3 Reasons To Lift Without Gear
Getting new equipment is the most fun part about trying out a new sport. It’s not unlike getting new school supplies every fall. You want to enjoy what it’s like to have something nice, new, and exciting.
However, despite how exciting new powerlifting equipment is, have you ever thought if you really needed it? From hip circles to bench blocks, there seems to be a limitless amount of equipment available for any adventurous powerlifter to get ahead. The surprising news is, that equipment might be making you weaker, or at a minimum increaisng inbalances!
So before you go running up a credit card bill on squat shoes, a lifting belt and whatever else you’re seeing advertised on youtube, here are three reasons why you should consider holding off on equipment - and how it could actually prevent you from getting stronger!
1. You learn how to lift incorrectly
One of the most important things most people learn in lifting is how to brace through creating intra abdominal pressure. Learning how to breathe when lifting is an important skill, and one that can even prolong your lifting career. Bracing your spine with your breath is also a skill that can convert outside of lifting - like if you have to help your friend move, or repair a flat tire. Many people will slap on a weight lifting belt, without realizing that the belt is actually designed to help support your spine after you have a firm knowledge of how to brace without it. In fact, you should only be lifting with a belt when you are working at 80% or above your max! Instead of buying whatever belt you see at a sporting goods store, learn first how to brace naturally - it will benefit you much farther in the long run.
2. You rely too much on the equipment
If you’re always lifting with gear, you might not learn how to best lift without the equipment. If you’re always wearing a belt, for example, you might find that there’s a weakness in your back that needs to be strengthened. Similarly, incredibly thick, tight knee sleeves can provide an advantage in the squat, compressing and providing a rebound effect that robs your quads of the opportunity to pull you out of the hole. If you start lifting without using equipment, you’ll build the ability to lift without these handicaps, making you a stronger athlete from the start.
3. The equipment is covering up an injury
Many people who lift ins quat shoes, don’t just do it for the stability - they also might have a mobility problem in their ankles or hips that is preventing them from hitting depth! Using equipment is no replacement for mobility, however it might open a person up for neglecting that very important part of their training. Moreso - if you are neglecting your mobility, the benefit of your equipment may be covering up an injury. You might find that you have tendonitis in your knees- made undetectable by thick sleeves, for example. Or, a niggling hip injury may be totally pain free due to your squat shoes. Take the opportunity to exercise without equipment, to make sure you’re a well rounded, pain free athlete.
If you’re a beginner powerlifting athlete, try to make the most of your time lifting without equipment to ensure you’re drilling the motions and learning how to do them correctly. If you become strong without the assistance, imagine how much stronger you’ll be when you get a little more edge!