30

Sep

Time to go shopping – Weightlifting Equipment and Accessories

Weightlifting Equipment and Accessories

Various tools of the trade exist for weightlifters.  These tools or pieces of equipment can greatly assist a lifter that is performing high load, high volume training by protecting the joints that can be affected by performing the classical lifts and their various assistance exercises.  Below is a list of some of these pieces of equipment.  It is important to note that some of these equipment pieces are not allowed in competition, and it is important for the lifter to not develop a dependence on them, ensuring that the joints and neuromuscular structures are stressed appropriately developing their strength.  

Wrist WrapsWrist Wraps

Wrist wraps help support the wrist by creating a compressive force around the joint and protects the wrist in extension when supporting the bar overhead.  There are many various brands and styles of wraps including Rouge, Eleiko, Ironedge, Rehband, Sling Shot, Risto, Spud Inc, HumanX by Harbinger.  Sizing suggestions as recommended by Rouge Fitness include 12” or 18” wraps that provide ample support and wrist mobility for Weightlifting exercises or 18” or 24” wraps that provide extra support for Powerlifting & Strongman training with less wrist mobility.  Wraps are made out of a combination of elastic, polyester and cotton material. A new product by Jerk Fit called Woddies provides wrist support and also protection for the skin of the palm, preventing any torn calluses occurring. 

Wrist Straps

Lifting Straps

Lifting straps enable a greater barbell load to be lifted during pulling exercises before the forearm strength gives way.  It also helps a heavy load to be lifted while protecting the thumb from the hook grip.  This allows an overload stimulus to be placed on the musculature during training when completing clean and snatch pulls.  Weightlifting variations see the strap not loop around the wrist in a fix manner so that they can be released easily during the clean and snatch movements in the receiving position.  They can be made of cotton or leather or a combination of materials. Again it is important not to utilise wrist straps for the pulling exercises for every single rep so that dependence is not created for them.

Knee SleevesKnee Wraps & Sleeves

Knee wraps can be in the form of a wrapped material around the knee or in the form of a compressive sleeve.  This compression on the joint again helps protect it and can assist in preventing sideways tracking of the knee, and the barbell movement in general, increasing the amount that can be squatted by about 10 percent or more in some lifters.  They also provide an elastic recoil effect when moving up in the concentric (muscle shortening) phase of the squat after the eccentric (muscle lengthening) decent.  The wraps can also provide warmth to the knee to aid performance and potentially reduce soreness and injury whilst squatting.  Knee wraps are usually made out of the same material as the wrist wraps.

The sleeves come in various degrees of thickness such as 3, 5 and 7 millimetres. And are made from neoprene material.  Rehband is a very popular brand for sleeves with most CrossFit or Athletic equipment companies providing options for you to purchase such as Ironedge, Rouge, and The WOD Life.  The sleeves are not to be confused with wraps as they are different pieces of equipment (i.e. you slide on the sleeve, and you wrap the wrap).

If purchasing wraps use them for lifts that are near maximum efforts or above 85-90% of your max.  But again avoid over use as this can create dependence.  Sleeves can help provide some compression (although not as much as the wraps) but are excellent at maintain a warm knee joint throughout a lifting session.

Shin SleevesShin Sleeves

Shin sleeves provide warmth to the calf muscle area when lifting. They also help protect the shin skin from damage, as it is advantageous to have the barbell travel as close to the body as possible during the first pull (from floor to knee Shin Sleeves 2height) of the lift.  Many lifters use long athletic socks as protection for the shin with some custom made socks having increased padding in the front section offering further protection.

 

 

 

Weightlifitng ShoesWeightlifting Shoes

If performing weightlifting, weightlifting shoes are a must.  Once you have lifted in weightlifting shoes you wont ever want to lift without them, especially during heavy sessions.  Weightlifting shoes provide lateral stability to the foot, improving your technique.  They also often have a raised heel with improves the range of motion at the ankle joint increasing the depth that can be achieved when squatting.   The sole of the shoe is extremely hard which allows the forces that are transferred into the ground to not be lost, improving the amount that can be lifted.  This in opposition to running shoes that are designed to absorb ground reaction forces during foot strike.  Various heel heights can be used, with lifters who have a poor deep squat position requiring a higher heel to help them achieve a deeper squat.

Weightlifting BeltsWeightlifting Belts

Weightlifting belts are designed to increase intra-abdominal pressure (air pressure within the body in the trunk area).  This is similar to taking a deep breath and holding it, known as the val salva maneuver.  As with all wraps for a specific joint, increased pressure on or within that joint can aid in protecting it when performing a lift.  It is contentious for many lifters if a belt actually provides assistance. They most probably do have a role to play when lifters are performing maximal effort lifts in training and competition. But all lifters do not use them.  The clean and Jerk is the classical lift that belts are more commonly used for but again personal preference is different for each lifter again. There are limitations on how wide (12mm) a belt can be when it is used in competition also.   Belts are made of leather or synthetic material and can be buckled together or velcro.  Leather belts with buckles do provide a greater level of stability.

Thumb TapeTape (for thumbs in the hook grip)

The hook grip is used to increase the loads lifted during the classical lifts in weightlifting. However this grip is extremely painful and can damage the thumb.  Taping of the thumb with general sports tape or specific branded tapes such as Goats Tape or Rock Tape are available providing good connection and flexibility for the joint.  There is also equipment pieces called nubs out there in the market by Jerk Fit that are a permanent sleeve that can slide over the thumb offering protection.

