How to choose the right training equipment

 By Jay Johnson

How to choose the right training equipment

As you start build consistency with your training, strength is going up, increased workload is becoming more challenging, you ask yourself “What can I do to ensure that I am getting the most out of each of my training sessions?”. Much like that race car driver that knows that his car has the power capable of taking that turn faster but doesn’t have the suspension system or tires that can handle the turn, they’ll have to invest in the equipment to achieve that turn to get the most out of their car’s engine and WIN the race! Training equipment is no different.

Ensuring to understand the purpose of the equipment and it’s proper use is critical in preventing injury and accomplishing your fitness goals without an unnecessary detour. Most equipment is used as an assist only and proper range of motion and understanding of the proper execution of the exercise that it is used for is how to achieve success.

Below is a list of gym apparatus that I use myself and my personal thoughts of it’s use and how it benefits me. Please understand that this is only my perspective and beneficial factors may differ between individuals when using these.  

Weight lifting straps: Weight lifting straps are used to reduce having to use your grip strength and stress from your hands to transfer the load stress through your arms to the rest of your body. IE: When used for back exercises, less pressure is being distributed to your hands and more to your back and biceps. This arguably allows more of a work load on your back and less absorbed into your hands. When used properly, heavier weight levels and lifts can typically be achieved. It sometimes causes some stress on the wrist depending if the wrist strap portion is padded or not.

Lifting/Versa Grips: The near equivalent to weight lifting straps, lifting grips could be considered the “Advanced” version of weight lifting straps. They accomplish the same as lifting straps however have a custom fit and are self supporting meaning that it is not necessary to wrap the strap completely around the bar as lifting straps work. They can be utilized faster during training and are extremely durable.

Chalk: Chalk is used when there is slippage that is usually caused with moisture in the hands between the bar and your grip. I personally use chalk only when the weight load is on the heavy side and I have risk of losing grip. Back exercises such as deadlifts, or lat pulls that have heavy loads are typically the ranges of motion that chalk is most beneficial. In some instances I’ve seen it used for exercises such as front squats or back squats where the bar rests on your chest or back to reduce the bar slipping as well.

Knee and elbow wraps: Used to reduce pressure from the joints when training. Applied tight enough to support, the joints will not take the brunt of the pressure from the weight. It also creates a “springing” effect as well depending on the material used. Wraps should be used to prevent injury and not mask it, which means that it should be used PRIOR to experiencing pain in the joints. The only draw back in wraps is how cumbersome they can be and the amount of time that it takes to apply them during a training session.

Knee and elbow sleeves: Nearly identical use as the wraps with an enhanced convenience factor due to the ease of simply slipping them on opposed to having to wrap using individual straps. One of the drawbacks of using sleeves is that overtime they stretch and does not maintain the compression function as well from the fabric being worn out.

Weightlifting belt: Intention of a belt is to protect your lower back during heavy stress. Squats, Deadlifts, Front squats are common uses. Lower back can be injured from being overstressed with weight, bearing more than it can handle. Important factors to remember is that you can still have incorrect range of motion even with using the weight belt.

Dip Chain: Once you’ve achieved a level of strength for your dips range of motion where greater resistance is needed, using a dip chain to add weight will be necessary. Kettle bells or weight plates can be added to add resistance.

Resistance Bands: Resistance bands can be used as a warm up or for actual training. Mostly used for their convenience factor and easily transported via travel, resistance bands fit easily into luggage or a bag if you are needing to train on-the-go. Many bodybuilders use them to “pump up” back stage. There are different levels of resistance on the bands that lead higher difficulty ranges of motion based on elasticity and band size. Using as a warm up helps reduce the chance of injury prior to a training session.  

Weightlifting Chains: Can be used for multiple ranges of motion, most beneficial when they are able to rest of the floor. The primary purpose is to create gradual resistance at the top of the range of motion. When used during the range of motion where the chain is resting on the floor and being moved upward, the resistance transfers to the bar on the upward movement to eventually include the entire weight bearing of the chain. This helps with slow twitch muscle fibers and stabilizing muscles when training. This can overall have a profound effect on strength improvement.

There is more training equipment and apparatus than what is mentioned above however this will help you get started on the WHATS and WHYS of the uses for the equipment of your choice.

See the below Training Only plans to test out your new knowledge of what training equipment works best for you to achieve your goals!

Advanced bodybuilding training split: $12.99

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Volume and variety split: $14.99

Recommended Training equipment links below!