Most products in the fitness industry are completely useless. But there is a handful of products that can definitely be worth the money and can make your workout experience more enjoyable. In this article, I talk about the best workout equipment.
1. A Weightlifting Belt
A weightlifting belt can be a great product to have because it helps to increase intra-abdominal pressure.
When you lift weights (especially when you squat and deadlift) you brace. This means taking a deep breath into your diaphragm and contracting your abs like someone is going to punch you in the abs.
It’s perfectly fine to brace without using a weightlifting belt. But because using a belt increases your Intra-abdominal pressure it’ll help you brace harder, and you’ll also find it easier to brace while lifting heavy.
This will result in you lifting heavier weights while keeping your trunk nice and rigid.
Alan thrall gives a great video explanation on why wearing a weightlifting belt can help.
The video is linked below.
I personally only use a belt for barbell squatting. The belt I use is linked below. It’s not the most expensive and does a pretty good job.
I generally find for squatting a belt with a width of 4 inches is best. But for deadlifting I prefer to use a smaller belt or no belt at all. This is because a belt that’s too wide can obstruct me from getting in the proper bottom starting position of the deadlift.
2. Squat/ Powerlifting Shoes
Squat shoes are great because they have a slightly raised heel and have a firm base to push off.
The raised heel is great because it helps you get in the bottom position of the squat much easier.
A lot of people lack the ankle flexibility to get into the bottom position of the squat. So the raised heel means that you don’t have to have amazing ankle flexibility as the heel is already raised around 0.75 – 1 inch.
Just using squat shoes can dramatically improve your squatting experience. Some people put plates under their heels instead of purchasing squat shoes but I think this is generally a bad idea.
Squatting on plates always felt uncomfortable for me. And I never felt stable doing it.
Using squat shoes was a game-changer for me. They significantly improved my squat.
A lot of people squat in running shoes in commercial gyms. This is a bad idea because running shoes normally don’t have a solid base to push off. Which can lead to you feeling off-balance when you squat.
When any sort of lifting is concerned and especially squatting and deadlifting, you need a solid base to push off.
Personally, I like to squat in Adidas Adipower powerlifting shoes (they’re linked below) and deadlift barefoot. For the rest of my lifting, I use vans shoes because they have a solid base.
The shoes I recommend are linked below.
3. Liquid Chalk
As most commercial gyms don’t allow real chalk to be used I always bring in liquid chalk for deadlifts and squats.
When you’ve been training for a few months you’ll find that your back and leg strength significantly outpaces your grip strength. When this happens I like to use a mixed grip for deadlifts alongside using liquid chalk.
Using a mixed grip and liquid chalk, I never have a problem hanging on to the bar. Grip strength shouldn’t get in your way after using this approach while you’re deadlifting.
For the barbell squat, I also like to use liquid chalk so that my hands can stay as close to my shoulders as possible. Because the closer my hands are to my shoulders the more upper back tightness I can maintain, this keeps the bar nice and firm on my back.
I’ve also seen some powerlifters put natural chalk on their competitor’s backs during powerlifting meets. The chalk on your back and hands can also help the bar stay in position.
Liquid chalk can also be great for maintaining your grip strength during chin-ups and pull-ups.
The liquid chalk I use is linked below.
4. Lifting Straps
Lifting straps can be used for conventional deadlifts instead of chalk, heavy barbell shrugs, heavy Romanian deadlifts and many back exercises.
They’re primarily used so that your grip strength isn’t stopping you from progressively overloading your other stronger muscles. They’re similar to liquid chalk but not as messy.
Here are the lifting straps I like to use:
5. Wireless Earphones
Wireless earphones have been a game-changer for me. Because it’s so annoying when you’re walking around the gym and your wire gets caught on something and the earphones come flying out of your ears.
I remember a time when I was on the cross-trainer and my wire got caught on the handles when I was performing a sprint interval. My phone ended up getting launched about 3 metres across the gym. Thankfully it was okay.
Regarding the choices, Apple AirPods are a great choice if you can afford them. But I’ve tried other cheaper alternatives that have also worked fine.
The Bottom Line On The Best Workout Equipment
Alongside good gym wear, I don’t think there’s much more workout equipment needed than what I’ve covered in this article. You could make the argument for knee sleeves and wrist straps. But I’ve always done well without them. It always makes sense to have a good water bottle that lasts. The one I use is linked below.
What workout equipment do you use? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading.