Lifting is about dominating the essentials. Day in and day out, you’re pushing yourself to PR on lifts that build major muscle groups and develop your practical strength. This doesn’t require fancy gimmicks. There’s no tech involved. This is you against yourself, and nothing should stand in your way -- especially not your gear.
- Durability: Between barbells, kettlebells, and a whole lot of chalk, your gear is going to be hit with everything but the kitchen sink. It needs to be ready to take a beating and keep working hard.
- Range of Motion: Lack of flexibility doesn’t stop you from getting the most out of your lifts. It shouldn’t stop your gear either.
- Injury Prevention: Any lifter’s toolbox isn’t complete without the right accessories to help ensure their lifts are executed correctly and safely. Don’t skimp on the things that could keep you off the sidelines.
- Odor-Control: Don’t be that guy. Everybody in the gym hates that guy.
When you’re at the squat rack preparing to put hundreds of pounds on your back, you’re not relying on thermalite, drytech, nano-chipped nonsense. You need something that feels good and keeps the bar from cutting into you. 99 times out of 100, you’re looking for cotton. Ten Thousand’s Essential Shirt, made of 100% premium pima cotton, is a leveled-up classic. Durable for squats, flexible for power cleans, and anti-odor for everyone around you, the Essential Shirt is just that: essential.
Raise your hand if your shorts have been victimized by a barbell during deadlifts. Repeat after me: “I will stop wearing running shorts on lifting days.” If you’re lifting serious weight, you need a pair of shorts that can take a serious scratching. Not only that, but they also need to allow full range of motion for full extension during squats. Look no further than the Foundation Short. Made from abrasion-resistant, double-weave fabric, these shorts are barbell-proof, kettlebell-proof and bomb-proof. Plus, with their leg gussets for flexibility and secure pocket system, the only problem you’ll have is wanting to wear them every day.
The formula for a good pair of lifting shoes is straightforward: Flat (or close to it) and stiff. You’re looking for something that allows you to keep a steady base and doesn’t interfere with your natural range of movement. Back in the day, Schwarzenegger lifted barefoot. However, for the sake of toe protection and not exposing the gym to your sweaty sock smell, we recommend wearing some kind of shoe. If you’re looking to spend that holiday bonus, feel free to buy a pair of lifting shoes. However, that’s far from necessary. For the money, our recommendation is to dust off those old Converse sneakers and get to work.
$55 new or $10 used
Grip strength can make or break progress towards your next PR. And while it’s important to build your grip strength, sweaty palms should not be your primary obstacle when trying to max out. Investing in a good pair of lifting straps can help you solve this problem and reach your next level. Good lasso-style lifting straps, like these ones from Rogue Fitness, will help you to break through the grip strength barrier while also providing quality wrist support.
Plain and simple: You should invest in a good weight belt. The spine is a fickle, fragile beast, and the last thing you want to do is piss it off. Even if you have great form and a strong core, every lifter is just one accident away from months on the sideline. Decrease that chance with a classic leather weight belt like this one from Dark Iron Fitness. Investing in a weight belt will also give you something to brace your core against during squats, allowing you to get even stronger over time.