All the Supplies You Need and Dont Need for Weightlifting

by USA Weightlifting

All the Supplies You Need (and Don’t Need) for Weightlifting

When you’re serious about competing in a sport, you want to make sure that you have everything you need to do your very best and reach your goals. But sometimes it can be difficult to know what is necessary, what is nice to have but not needed, and what is unnecessary. Some items are absolutely essential to certain sports, as the activity can’t be played without them. Other items are made to seem like they make a difference, but aren’t necessary at all. 

This is the case in many sports, but it’s especially true when it comes to Weightlifting, as it is the second most common sport and exercise activity in the United States. In this article, we’ll share all of the supplies you need (and don’t need) for Weightlifting.

Everything You Need To Know About Weightlifting Equipment

The first step you’ll need to take is determining where you are going to be lifting weights. Mainly, are you planning to go to the gym or are you looking to build your own gym in your home? Unless you have the space and money to commit to building your own gym, chances are that going to the gym for your Weightlifting needs will be the best option. Because of this, we’ll mainly focus on the supplies and equipment you’ll need for lifting at the gym.

The next step is to figure out which exact lifts you’ll be completing. The supplies you need will depend on the lifts that you are performing. Are you training for Olympic Weightlifting or Powerlifting? Or something else? The specific lifts that are performed in each different practice can sometimes require certain supplies. However, training for certain lifts—like the Olympic lifts of the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk—will also most likely involve a training program that includes common lifts like squats.

Because of this, we’ll touch on all the most common types of Weightlifting supplies. We’ll explain whether these supplies are essential, nice to have, or unnecessary. Let’s look at the different types of Weightlifting supplies and whether you need them or not:

  • Weightlifting Belt - If you learned how to lift weights in high school or in school at all, odds are that you were taught to wear a weightlifting belt when performing squats and certain other lifts. That may have been a good idea for teenagers who are first getting into weightlifting, but if you’re not performing Olympic lifts, then you most likely don’t need a weightlifting belt when you are getting started.

While weightlifting belts are used to ensure safety by stabilizing the core and spine, there are two main reasons why they aren’t always necessary unless you are performing Olympic lifts. First, the body has its own “weight belt”—known as the transverse abdominis (TA)—that helps to support the spine with your core muscles. Second, if you always use a weightlifting belt, then your core muscles may not strengthen while you lift, and could potentially even weaken. It’s similar to using a knee brace—necessary when you are injured, but it can end up preventing you from strengthening your muscles if you rely on it too much.

  • Weightlifting Shoes - Another item that many people wonder about is weightlifting shoes. As with most other supplies, what lifts you perform will determine what you actually need. In general, though, you’ll want stiff-soled shoes that are comfortable and provide a solid base for your body when you are lifting weights. This is because many lifts require balance and poise. 

However, when you get into advanced weightlifting, there are certain shoes you should wear to help you perform your best. This is particularly true for Olympic Weightlifting. There are specific shoes that are made to have an elevated heel and improve stability and safety while lifting. These shoes tend to have an elevated heel of around .75 inches that helps to improve balance and achieve a deeper squat, making them one of the most important pieces of equipment for a lifter.

  • Weightlifting Gloves - Weightlifting gloves are a piece of equipment that continues to divide weightlifters. There are many people who swear by them and just as many who condemn ever using them. Most wear them to protect their hands from calluses or to get a better grip for their lifts. Doing so can be fine for simpler, less intense movements.

However, wearing gloves can actually weaken your grip when performing pulling or Olympic lifts. Since Olympic lifts involve multiple, quick movements, your grip is an essential part of performing your best and being safe. That means gloves are probably not necessary unless you really feel like you need them after trying lifts without them. There’s also a more common alternative to gloves that we’ll touch on next.

  • Chalk - What people think weightlifting gloves will do for them, chalk will actually do. It is a critical piece of weightlifting equipment that helps athletes get a better grip on weights and helps to ensure they don’t tear up their hands. This is especially true for sudden, intense lifts like the Olympic lifts. Having chalk on your hands will ensure you have a good grip on the barbell or other weight. It will also limit your risk of injury since it doesn’t “catch” on the bar like a glove does.

  • Weightlifting Clothes - When you are serious about Weightlifting and do it often, you’ll want to make sure you have clothes that are comfortable and help you perform your best. This comes down more to personal preference, but you should generally wear clothing that is comfortable and not too tight, like shorts, pants, and athletic shirts. You don’t want them restricting your movement, but you also don’t want them to be too baggy and get in the way. When you plan to participate in Olympic Weightlifting or Powerlifting competitions, you must buy a singlet that fits certain criteria or you may face penalization or even disqualification.

  • Wrist and Knee Wraps - Weightlifting wrist and knee wraps are used by athletes to help stabilize these important joints during lifts. These two items are primarily used to help athletes lift more weight and improve their technique. They are commonly used by powerlifters who are attempting to lift as much weight as possible, but are not a good fit in Olympic Weightlifting because they can restrict your movement—much like weightlifting gloves. They aren’t necessary for Weightlifting, but they may be worth the try for simpler, less intense lifts.

USA Weightlifting aims to strengthen the weightlifting community at every level—from amateurs up to the Olympic Team. We believe that weightlifting is everyone’s sport, and through it, we can strengthen individuals, communities, and our country. We are dedicated to keeping the sport clean, safe, and focused on challenging individuals physically to help build strength within.

We are committed to building a diverse, inclusive, and safe space for everyone, and we continue to work to remove barriers to entry and encourage personal growth and transformation for all.

Our work also goes beyond the athletes, as we aim to educate the educators. Through the development of coaches and technical officials, we are constantly working to ensure excellence throughout the sport.

We rely on the support of donors like you to expand access and education for the sport, so consider making a donation today! You can also learn more about Weightlifting and Team USA, or consider bringing weightlifting to a school near you!

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