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Weight Belts, Straps and Gloves

One cannot go to a gym anywhere in the world, without seeing the widespread use of weightlifting belts, straps, gloves and other equipment. None of these pieces of weight training equipment are necessarily required to have success, but they can be very helpful when used correctly.

Weightlifting Belts

A good weightlifting belt helps protect the lower back and enables you to use more weight in deadlifts, squats and overhead press movements. The weightlifting belt when worn properly, offers lumbar support and decreases the amount of force put upon the lower spine. But weightlifting belts should not be worn all the time. It is extremely important to allow the abdominal muscles to do most of the support and stabilizing work involved with the various movements, unless you are working towards a one-rep max.

There are three different types of weightlifting belts. The most common is the thin leather belt with a padded, wide back and narrower front. The nylon lifting belts are softer, adhere better to the contours of the body and are usually light weight. The third type are powerbelts, usually made with thick cowhide leather and built to maintain vertical rigidity throughout the lifting movement. These belts are also the most expensive and are usually used by powerlifters and high-level atheletes.

Straps

Straps are often used by weightlifters to enhance their grip. They allow you to safely hold on to a dumbell or barbell well beyond the point where your fingers are unable to handle the weight. Straps are most commonly used with back exercises like deadlifts and rows. Before buying a pair of straps you should be aware of the material used in their construction. Heavy duty, double stitched canvas straps are more likely to provide better adhesion and last longer.

Gloves

One of the most commonly used weight training accessory has to be the glove. Gloves can enhance your grip and also protect your hands from calluses and other skin problems resulting from the friction between your palms and the metal bars. High quality leather gloves with heavy duty stitching would be ideal as they would provide the neccesary protection and desired durability. But there are many people who find the extra layer of leather or other material in gloves, a hindrance to getting a good feel for the weights. I personally prefer weight lifting chalk to enhance my grip, though before using you should consult with your gym to make sure that chalk is allowed.

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