You know what three things can make your life easier, your shins safer, your deadlifts heavier, and your clothes cleaner? High-top socks, liquid chalk, and a singlet. (The last one is actually a necessity.) Read on.
When I started lifting, I used to wear socks just for shits and giggles. After powerlifting started to become more popular among women, wearing high socks during deadlifts was more like a status symbol. “Look at me. I’m a powerlifter.” Or I thought it was.
One day, I forgot my gym bag. I overslept that morning and left my house without two very important things – my lunch and gym bags. That day, I planned on deadlifting, so I figured all I needed were shorts and a t-shirt. Luckily, I had some in my backpack.
Back in the day, I used to pull sumo – wide feet stance. After just the first set of heavy deadlifts, my shins were bleeding like there was no tomorrow. Then, I learned the true reason behind wearing high-top socks – to avoid shin scratching and bleeding to death.
How bad you might scratch your shins depends on two things – the barbell you’re using and the stance in which you are deadlifting. For example, if you’re using a deadlift barbell and deadlifting in conventional stance, then you probably will be fine. If you use the same barbell, but in a sumo stance, you might want to protect your shins,and vise versa.
These days, there are literally millions of high-top socks, so you can find whatever you fancy. Like, I heart food, so most of my high-top socks represent that. #priorities. Like these ones.
Chalk is useful but a messy thing to have. For that reason, the majority of gyms either have a designated area where you can use their chalk, or prohibit using it altogether.
You’ll need the help of chalk at one point or another, especially if you tend to have sweaty palms (like I do). So what do you do if there is “no-chalk policy” at your gym? The answer is Liquid Chalk. Not only does it not create a mess but it doesn’t take up much space in your bag, and it doesn’t get on all over your workout clothes. Win-win, as they say.
You’ll need a singlet if you compete. It’s an awkward piece of equipment and frankly, my first experience wearing it was rather interesting. A bright red wrestling singlet looked anything but flattering on me. After my first competition, I went on Amazon and purchased a decent looking, dark blue singlet. Much better.
Side note. It’s the part of the rules to wear a singlet during the competition. From what I know, it is so that people don’t cheat. How exactly, I am not sure, except during a squat. Wearing a singlet makes it easier for judges to see the depth.
Do you need to wear a singlet other than at a competition? My advice would be yes. There’s a story behind that.
Before my last competition in October, I shot my coach an email asking if I needed to wear a singlet during my last heavy squats and bench press. He said that it wasn’t necessary and it’s more useful for men, as they are not used to lifting with bare legs.
Well, as stubborn as I am, I decided to give it a try and lift in a singlet. Girl, was I glad I did! I’m used to lifting in shorts and having my legs exposed. What I gained from wearing the singlet that day was more mental than anything.
I felt uncomfortable. The singlet was very tight, and it exposed every single fat roll I had. And all the dimples. As body positive as I am, and as much as I don’t mind my rolls and dimples, having people staring at me is nothing but mentally uncomfortable. It was quite an awakening.
Once I realized how uncomfortable I was, I decided to stroll around in a singlet as much as I could to get used to staring. I did it so my brain wouldn’ get occupied with those thoughts during the competition.
So if you’re even a little body conscious, I’d highly recommend wearing a singlet for a lift or two before the competition to help you get rid of the mental discomfort.
This is the last blog in my Powerlifting 101 series. Thank you so much for reading it. I hope it was helpful.
If you missed the blogs on other equipment, you can find them here: