Must Have Gym Gear

Some gym gear is a cut above the rest. Here you will find basic gym gear that can make a real difference to your workouts. These are products that I have personally used and feel give the best value for money.

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Liquid Chalk

 

Liquid chalk has completely changed my lifting experience for the better, especially with the dead lift. I used to find myself dropping the bar far before I was fatigued. In other words, my hands were my limiting factor in the dead lift which should never be the case. I resorted to using lifting straps even on relatively light weights which you should avoid if at all possible.

Many gyms do not allow powdered chalk because it gets all over the place but liquid chalk is applied as a liquid and dries as a powder on the hand – it is much less messy but works just as well.

Liquid chalk has completely fixed my grip problem which was more due to grip slip than an actual weak grip. Liquid chalk can be used on all barbell based lifts such as the bench press and the military press for extra grip security. I don’t go to the gym without it. Liquid chalk is cheap and goes a long way. Try it today and let me know what you think!

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Good for:

-Improving all round grip

-Especially useful for dead lift

-Can be used in all barbell based exercises

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The Top of the Pile:

 

                                       

 

Both of these are great products which I use interchangeably depending on availability.

At under 6 pounds for a 250 ml bottle, these go a long way. They can also be put to good use in sports outside of weight lifting such as climbing or any other activity that relies greatly on a solid grip.

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Lifting Straps

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Sometimes lifting chalk just isn’t enough. At some point our grip strength will fail and for most of us this is before our legs or back give up. For heavy dead lifts that take you to the limit of your physical strength, straps can be a useful addition to your gym bag and may allow you to lift beyond your grip limits.

Lifting straps don’t need to be fancy and aren’t expensive so it’s always useful to have a set available.

Lifting straps should not be used as a substitute for poor grip strength. Always aim to develop your grip first and rely on straps second.

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Great for:

-Heavy dead lifts in general

-Maximum weight single rep dead lifts

-Can be applied to any pulling exercise where grip fails

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The Top of the Pile:

 

                                                 

 

 

I’ve had this pair of RDX straps for over two years and they have never let down. They are relatively cheap but made extremely well and retain fantastic durability despite a good level of use over the years.

I’ve also included another brand of straps from elite body quad. Someone else at my gym has them and they are a great product. When my RDX straps eventually fail I will be getting hold of the elite body squad straps.  They have thick wrist segments for added comfort and also have adjustable strap lengths. Additionally this is a one size fits all system so your wrist size doesn’t matter.

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Lifting Belts

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Following a back injury I made extensive use of lifting belts to get me back on my feet and support my spine during my re-introduction to light squats and deadlifts. During my time in the gym now I am fully healed I no longer use a lifting belt for any exercise. I prefer to lift raw for additional core development. However for very heavy one rep max lifts or for heavy repped lifts in general, lifting belts can be a useful component of your training.

The idea behind lifting belts is that they increase intra-thoracic/abdominal pressure which helps to stabilise the spine during heavy lifts. You are less likely to damage yourself if your trunk is tight and well aligned – and that’s what a lifting belt helps you to do.

Some people swear by lifting belts and seem to wear them all the time. I’m of the opinion that they should be used for heavy strength training only or if you are coming back from injury and want additional support.

Using a lifting belt constantly can take away from important core development. A strong core is vital if you want to be an all round strong person and excel in the big lifts. However, using a belt occasionally can give you much needed support when going for the big lifts.

My advice: Have a belt available but only use during heavy lifting.

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Great for:

-Extra support when coming back from injury

-Lumbar support during big lifts

-Potentially lift more with a lifting belt

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The Top of the Pile:

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Both of these options are developed and sold by RDX, a reputable equipment manufacturer that makes varied products for a range of athletes and lifters.

The RDX belt on the right is a fantastic basic/intermediate lifting belt. It is cheap and light weight and gives decent lumbar support. It can be used for support in any back intensive exercise such as the squat and dead lift. I have owned one of these belts for a number of years and I used it extensively when recovering from a back injury.

For even greater support, the ‘big boy’ belt on the right is ideal for the biggest lifts if you have decent size and a good level of experience. Due to it’s all round thickness, this belt provides all round thoracic support which smaller belts cannot match. This belt is considered more advanced and is made with thick genuine leather (stay classy). It is ridiculously durable and will last for years. Expect to shell out around 30-40 pounds for a belt like this – a worthwhile investment.

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Don’t forget, these lists are frequently updated so check back for more approved products that actually work. If you have any specific questions, head to the comments section or alternatively feel free to reach me at ed@scienceguysupplements.com

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Up next I will be including my top picks for KNEE STRAPS and WRIST SUPPORTS.

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-ScienceGuy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filtering out the pseudoscience