Information and Product Reviews on Essential Weight Training Accessories
Whether you work out at the local gym or in your house, you should consider investing in some weight training accessories to help take your workouts to the next level.
Unfortunately, many weight-training accessories are commonly mis-used and as a result do nothing to enhance the efficacy or safety of a work-out. In this article, I will reveal the best accessories, what they are used for, and recommend the top products in each category.
I will break down each category of accessory one-by-one so you can know a little bit about each piece and if it is right for you:
Wrist Wraps are used to support the wrist when doing any type of pressing movement, such as bench press or a military press (overhead press). This can help prevent any wrist pain or elbow pain that might occur during pressing movements.
Additionally, many people who get forearm pain when curling find wrist wraps to be beneficial as the wrap helps perform some of the forearm functions during a curl. While it is not ideal, it is certainly better than not being able to curl at all due to forearm pain.
I have recommended two products: the Convict Pro wraps and the Harbinger 44501 wraps. The Convict Pro wrap is less comfortable and takes longer to put in, but it is the gold-standard in terms of amount of support provided. I recommend it for advanced trainees and these are used by some of the strongest people in the world.
The Harbing 44501 is a lot more comfortable and easy to put on, but it does not provide as much support. However, it provides all the support you need for people who bench press less than 300 pounds.
It is a great weight training accessory for anyone who benches regularly considering it is only a few bucks and can save you from a lot of wrist and elbow injuries.
If your gym allows chalk and you have not tried it, you need to. While it may seem a bit messy at first, it washes off easily with water. Chalk provides an amazing amount of grip without hassle of using straps.
You can use chalk on anything, even the bench press. That extra security feeling you get of having a really tight grip on the bar does wonders for your lifting ability.
The brand I have recommended, GSC Gym Chalk, is considered the gold-standard for weight training chalk. It is another one of the weight training accessories that only costs a few bucks, and you only use a little bit at a time, a box of chalk like this will last you for years.
Weight Training Straps
Different from weight training wraps, straps are an alternative if your gym does not allow chalk or if you do not feel like cleaning up the mess. Straps are worn on the wrist and then wrap around the barbell, dumbbell, or cable attachment and help you grip the bar.
You only want to use straps when you absolutely need to though. Movements like shrugs, heavy rows, and deadlifts are common reasons to use straps. You should not however need straps to do light rowing, chin-ups, bench press, and so on.
My favorite wraps are the Altius Athletic Padded Lifting Straps. Normal straps really dig into your skin, cut up your wrist, and wrip out your arm hair. The pad helps alleviate these problems and significantly reduces the discomfort associated with wrist straps.
Straps are also useful for those who have pain when curling. Wraping up the dumbbell with a wrist strap can frequently alleviate any forearm pain associated with curls. For this reason, weight training straps are among my top weight training accessories.
If you have not yet tried the Muscle Clamp weight collars, you are really missing out. Long gone are the days of having to fight with weight collars that or too tight or having to throw out collars after a few months due to them getting too loose.
The Muscle Clamps are one of the must-have weight training accessories. The club I train at has them and I liked them so much I ended up getting some for my home gym (what, doesn’t everyone have two gyms?).
With the Muscle Clamps, you simply turn the handle (very easy) and the clamp “pops” into position and latches on to the barbell. It is hard to believe that you can get such a tight fit from a turn that does not require any strength.
What would a list of weight training accessories be without mentioning weight belts? Weight training belts are one of the most common gym accessories and one of the most misunderstood pieces of gym equipment.
The fact is that on submaximal lifts, weight belts have not been shown to reduce injury risk at all or benefit the lifter in any way. In fact, those who use weight training belts regularly tend to have weaker abdominal musculature than those who do not.
You only want to use a belt on your heaviest of sets, such as when maxing out on a deadlift, squat, or bench. You should not wear a belt to do curls or even heavy rows. With that said, if your body is accustomed to wearing a belt, give yourself some time to break this bad habit.
With that said, I recommend the Harbinger 233 belt. It is at a great price, is very comfortable, easy to use, and is suitable for the vast majority of lifters. If you are doing very serious lifting (deadlifting 500 or more pounds), then you will want to invest in a specialty weight lifting belt from a powerlifting shop.
Chains are commonly used for trainees who want to add a new challenge to their workouts. Chains can add what is known as variable resistance to the bar.
When a chain is attached to the bar, such as on a bench press, part of it will be laying on the ground. As you descend into the bench press, more and more chain begins to lay on the ground (making it lighter). As you lift the bar back up, chain starts to come off the ground (making the bar heavier).
The idea is that most lifters usually fail close to their chest on the bench press or at the bottom of a squat or deadlift, while the end range of the lift is never challenged. Chains aim to change that by making the lift heavier as the lift comes near completion, fully loading the entire range of motion.
Chains do work, but they are simply not for beginners. If you are not seriously training, there is no need to pick up chains.
These 6 weight training accessories are must-haves in any regular weight-trainer’s arsenal. They can significantly improve the safety of your workouts, as well as increase grip strength and add new challenges.
Best of all, all of these accessories are affordable and last a long time, making them a great investment.