When you head into the gym, you have to make the equipment there work for you. Luckily, you can use a few key tools to increase the challenge of your workout without permanently altering the gym equipment. Using tools that increase grip or resistance allows you to maximize your effort to start seeing even better gains with every session. Here are three tools you need to pack in your bag to make the most of each trip to the gym.
A weak grip can hold you back from lifting the weight the rest of your muscles are capable of handling. You can mitigate the effects of a weak grip by utilizing innovative straps that link your hands to the bar. You can use these straps while working on pull ups or barbell based exercises. Use the straps sparingly by only wearing them during exercises that you cannot properly perform due to a weak hold on the bar. Since the grip straps don’t help you build strength in your wrists and hands, consider using a wrist roller and hand gripper outside of the gym at least three times a week.
You likely associate elastic resistance bands with low intensity physical therapy or aerobic exercise routines. The truth is, weightlifting enthusiasts often use elastic bands to dramatically increase intensity while working with a weighted barbell. The resistance bands anchor to the power rack frame or additional kettle bells to slightly bump up the challenge of lifting. The resistance bands can also help you slow down your lifts, which makes your muscles work harder to sustain the movement over a longer period of time. Start with the thin 70 pound rated bands and work your way up to the 240s.
If you find your lifting progress often stalls as you have to deload for a week at a time to break past a plateau, you might want to try some micro weights to finally see the progress you seek. The tiny donut weights range from one to five pounds in size to give your barbell the slightest bump in weight. In many cases, that additional weight allows you to continue gaining strength without moving to the next plate size on the rack. You can also use the micro weights during your dumbbell routines to progressively increase the strength in your hands, wrists, arms and shoulders.
Utilizing Your Gear
Make sure to study the right ways to use your gear to avoid pushing yourself too hard during your workout sessions. You want to work your muscles just to the point of failure without suffering an injury. You can test out each of the above devices to see how it changes your exertion levels and resulting soreness. If you feel a reasonable amount of delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, continue using your gym accessories in that manner until your workout feels too easy again. At that point, you can reevaluate and adjust resistance again to increase the challenge even more.