You may wonder, "Why do certain people wear so much “stuff” during the workouts?" Furthermore, sometimes they even change into/out of more stuff between portions of the class. The short answer is, safety. Some people may get coaxed into buying stuff from their favorite Instagram trend setter, or simply, someone in the gym has something and you feel like you need it as well. This month, we're focusing on accessing what gear you need versus want; why/how it would benefit you.
In today’s modern impulse driven market, there is literally something for everything. From a magnetic rack-attaching phone mount for WOD selfies to a small step stool to help you. With that being said, let’s take a moment (or blog post) to work our way from head-to-toe and look at the things we would (movement professionals) argue/suggest would be helpful for your fitness curriculum.
Lots of people make them and yes, they work! Some would go so far as to call them sweat bands (as they can be on your head, arm/wrist or leg). Their purpose is to absorb sweat before it affects a more distal/vital extremity of purpose ie. Seeing, sweaty heads/feet etc.
The Wrist & Hands
These come in many different shapes and sizes, but essentially, the wrists were not made to bear the load we expose it to in “heavier” lifting. Wrist wraps create stability around the wrist joint, making it act more as a fixed lever, and thus reducing the tendency for your simple cuboidal bones to collide with one another causing cartilage damage/contusions. For those who experience wrist discomfort in the front rack or overhead position, these will help significantly. These in no way make your wrists “weaker.” Your wrist “strength” comes from your forearms, not your wrists.
These are the dangling tassels of cloth people wrap/loop around their wrists and attach them to barbell for longer more complicated lifts ie. Heavy/high rep dead lifts, cycling through snatch work etc… This will not directly “weaken” your grip strength so long as intermittently you use conventional non-hook grip on your regular barbell work.
• Gymnastic Grips
These are the palm pads you see people wearing that loop through a few fingers to protect their palms during higher volume pull-up cycles. We recommend these if you find your rough callused skin annoying.
• Thumb Tape
This is a stretchy tape that you wrap around your thumbs, if you apply the hook-grip during your barbell movements. This will protect your thumb skin from becoming callused.
• Neoprene Sleeves
Neoprene is a type of fabric that induces insulation and traps heat. This is the material used in the making of wet suits. This will allow the elbow more blood flow and better recovery during and after lifting.
• Weight Belts
Weight belts are wonderful pieces of equipment if you’re using them for the right reasons. Weight belts help you create intra-abdominal pressure and as a result, strengthening your actual “core” muscles. The deeper muscles beneath the outer ab/back muscles you see. They do not weaken the trunk, but rather, eliminate overuse of the abdominal flexors and trunk extensors.
• Knee Sleeves
Neoprene is a type of fabric that induces insulation and traps heat. This is the material used in the making of wet suits. This will allow the knees more blood flow and better recovery during and after lifting. It is common to order knee sleeves a size smaller to also provide “tension” and thus knee support as well.
Wraps are long (1 meter - 3 meter) pieces of cloth use to wrap around the knee to provide stability and support of maximal loads.
• Weightlifting Shoes
Weightlifting shoes typically have a solid sole/base and a raised (.25 - .75”) heel. This allows the foot to have direct drive response during the lift, as tennis/sneaker shoes will have a more elastic medium as the sole. The elevated heel aids ankle in-mobility, and helps to offset the forward lean created during the three hinge flexion during the squat.
So there you have it! These are the main items you will see being worn at the box. The short cut reference to find a pretty broad selection of all of these products is roguefitness.com. As a reminder, these items are not a necessity to follow our program. They simply help to aid with tightness and soreness from use. None of this equipment will offset poor nutrition or recovery, nice try.