If you've ever walked into the weight department of your gym – congratulations! They are well on the way to building strong bones, boosting your metabolism and warding off disease. Regardless of how long you lift, the only thing you can not overlook among the machines and weight plates ( oh my ) is the overloading of hoists.
But is there really any benefit in wearing while wearing all those armor while cruising? We have asked a handful of experts to break down the benefits of the most common lifting accessory when they are used (or not ), and what to consider before feeding on the dough. [1
Weightlifting belts are essentially corsets for meatheads. These five-centimeter-thick straps are made of neoprene or nylon (and sometimes leather) and are attached either with Velcro, buckle or quick release levers on the abdomen – a kind of eroticism, right?
The belt is designed to create abdominal pressure to support and protect the spine when squatting or lifting heavy weights, "says Melody Schoenfeld, CSCS, founder of Flawless Fitness in Pasadena, CA." But you do not have to work for any weight wearing a belt, "she says.
So if you should strap yourself on
According to the US power-lifting coach Kyra Williams," Whenever you have over 85 to 90 percent Maximizing your maximum for a repeat or trying to achieve a personal best, putting on a belt can improve stability. "If you've never found your one-rep maximum, this guide can help.
But here's the thing: They should not be maximally extended on every lift. "While many recreational lifters think they should exhaust every time You really do not work for PR more than once every few months, "says Williams. Of course, if you are brand new in lifting, you will be like crazy PR. Once you've rolled, most of the time with squats and deadlifts should be strapless.
What happens if you wear a belt more than that?
When it's time to get to your big kids bike. "At best, you deny your body the ability to build a strong, resilient core, and in the worst case, weaken your existing core strength," says Menachem Brodie, NSCA-CSCS, owner of Human Vortex Training.
A belt may allow the athlete to lift more weight – according to research findings – up to 15 percent more – some people use it as a crutch, resulting in a loss of strength, says Chelsea Ax, CSCS and Fitness expert at DrAxe.com. "If somebody always uses a belt, he does not learn how to properly take care of his core."
Determined to fasten one?
Ax says it's only safe to lift a belt if the following two conditions are met: First, you already know how to squat with good form. And secondly, you are sitting more than 85 to 90 percent of your maximum reps. "And even then, I would recommend the athlete to learn what their unpeeled squat or deadlift load is best at," she says.
Looks pretty cool, but what's your purpose?
To prevent your wrist from moving too far back or forward without completely hindering your wrist. According to Rachel Straub, CSCS, co-author of Weight Training Without Injury "Wrist wraps press on the lower and hand bones and provide support and rigidity to the joint, which can lessen the strain on the joint and reduce the strain even minimize fatigue. "Translation: stability, stability, stability.
When to wrap:
Ax recommends that you wear the wrap when you are performing very heavy overhead movements at a low weight or a moderate weight while using a high volume. For example, if you perform an overhead motion such as a push-pull or dodge at a weight greater than your maximum repetition rate of 85 percent, the wrap can help you stabilize and achieve that heavier weight.
If you're a CrossFit athlete, you might also want to have the wraps for workouts like Grace, Isabel, or DT, where you'll have to put up with a modest weight over and over again. (If you have not tried the CrossFit Kool-Aid, there are more than 30 repetitions at 50 to 60 percent of your maximum repetition value.)
"Even moderate weight can strain your wrists over time," says Cary Williams, Olympic coach and co-designer of Boxing & Barbells. And Ax recommends using wraps when your fitness exercises include handstand pushups or when you walk on your hands, as these movements strain your wrists and forearms.
When to go nude:
If you work with light weight (less than 80 percent of your maximum repeatability), or if you perform movements, such as walking. For example, pull-ups, push-ups or squats, you do not have to exceed the weight. "You do not need the wraps for any upper body strengthening, and you do a poor service if you always wear them," says Ax.
"There is always concern that one relies too much on the outside support for any weakness is a band aid for an unaddressed problem such as arthritis, tendonitis or poor wrist flexibility," says Straub. "If you wear the wrist wrap constantly, you can hinder the development of the muscles in your forearms and grip." In the long term, she says that you may increase the risk of injury.
