Eight Beginner Questions Answered

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Every other week, we will be posting eight questions we receive from beginners, and answering them via an article. These questions may involve things a lot of us take for granted, but at one point in all of our lives, we asked the same things. Check out the questions below:

1. Why can I wear Weightlifting shoes for Olympic lifts and squats, but not deadlifts?

Weightlifting shoes are a great and necessary tool for Olympic lifts, but to get the most out of your deadlift, you need a flat-soled shoe to make sure your posterior is engaged as much as possible. Weightlifting shoes put more of the lift on your quads, which are naturally much weaker than your posterior.

2. Why do some lifters wear multiple belts?

If you see someone wearing what looks like a corset under their leather or Velcro belt, there are actually a few great reasons for it. The “corset” is actually called a Soft Belt, and does not provide any real support, but it will help keep your lower back and core very warm, like a knee sleeve. This comes in handy for Strongman, where we will be doing a lot of hyper-extending when lifting logs, stones, etc. I also personally wear it so my leather belt doesn’t pinch the skin between my ribs and hips while lifting.


3. Does the use of straps negatively affect your grip?

Yes and no. Weightlifters, Powerlifters, and Strongmen often employ the use of straps in their training due to the high frequency of heavy weight being used. If one was to do every set of every exercise using straps, you can bet that your grip would suffer as a result. But, using straps for a heavy deadlift session (example) will save your hands for other training later in the week, and possibly allow you to bang out an extra rep or two. Use them as a tool, not as a crutch.

4. Hookgrip? Why?

If you’ve ever attempted a heavy clean, snatch, or deadlift with a double overhand grip, chances are you may have struggled a bit to keep the bar from rolling out of your hands. Hookgrip, with your thumbs securely positioned under your index and middle fingers, locks your hands to the bar while still enabling the benefits of a pronated grip to shine. It may be uncomfortable for the first few training sessions, but you won’t get very far without it.

5. What makes an axle different from a standard barbell?

An axle differs from a barbell in a couple of distinctive ways: The first is that is obviously much thicker than a barbell, which will make it harder to grip and squeeze once your grip starts to fatigue. Another difference is that, due to the size, it is farther away from your center of mass, also making it harder to pick up. The final difference is that the bar does not rotate independently of the sleeves,  this is why an axle is cleaned differently from a standard barbell. 

     
6. Back and front squats, what’s the difference?

The most prominent and obvious difference in these two movements is bar position. But, let’s talk about muscle recruitment. In a front squat, the bar is racked across your clavicle and delts, making the lift anterior (front of the body) dominant. A back squat requires the bar to be placed in a high or low bar position, making this movement more posterior (backside of your body) dominant. Your posterior chain is more powerful than your anterior, allowing a lifter to handle a heavier load.

7. Can I get stronger and lose weight at the same time?

Yes, you can absolutely lose weight and get stronger, our clients do it regularly. One of my first clients lost about over 130lbs in a year, while also setting PRs monthly. At a certain point, maybe once you get to around 8-10% bodyfat, you may have more trouble with it, but if you have a lot of weight to lose, it shouldn’t be a problem in the slightest.


8. Why is looking in the mirror while lifting a possible detriment to my training?

Mirrors can be useful when performing bodybuilding movements, to make sure you are correctly   targeting your isolated muscles. When performing compound movements, however, you need to use your proprioception and kinesthetic awareness to FEEL the lift. Watching yourself in a mirror can break your concentration when performing highly technical lifts. This is why we film our lifts, and watch them in between lifts to make any necessary corrections.