Aside from things like doing the right exercises, having a good nutritional strategy, and supplement intake, there is another possible way to effectively take your training to the next level and that would be to utilize gym workout accessories.
There are many kinds that you can use for various reasons during your training.
Anywhere from weight lifting belts, shoes, wraps, sleeves, bottles, headphones, I mean the list goes on.
Each of these can serve a specific purpose to help facilitate your overall workout performance.
I can tell you firsthand that having the right accessories has helped me in many occasions.
But there are a lot of spirited debates about whether it’s something that we need, what kind of benefits they bring, the different types and functions of each, and the essentials to start with.
Let me give you some advice and also give you my personal assessment about what I’ve learned and experienced with these accessories and what they can do for you.
Is this a want or a need?
Do you really need to use these additions when it comes to working out? Do these accessories make or break your muscle growth?
I’d say if you want to enhance the quality of your sessions, then yes, it’s necessary.
When I first started, I really didn’t bring anything else to the gym except my membership card and some cheap headphones that I’d have to replace every month.
But I noticed being at the gym that people had different types of equipment for different uses.
So right away I realized that its not just the Olympic style lifters that use belts and straps.
After doing a little research and asking around, I decided to invest in a few accessories for myself.
I started with a few basic items like wrist straps, a weight belt, a shaker bottle, and of course a gym bag to store my goodies.
It wasn’t like I was all of the sudden benching or squatting 100 pounds more but what they did do was make my sessions more effective and safe.
Ultimately, the level of training and efficiency depends on your goals, budget, etc.
But I’d suggest you get some accessories and see what works for you.
Reap the benefits.
Even if one is to say that it’s not necessary to buy any of these accessories, it doesn’t mean that they can’t bring you any benefits and that they arent of any value.
There are a variety that can serve a specific purpose depending on what kind of workouts you do.
When lifting heavyweight for example, having the right kind of equipment can help to ensure things like grip, support and overall safety.
Hypertrophy training or building muscle requires progressive overload and as we do this, its obvious that we’re putting a lot of strain on our body.
Of course, there are other factors like proper form, getting enough rest and taking in the right nutrients that matter, but having the right support tools can help protect your body from all the wear and tear.
Some of these can even serve as convenience purposes like having a shaker bottle to mix a pre-workout, intra workout, or post workout shake on the go.
Having a gym bag of course is not only a convience thing but in my opinion it’s a must.
Just as long as you keep it clean and not crop dust the gym with a foul stench.
Types of accessories – Choose Your Weapon.
As I mentioned, there are different types of accessories that we can use as a weapon of choice when it comes to our muscle building arsenal.
Here are some to give you an idea of what they are and their functions:
These are very commonly used in the gym. Anyone from bodybuilders, power lifters, or just casual lifters will use these to help ensure better grip especially when performing heavy lifts.
Wrist wraps provide support for the wrist joints and help to ensure safety and better mobility when performing heavy lifts.
It can also help you do more reps and longer holds.
These wraps are typically used when doing push or pressing movements like the bench press or overhead shoulder press.
You should always keep in mind that you are in this for the long run.
Overtime, you will put a lot of pressure and stress on your joints so you definitely have to make sure that you’re supporting them properly as a preventative measure.
However, I wouldn’t recommend using them 100% of the time. I personally only use them when I’m going for heavy loads.
When doing lighter or moderate lifts, its better to not use them as you want to still build strength and flexibility on your wrists.
Oh yea, and dont forget to wash them.
But what purpose does it serve? Stability is one. It helps to stabilize your spine by putting intra-abdominal pressure when performing heavy lifts.
Again, safety should always be your overwhelming priority and this weightlifting belt can help to support joints and muscles.
That being said, try not to strap it too tight to where you can’t expand your diaphragm.
Make sure you’re able to take a deep breath in but also not too loose to where you can fit your hand between your belt and yourself.
Also, you want to position the belt over your naval to ensure better comfort while lifting.
This compression sleeve can too help support vulnerable joints such as your elbows.
Lifting heavy loads is pretty taxing on the body and this too ensures stability like most sleeves or wraps are intended to do.
Think about when you’re performing a push movement like the bench press when going heavy and the mechanics of it. In this case the bar is direction of the force coming down (gravity).
In both the concentric (lifting) phase and eccentric (lowering) phase, your elbows are being flexed and extended.
Overtime, you maybe susceptible to slight pain or inflammation from micro tears around the tendons.
Elbow sleeves can be a way to mitigate that pain from the repetitive motion.
Weight lifting hooks.
These bad boys right here can really be great for grip support when you begin to fail on a movement such as the deadlift, shrugs, barbell rows, or lat pull downs.
Weight Lifting hooks are equipped with a velcro strap that goes around your wrists and a metal hook that’s attached to it so you can hold in your palm.
When going for heavy reps, usually the first thing that starts to fail is your grip before you even begin to reach muscle fatigue. I really hate when this happens.
Having grip strength is very critical for being able to overload and stimulate the intended muscle that’s being worked.
But like most straps or other accessories, you don’t have to use it unless you really need to especially when going heavy.
One Last Thing…
I’ve covered some things about workout accessories here and wanted to give you a general outline on what types there are and what kind of value they can bring to your training.
I can tell you from my own personal experience that it has helped me a long way and I will continue using them in any workout program that I do.
Now does that mean that your sessions will be pointless if you don’t use them? absolutely not.
But you should give it a go if you want to see some differences in the level of your training.
Start with getting items that you know you will be using the most. Typically, wrist straps, hook straps, and belts are most common.
I hope I was able to bring you some value through this article in some way, shape, or form. Now get to work on those gains!