If you are in a position where you can not exercise without wrist wrap, Straub suggests you look at a PT and rethink your routine to consider wrist strengthening and movement movements such as wrist circles or how to do it presses a tennis ball. And if you secretly rely on wraps to wipe your arm sweat (no judgment), invest in a pair of the above-mentioned sweatbands. At Amazon, there are some very cheap couples, like this colorful pair of Bememo or this pink couple from Suddoro.
] Knee sleeves, which are typically made of neoprene, are basically too tight a tube top for the knees. "They compress and stabilize the knees, research has shown that the kneecap is held in position during movements that exert a high pressure on the knees," says Schönfeld.
And after Straub they also keep the knee joint warm. The compression from the sleeve helps to increase blood flow to the knee area, causing actual warming. (The same thing happens when you blush.) "Increased blood flow leads to a warmer joint, which can reduce pain and discomfort for the athlete," says Ax. In fact, a 2011 study found that pain in people with osteoarthritis who used knee sleeves was reduced.
But what about the people without arthritis?
Lauren Lobert, DPT and owner of APEX Physical Therapy says the increased blood flow is still beneficial. "Increased blood flow provides more nutrients for muscle and microtears, and in theory athletes can help recover faster after activities like squatting and even prevent muscle soreness."
Unlike weight belts, when an athlete can lift more, knee sleeves are not allowed. In one study, no differences in strength were found between football players who used the sleeves and those who did not. "The research is pretty clear, it can be of benefit to people who already have arthritis, but there's no real benefit to a healthy person," says Ax.
Keep the hope for the knees realistic.
"People falsely believe that wearing a knee sleeve automatically improves their technique and makes them a better, stronger squatter," says Brodie. "That's wrong, sleeves do not improve rod mechanics, prevent bad shape injuries, or treat injuries." This can only be achieved through a combination of good coaching, prehab, rehabilitation training and intelligent strength training. Touché .
Above all, let your body be the leader. "Some people will find that knee sleeves can cause problems or shed their shape, so if you bother knees when wearing sleeves, do not wear them," says Schoenfeld.
If you participate in a spin class, attach stylish cycling shoes. When you run, lace up light, supportive sneakers. So you already know that different workouts require different shoes. But is raising shoes really necessary ?
The answer is mixed: they are not necessary but they may be beneficial.
Weightlifting shoes are sturdy -light sneakers with a slight heel-lift (usually made of wood). "This heel lift helps the lifter to keep track of its weight, which is an appropriate shape for most dumbbell movements, including squats, front squats, and clean form," says Williams [Kyra].
Due to a limited ankle flexibility and reduced flexibility of the calves many people can not wear in normal sneakers or barefoot. The consequence? "They're rocking their toes and not being able to keep their breasts up," says Brodie.
"Research has shown that a heel lift allows for a correct shape and more recruiting of the quadriceps, which can lead to a heavier body. And because it reinforces the good shape, it can actually help reduce injury through the shape For most people, these are big gains. "(And with" great success, "he means the $ 200 that most lift-boots cost.)
But there is a caveat:
"When you start wearing weightlifting shoes and stop learning how to squat properly, take a shortcut," says Brodie. In the short term is the NBD. But if you can not squat with 30, you will not sit on a chair with 80 injury (say: squat). He and Schönfeld both recommend working on the agility of the ankle. Whether you invest in a pair of weight lifting shoes or not.
The Bottom Line
Like most things in life, there are pros and cons to consider (unless they're cookies – just professionals). "I do not think there is a universal right or wrong for any of these pieces of equipment," says Ax. "Whether they are useful or not should be decided on a case-by-case basis."
So, if you're still wondering if you're investing in this extravagant weight-lifting belt, talk to a trainer or a physiotherapist. But most of all, I do not feel like you need to buy equipment just to fit in the gym – you're already killing them, just like you.
Gabrielle Kassel is an athlete who wears athletes. CrossFitting, a New York based writer who has a knack for wellness as a lifestyle. In her free time, she can read books for self-help, practice bench presses or hygge. Follow her on Instagram.