Matt & Niki explore helpful strength equipment that helps you solve problems, make strength training more fun, and build your home gym. They share specific pieces of equipment and for whom this gear might help the most. This isn’t equipment to get started or gear 101, but rather equipment and gear for those who are continuing on the path of strength and voluntary hardship.
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Helpful Strength Equipment
You need a few items to begin strength training properly, though you can also start exercising today.
As you progress and build the habit of strength training (and simultaneously get older) some equipment can help solve common problems you will likely encounter.
Some of these items help add variety and make training more fun.
Other gear helps deal with common injuries or pain points.
Regardless, this list of items can help you build compliance and improve your training. If you use it, it is ultimately an investment in yourself and your health.
Accessories for Accessory Work
Accessory work can get repetitive if all you have is a barbell. A few pieces of equipment can multiply the potential hypertrophy and accessory work you can program.
Adjustable dumbbells allow you to add dumbbell variations and accessory lifts without taking up a ton of space (and saving money compared to a full set of dumbbells).
Not only can you perform dumbbell variations of the main lifts, you can also perform more accessory work that you simply cannot perform with barbells (e.g. dumbbell flies or lateral raises).
A similar example of helpful strength equipment is a pulley system. This enables lat pull downs as well as using the pulley system for hypertrophy work (triceps, biceps, etc.).
The last helpful items that focuses primarily on the upper body is getting a dip attachment to your power rack or an adjustable bench. They allow variation for pressing movements, and you can also perform accessory lifts on the bench.
Enabling lower body accessory work comes in handy as you become more advanced, as deadlifts and squats don’t only get repetitive but if you face a big injury, you might not be able to perform one or both of these lifts for awhile.
Some helpful strength equipment for this area are a reverse hyper, glute ham raise, or leg extension/leg curl attachment. Some of these take up a lot of space, but getting just one of them can provide additional leg stress and make a big difference in your lower body training.
Supplying Supplemental Lifts
This might be the widest area, as we’re talking about different types of barbells and other items that can modify the main lifts.
A deadlift bar can really help your deadlift 1RM, as it has a smaller diameter and more whip (which reduces the range of motion). An axle bar for the press or bench press reduces your ability to grip the bar but enables good pressing variants. It is also necessary if you’re considering Strong Man training.
Getting a slingshot or board attachment can help overload the bench and work on the top portion of your bench. The slingshot can also help if you have shoulder pain.
Bands and chains are helpful strength equipment that enables accommodating resistance.
The safety squat bar and football bar (and variations of both) not only add supplemental variations to the lifts but can also prevent pain for the shoulders and wrists specifically.
Convenience & Climate
The last area of helpful strength equipment includes items that add convenience to your lifting or improve the atmosphere of the gym.
The monolift attachment allows you to not have to take a step bar or move the bar from the pins to the shoulders on the bench. It provides the most benefit to the most people for the bench press, as many find it reduces or eliminates shoulder pain. Niki also uses it for the RDL.
A deadlift jack makes loading and unloading plates easier for any lift that has the barbell on the ground, especially the deadlift.
A 1-arm deadlift jack is smaller and more mobile – you can put it in your gym bag. A 2-arm deadlift jack makes more sense if you have a decent amount of space in your home gym or for public gyms.
Ammonia or smelling salts help bring focus and intensity to big attempts.
Clothes help you feel and perform better. Clothes really are helpful strength equipment.
A timer or watch can ensure that you don’t waste time in the gym between sets and make the rest time consistent. This is especially important at a public gym or if you’re a coach, because the lifter isn’t paying you to tell them stories.
Last but probably not least for most people is something to help with climate control, specifically heating or cooling your gym.