Thursday, 1 January 2009

Other Equipment


Lifting Straps
Whilst I would not recommend relying upon these too often, since it can lead to a grip that's disproportionately weak in relation to the rest of the body, these are nevertheless a great piece of kit. Sometimes you simply need to do an exercise that insufficient grip strength would hinder - or perhaps do a circuit that has too many consecutive grip-taxing exercises to be viable without this support.

If you are new to lifting straps, this sequence of photos should guide you on how to hool them up to assist the grip of a dumbbell.

The sandbag is a versatile piece of kit. You can lift them, throw them and run with them, which cannot be said of dumbbells or kettlebells. Well, I suppose you could throw them, but you'd need a certain type of dumbbell and a certain type of gym!

You can buy them (for example here) but you can also make them - which can be fun. My own sandbag (seen in the photo) is a pretty crude effort, knocked up by a builder friend of mine using tape and canvas. It's 28kg. It leaks and is not robust enought to withstand throwing. I use it mainly for lifting and pressing.

Here's a good tutorial on making sandbags from Ross Enamait.
Weighted Vest
This bad boy has served me well. There are many varieties of weighted vest, but this Reebok version, the one I own, allows you to remove half pound inserts from pouches to vary the weight between 1 and 20lb. You can also buy additional inserts to get up to 40lb.

You can use it to make bodyweight exercises harder - press ups, burpees, pistols, ab rollouts - anything, in fact, where the range of movement will not be affected. For pull ups and chin ups I would instead recommend the weighted approaches detailed in those posts.

It's also good for making running harder - I like to use it on short hill runs.

From workout diary: weighted vest sessions
Ab Wheel
This is an alternative to using dumbbells or a barbell to do ab rollouts. It actually makes them harder because the single wheel makes maintaining stability more of a challenge. They are pretty cheap to buy and useful if you want to do some ab rollouts at home.