Here, you'll be able to read all about the equipment you'll need/want in order to get the most out of the world of lifting! We'll be covering all of the equipment that is used in both Powerlifting and Weightlifting, but this same equipment can be used even if you don't specifically train for either of these sports. We'll be talking about what each piece does in order for you to better understand why our members use this equipment.
In order to compete in an IPF Powerlifting competition, you will need:
1) IPF approved singlet
3) Deadlift socks (any knee high sock will do)
4) IPF approved belt (optional)
5) IPF approved knee sleeves (optional)
6) IPF approved wrist wraps (optional)
Whilst the Belt, Knee Sleeves and Wrist Wraps are optional, they are highly recommended for anybody looking to compete.
What if I'm not looking to compete in Powerlifting? What if I'm training for fun or health?
Even if you're not looking at competing in Powerlifting, it's still recommended that you invest in some of the above equipment! Well, possibly not the singlet, but the other items on that list will be really helpful during your training sessions, taking stress off of certain joints, and allowing for a safer, stronger lifting experience.
This might seem like a lot, but Powerlifting doesn't have to be an expensive sport. Below we'll list the bare minimum you will have to spend on equipment for your first meet, as well as reviews of some of the equipment you might see our members sporting in the gym. The equipment should never be a barrier preventing you from competing in your first meet - for example our members will be happy to lend you a singlet!
Additionally, you could look at purchasing some StrengthShop Knee Sleeves and a StrengthShop Belt, as these products are reasonably priced and are good quality.
Strengthshop lever belt - 10mm
Strengthshop belts are a great first belt option as they're relatively cheap and easy to break in. I have a 10mm lever belt that I got for around £60 and it has served me well so far, however they are not as rigid as other belts so it is worth trying one on before you buy to get more of a feel (most barbell members will happily let you try their equipment). A bonus of strength shop belts is that they come in a range of different colours (my belt is yellow).
- Becca Kingston (Belt Size: Small)
Titan Longhorn - 10mm:
A 10MM leather belt with a lever. Lacks the adjustability of a prong belt, but isn’t too much of a pain if you have a screwdriver in your bag. The lever means I can just pop it on and off easily and not have to worry about anything else. Lifetime warranty on the belt, and the lever, which is usually the first to break. IPF approved and the fact it’s 10MM means it won’t dig in as much as a thicker 13MM. A solid quality belt and definitely does the trick, but I’ll be looking to upgrading to a 13MM Wahlander or Inzer belt in the near future.
- Daniel Rottan (Belt Size: Medium)
Inzer lever belt - 10mm:
Whilst being one of the more expensive belts available to buy at around €130, my Inzer belt has been exactly what I was looking for in a new belt. After smashing all of my PR's in James's Inzer, it was only a matter of time before I got my own, and it's lived up to my expectations. Unlike a lot of people, I've been wearing my belt for around 8 hours a day to help with my lifting at work. Because of this, it's broken in nicely, but still retained it's rigidity. Best pickup I've made in terms of lifting equipment in my opinion, and I could never go back to my old off-brand belt.
- Angus Gardner (Belt Size: Large)
The Inzer lever belt is a very sturdy piece of equipment. You can feel the quality, and it is definitely worth the premium price tag when compared against the Strengthshop equivalents; which just feel cheap and flimsy. The lever makes it easy to get the belt nice and tight consistently, and also allows for the satisfying post lift buckle undo. Some people prefer prong belts for the ease of adjustment, however as long as you have a 20p coin on hand, it is easy to adjust, and you shouldn’t really need to do it often anyway. However, occasionally the screws holding the lever in place can get loose and need tightening. Pro-tip, drill a hole in a 20p coin and attach it to your keyring so you always have it on you.
- James Smith (Belt Size: Large)
SBD belt - 13mm
The SBD belt is one of the more popular belts among powerlifters due to its build quality and rigidness, it remains the most popular for a lever belt. This is partially due to the adjustable lever which gives you the adjustability of a prong belt, allowing it to stand out from other lever belts.
The belt itself is incredibly rigid, which can cause bruising and some pain when breaking in, but this allows it to be easy to brace into. It also mitigates the issue with other cheaper belts where they can lose a lot of tightness and go flimsy with extended use. I've been using mine for around a year and a half, and still feels similar to when I bought it.
- Alex Jackson (Belt Size: Medium)
Adidas powerlift 4:
Solid shoe for supporting you when you squat. Comfortable and sturdy and help me feel confident in hitting depth on heavy sets. Look good and do the trick, and would recommend for anyone looking to pick up a pair.
