There was a guy at my previous gym whose name I’ve forgotten, but whose nickname I haven’t.
This guy clearly took pride in his gym clothes. He wore skintight outfits that matched from head to toe. In fact, his outfits were so tight and so matching, that we gave him the nickname ‘Spider-Man’.
Spider-Man always carried around a bag that was stuffed full of his fitness accessories.
Gloves made of different materials. Resistance bands. Belts of varying thickness. Several shaker bottles for all his supplements.
And despite having spent years going to the gym and buying every new fitness accessory, Spider-Man was in terrible shape.
You see, in the fitness world, you have to master the fundamentals if you actually want to see results.
Your shoulders should be mobile enough to allow a proper bench press.
You need to make sure your hips and hamstrings are mobile enough to execute a decent squat and deadlift.
You should strengthen and stabilise your core well enough to support you during heavy lifting.
But mastering the fundamentals is tough. It takes a good two or three years of consistent work.
Spider-Man never took the time to master the fundamentals. Mastering the fundamentals involves making lots of mistakes and learning from those mistakes. Guys like Spider-Man don’t like making lots of mistakes. It hurts their ego.
Spider-Man’s ego was (and probably still is) as fragile as an iPhone screen.
He was the perfect example of an adult who can’t handle being a beginner at something. Guys like Spider-Man can’t accept the fact that they might not be very good at something.
So instead, they buy the fancy fitness accessories because, well, that’s what you see the models and bodybuilders using in the magazines and on Instagram. If I use that stuff I’ll at least look like I know what I’m doing, which is basically the same as actually knowing what I’m doing … right?
Accept that it’s OK to be a beginner. Go back to the fundamentals, even if it means essentially restarting your training from scratch.
Keep your ego in check. Don’t be a Spider-Man.
And don’t waste your money on the unnecessary fitness accessories below.
Fitness Accessories: Three You (Probably) Don’t Need
There’s someone like this in every gym: the guy (or gal) who wears a weightlifting belt for every single exercise they do.
I once saw Spider-Man wearing a belt while doing seated bicep curls. Seated. BICEP. Curls.
If you ever ask a Spider-Man why they’re wearing a belt while performing calf raises, they’ll usually mumble something about lower back problems.
Lower back problems are often due to having a weak core. So a belt isn’t the answer. The answer is to strengthen your core: planks, dead bugs, and bird dogs should help.
A weight lifting back isn’t designed to protect your lower back, not directly anyway. The point of the belt is to give your core muscles something to push against, which stabilises you during a heavy squat or deadlift.
Don’t be the person who wears a weightlifting belt for anything. Sure, wear it if you’re testing out your max squat or deadlift, but keep it at the bottom of your gym bag at all other times.
You know what weightlifting gloves are? A layer of unstable material in between your hand and the bar.
They stop the callous formation that’s so important for a stable grip.
They make it harder to grip the bar because, with that extra material, the bar is effectively thicker. This is going to limit the speed at which your grip strength increases.
Fitness accessories are meant to enhance your training. Do weightlifting gloves really sound like something that will do this? Unless you’re a hand model, don’t use them.
You’ve probably seen guys with lifting straps in the gym: those things they use to attach their hands to the bar before they deadlift.
99% of the guys using lifting straps shouldn’t be using them.
Because they aren’t letting their grip develop.
I know what those guys would say in response to this: their legs are stronger than their arms, their lower body is too strong for their grip, yadda yadda yadda.
Bollocks. You can develop grip strength just like any other kind of strength. And I’m not talking about those silly hand grippers that a 3-year-old could crush. I’m talking about loaded carries to develop core AND grip strength: farmer’s walks and suitcase carries will develop your grip strength VERY quickly.
Don’t use straps until you can comfortably deadlift at least 3 plates (315 lb), which should take 1-2 years of consistent training.
Now, there is something you can use to stop the bar slipping out of your weak hands: chalk. Some gyms don’t like traditional chalk because of the mess it can cause, so just use liquid grip instead.
If any of my clients are reading this, I always carry a bottle of liquid grip in my bag. Let me know if you want to try it next time we deadlift.
Liquid grip and a $20 lifting belt were all I needed to deadlift over twice my own bodyweight.
Those were the three fitness accessories I regularly see people waste their money on. Are there any I missed? Leave a comment below.
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