With so many exercises for each muscle group, and new variations being created all the time, there is no shortage of weightlifting accessories to help you perform these exercises, whether this is in injury prevention or to help towards you lifting more weight or both.
With everything from wrist wraps to chains that hang from your neck to strengthen and thicken your neck, it can be difficult to understand just what each of these products has been designed for and whether or not you need them.
[one_half]One of the most basic training aids you can buy, weightlifting gloves usually come with the finger tips removed and a leather or neoprene palm section to assist in gripping the bar or dumbbell.
You should also look for gloves where the wrist section is either elasticated or preferably a velcro section that you can wrap tighter to your wrist for a better feeling of support.
Useful for any pulling exercise that requires a bar or shrugging exercise with dumbbells, weightlifting gloves will help prevent calices or injury to your hands that can happen if the bar slips out of your grip.[/one_half]
[one_half]If you are reaching the stage where performing dips and pull ups with your bodyweight alone isn’t providing enough resistance, then a dipping belt will prove invaluable to your training progress.
The main difference between dip belts is usually the length of the chain to hang the weight from. Although most belts only come in one size, having a shorter chain section and a wider waist will mean the weight plate sits much closer to the torso than it would if attached to a longer chain.
This is really down to personal preference, as is the choice between having a dip belt that has the belt section stiff or softer and more of a flexible fit to your lower back.[/one_half]
Using a belt with a thicker and less flexible belt section does have its benefits though, such as being able to load more weight on the chain while still feeling the belt rest evenly all the way around your waist whereas some softer fabric belts can dig in a little once you get up to 40kg+ of weight plates on the chain.
As far as weightlifting accessories go, dip belts are really a must have if you are serious about improving your strength in two of the best upper body mass building exercises.
Weightlifting belts were developed as a way of protecting the lower back when performing exercises that but it in a vulnerable position, such as deadlifts and overhead presses. There are two types of weightlifting belt:
- The bodybuilding style of belt that you can buy at many fitness stores that has a wider back section and a thinner buckle section at the front
- The powerlifting style of belt that has an even width thicker section throughout.
[one_half]Which belt style you choose is down to personal preference, although the belts with the same wider width throughout the length of the belt do tend to allow you to push your abs against the belt which will tighten the belt around your lower back and provide more support.
This is one of the weightlifting accessories that you can do without on certainly higher rep sets and warm up sets, but should be used if you are attempting a one rep max lift or getting towards lower rep work sets and need more support around your core.[/one_half]
[one_half]Power bands are essentially doing the job of giant elastic bands and usually come in a pack of two. Squats in a power cage is a perfect example of when power bands would be useful.
You can wrap one end of each band around the collar of the barbell, and the other end around the top of the top support bar of the frame.[/one_half]
When you squat, this will make the movement as you drive back up with the weight a bit easier due to the tension that would have built up in the bands. This will help to develop the lower portion of your squat. You could also do the opposite and attach the band to the lower frame bar to work on the upper portion of your squat.
A similar setup can be performed for both the deadlift and squat, which are the three main exercises you would normally use power bands for. An excellent training aid for advanced weightlifters to help break through sticking points and plateaus.
There are really three main types of weightlifting strap that usually vary depending on how much you are willing to pay.
- The top end of the weightlifting straps are products like those by Schiek, where there is a well designed and padded wrist section which can be tightened easily and won’t come loose thanks to a combination of velcro and a D ring that the webbed strap passes through.
- Usually a bit cheaper than this style of strap is the style where you don’t have a length of strap to wrap around the bar, but rather a hook on the palm of each hand to clip onto the bar.
- The most basic form of weightlifting strap is just a length of usually leather with a loop in one end so you can wrap it around your wrist and pass one end through the loop end.
You can then tighten this by pulling and sliding the loop end to be tight to your wrist, then wrapping the remaining length of the strap around the bar several times
All three of these styles have their benefits and it really depends on your personal lifting style. If you are new to weightlifting then perhaps the cheaper and simpler straps are better to see if you can get used to lifting with them.
If you are a more advanced weightlifter and lift weights a few times a week or more than a more substantial lifting strap such as the Schiek style would benefit you more.
[one_half]The first type of weightlifting accessory we have mentioned that doesn’t necessarily get used in the gym, grippers can be used to develop forearm strength and overall grip strength for when you perform the bigger mass building lifts that require a strong grip, such as shrugs, upright rows and deadlifts.
Available in a range of strengths that become harder to close as you go up the range, most lifters like to train their grip in a similar manner to exercises for any other muscle group, such as performing 3 sets of 12 repetitions a couple of times a week. Your forearms get a lot of work from other exercises throughout the week so there’s no need to over train them.[/one_half]
[one_half]Similar to wrist straps and weightlifting belts, knee straps are normally only used for very low repetition sets when you are using a weight that is approaching your one rep max.
Usually available in longer lengths of around 76 inches, knee straps are wrapped around the knee joint many times while keeping the strap tight to your knee.[/one_half]
When squatting with the knee straps the elastic tension then builds up towards the lower portion of the squat and makes it easier for you to complete the top half of the movement. There are many different ways of wrapping the knee straps to make sure it doesn’t slip off the actual knee cap which is very important.
Compare Weightlifting Accessories
The term ‘weightlifting accessories’ actually covers a huge variety of products, from leg wraps that are used when performing heavy squat exercise, to weighted vests that can be used in bodyweight exercises or even during a cardio session on the treadmill or outside running.
With so many different types of weightlifting accessory, and even more variations of each accessory by many different companies it can be difficult to find the ones that are high quality, or even know how to use them properly.[/two_third]
Our weightlifting accessories product articles and comparison chart take a look at as many of these types of product as possible to help the decision making a bit clearer, whether you are thinking of buying a new powerlifting belt or simply some weightlifting straps.