I attack the weights quite often each week and it’s nice to always have all of the essentials in a gym bag whenever I head to the gym. Aside from clean clothes, here are 7 things that I always keep handy in my weightlifting gym bag.
7. Sports Tape
I use sports tape is a safety measure for when my calluses decide to rip up on me or if the bar decides to scrape my knee on the way up during a deadlift. Sports tape works much better than bandaids at taking bar punishment which allows you to finish your workout without spreading your germs all over the bar.
Sports tape also comes in handy as thumb wraps if you do a lot of hook gripping with your lifts.
6. Chalk bag & chalk
Chalk will give you a better grip on the barbell. When I’m in the 90%-100% 1-rep-max range, I make sure I chalk up my hands so I don’t have to worry about any bar slippage (so that I can focus more on performing the lift).
Aside from giving you better grip, chalk also helps prevent calluses from forming and ripping up.
5. Hand lotion
Now don’t laugh at me here, but hand care is absolutely essential to every weightlifter. The last thing you want is to be limited by your hands while the rest of your body is completely able to perform. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, after a lifting session, always wash your hands thoroughly with soap, towel dry, then lotion up to prevent callus formation.
4. Small notebook & pen
I use a small spiral notebook and a pen to keep track of my lifts. I like to record my lifts on a small notebook because it’s faster than any electronic devices, it won’t fail on me, and I can always go back to see how I did in my previous workouts.
Once I go home, I copy what I wrote into Fitocracy (<– invites here!) so I can see pretty graphs.
3. Shaker bottles
I keep a couple shaker bottles handy with different supplements in them. I usually have one shaker filled with pre workout supplements and the other filled with peri-workout supplements or post workout supplements. They are almost a requirement if you want to train hard.
2. Weightlifting straps
Sometimes gyms won’t let you use chalk so the next best alternative is to use weightlifting straps to move all that weight while not tearing up your hands. In my opinion, the muscle driver USA straps are the best straps for the money (and they are the same ones that olympians use).
1. Proper weightlifting shoes
If you intend to do any snatches, cleans, jerks, or ATG (ass-to-grass) squats, weightlifting shoes are absolutely essential. Due to the slight lift in their heels, weightlifting shoes will allow you to be more comfortable at the receiving position. They also help you to be more stable when you explode into position.
My Gym Bag
By the way, I recently upgraded from my dinky old gym bag to a OGIO Big Dome Duffel bag and couldn’t have been happier. The bag has a separate shoe compartment, is durable, and is large enough to fit a lot of goodies. I highly recommend getting one bag per physical activity you do so you can just grab the right bag and go with no time to waste!