Commentary: Gear Up! (Part 2)
Belts. Singlets. Knee sleeves. Wrist wraps. There are so many powerlifting gears out there, what should you get first? Worry nay, we are here to provide emotional support and information for your Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS).
This article is written based on brands available in Singapore. We have also arranged the sections based on priority. If you have tried out brands and equipment not covered here, tell everyone about them in the forum!
Gear #4 – Wrist Wraps
(Photo Credit: A7 Asia Page)
Function: Provide support for the wrists.
Price Range: ~$25 – 75
The main purpose of a pair of wrist wraps is to provide support and stabilization for your wrist joints. Wrist wraps mechanically limit excessive extension under load. This helps relieve some strain off your wrist on the squat, bench press and the overhead press.
Wrist wraps may come in various lengths, and the appropriate length to purchase depends on the circumference of your wrist joint. Also, refer to the federation you compete in for the maximum competition legal length. However, there are generally 2 types of wrist wraps that you need to look out for, which are mainly flexible wrist wraps, and stiff wrist wraps.
Flexible wrist wraps: Generally a lot more comfortable to wear and a lot easier to wrap. They allow some degree of wrist flexion and extension as well. In some cases, this might be desirable as some lifters like to squat or bench press with a slight wrist extension.
Stiff wrist wraps: Offers a little bit more support and restricts the movement of the wrist joint a lot more. However, it is harder to wear compared to flexible wrist wraps, and prolonged wear – 2 to 3 minutes – will start to restrict blood flow and cause temporary numbness. Think about how you lift, and which type suits you best!
Most brands will offer 2 or 3 different length options, and they are generally within the same price range. For brands such as SBD and A7, they offer their wrist wraps in both the flexible and stiff option. Other brands such as Titan, Inzer and Mark Bell’s SlingShot offer both flexible and stiff options as well. Make sure to check what type of wrist wraps they are before purchasing. We recommend that you try your friends’ wrist wraps before buying them too (again, if they are hygienic). And as always, wash your wrist wraps, guys! Use the same protocol you would for your knee sleeves.
Gear #5 – Competition Singlet
(Photo Credit: SBD SG Page)
Function: To compete.
Price Range: ~$80 – 120
Powerlifting is a sport, and to properly participate in a meet you will need a singlet. That being said, a singlet doesn’t offer any competitive advantage beyond making you feel like a naked idiot in the ActiveSG gym beside the aunties doing Pilates. As such, the brand of singlet that you choose to get really depends on your sense of aesthetics and budget. For newbies, we recommend borrowing the singlet, as you will only need to wear it a handful of times. Getting a ballpark sizing is sufficient as the material is really stretchy.
How to wear the singlet for dummies: roll down and outwards the straps of the singlet unless you make a pair of tights. Seat them well in your crotch and tuck in your T-shirt. Roll up the straps over your shoulders to complete your transformation. Make sure you get comfortable in them before you step onto the platform. Hand wash as you would your knee sleeves after every training session.
Gear #6 – Weightlifting Shoes
(Photo Credit: asmanyreviewsaspossible.com)
Function: Elevate the heels and aid with ankle dorsiflexion.
Price Range: ~$120 – 250+
Weightlifting shoes are the luxury sports cars of powerlifting. How do you know if you need shoes with a raised heel? The best way to know is to try squatting in them, in both high and low heels. One sign to look out for is if the foot collapses as you’re trying to hit depth, or if you’re having difficulty hitting depth even after trying different stances. However, these shoes are usually unavailable in retail stores, and have to be shipped from overseas. Thus, it adds on to the high price point of the shoes. In terms of resale opportunities, it is difficult to recoup what you spent on the shoe. Aesthetics, sizing, heel height and condition of the shoe greatly affects how likely you will find a shoe you want on Carousell. This goes for finding buyers for your size 13 shoes as well.
This article and commentary first appeared on ENSO Powerlifting, on May 11, 2020.