As a sport and an exercise, powerlifting has been the peach of every real participant and the viewer’s eye. The form of display of one’s sheer strength and ability has left the spectators mesmerized across the globe for decades now. While powerlifting has been a part of the Olympic circuit for a long time, simultaneous world events hold significance too. The world championships, involvement in the Asian games, commonwealth games, and much more has a really widely spread reach to the audience.
However, what goes behind the art and the task of powerlifting is truly unimaginable. The amount of dedication, toil, input, and concentration that goes into the task is unimaginable. To reach up to such a level of performance and then falter for external reasons can be detrimental too. For example, the best friend of a real powerlifter has always been his/her gears for all this while. The powerlifting gear is a source of resting a huge amount of trust into, not only for efficient performance by also for safety. Due to the nature of the lifts and the formations, the competition is always intense. This event exemplifies the further involvement of these gears to make sure the person goes through their stint carefully, successfully, and safely.
Meanwhile, what is tricky in the whole deal is the applicability and the approval of these gears. For instance, the international powerlifting federation always tries to keep the competition fair and square. Hence, the number of powerlifting gear to be involved, their type, size, and every other detail is regulated for the professional user. While it may sound a simple deal, a wrongly used, excessive, or missing power gear can also cost participation rights to an athlete. What follows is the right use and implementation of each powerlifting gear to ensure a safe guideline and fair participation scheme.
With every gear and equipment intact for the supporting act, the stage remains set for the powerlifters to perform. What goes through those 3 attempts for every professional involved is endless dedication and the wish to succeed. Each gear and element focuses on a specific body part and to safeguard it to increase the overall efficiency of the lift. Through these, the critical parts are safeguarded and hence the prolonged run and extension of a performer’s career are easily possible.
Types and Utility of Powerlifting Gear
Given that the sport occurs in the forms of bench press, deadlift, or squat, the types and utility of the gear also varies hugely. Another important factor is also to ensure that IPF guidelines are strictly adhered to so that no performance hindrances are observed. Some of the important powerlifting gear and their concerned regulations and utility are highly important to understand for a smoother involvement and transition. Click here to see the illustration of various powerlifting gear in the image format.
A powerlifting belt is the most important piece of powerlifting gear for any budding or professional powerlifting athlete. However, opposite to the contrary belief, the powerlifting belt is not a compulsory accessory for the sport. The role of the belt is to support the back and make sure it stays steady and upright during the lift. Moreover, the belt makes sure that there is no extra pressure on the lower back and the abdominal region when the lifter is subjected to the most pressure during the pickup. The powerlifting belts are usually made in a way that the body is of leather whereas the inside is properly padded.
The size would vary to accommodate athletes of different sizes, with each belt varying for at least 5-6 configurations. The side prong type is a durable one that does not wear down easily. Meanwhile, the lever type is easy to lock and unlock and similarly easy to put on or remove. These belts can withstand heavy sweat, however, they should be kept away from the prolonged exposure to moisture. The accessory is approved to be used by the IPF as an optional piece of gear for the sport. To ensure proper fitting and working, the belt should always be work at one size loose to accommodate the expansion in circumference during the lift. Too tight a belt can be damaging and detrimental for the muscles and the overall lift.
Shoes are the most essential part of any sport and powerlifting is no exception either. However, opposite to the requirement for other intense activities, powerlifting shoes need flatter soles. The idea is to concentrate the entire pressure that is accumulated within the legs and the lower body during the lift and force it against the ground. This is used to fabricate enough capacity to execute the lift properly without any hiccups.
According to the IPF, the powerlifting shoes are an essential and compulsory part of the powerlifting gear list. The height of the sole from the bottom must not be over 5 centimeters in any case. There is no scope for any kind of modifications to be made to the underside of the shoe would be invalid to wear.
