to prevent your wrist from wobbling around.
- Wrap it around tightly and secure it using the velcro.
That’s it. This is how you use wrist straps.
Best Lifting Belt
Ah, the lifting belt. This is perhaps the most crucial piece of gym gear that any avid power lifter could use.
If you buy anything from this list, I highly recommend that it be this.
The reason being that you can use a lifting belt for both deadlifts and squats to prevent lower back injuries—the most common form of injury in all of lifting. And believe me, lower back injuries can happen to anyone. My friend once threw his back out by squatting 185. JUST 185.
All because of bad form. One stupid little mistake cost him 2 months in the gym—he even had to spend $400 on an X-Ray to see if he had permanently injured his back. All of this could have been avoided if he just used a damn lifting belt.
They also give your abs something to brace against, which improves your squat and deadlift weight drastically.
How to Use the Lifting Belt
- Wrap it around your abdomen—NOT your waist.
- This is the most common mistake that people make. You want it to support your abdomen.
- Wrap it as tightly as possible.
- Proceed to squat or deadlift.
That’s it. That’s how you use a lifting belt.
Best Gym Gear: The Full Summary
Like I said before, some people would argue that using gym gear is “cheating,” but this is completely moronic.
Gym gear is meant to help you push your body beyond its weak points—it’s meant to prevent injury and reduce stress on the spine, tendons, and ligaments.
In other words, using equipment is actually safer than not using equipment. Plus it’ll increase your lifts overnight.
I would recommend using every piece of equipment that I mentioned here, but if you decide to only use one, make it the weightlifting belt. It will drastically reduce any chance of pulling out your lower back, and will allow you to deadlift and squat way more.
If you guys have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to let me know down below. And, as always, I’ll see you next time.