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Top Gift Ideas for Powerlifters

Top 17 Gift Ideas for Powerlifters

With Thanksgiving over, the Christmas 2016 season is in full swing. 'Tis the season to eat, drink and spend money on presents.

So what better time than now to write about the best gifts for powerlifters.

Of course, this powerlifter gift list is just as applicable for birthdays, graduations, other holidays or just because.

Whatever the occasion, this post will help you find the perfect gift for your powerlifting friend, family member or significant other.

Powerlifters tend to have extreme personalities and particular tastes, making them difficult to shop for - but you probably already knew that...

...Luckily, I'm here to give several suggestions so you can find the perfect gift for the powerlifter in your life.

1. BAR GRIP™ FULL Shirt by A7 Fitness

This is the best piece of gymwear you can buy. Why? Because it's more than just a shirt. It's a highly useful gym accessory.

This shirt ​has durable and very sticky grips built in to the back of the shirt. It's actually made from the same stuff as football wide receiver gloves.

Using the A7 Bar Grip Full on Squats

No more bar sliding on squats. No more back slipping on bench. No chalk necessary.

This simple, yet innovative design solves 2 very annoying issues that every powerlifter is familiar with:

  1. Prevents the bar from sliding down your back on squats. This is most useful on low bar squats,  but is also helpful on high bar squats, as shown in my photo below.
  2. Stops your back from slipping during bench press. This is an issue when you're sweating and/or if the bench backrest cover is made from a slick fabric.

Previously, the most common way of dealing with these issues was to use chalk. However, this shirt is superior to chalk in the following ways:

  • It is much more effective. Chalk will only prevent some extent of slipping and sliding, especially if you're sweating buckets.
  • It's more convenient. You put the shirt on and that's it. With chalk, you have to continuously reapply it, sometimes as often as every set.
  • Chalk is messy. This shirt is not. This means you and the bench or squat rack area won't look like the aftermath 
  • Many gyms don't allow chalk. Lots of gyms don't let their members use chalk at all. While this sucks, it's understandable--they know it leaves one hell of a mess.

The Bar Grip Full is the 4th and most recent version of A7's Bar Grip line. It was released just recently, in mid-October 2016. However, I got a sample shirt from them a couple months before that and have been using it ever since.

The previous version was the Bar Grip 3.0. I've done two reviews on different styles of the the 3.0, in which I gave high praise:

As great as the 3.0 was (and still is -- I use both frequently), the Bar Grip Full is better. And noticeably so. Here are the biggest improvements of the Bar Grip Full vs. the 3.0:

  • ​Thicker, stronger and stickier grips. As mentioned above, the new stuff is made from the same grippy material on wide receiver gloves for football.
  • Better Coverage! This is the biggest improvement by far, in my opinion. The grips now cover the entire upper back. This includes: a wider surface area (all of the lats/shoulders from the left seam to right seam) and more height (all the way up to the collar/neck). The additional neck coverage makes high bar squats much easier compared to the 3.0.
  • Better moisture wicking and improved comfort. The new fabric is a 95% cotton / 5% lycra blend. The 3.0 was a 60% cotton / 40% polyester blend. The new blend is superior for wicking away sweat and giving a softer feel. Plus, from what I've observed, it holds its shape a bit better by returning to normal faster after being stretched/bunched up from wearing a belt.
  • Deeper Grips = Better Durability. Not only are the grips thicker, but they're actually embedded deeper, within the fabric (versus being adhered atop the fabric). This means the Bar Grip Full shirts will be able to take more abuse and last even longer than the 3.0 shirts.
A7 Bar Grip Full Shirts Available in Men's and Women's Sizes

The BAR GRIP™ FULL is available in men's and women's. The design shown  More designs available!

The shirts have an athletic fit, which means that they're tapered and fit closer to the body. For men, this means wider at the chest and narrower at the waist. For women, this means wider at the chest, narrower at the waist, and wider at the hips.

​The shirts are true to size. If you need specifics, look at the sizing chart below for men's and women's sizes:

Bar Grip Full Size Chart for Men and Women

Don't know what size to get? Refer to this Men's and Women's size guidelines chart.

Another great thing about these shirts is that they're very affordable. They range from about $32 - $35 depending on the design...

