Posted on July 22nd, 2015 to Barefoot Training
When I was in college a couple years back, I would get my things together and head out to the gym. Most notably, I would always bring a backpack with a weightlifting belt and straps. Having them with me gave me a sense of confidence in case I wanted to put a few more pounds on the bar and go for it. This confidence came from many people telling me that it was much safer to wear the belt as it would give my back more support and prevent my spine from just exploding.
Week after week I would wear the belt for some of my major lifts (squats/deadlifts) not thinking it was doing me any harm and in fact was helping me if anything. As far as the straps, I would almost always have them for when I was training back as it would help assist my grip in pulling exercises.
It was not until after college that I began to train consistently without straps or a belt. When in my life was I going to have a belt and straps with me when I was out in the world? We all know the two words “functional training” get thrown out there a lot, however I began to wonder how my overall strength (grip/core) would increase if I stopped using these tools.
This started my own revolution into the natural way to lift and I began to tell myself “if I can’t lift it naturally then there is too much weight on the bar”. My gym ego took a step back as I was forced to put less weight on the bar in order to build my base. This was a sacrifice that I believed would allow me to not only come back stronger but also in less pain than before. It would also help me understand my true strength.
It definitely paid off and my overall body strength is now much higher than when I was using those tools. Without straps, my forearms and wrist strength allows me to pull more while my stabilizing core muscles keep me secure in my daily life or when performing heavy deadlifts or squats. My point here is that you shouldn’t rely on artificial help in order to try and lift more weight. If you have the patience and determination, you can slowly build your strength naturally and eventually your whole body will come out stronger and more well protected than before.
A comparison can be made between helmet sports and weightlifting. Long ago, helmets barely existed in hockey and the helmets in football were made out of leather. As helmets grew to be part of the game, players began to take more and more risk. You can see nowadays that the technology in the modern helmet has led to a dramatic increase in the amount of brain trauma from concussions in helmet sports. Think about it, if you didn’t wear a helmet wouldn’t you be more cognizant of where your body and head are in comparison to someone else or a wall? You would take less risk right? This same thing can be said about weightlifting. If you didn’t have the straps, wraps, and belts wouldn’t you put less weight on the bar and force yourself to lift it naturally?
We aim to remove this long existing crutch and we want to see you set personal records the natural way.