Weightlifting SuitsLifting suit/uniform

Lifting suits create compression for the entire body.  It is not advantageous to have the barbell connecting with loose clothing, slowing down its velocity, hence close fitting suits are used by lifters in competition.  The bar must travel close to the thigh area during the second pull which is why compressive suits are used.   Cost range for a suit can vary from 50-150 dollars plus depending on the type of material used and the design.  They are most beneficial in competition.  Sylvia P is one of many companies that can provide you with a variety of styles and material options for your weightlifting suit.

Weightlifting ChalkChalk BowlChalk

Lifters consistently use chalk on their hands to maximise their grip during lifts and offer protection to the hand.  Some lifters place chalk across the front of the shoulders and their color bones to reduce friction of the bar on the body in the receiving position of the clean.   Chalk can be bought in blocks and can be kept in bags or chalk tubs or bins and are a common sight in weightlifting clubs.  Liquid chalk options are also available and they are considerably less messy.

Eight blocks of chalk will cost you $30 from Ironedge while small containers of liquid chalk will cost only around $10 from Rouge fitness.  Liquid chalk will prevent chalk dust settling on equipment and on clothes while still providing improved grip on the bar.   It is the magnesium carbonate that provides the chalk with its texture and improved grip properties.

27

Aug

So, how do I stop my thumb tearing off?

The hook grip (demonstrated in the figure below) is used in weightlifting to increase the total load lifted with each lift (during the pulling phase) by approximately 10%. This grip is not used for the jerk or pushing overhead movements.


Hook GripHook Grip

The grip itself can be quite painful, protection on the thumb is sometimes utilised. An example of this can be viewed in figure below. Rocktape or Sports tape can be used for this. The lifter can get conditioned to the hook grip with constant practice. But its usage it not always required in training, giving the lifter’s thumb a respite from the excessive loading that can be placed on it. In competitions the tape must not cover the entire length or end of the thumb.

If the lifter has small hands, fingers and thumbs the hook grip can be difficult to retain throughout the lift. When performing the hook grip the 5th (little) and 4th fingers need not grip the bar hard. Firmer pressure is required from the 2nd and 3rd fingers.

I recommend that the hook grip be used throughout training and definitely during competitions due to the performance benefits. No pain no gains in this instance lifters!

We recommend rock tape and a couple of specific thumb protection pieces (nubs) that can be purchased at these following websites.

JerkFit

Rocktape

Goat Tape

10

Jun

What the hell is Weightlifting?

What the hell is Weightlifting? Isn’t it just lifting weights?

Well… No.

True Weightlifting is a sport that involves two classical lifts, The Snatch and The Clean and Jerk, where the combined weight for the two lifts is totalled to determine the winner.

The Snatch is a one part lift where the bar is lifted from the floor to above the head in one movement, with a relatively wide grip.

The Clean and Jerk is a two part lift where the bar is initially cleaned to the receiving position on the shoulders and then jerked up above the head, using a relatively close grip on the barbell (slightly wider than hip width).

Various weight categories exist within the sport of Weightlifting for both male and female athletes. These include the 56, 62, 69, 77, 85, 94, 105 and +105kg divisions for males, and the 48, 53, 58, 63, 69, 75 and +75kg divisions for females.

The sport of weightlifting (not weight lifting!!!) has a rich history and has been a part of the modern Olympic Games since 1896; being one of the first sports included in the modern Olympics.

Nearly 200 countries are affiliated with the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) covering five contents.

Weightlifting exercises and various assistance type exercises are used frequently by athletes from a wide variety of sports due to the significant benefits that can be gained by performing such lifts; such as improved strength and power of the important hip and knee extensor muscles (gluteals and quadriceps) and also the strength and stability of the hamstrings and back muscles.

Weightlifters who lift competitively are amongst the strongest most powerful athletes in the world (Netwon, H, 2006), so it is no wonder their training methods are implemented by strength and conditioning coaches into training programs across a wide range of sports.

It is an extremely technical sport requiring hours and hours of practice under the eye of an experienced coach in order to be an accomplished lifter in the two classical lifts.

Weightlifting exercises should not be prescribed to anyone and everyone and in order to successfully perform the exercises a progressive ‘top down’ or ‘reverse chaining’ approach needs to be administered.

This involves breaking down the complete movement of the lift into individual segments that can be taught and mastered by the athlete, often starting with the final segment, the top, before combining all segments to successfully complete a lift.

Split JerkDespite the technical aspect of weightlifting, it is still an extremely safe sport to participate in and can help reduce the incidence of injury for those participating in other sporting disciplines.

Weightlifting exercises can provide you with a distinct competitive advantage over your opponent in many sporting examples, or simply give you a new challenge to take on here at Revolution Personal Training.

Team Revo can take you through the basics of the two classical lifts which will improve your all-round strength, power, mobility and coordination.

Incorporating weightlifting into your training will have you notice improvements in your performance throughout all classes. Most classes at Revolution cover the functional movement basics for weightlifting (bend and lift, single leg strength and stability and over head push strength), however specific execution of these exercises where you focus on correct movement patterns under load with explosive multi-joint, whole body muscular contractions will improve your dynamic movement ability and significantly raise your metabolism.

Our 8 week Olympic Weightlifting course starts here at RevoPT (17A Market St, South Melbourne, Vic) on Monday the 27th of July and will run on Monday and Wednesday evenings at 6:45pm for 8 weeks. 

We have two positions remaining, so reserve your place by visiting our online store and booking yourself in today here.

 

Weightlifting! Get around it! Strong is the new sexy team!

References

1. Newton, H. 2006. Explosive Lifting for Sports.

2. http://www.iwf.net

3. http://www.trainingweightlifting.com

4. http://www.leoisaac.com/leoisaac.htm

5. http://thetraininggeek.net

6. Video Credit: Hook Grip