...But, lucky for you, you can use my discount code (KINGOFTHEGYM) for 10% off your order. Oh, and did I mention, US shipping is free? Can't beat that!

Use Code "KINGOFTHEGYM" for 10% Off + Free US Shipping

2. A High Quality Barbell

If you're shopping for a powerlifter who trains in a home gym and uses one of those low quality barbells that often come with a cheap Olympic weight set, he could use an upgrade.

Ohio power bar

Buy him a good power bar.

I recommend the Rogue Ohio Power Bar or the TSS Texas Power Bar, both of which meet competition-legal standards for most powerlifting federations.

3. Knee Sleeves

Knee sleeves are a great tool for keeping the knee joints warm, preventing knee pain or injury, and giving them a bit of extra support during squats.

I own and can personally vouch for the 7mm Rehband knee sleeves.

If you get the Rehbands, get one size smaller than what's recommended in the sizing table, below.

rehband knee sleeves size chart

SBD Knee Sleeves are another great option. If you're buying the SBDs for someone who trains like a powerlifter, but doesn't actually compete, get the "tight fit" size shown in the table below.

If it's a gift for a powerlifter who competes seriously, consider going one size lower than the "tight fit" size in the table below.

sbd knee sleeves sizing

The extra tightness allows the lifter to "pop" out of the bottom of the movement, which can increase the max squat by ~20 lbs.

When I originally wrote this article in late 2014, I hadn't used the SBD sleeves. However, I ended purchasing them a few months later. As expected, they're awesome. It can be a pain in the ass to pull them on, but the extra tightness is worth it.

4. Wraps

This includes wrist wraps, knee wraps and/or multi-purpose wraps. I'll discuss each, below:

4A. Wrist wraps

Wrist wraps are a great tool for enhancing wrist support on heavy bench press or overhead press exercises.

Titan THP Wrist Wraps

They stop the wrist from bending back too far, which could otherwise lead to wrist pain or injury.

Wrist wraps can also prevent every lifter's worst nightmare of dropping the bar because their wrists collapse (which needless to say could be fatal on bench press).

These make a perfect gift for any lifter who's at least an intermediate. Beginners should build up basic wrist/forearm strength on pressing movements before having any need for these - the only exception is to help them work around a minor wrist injury or pain).

For someone who's new to using wrist wraps with an intermediate to advanced level of strength on bench press or overhead press, the Inzer Iron Z Wrist Wraps are the way to go.

For guys who have an advanced to elite bench press, the Titan THP Powerlifting Wrist Wraps or Titan Signature Series Gold Wrist Wraps are both excellent options.

For sizing, I'd recommend 24 inches. That's long enough length to give plenty of support for most guys without having lots of excess material.

And it's short enough that it's legal in all federations (though most feds allow 1 meter).

However, unless the powerlifter you're buying these for has very large wrists and/or an elite bench press, he probably doesn't need 36 inches.

4B. Knee Wraps

I only recommend buying knee wraps for someone if they compete in a federation that allows knee wrapping.

Inzer Iron Z Knee Wraps

According to many, there are few if any benefits to knee wrapping for people that don't compete with wraps...

...Wraps cause the groove/bar path of the squat movement. This effectively makes it a slightly different exercise, meaning that strength gains from wrapped squatting do not necessarily carryover to strength gains on unwrapped squatting.

Note: Others will argue they still have some carry-over benefit for increasing non-wrapped squat strength, even if they do change the groove.

All that being said, most people will agree that knee wraps can be useful for just about anyone who needs to train around minor knee injuries.

If you decide knee wraps are a good gift idea, then the Inzer Iron-Z knee wraps are a solid choice for someone new to wrapping, since they are less rigid and provide more bounce. Whereas, the Titan Signature Series Gold knee wraps are great for elite level squat strength who need a stiffer wrap that helps more with slowing the descent.

In terms of wrap length, buy either the 2.0m or 2.5m. Most raw lifting feds allow a max length of 2.5m.

I'd go with a 2.5m for most people, because even if they don't need the extra 0.5m, having it doesn't hurt.

Note: I'd only recommend the 2.0m unless the person you're buying them for is:

  1. on the smaller side (i.e. relatively skinny thighs and calves)
  2. competing in one of the few feds that doesn't allow 2.5m
  3. specifically requesting the 2.0m length

4C. Multi-Purpose Wraps

What if you don't know whether to buy knee wraps or wrist wraps for the powerlifter in your life?

