To gear, or not to gear

There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path, DO NOT allow yourself to become one of them

–Ralph Marston

Before I start talking about what today’s topic, I want to make sure that everyone knows we are down to the last week of sign-ups for the PHP Super Total Lift-off. Make sure to take a second and get signed up by:

Paying in person at Pure Health Locations:

  • Cash
  • Check
  • Card

Google Wallet your fees and information to:

  • Include your name, competition preference, and box affiliation (if applicable)

Paypal your fees and information to:

  • Include your name, competition preference, and box affiliation (if applicable)

Once you have sent your info, check The Sign-up sheet to make sure that you are registered and ready to go!

If you have questions about the rules of the competition make sure to message us or email us or you can check the Rules and Regulations pageNOTE: Power lifting session is a RAW session, the only gear allowed will be wraps (knee and wrist) and belts.

We want this to be a fun, competitive competition for new comers, veterans, and lovers of the sport. Make sure and tell your friends to sign-up (and make sure that they get that way).

If you are involved in any sport, especially weightlifting, you know that all the major athletes have tons of gear. Watch a video of the IWF training hall and you will see the most elite in the world squatting, snatching, clean and jerking, and pulling in belts, wraps, straps, etc… So yes, at some point gear is a necessity, hell, I think everyone aspiring to the sport of weightlifting or power lifting should invest in a quality belt, knee sleeves or wraps, and some type of wrist wrap and pull strap.


What I mean to say is that often times we gear up when we get into the gym, right after warm-up, because we ache. We gear up because, for some reason, it mentally or, in some cases, physically helps us with issues we are having in the lift, and this is no good. The idea of gear is to help support once we get to extremely heavy weights, it is not meant to band-aid a mobility issue or pain we are having. This is not to say that if you come into the gym after a long week of killing weights and your back, knees, or wrist are killing you, to not strap up and get your training session in. I simply want to address the idea that you should be able to perform sub maximal attempts without gear, or you might be that person walking around with the belt on doing dumbbell curls for core support, because…you know…it helps.?.?


Lets start with what a belt actually does, help to increase the Intra abdominal pressure.


As we close our Glottis (reference the picture above), we start to increase are abdominal pressure, which in turn pushes on the Lumbar spine and creates a support. This being said, notice that we can accomplish this WITHOUT belt. The goal of the belt is to artificially help to increase the pressure and support when we need it, at maximally attempts. If you tend to wear a belt from the time your warm-up at 100lbs to the time you max at 285lbs, you might be masking issues that we can address below. 

  • Glutes/Hips

When we wear a belt, the most common problem is lower back pain. When we have pain in a joint, the best thing to do is to look up-chain or down-chain to see if we can find the source of the issue. It is extremely common that the source of your lower back pain is in fact not in your lower back (unless you have some existing Facet issues or a disk problem). Try a couple of these stretches, pre and post training, to see if you can start to alleviate your need for support and ultimately become pain free.

Other options not pictured: Pigeon stretch (make sure that your hips are flexible enough for this stretch)


 Knee wraps/sleeves/mobility/correction

If you follow a “squat every day” program, you will know that your knees, from time to time, will take awhile to warm-up. This is due to the fact of, you know, putting them under large amounts of stress on a daily basis, and this is okay. The body is built to handle this type of stress, IF, you take proper care to make sure everything is running smooth. Wearing some type of loose fitting knee wrap or knee sleeve is a great way to keep the knees warm, loose, and ready to lift on the daily. However, wearing these items can often mask the underlying cause of the soreness/tightness which is usually tight quadriceps.


Notice that the musculature which makes up the “Quadriceps group” attach in and around the knee joint. Furthermore, notice that the Rectus Femoris attaches to the patella (knee cap) and down to the Tibia. I point this out because often times this is a great source of pain, and below is how to remedy:

The first 4 tiles are the same pose (Reclined Hero’s), just at 4 different levels (notice my quads are rather tight compared to Kaleighs). The last two tiles show rolling techniques used to mash the individual quad muscles (paying attention to mash both the medial and lateral quad group as well).


Wrist wraps/mobility/correction


If you look at the picture above, you will notice why we go up or down chain in order to look for mobility issue. If you have “tight wrist” or immobile wrist we have to look up chain to the forearm due to the fact that there is not actually much musculature in the wrist (tendons that connect to the phalanges, but not much actual muscle). Tight forearms can present a great problem, especially when trying to front rack weight or bench press large amounts of weight. Try a couple of the stretches below to see if you can help your immobile wrist before resorting to wrist wraps and masking the issue:

We have touched on all of these topics in past articles, but wanted to bring it all together and give examples of how we tend to mask issues that present themselves. Make sure that you are constantly doing your mobility work, because you can mask with gear for a good amount of time, but eventually, the equipment is not enough and blowing out a knee or bulging  a disk  becomes a real possibility.

We look forward to seeing everyone in 2 weeks time at the Lift-off. Make sure and bring your friends and family out (we will have food and drinks available) to come and cheer you on as you break through some PR’s and fight for one of these bad boys:




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