Posted on 20 Aug 2013
5 min read
After your first few months in the gym, you’ll no doubt graduate from semi-professional gym goer to full-time gym rat.
However, this does mean that your days of rocking up to the gym in your favourite tank and a pair of TOMS are done with.
You’ll be expected to turn up with a full duffle bag full of muscle building goodies that will be the envy of all the plebs over there on the rowing machine.
So here is a list of a few things to really ramp up your training and help you build more muscle in less time.
This is standard issue, and should be to you what a snappy suit (or should that be skimpy bathing suit, Daniel Craig?) is to James Bond.
As Henry points out in The 10 Old-School Commandments For Building Muscle, anybody taking their workouts seriously should be logging a whole manner of stuff in their notebooks.
Sets, reps, weight, rest period, how you felt that day, what time the hot girl on the cross trainer arrives/leaves.
It all goes in the book.
The old-fashioned notepad and pen is still the best way to track your progress and a great way to set new challenges for yourself.
Plenty of people do record their set, reps and weights.
But hardly anyone strictly sets themselves a rest time.
This little gadget is ideal for this and it works perfectly well for your high intensity intervals.
The Gym Boss is able to take a maximum of 99 intervals of between 1 second and 99 minutes 59 seconds – so it’s variable.
The intervals can be set to go off with a beep or a vibration between 1 and 5 seconds long.
I don’t enter the gym without it now, even if I’m doing strength work.
Being able to set 1 interval of 2/3 minutes for rest is really useful just to keep you from wondering off to the water fountain between sets.
And it beats having to keep staring up at the clock every ten seconds to keep count.
Just wait for the beep!
Our full review of the Gym Boss interval timer can be found here: https://gymtalk.com/gymboss-interval-timer-review/.
For those that like to block out the admirers and stick on some tunes, a good pair of headphones are a must.
I’ve purposefully not suggested any Beats By Dre headphones, or a £200 pair of Bose monsters, because, let’s face it, if some clown drops his dumbbell on them you’re not going to be happy.
Instead I’ve gone for some cheap-ish pairs that stay in you ear even when sprinting on the treadmill.
These cheap and cheerful headphones are fairly comfy and I’ve yet to find a way to make them fall out of my ear.
They are waterproof, washable and because of the price it’s not going to break you heart if they get busted.
They are not for the audiophile out there, as the sound quality is not brilliant, but for £25 quid it’s certainly not terrible.
If you have a little more money to spend, audio legends Sennheiser recently teamed up with Adidas to make an exceptional pair of headphones.
The fit is excellent and the sound quality is absolutely bang on.
And again, for £50, it’s not going to be the end of the world if they are part of a weight room accident.
These foam tubes transform any normal bar, dumbbell or cable attachment into a torture device designed specifically to tear apart your forearms.
By simply attaching them to any bar, Fat Gripz change the thickness to 2.25 inches.
The idea is that by making your grip work harder, your forearms work harder, so your upper arm works hard, up to your shoulder and so on.
Push exercises become a shoulder stability challenge while pull exercises will test your grip so much that you will consider putting ice packs on your forearms.
Just adding them into one exercise per session will really increase your gains, particularly for shoulder presses and lat pull downs.
Bottom line: Fat Gripz are well worth the investment.
On the other end of the grip spectrum is the stuff to make you hold on to heavy things for longer.
Anyone trying to really hit heavy deadlifts, rows or shrugs should invest in some straps.
A good pair can be found for less than a tenner and they are so handy.
With rows and shrugs in particular, your grip is going to give out before your traps or back, so to get the most out of those exercises just strap the bar to your hands!
I wouldn’t use them every workout or you will neglect your grip strength but they are certainly worth using now and again.
The cause of endless debate at GymTalk Towers.
Some say gloves are for wimps, some say they maximise the number of reps they can get on pulling exercises.
Some people prefer them and I’m not going to judge.
For under £10 you can pick up a usable pair and they will help you with exercises like pull ups and rows.
They are also handy if you are particularly sweaty, like some kind of jacked Lee Evans…
Unless you are in a powerlifting or Crossfit gym, don’t bring a bag of chalk in and get it all over the gaff, it’s really annoying.
Don’t be that guy.
Iinvest in a bottle of Liquid Chalk instead.
One drop will giving you the grip of Zeus and hands dryer than the Gobi Desert.
It doesn’t leave a dirty great mess everywhere either, so you wont get looks of disgust from your fellow brothers of iron.
With a few of these stuffed in your gym back you’ll be the toast of the locker room in no time at all!
What do you have in your gym bag that you cannot go without in the weights room?
Let us know in the comments below.
Stay strong, stay shredded.