Running on the treadmill is so 90’s. Strength training is the best form of exercise. It can reduce body fat and back pain, prevent muscle loss in old age, increase longevity, and help you sleep better at night. However, you should never start powerlifting without the proper equipment. Improper form and overuse are the biggest causes of injury, so it’s always good to get started with a personal trainer. If you haven’t already, you’ll also want to invest in these four items to maximize your lift.
A Knee Sleeve
Not to be confused with a knee brace, which protects an existing injury from further harm, a knee sleeve protects the knee from becoming injured in the first place. Compression in the knee area stimulates blood flow, which can reduce pain and swelling during and after a powerlift. They also keep the synovial fluid (read: the mucus-y fluid that prevents friction between joints) warm, preventing further injury or ailments such as tendinitis.
Wrist wraps can be used to keep wrists warm and to stimulate blood flow, much like knee sleeves on the legs. However, wrist wraps also have the advantage of keeping the wrist straight during a bench press, which can allow you to lift more. Some lifters also use wrist wraps to protect strain on their wrists and to maintain their grip during a squat.
Lever Weight Lifting Belt
A lever weight lifting belt is a particular must if you’re new to lifting. You may imagine that powerlifting is all about building strength in the arms, but lifting also builds muscle in the back, chest, and core. A lever weight lifting belt is great to utilize when you first get started and have a weaker core, and later on, experts recommend using your belt for big lifts in order to protect the lower back and abdomen. For example, Olympic lifters will often wear thin belts to lift record-breaking weights.
Powerlifting Socks and Shoes
Shoes and socks are necessary both for your everyday workout and for deadlift competitions. These, of course, keep the lifting area hygienic, but they also protect toes and shins from the bar. Debates rage as far as lifting shoes are concerned, but champion lifters often change shoes for every event. Look into good squat and bench shoes if you’re just getting started, and have plenty of high powerlifting socks on hand.
While improper lifting can cause injuries, using proper form and building strength in your back, hips, and shoulders can eventually prevent injury. Using the right equipment and maintaining the right form will allow you to lift for as long as possible.