Moreover, the primary objective of the shoe would always remain to provide the lifter with the right amount of protection. The foot should be completely enclosed within the powerlifting shoe to provide ample safety. Treads at the bottom is an important feature to make sure that enough grip is available during the lift. This grip is necessary to ensure there is no chance of slipping during the execution of the power lift.
The singlet is the compulsory part of a powerlifting event and is declared mandatory by the IPF too. Each performing and participating powerlifting athlete is supposed to wear a singlet that is approved by the IPF, hence only limited variants and brands. However, there is no additional contribution that a singlet would give to the lift. It only makes sure for the basic requirement, no moving or floating part of clothing would come in contact with the weight or the lift itself. This is to ensure that the loose ends of the normal clothing pattern do not get entrapped with the stack or anything else.
While the sizes may vary, it is advisable to not wear a singlet that is too tight. This can be uncomfortable for the groin and the thigh area which can reduce the lifter’s mobility. It is not mandatory to wear anything inside the singlet and hence it remains on the athlete’s discretion. However, if the athlete shall choose to wear, it should only be the shorts and nothing else.
The knee sleeves, not an essentially mandatory part of the whole thing, are still preferred by every athlete. The IPF too has certain regulations if the athlete decides to wear the knee sleeves. The idea behind wearing there is:
- Support the knee joint during the lift.
- Keep the joint warm and flexible to avoid spasm or tear.
- Support the knee in a way that any load does not affect the Achilles tendon.
Meanwhile, these knee sleeves are only and discretely made for the purpose of being worn at the knees. Any wrong or inappropriate usage of these can lead to disqualification of the lifter. The other idea is to make sure that the powerlifting knee sleeves do not come in contact with the singlet or any other powerlifting gear worn by the athlete. The comprising material for these is neoprene which has fantastic frictional property. These knee sleeves should be able to absorb or resist the sweat and not move or slip during the critical junctures of the lift. The size description for the approval of the knee sleeves to be used are:
- The overall thickness of not more than 7 centimetres.
- The overall length of the sleeve should not exceed 30 centimetres.
These are extremely accommodative for the athlete during the powerlifting task. Any injury possibility to the knee and the tendon can be totally curbed by appropriate usage. This stands as one of the main because of which athletes wear the sleeve almost all the time of lift, despite it not being mandatory.
The important idea is to remember that wrist wraps stand altogether different from wrist straps. The wrist straps are not allowed in the events of recognized powerlifting competitions under the IPF guidelines. The primary reason is that wrist straps are used to increase the capacity of a person in terms of the load they can lift.
However, like a powerlifting gear, wrist wraps are completely legal, but not mandatory. Though one would ever hardly see a powerlifter indulge in the lifting act without the right wrist wrap support. The main idea behind this to ensure proper support to the wrist during the lift. By doing so, any possibility of a twist or damage is totally avoided. This gives an overall impeccable form to the final wrist position to prevent damage. The wrist wraps should not be very tight, there should always be the ability to accommodate the flexing of the muscles. Moreover, these should not be slippery to make sure that the wrist wrap does not become a hindrance or disturbance during the lift itself.
The thickness of the wrap should not be over 1 cm whereas the width or the broadness should not be over 8 cm. The overall shift towards the elbow after the wrap is in place should not exceed 10 cm, whereas the extension towards the hand should not be more than 2 cm.
Knee High Socks
The knee-high socks remain an essential and mandatory part of the deadlift posture for the powerlifting task. However, for every other form of powerlifting, they are optional. There would be a lot of variations available in the knee-high socks and almost every one of them is approved. Athletes prefer the standardized variants to make sure that they do not have to bear the grunt for any mismatch or wrongdoing. The knee-length socks should be sufficiently long, but not long enough to ensure that they are not touching the knee wraps in any way. The sole purpose of the knee-high socks is to ensure that the leg, especially the shin area is not affected or damaged.
