T A R B A L L B A R B E L L

Today is Amazon’s Prime Day, so I thought I’d share what’s in my gym bag with you, in case you wanted to indulge in some happy-capitalism-partying.

FYI, the links are referral links, which means I’ll get a small commission from Amazon if you buy something.

Where I couldn’t find links to the same product I use, I chose the most appropriate ‘dupe’.

Let’s get started.

The gym bag

I use a Barbarian 35L tactical bag.

It’s inspired by the famous 5.11 tactical bag, but costs 5 times less.

It has enough room for everything I need, including a thick belt, a tripod and two pair of shoes.

Click here to get your hands on one.

Collars (or rings) to hold the plates to the barbell

A really important piece of equipment. One of the first things you should buy.

It improves your stability on any barbell lift: squats, deadlifts, rows, overhead presses, etc.

Warning! Don’t use them whilst doing bench press. They will prevent you from dropping the barbell sideways if you fail a rep.

Get them here.

Liquid chalk

Chalk is the powder climbers usually use to improve their grip.

Strength athletes use it for the same reason: to improve grip when deadlifting, rowing, doing pull-ups, etc.

I prefer the liquid version because it’s less messy.

Tripod

If you want to lift with a good technique, and keep on improving, you need to be taking videos of yourself.

To do this, you can either awkwardly try to hold your phone against something (wall or dumbbell), or you can use a tripod, which allows you to use the best and most relevant angle for the lift you’re trying to shoot.

But people will find it weird and judge me.

Fuck them. You’re probably stronger than them.

The tripod I use, and the phone head to match.

A Gymboss timer

As a wannabe powerlifter, I used to take very long resting times. This was enabled by how long-winded using a watch or a phone as a timer can be.

The Gymboss timer literally changed my trainings. Now I respect my resting times, even when I am doing sets of 12 at squats (RIP my heart).

If I am doing 3 minute resting times, I set it to vibrate at 2m30 and 3 minutes, allowing me enough time to get ready for the next set, and knowing when I should start my set.

Straps

When it comes to grip, I recommend:

  • Double overhand grip for warm-ups and light works
  • Mixed or hook-grip for heavy sets
  • Straps for heavy volume (high-reps) sets

When you do long rep work, your grip will eventually fail you.

In order for it not to be the limiting factor, get yourself some straps!

Knee sleeves

Knees sleeves improve your knees’ health by keeping them warm during training.

Wrist wraps

They simply offer your wrists support.

I recommend using them on heavy sets only.

I prefer to stress my wrists on lighter sets, to help strengthening them in the long term.

Weightlifting shoes

As a lifter, your shoes need to be flat and hard.

Running shoes are for, wait for it, RUNNING.

I used to recommend the old Chucks for lifting, but I recently realized that not all of them are as hard as I thought.

My favorite shoes to train in are olympic weightlifting shoes.
They are hard and very stable.

I use a pair of limited edition Nike Romaleos II, but here I suggest a reasonably priced pair for reasonable spending athletes.

A belt

Contrary to popular belief, a belt does not protect your back.

Whether you wear a belt or not, your back will round if your technique is bad or if the load is too heavy for you.

However, if you start enjoying lifting heavy and can lift with a good form, you can get a belt in order to push yourself to the limit.

I personally use a SBD belt. It’s the best in the market for strength training, but it’s one of the most expensive ones with a price tag of 200€.

For you, I choose a prong belt from a good manufacturer and with good ratings.
If you have a higher budget, I recommend taking a look at brands that make powerlifting belts, like Inzer and Titan.

Resistance bands

Resistance bands are so cool.

They can be used to do a lot of things:

  • Warming-up
  • Improving your stability on the bench
  • Overload some exercises (squats)
  • Make some exercises easier (pull-ups)

If you have to buy one, get the weakest one.

You’ll use it for warm-ups and some exercises at home like biceps “curls” and the overhead press.

If you can’t do pull-ups, or can only manage a couple of reps, you should get a band with a thick enough width to better support you, that way you’ll be able to handle more reps.

Baby powder

Weird, right?

Baby powder reduces the friction of the barbell on your thighs when deadlifting.
A could-have for conventional pullers, but a must-have for sumo pullers.

Wireless earbuds: Jabra Elite Active 65t

I use them daily: outdoors and at the gym.

They hold well to my ears and don’t break as quick as the Bose SoundSports I had before.

As a user of the Etymotic audiophile earphones, I can say with confidence that the sound quality on these Jabra’s is outstanding. I was often surprised by details I had rarely, or never heard before (cymbals, bass).

Nike Pro shorts

They look good and they’re short.

Why is it important that they’re short? For athletes who don’t have very long arms, our grip gets stuck in the shorts.

Grab some here.

Smelling salts

Smelling salts, or ammonia inhalants, are a very strong powder you can sniff to hype yourself up and get you ready to lift heavy.

Strongmen and powerlifters use them before doing heavy singles.

They offer a nice psychological boost to set a PR.

Mouth guard

I have a mouth-guard in my gym bag, but I don’t actually use it for the simple reason that it makes me want to throw up.

But I know many lifters who clench their teeth for a strength boost.
If this is you, a mouth-guard will help preserve your teeth.

A good lock for the changing room

A bad lock can be opened by many different keys.

I use and recommend the brand Master Lock.


Other useful items you can grab

Now I just wanted to give a special mention to a couple of items you won’t find in my gym bag, but that I use almost daily and consider vital for my lifting journey.

Pull-ups bar

A must have for training at home.

My favorite exercises with pull-up bars:

  • Inverted rows: for a thicc back
  • Pull-ups: for wide lats
  • Chin-ups: for biceps and lats development

Get yours now.

Nokia Withings Body BMI scale

Get on a scale then write your weight on a paper… Boring right?

A connected scale changed my life. Withings also sends me a weekly email with my average weight and the delta compared to the previous week.

The one I use is simple – no useless inaccurate body fat calculator feature – and it’s reliable.

Fitbit Flex 2

The Flex 2 is the smallest, most discreet and most reliable activity tracker I’ve tried.

I used to think that these kinds of devices weren’t for me, but the steps and sleep tracking features are really useful.

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