When To Use Weightlifting Accessories

weightlifting accessories showing black and white shoe

The Basics

Weightlifting accessories like shoes and weightlifting belts are simply tools to help us lift heavy with solid positioning. 

Lifters are just sturdy shoes with a flat bottom and raised heel that helps increase ankle mobility. They ultimately help you find better positioning while lifting.

Lifting belts will provide a little extra support during your lifts and may help you lift a little more weight than if you weren’t wearing a belt.

When To Use them

You might find that your lifts are easier or you may be able to lift a little more weight than if you weren’t wearing lifting shoes or a belt. 

Lifting shoes tend to be great for lower body stuff like squats and Olympic lifting. However, we wouldn’t suggest them while deadlifting. The raised heel can make the lift more difficult and put more pressure on your knees instead of your posterior chain.

On the other hand, using a belt during these movements, especially during deadlifts, can reduce the stress on the lower back. Additionally, wearing a belt during overhead movements like a press or jerk helps prevent overextension.

When Not To Use them

If we’re still in our first few years of lifting and strength training, lifting shoes and belts are likely unnecessary and we should instead focus our attention on other fundamentals. This might include improving our hip and ankle mobility, mastering movements and proper mechanics, and learning to properly brace and breathe during our lifts.

Weightlifting gear can absolutelyyy be used as a very effective bandaid to bypass poor mobility. There’s nothing worse than gaining a few years of lifting experience just to start stalling out and hitting a plateau on a lift due to poor mobility and bad habits.

Ain’t nooooobody wanna go from lifting heavy to taking quite a few steps back. Imagine spending a few months having to lift way lighter weights and grind through mobility days just so you can perfect your form and address restrictions. Especially when you could have addressed them in the beginning.

The Takeaways

– Use weightlifting shoes and belts after you have ~1-2+ years of lifting experience
– Use only when lifting weights that are over ~80-85% or more of your 1-rep max

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