Due to the closeness of the lift with the shin, there is a chance that there can often be cuts and bruises. Knee-length socks for powerlifting would essentially avoid any possibility of such damage and prevent any blood spill or open wounds. With the other forms, i.e. the squat or the bench press, the sock becomes optional. Even though most athletes for powerlifting still choose to wear the knee-high socks as a part of the powerlifting gear requirement to make sure that the leg stays protected and enclosed. These socks should have an inherent ability to absorb any extra sweat that is lingering around and stay in place without any slip or slackness. The socks should not be tight or otherwise, they could possibly strain the muscles too.
The T-shirt remains an integral part of the powerlifting sports for every athlete. Every powerlifter chooses to wear a different color and size, however, the requirements are the same. The IPF regulates that there should not be any zippers or loose ends on the t-shirt. This also includes that there should be no pockets or flips on the t-shirt.
Moreover, the material should be ordinary and not the stretch type. The T-shirt should be perfectly enclosed within the singlet to make sure that no loose ends are dangling around. The t-shirt will be an integral part of all the 3 powerlifting forms and activities. The other main quality that goes unnoticed is the ability of the powerlifting t-shirts to absorb sweat. Too often, the t-shirts can be a source of irritation and the temperature of the body can rise up, causing sweating and performance efficiency drop. Hence, the athletes must focus specifically while choosing their right fit and the right size.
The chalk for powerlifting serves only one purpose, increase the grip of the powerlifting athlete for a smoother transition during the lift. People might think that it is only important for the deadlifts, however, the reality is not quite so. During the squats and bench-press too, there is a large possibility of the rod to move around or shift in the hand’s grip. Hence, most athletes choose to use this on a compulsory basis.
On occasions, it is possible that due to multiple hands using the same chalk stand, the chalk can be moist. This can further be detrimental rather than being supportive of the cause of lifting. Hence, it is essential to ensure that the chalk is dry and ready to use for the powerlifters before they go along. It is allowed to bring your own set or box of these, but it should be approved. In case an athlete chooses to do, the inspection for the appropriateness of the chalk would be carried out by the designated team before the commencement of the lift. Not essentially a powerlifting gear, chalk is more of a supportive agent and one that is perfectly legal and acceptable.
The sniffer’s tool ammonia has been declared legal and optional to use by the IPF. Not every athlete chooses it, however, it is said to be effective. When asked, the athletes say and it is also proven that ammonia sniff increases the awareness of the powerlifter. It increases the alertness level, which basically means that the athlete is more aware of what is happening with the lift and the surroundings.
However, it is not allowed for the powerlifting athletes to use it in front of the spectators. The use of ammonia should be restricted behind the curtain and the quantity should not be too excessive to ensure there is no harmful effect on the body. These come in the form of small drop cases or packets that can be easily carried and taken on. In the longer run, frequent lifters do not use ammonia unless they are performing in a high-stakes event. This is to ensure no adverse health effects are found on the powerlifter.
Images to illustrate various powerlifting gear
Efficient lifting through the right powerlifting gear
It is important to emphasize that the selection of the powerlifting gear should always meet the IPF requirements. In case there is non-compliance with this, the judges’ panel or the monitoring authorities can straight away rule out the athlete or decide the lift to be invalid.
Moreover, the right gears would enable the powerlifter to accentuate the right pose and form and hence increase the efficiency of the lift. During all this, safety remains of paramount importance while selecting the right mix. The focus of the task in hand is to make sure that no added advantage is given to the athlete through these gears, but only safety and performance efficiency is maintained. The selective brands available would all ensure the uniformity in the manufacturing aspects to ensure that there is no discrepancy. This helps the athlete to pick the right choice and hence perform the power lift with the optimum input and succeed simultaneously. Years of input given into the task would prove worthy with the right selection and usage.
List of Powerlifting Gear:
- Powerlifting Belt
- Powerlifting Shoes
- Powerlifting Singlet
- Knee Sleeves
- Wrist Wraps
- Knee High Socks
- Lifting chalk