Going to the gym comes with many expectations and dreams. If you workout hard, give it your best, and follow a clean diet, then you’ll achieve your dream body.
Yeah, right, just like that!
That’s exactly what we’re shown all the time on Instagram, on YouTube, in magazines...You see a crazy 2 month transformation and think “hey, that could be me for sure! I have what it takes to make it happen too.”
Let me tell you that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Sure it’s possible, but all those fitness influencers and brands certainly paint a pretty attractive picture of the whole thing, making the process seem easy and almost effortless.
If you have ambitious fitness goals and want to crush them, you (obviously) need to train well! However, your achievements and the extent to which you can push yourself at the gym can sometimes be restricted by pain or struggle with equipment. I get it, the gym is not supposed to be a comfortable place, and it shouldn’t be, right? We go there to train, sweat, and give it our all. Yet, don’t you sometimes feel like some of the pain and struggle could very well be avoided, thus making your gym sessions more efficient and enjoyable?
I didn’t always think this way, but now I surely do! I’ve been working out for the past 3 years and, frankly, I wish I had discovered these gym accessories earlier. So today, I give you my list of the top 6 accessories you want to have to make your workouts as smooth and painless as possible.
Let’s get right into it.
1. BARBELL PAD
If I had to choose just one, this would be it.
I love my compound exercises and I swear by hip thrusts whenever someone asks me how to grow a booty. Before I discovered this pad, I copied other women (and men too!) by rolling a towel or sweater around the bar whenever I did squats and hip thrusts. I even tried folding a mat to relieve some of the pain… It didn’t quite do the trick though. It’s a struggle to setup, it undos itself in the middle of your lift, and quite frankly the pain is still there.
And then I found this! A barbell pad, also called barbell cushion, barbell foam, squat pad etc. To me though, it should really be called “the savior pad”.
I used to not be able to lift properly because of the pain. Sometimes I would even avoid exercises altogether because I dreaded them so much… Either I couldn’t focus on my form, or I just couldn’t lift as heavy as I wanted.
With this though, it’s perfect! It takes just a second to wrap it around the bar and relieves 99% of the pain during my squats and hip thrusts. The difference was quite shocking actually. I began lifting weights I didn’t think were possible.
If you want to revolutionize your leg days like I have, I highly recommend this barbell sponge. Mine also came with a carrier bag, which is super practical to take it with me during the day until I hit the gym at night.
Sure, if you want to become a professional weight lifter and compete, people will tell you that a pad isn’t the right way to do it, and that you should go through the pain… But I don’t want to compete! I just want to weight train as hard as I can whilst keeping good form on my lifts to achieve my own fitness objectives.
I highly recommend this barbell pad. You can get yours here.
2. WORKOUT GLOVES
My second favourite gym accessory would have to be my workout gloves. Sometimes I wonder how people do without them in the gym. When you lift heavy weights, the palms of your hands go through quite a lot of stress and the skin often tears, creating blisters or calluses.
I also remember that before I started wearing fitness gloves, I had very poor grip on the barbell because of the pain, and the sweat. All in all, I was really not performing to my max on key exercises like deadlifts, and it really impacted my progress.
On top of slowing down my progress and making my workouts painful, lifting without gloves also leaves marks on your body that I’m not too fond of. So, to avoid pain, improve my grip and to stay away from blisters and calluses, I highly recommend wearing a pair of lifting gloves, especially on exercises such as deadlifts, romanian deadlifts, lat pulldowns, rowing, pull ups, and really any exercise involving some pulling.
There are a lot of options out there - many brands sell workout gloves for women. However, most of the designs look very bulky or masculine. Finding a cute pair is more complicated than it seems.
I found this one pair I really like, check it out here.
3. BARBELL COLLARS
Have you ever struggled with those really stiff gym collars at the gym? So much so that it almost became a forearm workout in itself? If you don’t know what collars are, think of those evil metallic springs that you struggle to put on your barbell to secure your weight plates.
Unfortunately, using collars is absolutely essential if you add on weights to any barbell. If you’re lucky, your gym is new and equipped with new barbell collars that easily fit the bar. If you’re not that lucky, I strongly suggest you get your own. Not only will you avoid looking like a newbie trying to get your collar off your barbell and having to ask the person next to you for help, but you will also look badass and save a considerable amount of time.
As a bonus, easy locking collars are very convenient if you wanna do drop sets, or if you’re training with your gym buddy, because they make the change of weights seamless!
Don’t waste your energy, and get yours here.
4. MINI BANDS
I love my mini bands for 3 main reasons.
First because I find them so practical to complete an exercise either when the machine I want to use is in use, or during intense peak hours.
Can’t do leg extension or leg curl? No problem! I’ll just take my mini bands, find a quiet corner, and do my exercise! Having this freedom is great.
Second, I use them to perform activation exercises before my workouts. For example, I like doing a few glute activation exercises before I hit the squat rack or perform hip thrusts. It helps me feel them better during my compound lifts, and it ultimately places more emphasis on them!
I also use them to make a tough exercise tougher, such as hip thrusts. I usually wrap one or two (if I’m feeling invincible that day) around my lower thighs, and will perform hip abductions in between each rep. It’s a killer!
They’re also great for isolation exercises at the end of my sessions to finish my glutes and legs off with a real burn. On leg day, I always bring my mini bands to push myself to the limit.
Finally, they are a great way to do very efficient home workouts. We all have days when going to the gym just doesn’t seem like an option. When it does happen, instead of skipping my gym session altogether, I prefer doing a quick 15 minute home workout. With the mini bands, it makes it quite easy to add an extra challenge to my workouts and get my sweat on for real.
Don’t wait any longer to get yours! Check out this set of 4 mini bands here.
5. WIRELESS HEADPHONES
Is there something worse than having your headphone cable in your face when you’re about to complete your last rep? Where are we even supposed to put our phone when wearing our favourite high-waisted leggings without pockets?
I know the struggle. You want the motivation boost of your favourite workout song when you squat, but it comes at a price.
The solution? Invest in a wireless pair of headphones, you won’t regret it. Put your phone or music player on the floor next to you, simply connect it to your headphones using bluetooth, and you’re good to go!
Your hair can be your worst enemy at the gym. Unless you spend hours getting your hair in a perfectly high ponytail and gel the rest, it will come flying in your face at one point or another.
One very good hair accessory you can use is a headband. I find it to be so helpful in keeping my hair in order, without needing to spend ages preparing for my gym sessions. I also don’t have to redo my hair every ten minutes anymore, which is a relief!
It’s pretty, it’s convenient - I mean, what else do you really need?
Here you have them, my favourite gym accessories! Honestly, I couldn't train without them, or at least not train well. If you're serious about your fitness, invest in accessories that will make your gym sessions more enjoyable and above all, more efficient!
Stay strong ladies!
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