Then why not buy one product that can be used for both purposes. And that product is the Sling Shot Gangsta Wraps.

gangsta-wraps

Be sure to get the 36 inch version so they can be used for both wrist wraps and knee wraps. There's a 20 inch version, which is fine for wrist wrapping, but too short for knee wrapping.

Note: The 36-inch Gangsta wraps can suffice as a good training tool for both knee and wrist wraps. And it would meet competition legal standards for wrist wrap length. However, if a competition allows knee wraps, they might not be a good choice for knee wraps, despite being a competition legal length; they're shorter than is optimal for getting the most out of the squat. Generally, wraps that are at least 2.0 meters long maximize squat strength.​

5. Lifting Shoes

There are two basic kinds of shoes powerlifters wear: Shoes with a raised heel and shoes with a flat heel. Both should have dense soles to provide stability.

I'll go over the basics of both types of shoes, below. But if you want to read more about lifting footwear, see my weight lifting shoe guide.

5A. Raised Heel Shoes (Olympic Lifting Shoes)

Any powerlifter would be ecstatic to get a pair of Olympic lifting shoes as a gift.

While Olympic shoes are best for use during high bar squats (and Olympic lifts of course), they're being used successfully by more and more powerlifters who low bar squat.

Adidas Adipower weightlifting shoes

I use and recommend Adidas Adipower shoes. They'll fit best on people with narrow to normal width feet.

However, if you're buying Olympic shoes as a gift for a powerlifter with wide feet, get the Nike Romaleos 2. They're just as good as the Adipowers.

5B. Flat Heeled Shoes

Olympic lifting shoes are a luxury. But a quality pair of flat, hard-soled shoes are a necessity.

Even if the powerlifter you're shopping for already has a pair, he could always use another.

These things get beat up from hours of heavy lifting in the gym, and need to be replaced frequently if worn all the time.

I personally have 3 pairs of flat soled shoes plus the Oly shoes.

Converse Chuck Taylor lifting shoes

The classic, flat powerlifting shoe is the Chuck Taylor High Top. You can't go wrong with these.

If you're shopping for someone who also runs or does any other form of cardio, the New Balance MX20v3 shoes are an even better choice.

6. Weightlifting Belt

Every serious powerlifter needs a weightlifting belt.

If the powerlifting you're buying a gift for doesn't have a belt yet, or if he only has a cheap quality one, then this is the best item you could get them.

bestbelts.net weightlifting belt

I bought my belt from BestBelts.net and couldn't be happier with its quality. It comes broken-in so it's comfortable to use right away.

Inzer and Titan also makes great belts. Rogue makes a good quality belt, too.

The belt should have the following characteristics: leather, 4-inches wide, single-prong or lever, 10mm to 13mm thickness.

If you're buying for someone who already has a quality leather belt, get them a nylon deadlift belt instead.

Unlike leather belts, a deadlift belt does not dig into the hips or ribs during deadlifts. It has some flex to it, which allows for better mobility and no pain.

7. Fractional Plates

Give the gift of more efficient strength progression with fractional plates.

Fractional plates are most useful for advanced to elite level powerlifters who have to fight for every pound added to the bar for a given lift.

fractional plates

A normal weight set allows a minimum increment of 5 lbs, which can be too big of jump to make for a given lift. Accordingly, progress is slowed.

However, the fractional plates are great because they allow you to add weight in 0.5 lb increments, up to 5 lbs.

8. Sling Shot

If only you could give the gift of a new bench press PR...

...Well, the Sling Shot (also available on Rogue) may be the closest thing to that.

mark-bell-sling-shot

This training accessory is a great gift idea for powerlifters of any experience level who want to improve their bench press strength and technique.

Beginners and intermediates can use the Sling Shot to learn proper arm and shoulder positioning on bench press.

More advanced lifters can use it to bench more frequently without irritating the shoulders. They can also use it to improve their lockout strength, train explosiveness and improve tightness at the bottom of the range of motion.

9. Bands

A set of durable, looped resistance bands can help take a powerlifter to the next level.

iron woody bands

They can be used to add elastic resistance to all the big lifts, which trains lockout strength and explosiveness.

