You’ve found yourself in a new world of training, comradery, and slick new threads. This world has been around a while and has caught on hard to the lifestyle fitness clothing, or leisure wear. Style is king with motivational text on t shirts and matching socks that are way too high for the rope to care. New gadgets promise accurate health tracking, alongside pain relief and performance enhancement. It all ranges from apple watches, colour blinding lifting shoes, to smelly knee sleeves you leave around the gym floor.
The issues arise when attempting to remedy a mobility issue with a new toy. I’m all for looking slick while you workout, as you will notice by my occasional barefoot, disheveled hair, sweatshorts look. I’m all for fixing and enhancing. As we should take every advantage to make ourselves better. But, just how are your ninja turtles wrist wraps keeping you on point? I guess this is where we start:
The good. Support for the wrist joint with colours that keep your whole outfit “on fleek”. Cranky, and even non-cranky wrists can benefit from a little added rigidity or protection, and the security under so many repetitions. Sometimes knowing they’re there can be a little positive reinforcement for your confidence.
The bad. You’re wrists are weak, and they will inevitably stay that way. How strong are they without the wrap? When everybody is ready, you’re just “need a second…”, and then if they come loose. They’re more unwelcomed than condoms during romance. And what if you don’t have them handy?!
The bigger picture. Build stronger more flexible wrists. The tissues in that area, more than most, need lots of repetitions at a submaximal efforts to increase blood-flow and recovery. They will over time, with progressive steps, remodel withstand your abuse.
T-Shirts (with the words)
The good. Some of them are pretty clever. They draw up conversation and speak to you on some level.
The bad. Strong is not the new anything.
The bigger picture. There is none. Ball out, ain’t nobody telling me what to wear.
The good. They give you the position to stay upright, no matter how bad your usable range of motion is. They come in a fleet of colour schemes to show your allegiance to the chinese or blind the person anywhere near you.The positional advantage and solid foot base will ensure the utmost success in your adventures in weightlifting. It just “feels” better in them.
The bad. They give you the position to stay upright, no matter how bad your usable range of motion is. An advantage should increase your success rate, not fill in for a lack of mobility. The crammed foot wear leaves your feet gummed up with poor proprioception (knowing where you are and controlling it). The calves cramp and the toes narrow up, not even fetishers want anything to do with them. You like tool when you do literally anything other than weightlifting in them.
The bigger picture. Build stronger more flexible ankles, and feet. You spend enough time on them, they need the care to bring them up to bar. When the tissues calm down and become more supple they’re more compliant. You can help offset the time your foot spends gummed up in the tight shoe. Then they become to your advantage, and you still look like a real weightlifter.
Knee Sleeves (‘elbow’ or whatever other sleeve you like)
The good. They increase warmth to the joint and tissues at a given area, and keep them that way. In cold environments or joints with a “cranky” history can feel a rush of blood and lubrication. Compression can do wonders for circulation. They also help cushion contact with lunges, or any prolonged time on your knees (know one will know without the bruises).
They smell. After a single use. They smell. They don’t actually support anything, as you can’t use a piece of fabric to increase the rigidity of a joint. They actually look cooler around your ankles.
The bigger picture. Yeah, yeah, build stronger more...We’re starting to get a feel for what we want to be doing here? Building structural integrity is a lot more important than making something “feel” better. Controlled knee rotations (CARs) and a variety of one legged drills can increase the joint's ability to absorb force. You can then just use them to keep warm.
The good. They’re socks. They might reduce rope burn.
The bad. You’re Pippy Longstalking.
The bigger picture. Get better at pulling. Wear your knee sleeves around your ankles. See “Words on T-Shirts”.
The good. They can increase intraabdominal pressure, and may decrease the compressive forces on the vertebral discs. It can help teach you to brace out into 360 degrees of tension. They may just increase your ability to lift maximally and provide support in submaximal lifting in high volume, as fatigue sets in. That rustic leather looks completely badass, and definitely gives you the support you need.
The bad. You’re core clearly isn’t strong enough to do whatever you’re doing without it. You start wearing it waaaay to early in your sets. You may have bought the pathetic velcro addition, that’s real easy to whip on and off (even when it’s suppose to stay on). It should increase your success rate, not fill in for a lack of strength. “I can’t lift it without it”. Yeah, that’s the point. “So and so said it helped them.” Go jump of a bridge.
The bigger picture. Build a bulletproof core with high bracing ability, and endurance for the ages. Learn to breathe, and then learn to brace (you can even use the belt to help you understand how). Cat camel your ass off, and quit talking during your planking. If you insist, or you live for the rep max, leave it for your big sets, and learn how to use it.
These are all useful in some way. Just note what you are choosing to neglect in place of this accessory. They are arguably more useful as a fashion statement then they are as an integral piece of your development. They can go quickly from crutch to wheelchair.
Speak to your coach and book some personal training to get a grip on the gaps in your game. A few drills go a long way. Stay on point.