Belts and Wraps: How Beneficial is Your Workout Gear?

“When should I wear wrist wraps?  I’m curling 120 lbs. on the straight bar and 70 lb.+ dumbbells and my wrists get slightly sore.” – Christopher Cox

If your wrists get sore you can use the wraps through your arm training. Put them on loose with the lighter sets and tighten them up as you get heavier. 

I would also offer a different approach altogether. If an exercise is causing you pain in a certain joint or area of your body, it might not be the best exercise for you. I get a ton of athletes who experience wrist, elbow and joint problems with common exercises like chin-ups, pull-ups, skull crushers, straight bar curls, or even straight bar tricep extensions. 

Adjusting the exercise by simply changing the angle or position of the hand can make all the difference for these athletes. Substituting dumbbell curls for straight bar curls, or rope tricep extensions instead of skull crushers can be the difference between painful and aching joints, or making progress and getting stronger. 

Don’t be tied to any one exercise or any ONE way to perform an exercise. There is always a progression or regression that you can find that will work better for you. 

The Lift Doctor: Using Wrist Straps & Limiting Stretch Marks

“What’s the best thing to do for stretch marks?” – Kevin Ruef

Many young guys who start training early experience stretch marks; typically in the armpit area on the front side of the chest, inner thighs, or along the bicep.  Stretch marks happen when the skin goes through continuous stretching beyond its elastic boundaries. This happens to the major muscles groups with consistent and progressively heavier training. The muscles get bigger and heavy movements like benching and squatting stretch the muscles in extended positions.

Stretch marks typically start out pink or red and fade to a more neutral color with time. I have used cocoa butter with some success and I’ve heard that Mederma works well to help stretch marks fade and look less obvious. Unfortunately, however, the skin rarely returns to its original state. The best offense you can do is to stay well hydrated to make your skin as elastic as possible, and use a good moisturizer like the cocoa butter on the problem area after your shower for better absorption. 


Meet the Lift Doctor

Jim Smith is a highly respected, world-renowned strength and conditioning coach. A member of the Fitness Advisory Board, Jim has been called one of the most “innovative strength coaches” in the fitness industry. Training athletes, fitness enthusiasts and weekend warriors, Jim has dedicated himself to helping them reach “beyond their potential.” He is also the owner of Diesel Strength & Conditioning in Elmira, NY.