To use gear or not to gear? That is the question.
THE EARLY DAYS
In the early days of CrossFit, there were no nike metcons, no reebok nano’s, no romaleo weightlifters, knee sleeves… you get the picture. People wore Asics and New Balance Minimus shoes (I still have mine), there was no market for gear. As the sport grew so did the industry for workout gear. Now, it is hard to imagine training without our favorite knee sleeves, belt, wrist wraps, and gymnastic grips. We have become so dependent on these items that when I talk to many athletes they believe, they cannot and will not, lift well, or have a good workout with out those things. It is at this point I would challenge you to stop using gear.
WHAT IS GEAR FOR?
Gear is intended to help you with your training, but if you are having to belt up, and wear lifters for “Fran” then there are some glaring holes in your fitness that we need to work on. Gear should not serve as a band-aid for aches and injuries. Eventually, your body will break down and you will get injured (or more injured) if this is what you are using the gear for. If this is you, come talk to a coach so that we can help you take care of your ailments properly.
The beginning stages of a strength cycle is a perfect time to stop using your gear. You will be training at lighter percentages in the early weeks which will allow you to drill down your technique. For example, if you use knee sleeves and a belt on 65% what is going to happen when you get to 95%? A good rule of thumb is to build confidence and strength up to 90%, then anything over those percentages add the gear. It is at those times you will notice the support and will be able to confidently hit those lifts for the day (depending on how you are eating and recovering).
BOTTOM LINE……..Use the gear in moderation, and definitely on the those days when it is time to find a one rep max!