#336 – Accessory Equipment: Matt and Niki’s Top Picks


Matt and Niki discuss the fun stuff today, the “bonus” equipment that you can start to think about getting after you have the basics like a rack, plates, barbell, and platform. Most of this equipment will be appropriate for the intermediate and advanced lifter, where supplemental lifts and accessory work play a significant role in the training program.


Matt and Niki’s equipment picks can be broadly broken into personal attire (like straps and sleeves) and gym equipment (speciality barbells, attachments, etc).


Personal Attire

  • Wrist wraps – elastic. If you’re pressing over 200/ benching 300+, go for the stiffer ones. If you lift well under that, consider more flexible varieties as the stiff wraps can be quite uncomfortable. Note that Rogue wraps run more flexible, so opt for the stiff ones there.
  • Lifting straps – anything leather is nice, and easy on the hands/wrists
  • Knee sleeves – go for 7mm thickness. Matt likes to add some liniment to the inside of his sleeves before squatting — Tiger Balm for warmth, EliteFTS for cooling (depending on weather and temperature in the gym).
  • Slingshot – for accommodating resistance on the bench press. Also useful for older lifters with stiff and painful shoulders that give them trouble on the bench press.
  • Dip belt — for weighted chins and dips


Gym Equipment

  • Chin-up bar – if you don’t have one on your rack
  • EZ curl bar – for curls, lying triceps extensions, skull crushers, etc.
  • Dip bar
  • Chains — Matt prefers chains because he believes they carry over a little better for the raw lifter compared to bands. The downside is they are large, heavy, and expensive. If you lift at home, he recommends chains. If you lift at a gym, consider bands instead as you can throw them in your gym bag. Matt recommends a pair of the mini bands (red), lights (green), and mediums (purple). Niki recommends you only use these bands for banded lifts. Don’t use one for chins and other accessories. The reason, she says, is using one band more often than another will cause the bands to wear unevenly, meaning they will exert uneven tension during your banded barbell lifts — which we don’t want!
    • Note: Titan sells 5/8” chain, which is the thickness you want. Marine stores usually carry it. If you don’t have access to it, you can use 3/8” chain but you’ll need double the amount. Matt recommends about 100lbs of chain.
  • Small set of dumbbells – for rolling triceps extensions, conditioning, high rep presses, etc.
  • Couple of kettlebells – for conditioning
  • Lat pulldown — Matt likes the Titan stack. Rogue has a rack attachment as well.
  • Sturdy box — for box squats. Preferably an adjustable box with adjustable height. Matt like the ones from NY Barbells and EliteFTS. He also has one from Rogue, but be warned, it’s super heavy!
  • Duffalo/buffalo or safety squat bar — bar with a curve that allows lifters with very stiff shoulders to get into a low bar position. The safety squat bar is a straight bar, but with handles mounted perpendicularly so that the lifter can grip the bar in front of the shoulders rather than behind.
  • Prowler, rower, or echo bike — for conditioning. Take your pick!
  • Extra horse stall mats — for deficit deadlifts, block pulls, etc.




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