Best weightlifting accessories for women 2022

Weightlifting is one of the most popular forms of exercise, which is no surprise considering there are so many benefits to lifting weights. In addition to improving your overall strength and fitness, studies have shown that it may also reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. And then, of course, there are all the mental health benefits that come with getting stronger and lifting pieces of metal really high.

Lifting weights can also be a great fun pastime, whether you train alone or with friends. It’s one of those activities that there is always more to learn or improve. All you really need to get started is a set of lightweight dumbbells, a kettlebell, or a barbell; as you progress, you may be looking for new ways to improve your strength and your enjoyment of lifting weights.

Luckily, there are a whole range of weightlifting accessories you can use to enhance your experience. And while none of them are strictly necessary, they can help prevent injury and make lifting more comfortable.

Here are some of the most useful weightlifting accessories…

Knees

We put our knees under a lot of stress and pressure when weightlifting, which can increase our risk of injury. Knee pads are compression straps worn around the knees that restrict movement of the kneecap. It helps prevent injury and can aid your technique in a range of motions, including squats. If you experience pain in your knees while weightlifting, either due to previous injuries or a lack of mobility, knee pads can help (although really, to increase mobility, you’re better off stepping back at the body weight and rebuild). Additionally, many people use knee pads to help their body recover from intense training – they can reduce swelling and therefore pain.

“Knee pads are useful for squats and weightlifting in particular,” says personal trainer Hannah Ashby. “It avoids tightness and you feel like you have a lot more power in your legs because your joints are safer.”

Ashby adds that they can also be useful for exercises such as lunges or burpees, as they can help minimize bruising when your knees hit the ground.

Lifting shoes

There’s a shoe for absolutely everything these days and weightlifting is no different. Lifting shoes, which are becoming increasingly common, can help you feel more stable during moves like squats, cleans, and snatches. They also lighten the load on your ankles, preventing them from rolling inward, and help improve your posture, thanks to their raised heels. The shape of the shoe can also improve your mobility, especially in the ankle, knees and hips, while the solid base (generally much stronger than a regular pair of trainers) is good for minimizing the risk of wound.

“I would only recommend buying weightlifters if you really like weightlifting,” says Ashby, explaining that they can be a big expense, but are useful for Olympic weightlifting. For others, wearing a pair of converse (they also have a thick and solid sole) or getting up barefoot is a good alternative.

Lifting straps

If you intend to lift heavy objects, lifting straps can help increase your load, especially if you have trouble grabbing. They wrap around your wrist and around the bar so your hand and the bar are hooked together. Sometimes you may have the muscle strength – for example, in your legs during the deadlift – to lift a certain weight, but you are unable to grab it due to a lack of strength in your forearm. That’s when these types of bracelets can come in handy.

It’s worth pointing out that these are only really worth using if you’re heavy. Using straps for a weight that you can move easily is not a good idea as there is always a risk that you will become too dependent on them and lose the grip strength you already have. “When you use lifting straps, you’re not testing your grip strength at all,” says Ashby, emphasizing that it’s important not to use them unless you’re lifting much heavier than usual.

Wrist support bands

Although they look and sound similar, wrist support bandages serve a very different purpose than lifting straps. It’s common for people to overextend their wrists during weightlifting, which can lead to injury. Wrist support straps stop this by keeping your wrist in a neutral position, preventing it from stretching forward or backward. The straps are made from a strong material and rest on your wrists to prevent them from moving back and forth. They are especially useful for exercises such as bench presses, shoulder presses, cleans and jerks.

“Wrist support wraps are great if you feel discomfort or twinges in your wrists when lifting overhead,” says Ashby.

weightlifting belt

You’ve probably seen professional lifters wear belts. They can help people lift more by forcing the body into a “splint” position. It works by increasing pressure on your abs, engaging those muscles to help you lift more, and it also reduces pressure on your spine, which means you engage your legs more rather than your back while lifting (your leg muscles are usually stronger than your back muscles so it can help you lift heavier). It can also reduce the risk of overworking the back muscles or unnecessarily straining the lower back.

It’s really important to try to get used to being in the “splint” position when lifting, whether you’re wearing a belt or not. Ashby uses the phrase “be your own belt”. Again, belts are something you should only use when lifting heavy weights, but they can also be helpful in understanding what your abs will look like.

Weightlifting Grips

If you’ve seen people wearing fingerless gloves in the gym, they’re not trying to keep their hands warm – they’re wearing weightlifting grips. Again, these are designed to help you maintain your grip on the barbell or bar when performing moves like pull-ups. They can also prevent the skin on your hands from tearing and forming blisters and calluses, which many weight lifters struggle with due to regular contact with the metal bar. You can also find handles that fit around your wrist.

dumbbell cushion

You’ve probably seen or used a dumbbell pad when doing exercises like hip thrusts. They are designed to prevent the bar from resting directly on your skin which can sometimes be uncomfortable and cause bruising.

“Make sure you don’t use them when doing exercises like squats or it could negatively impact your form,” says Ashby, explaining that you should only use them in exercises where the bar is uncomfortable when it rests directly on your body.

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