One of our athletes (a former collegiate football player) has a favorite saying, “Look good, play good.”
Today’s strength athletes have a love affair with gear. Bandanas, belts, shoes, wraps, tape, and tees. For some, it’s a fashion statement, and for others, gear enhances their lifting confidence. Cool gear is one of the many things that makes going to the gym so much fun. Personally, I love t-shirts. I love designing them, and I love sporting them. However, sometimes the same stuff that makes us feel confident may also mask underlying performance issues.
If you find yourself compensating for mobility and flexibility issues with gear, take a second and reevaluate your situation. Using things to aid our movements only puts us in a deeper deficit. Instead of covering the issue, take yourself off the clock and refocus your efforts on improving those areas that need addressed. For example, if your wrists pain you during front squats, rather than wrapping them, work on improving your wrist and forearm flexibility. Or, if wearing a weight belt is the only thing that helps you get through front squats, work on strengthening your core.
This type of maintenance work is just as much a part of our training as the workout itself. And our pre- and post-workout warm-ups are the perfect time to address any area of weakness.
Understandably, there are times when we need–and should have–assistance. But using gear as a constant crutch can only hinder your long-term performance. On the flip side, there are moments when a key piece of equipment can give us the confidence we need to overcome a plateau. But once that barrier is broken, work on reinforcing that confidence rather than diluting it.
Gear can make us look cool, and feel even cooler. But regardless of your gear obsession, just be sure you’re not covering up a larger physical issue that should be resolved.
Now, “Gear Up!” and let’s get to work.