10 Essential Gym Accessories

Need some new tools to improve your fitness?

Want to fill your gym bag up with some cool equipment?

Could do with some new training toys to play with?

Without further ado here are my 10 essential gym accessories:

Lynx Grips

No-one likes calluses and anyone who’s used a typical weighlifting glove will know that they aren’t particularly effective at preventing them as they provide most protection over the palm rather than where it needs to be around the base of the fingers.

Lynx grips are a much better alternative as they provide protection where it matters and also provide a stronger gripping material than gloves.

Another cool use for Lynx Grips is as a portable fat bar by doubling or tripling them up (you’ll need to buy multiple pairs of grips, however it is much cheaper than buying a fat bar which can cost up to $200).

Captain of Crush Hand Grips

Grip strength is functional in a number of life’s endeavours whether it be opening the tightly screwed lid on a jar of jam or grappling an opponent to the ground in a heated bout.

Whilst exercises like deadlifts will train your holding grip effectively it is hard to train your crushing grip without a

... enter CoC grips which have 10 different strength levels with the latter ones being considered outstanding achievements if closed and only set you back $20 per gripper – a very sweet deal.

Training Log

Keeping a training log is very powerful.

It allows you to monitor your progress, recall what you did last workout, make adjustments, review the effectiveness of past training ideas, provide extra motivation and plenty more.

I find that nothing beats old-fashioned indexed handwritten log and there are some good one’s available that are already drawn up nicely for you, however with the advent of the iPhone there are now a number of apps that can allow you to do this electronically too if you prefer.

Gym Log by Hyperphonic.net

Training Log by IronGeek Software

Foam Roller

Everyone would like to be more flexible and mobile whether you’re just an average joe/jane that works a 9-5 job or an elite athlete.

Stretching is useful to an extent, but if you’ve got kinks in your soft tissues then you’ll need to go visit a soft tissue specialist to make any progress.

That used to be the case before the invention of the foam roller, where you can achieve a lot in the area of myofascial release on your own with just a cylinder of foam.

They are also now an essential piece of equipment at almost every physiotherapists office around the world and are used by a number of strength coaches and athletic clubs too for their athlete’s warm-ups and/or cool downs.

Wrist wraps

I was going to write something, but renowned athletic performance coach, Eric Cressey, M.A., C.S.C.S. explained perfectly why wrist straps are a good investment in his T-nation article 13 Tips for Mighty Elbows & Wrists:

“Not to be confused with wrist straps, which help you hold onto the bar, wrist wraps have made a huge difference in keeping my elbows and wrists healthy.

I think we really overlook the importance of a wide base of support in increasing stability of our joints. We know that bracing the midsection is superior to the "thin tummy" recommendations for creating spinal stability when we put a weight on our back, so why not apply the same principles to our wrists when we bench?

Unfortunately, we can't exactly brace the wrist via a built-in physiological mechanism as we do with the spine. However, we've got to do something because the wrist is a joint that's extremely vulnerable to injury given its small circumference. Compare your ankle and wrist circumferences and you'll always find that the ankle is greater. (My wrist measures up at a whopping six inches.)

Would you expect this wrist to hold up very long with over 400 pounds placed on it?

The ankle is built for stability and needs more mobility training. Conversely, the wrist is built for mobility, but it lacks stability — stability that can be artificially created with a wrist wrap. I'm not saying that you have to use them all the time, but they're certainly a useful inclusion in your training bag for your heaviest sets and the highest volume weeks.”

While we’re talking about Eric Cressey his best-selling book, Maximum Strength, is an excellent read for anyone that’s relatively new to the world of weight training or even intermediate trainees that have been stuck in a plateau for too long.

Weightlifting Belt

For those that like to train heavy (90% 1RM and more).

It works by increasing intra-abdominal pressure through compression and prevents hyper-extension which reduces the stress on the lower back and spinal column.

Whilst I don’t recommend overusing a weightlifting belt as you lose the benefits of improving core stability it is worthwhile using it for very heavy 1-3 rep max sets for safety precautions.

Dip Belt

Chin-ups and Dips are 2 of the most effective compound exercises for upper body strength and hypertrophy.

However, once you can handle your bodyweight comfortably in both these exercises it's difficult to progress and add more resistance - that's where a dip belt can come in handy...

Blender Bottle

The post-workout protein shake is a staple of many a gym goers routine to get fast-acting proteins to the muscles and instigate the recovery process.

Unfortunately most shaker bottles are flimsy and have issues with mixability....

This is not the case with the Blender Bottle which is built sturdily and has a wire ball for much improved mixability

Weightlifting Chalk

Chalk is very useful for improved grip on heavy ground based lifts like deadlifts, cleans, rows and snatches – it helps reduce the slipperiness of the hands.

Unfortunately many commercial gyms don’t allow regular weightlifting chalk (magnesium carbonate) as it’s too messy, so the next best solution is liquid chalk (aluminum chlorohydrate), which functions as an antiperspirant and stops your palms sweating.

GymBoss

The benefits of interval training are well established and known by most.

Gymboss is a multi-function interval/stopwatch timer that’s water and shock resistant, that can help you control and monitor your interval training workouts more effectively.

So, what are your favourite gym accessories? Post them below in the comments.

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