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“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”

― Alfred Wainwright

But Which One?

Working with athletes of all different levels and types, the question of gear and equipment frequently comes up. To stop my normal response of “Doesn’t matter, it just needs to work”, this is a list of equipment that can help you in your journey.

It’s not necessarily the best. These are options if you don’t want to do the research, but I highly encourage you to. Some of this you might have for decades, it’s worth spending a little time and a little money on it.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and it is also not a required list. Training can be done very minimally, but equipment can make your experience, better, stronger, and more productive.

  1. Lifting Shoes
    • Minimum: Any shoe that has a hard, flat, non-compressive shank.
    • Raised heels help with ankle mobility issues (if you only wear raised heel shoes, this is you).
    • I have only used two pairs ever. Romeros (borrowed a pair) and Addidas Power Lifting Shoes. Like I said above, you buy it right the first time, you don’t need to ever buy another pair.
    • The link is most similar to what I own and have worked great for coming on 10 years. My exact pair is no longer made. But, I don’t wear them very often due to my running endeavors and mostly just lend them to new athletes.
    • If you are a runner or wear minimalist/no-rise shoes, I highly recommend you buy shoes without a raised heel. Best is probably something like this. Personally, I have worn Sambas lifting for over a decade.
  2. Weightlifting Belt
    • Link is for what I use. It is an awesome belt, but it is not comfortable and has a tendency to pinch. I don’t care, but you might.
    • I started with a velcro belt and I didn’t know how much it sucked until I switched to a padded one with a buckle. Again, I didn’t know how much that one sucked until I got my current lever belt. Moral of the story, get a non-padded belt with a buckle or lever made out of a solid piece of leather.
    • This one is probably the best of both worlds for beginners, solid piece of leather, an easy buckle to use, and it’s narrower (3″) so it will likely not pinch as much. But, I’ve never used it.
    • This is also one of those things that if you spend $100 now, you will not have to do it again.
  3. Bands
    • They’re bands, just get a set. 
    • The link is the cheapest set I could find. If you find a cheaper one that works, do it.
    • Side note, these are not for training with, it’s for mobility, if you don’t know what to use these for… don’t buy them.
  4. Voodoo Floss
    • You can make these out of an old bicycle tube… seriously. 
    • I’ve never bought these, I’ e always made them, but if you want, you can buy these instead. The name brand is “voodoo floss” but they are expensive and just as good.
    • Buy two.
    • If you don’t know what this is for… don’t buy it.
  5. Lacrosse Balls
    • Buy 3, these are for mobility and they work great, but you need some arts and crafts.
    • If you want to be fancy and buy name brand, that’s this one.
    • If you don’t want to make a “peanut” and hate arts and crafts, you can buy this one. I’ve never bought/used these, I’ve always made them, so, no promises.
    • Otherwise, just buy cloth medical tape and three balls. Two for the peanut, one for single use. 
  6. Headphones
    • Obviously not required, but I used to go through a pair a month until I found these, and now it’s every couple of years. I have never tried AirPods. But, I’ve been using these for years and they are cheap, awesome, durable, sweatproof, and have a 7-hour battery life.
  7. Training Note Book
    • This is just to show you what I’m talking about, go to Walmart/Target and buy this there (expensive online). 
    • Anything works, but you want big pages so you are not afraid to write notes and can see at least a week of training at once.
    • And, saying that you need this to last for a year plus in a wet (sweat) and rough (gym bag) environment. Get one that is college ruled and bound (not spiral). I highly recommend a synthetic or at least thick cover.
  8. Barbell
    • When you start, this doesn’t really matter, but I recommend you get one with bearings, 28-29mm bar, and rated for over 500lbs.
    • Cheapest that works, this one. Definitely not that great, but, it’ll be good enough. I’ve used this one, the coating will chip early on.
    • Great and American Company’s to get these: American Barbell, Rogue, and, Kabuki.
  9. Olympic Weightlifting Plates
    • If you’re new, just find these anywhere. If you shop around the used market you can occasionally find these for less than a dollar a pound. Make sure it has a 2 inch center. New, they will be $2 a pound and up.
    • You need at least, (4) 5lb, (2) 10lb), (2) 25lb, (TBD) 45lb plates, and collars. Start with at least (2) 45’s, but you will move up quickly and most will soon need more.
    • If you got money and you care how they look, any company will work, so just get it from where ever you buy your barbell. Remember that the most expensive part of weights is shipping. So, if you live close to the facility you might be able just to stop buy and pick them up.
    • You might consider getting bumper plates for deadlifts and maybe Olympic lifts later to avoid having to build a platform. But, at some point you’ll run out of space on the bar and you’ll look at your floor one day (even with horse/gym mats) and see you still pulverized your concrete. Build the platform. With that in mind, I would recommend skipping the bumpers and building a platform or buying one (Rogue sells them). Rubber mats ARE NOT good enough, not for your floor or for you standing on a stable level surface.
  10. Squat Rack
    • The same companies as mentioned for barbells sell decent to awesome squat racks. Just get an actual power rack and not stands.
    • I’ve personally used this one for years and I got it broken. Works good enough, but it’s not pretty and a pain to use, but if your cheap, they work just fine. If you have the money, you will be happier with brand-name equipment, but it will cost 100’s to 1000’s more. Or just go to a gym.
    • Worth it to find strap safety bars instead of straight rods. At heavier weights, if you miss a rep, you may damage your bar when you drop it. Safty straps protect from this.
  11. Camelback
    • I love my small camelback, if you don’t know what you want, I recommend this one. It’s not exactly like mine (they don’t make it anymore), but it’s really close.
    • It carries 1.5L of water, a pocket big enough for a cellphone, keys, and a little food (emphasis on a little). I’ve used this for ultra’s, daily running, hiking, backpacking, and more. I’ve had it and used it for over a decade. You will likely have to rubber band the extra strap length, I do.

Just to be completely transparent, some of these I make money through affiliation, it doesn’t cost you anything, but I get a couple of cents if you do. I also want to reiterate that these ARE NOT necessarily the best, they just work and a recommend you do your own research.  I’ll be happy to give you my thoughts on each if you send me an email. If you’re one of my athletes… just ask.