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What Sort of Gear Does a Weightlifter Need?

Published: 2021-02-17
What Sort of Gear Does a Weightlifter Need?
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Weightlifting is a fairly simple sport, at least in terms of equipment needed. Obviously, one needs access to a barbell, and for the best performance, lifters need to attend mostly to the bar itself. Most of today’s serious barbells include rubber bumper plates that cushion any dropping, intentional or otherwise, of weights back to the platform.

For training purposes, beyond a barbell it’s best to have a solid platform on which to lift. This dedicated space should be removed from other obstacles and should provide an environment that allows the lifter to safely drop a failed lift from overhead.

Keep in mind, it is possible to become a good weightlifter even under less-than-ideal conditions 

(Photo source unknown)

Cameroon’s Brice Batchaya finished 14th in the 85kg category at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He accomplished great results despite training under difficult conditions..

For training purposes, any experienced lifter needs some form of squat rack from which to handle heavy loads in squatting and for jerking from the rack.

As far as personal equipment, the most important piece of lifting gear is the shoe. Few weightlifting-specific shoes existed prior to 1970 or so, when Adidas’ first version entered the marketplace. Prior to this, at least in the United States, we saw all sorts of footwear on the platform, from men’s dress shoes to military “combat” boots. Today’s weightlifting shoe tends to be a low-cut model (allowing for proper ankle mobility) with a strap across the instep and a built-up heel area that helps to achieve a good solid deep squat position in the snatch or the clean.

For competition purposes, the details of the lifter’s uniform, often referred to as a singlet, are spelled out by the international federation. In order to address today’s popular topics of inclusion and diversity, the IWF has adopted broader guidelines that allow for a good bit of variation in acceptable uniforms.

Many people believe a weightlifting belt (not a weight belt, something SCUBA divers utilize) is important, or required. This is not the case, and many lifters choose to lift without a belt, especially in the snatch lift.

These are the basics needed to get a weightlifter effectively training for eventual competition. For more equipment details, please access the following links:

Watch this video for greater details on weightlifting equipment:


This blog covers in greater detail the basics of weightlifting equipment.