They are just as useful as tools for mobility work and rehab/prehab exercises. There are plenty of other creative uses for bands, but I won't get into those today.

I use Iron Woody Bands (pictured above) and can vouch for their quality.

10. Lifting Chalk

Lifting chalk is a foolproof gift idea. No powerlifter can have too much of it.

It dries up sweat and prevents the bar from slipping from your grip or off your back. This allows a lifter to use heavier weight for more reps.

magnesium carbonate lifting chalk

As a gift, chalk has the benefit of being very inexpensive, making it a smart choice if you're on a budget.

The standard for lifting chalk is magnesium carbonate. However, if you're buying this for a lifter who trains in a gym that doesn't allow chalk, then liquid chalk is a suitable alternative.

11. Fat Gripz

Some guys will buy expensive specialty barbells called "fat bars" or "thick bars" which have a larger diameter that makes it harder to hold onto.

They're highly effective pieces of equipment training grip strength and building up the forearms.

But, as mentioned, they're expensive...

...Fat gripz do the same thing at a fraction of the cost.

fat gripz

You just pop them on a regular barbell or dumbbell and they instantly replicate the fat bar handle thickness.

This is a very popular training accessory, which gets overwhelmingly positive reviews.

I don't own a pair myself, but I have used them before and they fatigued the hell out of my forearms and left me with a Popeye-esque forearm pump.

12. CoC Grippers

There's no such thing as having too much grip strength. It helps you lift more weight on every exercise (via central nervous system activation).

And of course, a strong grip prevents the bar from slipping during deadlifts - something no powerlifter wants to happen.

The Captains of Crush hand grippers are arguably the best grip trainer on the market.

captains of crush coc grippers

I own a few of these and know first hand that they can quickly become an addicting challenge, with the result being stronger hands and forearms.

There are 11 different CoC gripper strengths available.

If you don't want to break the bank to buy all of them, I recommend getting the Trainer, No. 1, No. 1.5 and No. 2. These allow the trainee to progress smoothly and efficiently over time. But it will still keep them occupied for months before they can easily close the No. 2.

13. Dead wedge

The Dead Wedge is a cheap, yet effective tool that makes it easier to load on and off the bar for deadlifts.

dead wedge

See my article on deadlift jack alternatives for other products that help do the same thing (including some free solutions).

14. Deadlift Socks

Deadlift socks prevent the bar from scraping against the shins when the bar is pulled off the floor.

deadlifting socksi

This is a thoughtful gift to give anyone who deadlifts in shorts.

And if they compete, they'll definitely need a pair, since deadlift socks are required in all powerlifting federations for sanitary reasons.

15. Singlet

A singlet is a great gift idea for any competitive powerlifter, since they are required to compete in every federation.

powerlifting singlet

There are plenty of simple, yet good quality singlets on Amazon.

But if you want to get fancy, Takedown Sportswear has dozens of creative pre-made designs to choose from, as well as the option to design a custom singlet.

16. Voucher for a Massage Session

I don't know of any powerlifter who doesn't get tight, knotted-up muscles from all the heavy lifting they do.

Jay Cutler massage

A session (or two, or three) of deep tissue massage is guaranteed to make any powerlifter feel great and move better.

Be sure to buy the voucher from a reputable, qualified massage therapist, preferably someone experienced in treating athletes.

17. Online Coaching from a Respected Strength Coach or Powerlifter

This is probably the most creative gift you can buy for a dedicated powerlifter.

There are plenty of very knowledgeable strength coaches, and even some professional powerlifters, who offer online training.

Note that there are plenty of people out there who offer online training, but many actually just give out cookie cutter programs and are inattentive to their clients.

I did a bit of research to find people who generally have a solid coaching reputation and/or are knowledgeable and well-known powerlifters.

Note: This is just a starting point. I recommend doing further and more in-depth research before making the decision to purchase someone's services.

Coaches:

Powerlifters:

About the Author Alex

Hey! My name is Alex, and I'm the owner and author of King of the Gym. I started this website back in late 2009 during college, and it has been my pet project ever since. My goal is to help you learn proper weight training and nutrition principles so that you can get strong and build the physique of your dreams!

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