- Daniel Rottan (Shoe Size 9)
Cheap - Adidas Powerlift 4's are on the less expensive side for lifting shoes at around £60.
Low Heel Height - They have a .6" effective heel height (the difference between the height at the heels and the toes), which is only a little bit higher than running shoes. This means they are easy to get used to if you are new to using lifting shoes.
Hard Sole - The hard sole (compared to running shoes or Converse) means you will feel a lot more stable and confident on exercises like squats.
Low Heel Height - The lower heel height means they won't compensate for limited ankle mobility as much as a shoe with a higher heel.
Not that Hard Sole - The sole is made of an EVA polymer which is more compressible than the TPU plastic used on some more expensive lifting shoes.
- Alex Charlton (Shoe Size 11)
Adidas Havoc shoes can be a little hard to find nowadays, but are an extremely good choice if you are looking for something with a flat sole and don't want to spend as much on Sabo Deadlift shoes. You can usually pick up a pair for around £40, and I've been using mine for all 3 lifts for the last year or so, over which period they've held together very well.
Admittedly, I have broken my laces at least 5 times, but I tighten them a lot and laces are cheap anyway. I've also broken the eyelet on one side, which unfortunately can't be repaired easily. However, it doesn't impact the feel of the shoe much, so they're definitely still worth the money. Just maybe don't be quite as aggressive as I am when doing your laces up.
- Alex Jackson (Shoe Size 8.5)
SABO Deadlift shoes:
Flat shoe with a very thin sole. Excellent for deads and bench. Plenty of grip on the slippery Warwick Sport platforms. The metatarsal strap allows you to get the shoe really tight, especially If you have narrow feet. Buying from Ebay is much cheaper than from a UK retailer.
- James Smith (Shoe Size 9.5)
StrengthShop Hercules Wraps:
Cheap and cheerful, reputable company, and do the trick for heavy bench or OHP sets. Won’t add any kilo’s on to your lifts but will support you well and definitely feel reassuring to have on.
- Daniel Rottan (Length: 50cm)
AQF lifting WRAPS
My first pair of wrist wraps. These were great as a "starter pair", but they're very short and the velcro on them isn't the best. I found these good for getting started in lifting, because they were a great help in preserving my wrists during bench and OHP. Having used SBD wraps for most of my heavier lifts, I can recommend these as a good starting pair of wraps, but would certainly pick a more known brand for more serious lifting
- Angus Gardner (Length: 33cm)
Material has a really good stretch to it, and it fits really nicely around the legs. A bit expensive, but no more than the titan singlets available from Pullum.
- Angus Gardner (Singlet Size: Large)
I would highly recommend the Titan singlet for anyone who is looking to compete in powerlifting. The material is very high quality and much thicker and grippyer than other singlets. This provides more compression while lifting and better grip for squats and bench. Although there are cheaper options out there I think its definitely worth the slightly higher price.
- Alex Hiew (Singlet Size: Small)
To compete in weightlifting, you will need:
1) A singlet
2) Weightlifting shoes
Other common equipment includes:
3) Knee sleeves/wraps (Optional)
4) A weightlifting belt (leather w/ buckle or velcro) (Optional)
5) Wrist Wraps (Optional)
6) Thumb tape (Optional)
- Adidas produces some great reasonably priced singlets, and can be found on their site or older versions can be found second hand or through other retailers.
- Virus creates more expensive singlets, but they're also very good quality.
- Custom singlets can be made by @sewnstrong on instagram.
Any IPF approved singlets can also be used, such as strength shop, SBD or Titan.
- Adidas has the cheapest options in the Powerlifts, Power Perfects, Adipowers and Leistungs. Most adidas options are quite light and different shoes have different heel heights from 0.5 - 1 inch
- Nike currently produce the Romaleos 3 XD, with a heel height with 0.75 inches
- Reebok create the Legacy Lifters, with a heel height of 1 inch.
- There are a variety of other options, but these 3 are the most common and their websites offer a student discount.
Weightlifting knee sleeves are often a bit less tight than powerlifting knee sleeves. Stretchiest options are made by Hookgrip, whilst tighter knee sleeves can be bought at Strength Shop, Eleiko, Rehband or SBD. For people who need even more support, weightlifting allows knee wraps to be worn.
Wrist wraps for weightlifting are stretchier than those for powerlifting and many suppliers specify weightlifting wrist wraps. Options include Strength Shop and Eleiko.
Weightlifting belts are usually either leather or velcro and cannot have a greater height than 12mm.
Popular velcro options include:
- 2POOD (sometimes available through wit-fitness)
Popular leather options include: