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What Gear Do I Need?

In the functional fitness world, there is an array of equipment that can be purchased from the newest running shoes to a custom-made weightlifting belt and the equipment list can become overwhelming.  With so many options for gear, one of the most common questions in the gym becomes, “What gear do I need?”.  This question can send us down a few rabbit holes, but the simplest answer is nothing.  To perform in a class or personal training session you just need to show up wearing comfortable clothing that allows you to move and a good pair of sneakers.  There is no extra gear that is required for classes or personal training sessions and True Core has all the equipment you will need for the workout.  However, we have all seen the athlete strapping on the weight belt before a massive deadlift or seen someone stomping around in those funky-looking shoes on the weightlifting platforms so let us break down the most common gear inside the gym. 

Belts:  Weightlifting belts are quite common when performing heavy power or Olympic-style lifts.  The belt is secured tightly around the lower abdomen which triggers the athlete to push against the belt which braces their core and helps protect the spine during lifting.  Belts should be worn by intermediate or advanced lifters only.  A general rule of thumb is an athlete should be comfortable bracing their core and performing all major lifts with moderate weight and proficient technique before using a belt for assistance. 

Weightlifting Shoes:  Weightlifting shoes are flat and sturdy with an elevated heel that is typically used for squatting movements.  The increased stability and raised heel help athletes to achieve better positions during squat movements like back squats or squat snatches.  If you struggle with mobility especially in the ankles or are serious about weightlifting this style of shoe may be a good purchase for you. 

Knee Sleeves:  Compressive knee sleeves are used to keep the knees tight and warm during workouts and are commonly used for heavy squatting.  Knee sleeves can be great if you experience slight discomfort with a high rep or heavy squats.  The added compression gives the knee joint more stability which can help to mitigate discomfort in the knee.  Knee sleeves are also great for many other uses like a shin guard for deadlifts or rope climbs and are great for padding the knees during lunges.  Keep in mind discomfort is not pain.  If you experience pain while squatting or performing any other exercise you should inform the coach and consult your physician. 

Gymnastic Wraps:  Gymnastic wraps also called gloves are secured over the wrist and cover the palm and inside of the fingers.  These are extremely helpful for any movements on the pullup bar, especially kipping movements.  With workouts that involve high rep count bar movements, gymnastic wraps can help secure your grip while also reducing the risk of tearing your hand on the bar. 

Remember the bottom line is you do not need any fancy equipment to do your workout.  The items listed above just scratch the surface of all the possible gear to fill a gym bag but if you are looking to upgrade your arsenal a pair of knee sleeves or a set of gymnastic wraps would not be a bad start. 

Ryan Walker

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