Updated: May 13
If you’re looking to be prepared for any exercise or program that you might want to try, your gym bag is most likely your biggest essential. Perhaps you’ve been working out for a long time but it has been a while since you’ve given your gym essentials a refresh. Like anyone who is going into a job, there are a few tools you should bring. The following is a list of 5 Gym Bag essentials everyone should have:
1. Lifting Belt
Brace yourself, because this tool will help you lift big! Not only will a lifting belt remind you to squeeze your abdominal core during lifts, but it will also prevent you from hyperextending your lower back. It also reduces the stress on your lower back as you build strength in your Erector Spinae muscles. Use it during compound movements such as deadlifts and squats, and see your numbers skyrocket.
2. Lifting Straps
If you’ve ever had a heavy pull day or back-heavy workout, you know how annoying it can be when your grip gives out before you can rep your muscles into submission. Lifting Straps allow you to focus on the muscles on your back. Of course, you could substitute this for a messier chalk alternative if your gym allows it, or you can also do liquid chalk. Although some would argue you should forget the wrist straps so you can work on your grip strength, your back muscles will always be stronger and last longer during a workout. Not to mention your grip will get stronger as you do, so give these a try.
I’m not trying to be funny here. This might be a weird reminder to put some in your gym bag. Many may agree that this is gym etiquette. If you’re in the gym doing what you went there to do, you should be working up a good sweat. Some of us sweat more than others. With that said, the gym is a shared space, you don’t want to be leaving your B.O. behind in every room you walk out of. Having some in your gym bag means you’ll always be ready to work hard!
4. Wrist Wraps
Ok, these may not be absolutely essential. Nevertheless, if you’re someone who likes to challenge themselves by lifting heavy on the bench, these can be a game changer. On chest days, they will help keep your wrists stable so you can add more weight to the ends. They also help stabilize you when doing heavy arm movements. Keeping your wrists locked means that you can help yourself keep good alignment in your arms and push the weight effectively.
5. Knee Sleeves
When you’re young you may think you’re bulletproof and not need these. However, these will keep you lifting safely for a long time. Your knees take a beating during those heavy leg days. Knee sleeves also provide stability and help relieve some tension from your joints. Your numbers will go up and your knees will cry tears of joy. On days that I deadlift, I also like to drop these down to my shins. That way I can keep that bar nice and close to my body without looking like I’ve been kicking banana trees.
6. BONUS ITEM: Little Trees or Sneaker Balls
A bit of a luxurious item, but putting Little Trees air fresheners in your pack or perhaps Sneaker Balls will keep your bag and your items smelling fresh. Let’s be honest, you probably throw sweaty items in there anyways until your next session. Give these a try, and remember me when you get a weird compliment about your bag smelling nice.