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Gym Accessories: Do I need all this stuff?

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

I often get asked about weight lifting accessories by my persoanl training client's. If they are needed, which one's do what and if they're worth it. We all know that person whose gym bag is brimming with every possible piece of training equipment. (Hang on, that's me!!). I guess that qualifies me as a gym accessory expect then. In which case, here's my guide. Hope you find it useful 😉

Generally, I wouldn't advise people to use accessories unless you think you need to and don't use them for everything and straight from set 1. You still need to develop bracing, wrist and grip strength on your own. However, if like me your grip strength fails before your muscular strength then you may find using some bit's beneficial.

Wrist wraps - best for support. Especially when you need to keep your wrists stable (eg. bench press) or you are doing an exercise which has a lot of wrist flexion (eg. front rack position). There are two types. Those designed for powerlifting and those for weight lifting.

Wrist straps - best fo grip enhancement. Mainly 'pull' exercises. Although I use them for RDL's (video) I wouldn't recommend you use them for deadlift. Great for pull ups, shrugs, farmers walk, row's. Sometimes useful for DB exercises as they stop your hand flopping about. Word of warning with strap's. You are attaching yourself to equipment so if you need to release it quickly or get out the way in an emergency, you can't so be careful.

Lifting hooks - good if you have an injury or impairment that doesn't allow you to grip effectively. Not as common but I know some people you have used them.

Gloves - best if you don't like calluses or work as a hand model. In my opinion not a useful buy but I have client's who use them and are happy so each to their own.

Weightlifting Belts - best for back and core support. I would only recommend you use one if you're planning on some seriously heavy lifting or have a recovering injury you want to support and need to feel confident. Ultimately we want to develop our brace technique and belts can make us lazy so really only use one if necessary. There are three types. Buckle, velcro and lever. Lever's in my opinion are superior. Ideal for max strength work. You get what you pay for when it comes to belts.

Weightlifting shoes - best for Olympic lifting and powerlifting. Really only needed if you're serious about your Oly lifts or powerlifts (note that not all powerlifters use them for squats and bench). Or, you love the noise they make on the platform. 😆

Chalk - best for anything grip related or if you get sweaty hands. Chalk is great but please don't be that dick that cover's everything in it. Wipe it off afterwards, it's good gym etiquette.

Long socks - used for deadlifting. Offer's some protection from ripping your shin skin off and also helps it glide smoothly. Particularly useful if you're a sumo style lifter.

Footwear - leave your runner's at home. Get yourself some cross trainer's or anything with a flat solid sole. These make for better weightlifting workouts. You will often see people squatting and deadlifting in their socks too, which is a cost effective way of doing things if you don't want to buy new trainer's yet.

Don't think I've missed anything but feel free to add to my list.

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