There are lots of opinions in the lifting world when it comes to lifting accessories that are designed to aid in heavy lifting. Opinions tend to fall into two categories.
“I lift raw. I don’t use any lifting accessories to assist me because I want to be completely strong all by myself even when I’m naked.”
“I lift with as many accessories as I can because I want to lift as much weights as possible.”
My View on Lifting Accessories
I’ve been lifting relatively heavy since as long as I can remember and I’ve experimented with both raw style and non-raw style. Here’s my stance on lifting accessories that are designed to help you lift more.
You should mostly avoid using lifting accessories, unless avoiding it prevents you from getting stronger.
Here are some examples of which accessories I have in my ginormous lifting gym bag and when I use them.
I wear these every time I lift weights, lights or heavy. These shoes have a slight raise in the rear allows me to sink deeper into my squats (ATG) and the solid bottoms are great for pushing off of the ground. I use these all the time because:
1. When I squat, I don’t want to worry about any flexibility issues throwing me out of form and risking injury (I’m pretty flexible in the squat already but I don’t want to risk it – especially at high weight).
2. When I squat, I don’t want to worry about cushy shoes throwing me off balance (not with tons of weights on my shoulders… not cool).
I also wear these while deadlifting (which is even harder than flat foot deadlifting) just because it’s harder than flat foot deadlifting and traings my “off the floor” range of motion for the olympic lifts (snatch & clean).
Don’t use straps if you don’t have to because you won’t be training your grip.
I use these only when I want to save my grip. On deadlift days, I work up bare hands (double overhand hook grip) up to my 1 rep max (hook grip hurts like hell). Then I slap these on to save my hands as I start backing off weights and doing more reps at lighter weights. I also use them for stuff like chin-ups/pull-ups to save my grip towards the end of a workout.
Some days I’ll use these from the beginning of my workout if my hands are already really messed up (torn callous). When I snatch every day of the week, I use these every session. NEVER use these (or any straps for that matter) on the clean and jerk. If you need more convincing, YouTube the guy who broke is wrists using straps on the clean and jerk.
Similar story as MDUSA Lifting Straps. Chalk gives you better grip, but it also does dry up your hands and give you MORE callouses. I use it only when I attempt near 1 rep max snatches and clean and jerks.
I rarely use my belt because belts create artificial Internal Abdominal Pressure (IAP). What you want to do from training is to be able develop strong enough abs & core to create that much IAP naturally.
The only times I’ve used belts is when my core is extremely exhausted from the first half of my workout and my hams, glutes, quads are still fresh. In the case I’m still able workout those hip and leg muscles without my form slipping from exhaustion and hurting myself.
I only use these when I have wrist pains that needs recovering. Wrist pains are one of those things that take a long time to go away (think weeks, even months). Depending on the lift, weak wrists make your lifts weaker (your pain sensors fire off and your body doens’t want to lift anymore). The wrist will recover fine on its own given enough time, but I can’t afford months of not-lifting! Wrist wraps help bear the weight and improves recovery. Once my wrist is recovered, I stop using them (to develop more wrist strength).
These sleeves DO let you squat more weight because of the bottom bounce. I don’t use them for that though.
Same story as the wrist wraps. Use them to aid knee pain recovery (along with proper physical therapy).
Some folks like to use tape to wrap up their hands / wrists to let them lift heavier. I use it to prevent callouses on my hands or quickly patch up a wound (ripped callous or scraped shins).
I use this as often as possible. har-har-har