GET THE RIGHT GEAR

These are your gym bag es­sen­tials – gloves not re­quired

Men's Fitness - - Features -

22 Belt

In a study of vet­eran squat­ters, re­searchers found that the lifters pro­duced 25-40% more “in­trab­dom­i­nal pres­sure” - ba­si­cally, the core sta­bil­ity you get from hold­ing a deep breath – by wear­ing a belt, while the belt­less lifters tended to lean for­ward more dur­ing reps. The im­pli­ca­tion? Belted lift­ing is safer for the spine, while also in­creas­ing quad and ham­string ac­ti­va­tion at heavy weights. In­vest in qual­ity: the Texas Longhorn (pul­lum-sports.co.uk) is ex­pen­sive, but it works.

23 Shoes

A sta­ble base is the key. Chuck Tay­lor-style shoes like Con­verse are ideal for begin­ners, since they’re nice and flat with no “give” to re­duce your power. As you im­prove, in­vest in some weightlift­ing shoes – a 2012 study found they re­duce “trunk lean”, im­prov­ing form and re­duc­ing in­jury risk.

24 Straps

You should rely on your hands alone for most moves – build­ing a bet­ter grip will help with every­thing else – but for very heavy shrugs or ex­tended dead­lift­ing, straps will stop grip from be­com­ing a lim­it­ing fac­tor.

25 Chalk

More weight means more mus­cle, and us­ing chalk means more weight. “Chalk­ing up to im­prove your grip can add 10kg to some ex­er­cises in­stantly,” says strength coach Sean McPhillips. If your gym doesn’t al­low it, try the liq­uid va­ri­ety – or change gyms.

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