Training accessories are kind of like supplements. You should not use them until you’ve mastered the basics and are already training well without them. And even then, you probably don’t need them…You can’t out supplement a shit diet, and you can’t out-accessorize shit movement patterns and mechanics.
The four pieces of equipment below have their place. It’s why I am sharing them with you. But like the lifting straps, they are based on a limitation you have (and need to work on).
In my professional opinion, none of them should be used unless you are a competitive athlete in the sport of power or weightlifting.
First off, knee sleeves and wraps are different. Knee sleeves are a slide on, compression tool. Knee wraps are just that, wraps. They are used to tightly compress and support the knee joint under extreme loads. Both are for compression and some level of support. Wraps are much more intense than sleeves.
Both of these should be used only for maximal lifting. I could maybe see the knee sleeves for keeping the joint warm in addition to providing some compression.
You’re likely not putting your knee joints under high enough volume at high enough loads to justify the need for knee sleeves or wraps. Competitor in weightlifting or power lifting? You do you.
No favorite because there’s no need.
Oh the holy grail of training accessories. I never saw the point in these beyond the solid landing platform they provide for olympic lifting.
Their main purpose is to provide a heel lift to help a lifter keep an upright chest, “increase” ankle mobility (dorsiflexion), sink deeper into the hips, all while keeping the weight centered over the foot. Their other function is the flat platform they provide. This allows a solid landing for olympic weight lifting and great force transfer for squatting.
That last paragraph makes them sound appealing, I know.
FOR COMPETITIVE ATHLETES. It is a piece of their training equipment which they use daily. They still need to have adequate (or beyond adequate) ankle mobility to perform at they level which they do.
If you’re using squatting shoes because you can’t squat to parallel, you need to figure out WHY you can’t squat to parallel and address that issue. Unless you want to use squat shoes to get up off the floor when you’re 80?
I see no use for an everyday worker outer to need squat shoes. Period. Work on your hip and ankle mobility with the Mobility Method and do single leg work until you can squat to parallel.
I take back my earlier comment. This might actually be the holy grail. They are in middle school and high school weight rooms all over the US when they have no place being anywhere until a person knows how to freaking breath and brace properly.
I break this down extensively inside Movement 101 because it is SO IMPORTANT to understand if you want to do any level of weightlifting.
It is used by professionals as a tool to provide extreme intra-abdominal pressure during maximal lifts.
The lifter braces through the core with as much air as they can get in their belly and then holds it there. This provides a solid brace for the spine and connection between upper and lower limbs for the lift. The belt presses in as the lifter presses out (into the belt).
Still feel like you need a weightlifting belt? Because you don’t…
The goal should ALWAYS be to lift as much weight as you can with as much control as you can without help from outside accessories. It will only make you THAT MUCH BETTER when you finally do use the accessories for truly testing loads.
Train your core to withstand heavy loads, learn how to breath, work on your limiting factors and forget all the freaking gadgets.
Even for competitive athletes. Master the basics, build a strong ass foundation and well oiled machine. THEN use the tools.
I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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