If you are trying to build muscle then no doubt you are hitting the gym regularly, eating loads and getting your fair share of supplements, but what else can you do?
Well, there are weight training accessories that you can buy that will help boost your gains.
Below you will find some of the best accessories and how they will enhance your training efforts.
#1: Weightlifting Shoes
If you are serious about gains then you will be lifting weights on a regular basis, and while they may look nice, a pair of sporty trainers just won't cut it at the gym.
Most trainers you buy will be built for comfort and style, and unfortunately will not help with performance.
The added heel lift, stabilisation features and heel support can actually affect ankle mobility. This can cause a shift in your bodies centre of gravity and will leave your calves in a state of constant contraction.
I would suggest is that you invest in a pair of weightlifting shoes. Or just a pair of flat-soled shoes if possible.
These shoes are more rigid, so will provide a more solid platform to perform lifts like the squat and deadlift.
This rigidness allows you to produce more force in your lift, rather than having to use strength to stabilise your ankle .
#2: Foam Roller
To recover after an intense workout there are many things you must do. For example, rest and adequate nutrition.
A foam roller can also help as it can help to speed up recovery.
Research has found that using a foam roller post-workout could help to significantly reduce DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and enhance recovery .
For those who love to hit their deadlift PRs on a regular basis then chalk is a must-have.
Using chalk will help to reduce and absorb the moisture in your hands, which will help to increase your grip .
Chalk is cheap to buy, and you don’t even need to buy specialist lifting chalk if you don’t want to. Kids play chalk is just as effective and is a cheaper option.
Some gyms won't allow the use of chalk, and in this instance you could use a product like Liquid Grip.
#4: Weight Lifting Gloves
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. You don’t want everyone to mock you.
However, if your hands sweat a lot then they are a good and less messy alternative to chalk.
By keeping your hands dry you are increasing your grip and reducing the risk of injury.
#5: Lifting Straps
Another product to help with your grip are lifting straps, which you simply wrap around the bar when performing exercises such as the deadlift.
While they will aid your grip, there is a drawback to their use.
You may be able to lift heavier weights, but you will not be able to develop either forearm or grip strength naturally.
#6: Knee & Wrist Wraps
If you get injured while lifting this will certainly affect your gains. No one wants to be out of action for day, weeks or months at a time through injury.
Using a knee wrap is to help give your knees support without limiting your movement.
This will enable you to perform heavy squats while keeping your knees supported and stable during the movement .
Wrist wraps can also give your wrists support from injury and will increase wrist strength. This can help reduce the risk of encountering various sprains and strains.
#7: Weight Lifting Belt
Should you wear a weight lifting belt? Will it help boost your gains?
Some experts would say that it will help and will help give extra support to your lower back, while others will say that it will leave your core muscles weak as you won't engage them during a lift.
In my opinion, if you are looking to challenge yourself and are going to be lifting heavy weights then they are a must-have.
Science seems to agree with this statement, with a study showing that wearing a weight lifting belt could increase IAP (Intra-Abdominal Pressure) during lifts like the squat .
Increasing IAP has been shown to reduce the compressive forces on your spinal discs during lifting, so a weight lifting belt could help to potentially reduce the risk of serious injury .
#8: Kinesiology Tape
As long as you know what you are doing and can properly apply it then kinesiology tape can help to stabilise and support your muscles and joints during exercise.
If you are struggling with any type of soft tissue damage then using this tape can give you relief and will enable you to remain active .
While none of the above weight training accessories are essential if you want that little extra help to build muscle and strength then what is the harm in using them?
Just remember that it is your own hard work and dedication that will get you to your end goal.