Last Updated 11th August 2016.
Gym accessories are extremely important for the gym-goer looking to push themselves to the limit, and although we highly recommend all of our equipment for beginners and advanced lifters, it’s important to know when and when-not to use them. As well as how to use each piece. Below are the top 5 gym accessories you should always keep in your gym bag. Remember accessories should only be used when nearing a 1 rep max. If to much equipment is used too early in your weight lifting career then you may become reliant on these and hence be weaker in key areas when you reach heavier weights.
1.) Wrist Straps
Increase the amount you can lift without the limiting factor of your grip strength. Most commonly used in the deadlift, although can be used for any pull exercise. The primary aim of this accessory is to allow you to pull a heavier weight without your grip strength being the limiting factor. Perfect for longer repetition sets and can also be used for max rep attempts.
2.) Wrist Wraps
Wrist wraps although sometimes confused with straps serve a very different purpose. Wrap’s primary purpose is to support the wrist when benching or performing any push exercise. Wraps compress the wrist to prevent over flexion and extension which can lead to wrist strains or other more serious injuries.
Wraps should only be used on heavier push exercises and should not be replied on when warming up or doing lighter weight exercises. The primary aim is to prevent injury and hence should not be used during every set of a workout.
3.) Gym Gloves
The easiest way to avoid calluses and hand tears in the gym is to wear weight lifting gloves. Gloves have 2 main functions, the first is to prevent tears and blisters but the second is to improve your grip strength. Similar to the wrist straps, gloves can actually allow you to hold a bar more firmly leading to less friction which in turn leads to a stronger hold and hence more weight lifted. Gloves also help avoid friction and hence are popular with individuals who don’t want their hands to get ripped up during a lift!
4.) Lifting Belts
Probably the most widely used gym accessory and one of the most important in injury prevention, although individuals should not become reliant on these. The belt (usually leather) acts as a pressure around the lower-mid back to ensure the back stays in the correct position when performing a lift, most commonly seen in the deadlift or squat, to avoid lower back rounding. The real role of these accessory however is to act as the air to keep the core strength of an individual performing a lift. When lifting heavy weights, professional powerlifters and weight-lifers will take a deep breathe in and keep this air inside of them whilst performing the lift. A weight lifting belt acts as a equipment version of this air pressure, to unnaturally give you the pressure to be safe when performing 90%+ reps. This is also why a weight belt shouldn’t be used too frequently as you need to ensure you build the background strength in the core before using the belt for safety purposes.
5.) Foam Rollers
Although relatively big (probably won’t fit in your gym bag) they should be utilised after and before every workout. Great for increasing flexibility and mobility as well as reducing the DOMS you will suffer the next day! We’ve all been there no being able to move after a legs session! Pretty cheap coming in at between £10-20 all gyms should have 3-4 of different sizes and tensions (including a PVC roller for the more advanced lifters with tougher muscles.) Simpy offer to but some for your gym as long as they let you keep them there, it’s a win win for both parties!
We hoped you enjoyed this round up, feel free to comment below with any accessories you think should be on this list.