What Should You Buy When YouStart Lifting: If you are just getting into powerlifting and you look around at people online or in the gym, you will see that pretty much everyone has the same basics in their gym bag. Knee sleeves, wrist wraps, a belt, and often heeled/squat shoes. This is pretty much the norm now for powerlifters, and for good reason. These are important pieces of equipment that most lifters will benefit from using. But when you are just getting started, dropping hundreds of dollars on new equipment might not be the best idea. That’s a lot of money, and you likely won’t get much out of the gear at this stage. On top of that, by the time you will really benefit, you might have outgrown the belt or sleeves and need new ones.

There are really only two things you absolutely need in your gym bag when you first start lifting (aside from comfortable clothes). First, a good pair of gym shoes. They should be thin and flat, essentially just a piece of the floor stuck to your foot. Chuck Taylors are the classic example but there are more and more options all the time. Stay away from shoes with a cushion or that have a curved sole

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The second thing you need is something to write in or on. Whether that’s your phone, or a notepad, you need to be tracking your lifting by writing down what you do each session, and you need to be writing down notes to yourself. Perfecting your technique doesn’t just come from doing reps over and over and over. It comes from deliberate work, learning from your mistakes and improving each session. So write down what you did well and what you struggled with, and look at your notes every session.

The knee sleeves, squat shoes, belts, and wraps can wait. There will come a time when they are needed. But when you are just getting started there are much better things to spend your time and money on.

- Nigel, Kizen Coach



Who is Nigel?

Nigel is a coach who has been competing in powerlifting since 2012 and started directing meets in 2017. Nigel began working as a personal trainer in 2013, was a part of the Ascendant Athletics team with Omar and Silent Mike from 2015-2016, and has managed the group coaching for Kizen Training since 2017. Through this work and coaching private clients, Nigel has worked with many lifters of all skill levels and from diverse athletic backgrounds. His best lifts in competition are a 661lb/300kg squat in sleeves, a 451lb/205kg bench, and a 639lb/295kg deadlift.

Instagram: @captain.planet


If you haven't already, we recommend checking out our Beginner Program - Free Preview, its a great place to start if you're new to the gym.