Last Updated 09/09/2016: In this article we’re going to outline some of the top powerlifting accessories every serious powerlifter should have. Obviously a couple of the brands we recommend are going to be slightly bias, but this is only because we believe we have the best powerlifting accessories on the market today. We will also be including recommendations for other powerlifting gear which we believe to benefit the perform of any lifter.
As powerlifting is centred around 3 primary lifts, we will be breaking down the best accessories to aid in performance for each. If you’re looking to compete in a powerlifting meet, you should check the federations requirements to see if the gear you are planning to use is “legal” in that specific meet. If you like the look of any product simply click the image and it will take you to the product page.
- 1 Squat
- 2 Bench Press
- 3 Deadlift
- 4 Other Accessories
If you’re serious about powerlifting or weightlifting these should be the first item on your list. A weightlifting shoe is specifically designed for squatting (and the Olympic weightlifting lifts.) A secure, raised shoe that allows the athlete to “sit” into a squat more easily without the heels coming up. When it came to selecting a brand, there are really only 2 contenders. The first is the Nike Romaleos 2, although unfortunately you cannot get these shipped to the UK (for under £200!) The second recommended brand is the Adidas Adipower. These come in white or red/black. (Personally I have the white ones and they look pretty sweet.) These will set you back about £125, which is a lot but these shoes will last for years.
As I write this article we are currently designing a powerlifting specific weightlifting belt. It will be legal for all federations and should go live by the end of 2016. In the mean time there are a very brands we recommend that produce high quality belts. Belts can be used for all 3 of the powerlifting lifts but is generally used in the squat and deadlift to help the individual brace their core before performing a heavy lift. I would recommend picking up a lever belt as these are generally more durable and have a tighter fit. You can see our types of lifting belt article here.
Knee sleeves are tight Neoprene material sleeves that slip up onto your knees to give you additional support and comfort when performing a squat. These are used by a wide range of athletes generally for 2 different reasons. The first is to prevent injury from having “cold knees” for example if you are an older athlete. The second reason is to help support the knees when performing a 1 rep max. Sleeves add a small amount to your overall squat and usually are allowed by most powerlifting federations. The brand we recommend is Rehband, slightly more expensive that your average sleeves but a step above all in the quality and durability elements.
Knee wraps are generally seen as a “step up” from knee sleeves. Many federations will allow sleeves to be used in the squat whereas wraps are only allowed in a select few, so remember to check before going to a meet. Wraps themselves offer more support (which is why they are banned) and are generally cheaper too. The brand I recommend for knee wraps is Urban Lifters, there product has a number of great reviews and is well known in the powerlifting community as being an overall reliable product.
Weight lifting wrist wraps are allowed in every powerlifting federation and increase the support given to the wrist when performing a heavy bench press. These are essential to prevent wrist pain when benching, if you have ever or currently experience wrist pain on both or one wrist when performing the bench or overhead press, then I’d highly recommend picking up a pair. Our recommended brand is of course Ghost Fitness. The reason is the product is one of the cheapest on the market, whilst having great reviews & an additional 2 inches on almost all competitors. Click the image right if you’d like to pick up a pair, and let us know what you think in the comments section below. Currently there are 3 colour options available – write, red and blue. All 18 inches in length.
Elbow sleeves are similar to knee sleeves in both material and function. Used to support the elbow when benching, they are also essential for anyone who suffers from tendinitis. Some federations don’t allow elbow sleeves, so double check before using them in a meet or meet prep. Our recommended brand is Urban Lifters again. A really high quality product and the reviews are great on amazon with close to 20 5* verified purchases.
Wrist straps are used to prevent your grip from becoming the limiting factor when performing a deadlift. Generally not allowed in powerlifting meets. Straps are great for training with a higher volume or slight variation. For example when performing 8+ reps on a straight legged deadlift, your grip may become the limiting factor this is when straps should be used. Straps shouldn’t be used when attempting lower rep ranges, as one of the key elements to a successful lift is being able to hold on to the weight until told by a judge to release.
A deadlift jack or ramp is an item you place under the first plate when adding weight to a deadlift. This brings the plate slightly above the ground, making it easier to add plates easily and quickly. Deadlift ramps are usually used in competitions, and many powerlifting gyms may also have them. Our recommended product is called the dead wedge. This is a simple, small wedge of hardened foam that can fit inside a gym bag and be used to make adding weight to the deadlift a lot easier! [pictured right]
There are dozens of other accessories that will also help your total and training. Below are a selection of the ones we recommend. Feel free to comment if you would like any added to the list, or would like us to review any particular product or brand.
A powerlifting singlet is the suit that is required to compete in a powerlifting meet. Singlets vary, but generally serve the purpose of showing clearly whether you are fully erect in a deadlift or below parellel in a squat. That’s why a skin tight singlet is usually required in a meet. Singlets are all pretty much the same, but based on the reviews I’d recommend the Adidas singlet.
Having good barbell clips is essential. 90% of the time your gym will likely already have these, but if they don’t or you need additional ones we have a product we recommend. This is called the lock jaw.
Form rollers are large cylinder shaped pieces of hardened foam. These are perfect to help mobility and recovery. I recommend everyone who has a leg day, have a roam roller. They greatly reduce the DOMs feelings after squatting and also help the recovery of your legs/back. There are dozens of brands when it comes to foam rollers. Personally I’d recommend the hardest one you can get. Anything by the brand protone is usually your best bet.
Chalk / Liquid grip
Smelling salts are used to get pumped up, usually before a max lift attempt. I recommend Wake up MF, simply because of the name, has some good reviews too.
Resistance bands have 2 primary uses. The first is in mobility training. These bands allow you to create dynamic higher resistance stretches. The second use is to add resistance to a particular movement, or reduce the resistance. For example placing the band over a pull up bar to reduce the resistance when performing a pull up. Starwood sports have some nice bands that I’d recommend.