Strength training essentials #4 – picking the right clothes to wear

In the original version of my list of things you should worry about (before you worry about the angle of your incline presses) I’d put in “wear more clothes”. Today’s post revisits this topic.

An essential part of warming up, is (duh) getting warmed up. That is, increasing body temperature. This will get the body ready to perform and will make you less prone to injury.

Most people already know this, but what many people tend to forget is to KEEP WARM.

I suggest you wear multiple layers of clothes, so you can take off some as you get deeper into a workout and possibly put on some clothes during long breaks. Here are my recommendations per body part:

Head: wool (merino) works well here, as do technical fabrics.

Torso: cotton or triblend. Technical fabrics can leave really bad marks on your backs during squats and they may get slippery. Slippery is bad for squats and benching. T-shirts are better for squats than tank tops because there’s more fabric for the bar to grip. Long sleeves for warm ups.

Legs: tights and/or shorts made of stretchy fabric. Sweatpants also work, as do (obviously) cut-off sweatpants. Long shorts (below knee) can mess up your squat if they get stuck on the knee.

Gloves are not practical for most lifting, but are a must if you’re outside. Same goes for neck gaiter (which I often use at the gym as well). Wearing gloves between sets and taking them off for lifting is an option.

If (like me) you train at a warehouse-type gym, that’s hard to heat up well, wear clothes. Wear lots of clothes. While your clothes shouldn’t affect your lifting negatively, more is almost always better for lifting. You should be sweating and your skin should be warm. This will optimize performance and minimize risk of injury.

While it may be obvious to some, it’s all too common to see people that’re barely sweating wearing skimpy outfits, and while your clothes definitely shouldn’t get in the way, they should keep you warm.

Oh and if you’re a crossfittian don’t rearrange your wardrobe during a workout. It’s an unconscious way of giving yourself rest. Tough it out and rest when you’re done. Take the shirt off too – you should have a nice pump going. 😉

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