This was a question that was so great I wrote it down on my whiteboard not once, but twice:

"Clint, why do you prefer geared lifting?"

It’s a solid question, and it’s one a lot of people ask me if they’ve never lifted in gear. Here, I’m talking about support gear — squat briefs, squat suits, deadlift suits, bench press shirts, and things of that nature. I would even extend that to things like knee wraps and knee sleeves, which have huge carryovers on people’s squats.

I think a lot of people who’ve never used anything like these in training have a rather negative thought or perception of people who do use gear. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of that it’s cheating since you can lift a bunch more with gear or that it makes the lifts easier.

Those misconceptions are gravely wrong. I remember my training partner had those misconceptions, and as he watched me do a deadlift in a suit, box squat in briefs, and I believed he assumed it was easy. You see guys on the internet doing huge lifts in full gear, and they make it look easy.

So I took one of my old briefs and had him give it a go, squatting with one weight on each side.

He almost passed out — again, just in briefs.

My training partner later said that was one of the most difficult things he’d done: squatting in briefs with one weight on each side.

Now, when I’ve trained other people, I always try to get them in one piece of gear at some point. If a guy shows up and says he doesn’t wear a belt, then I’m going to get a belt for him to try.

Gear will prolong a person’s life in lifting. That’s why I wear briefs: they protect my hips a lot. Briefs put compression on my hips, IT band, hamstring, and quads. If you’ve ever pulled a hamstring or quad, what’s the first thing you do if you want to train on it? You compress it!

I believe compression makes a much safer lift for every athlete. If you want the thickest, most heavy-duty squat briefs and the strongest squat suit possible, that’s fine! If you want to get the M-type single-ply — which, by the way, absolutely saved my hips and provided extra back and ab support at the Super Yoke event in the World’s Strongest Man Masters 2017 and was key to me coming into this contest healthy — that’s great!

Regardless of your choice between multi-ply or single-ply gear, it will make your career last longer.

Gear will also your legs and hips a little more explosion. Let’s say you can use a little bit more weight on your squats, box squats, and deadlifts. Gear is not going to allow your erectors to magically move more weight. Your body is going to have to build and catch up with the new amount of weight you have on the lift. All of that carries over to... well, pretty much everything there is in actual sports.

My number one reason is that it’s fun! With gear, I can take the same exercise I’ve done for 20 years, and somehow, it changes everything: the speed, tempo, technique, and time under tension. I’m taking the exact same exercise I’ve done for a couple of decades, and now I have to re-learn them all over again. I think for a true lifter, that’s fantastic!

On top of it all, it’s like a frickin’ rollercoaster! When you are on a rollercoaster, and you are getting up to the very top and you’re climbing and you’re climbing and you’re climbing and you’re climbing, you know that feeling you have in your heart and gut that things are about to get crazy? Then when you get to the top of that rollercoaster, and you start to look over the edge and start to scream bloody murder as you start to go down?

That’s the exact same feeling when you get to the bottom of a squat with your briefs on and your suit straps up! It’s the exact same feeling when you get that bench press shirt on and you start taking that shirt for a wild ride down to the bottom of your chest! It’s a wild ride! It’s the same thing when you get down to that deadlift bar and you grab that deadlift bar and you fly up out of the hole! Life stands still, and everything happens at the exact same time, and I think it’s amazing and addicting, and I absolutely love it.

That’s the real reason why I lift in gear: I absolutely love it. It’s one of the biggest thrills there is in lifting. Never shun it, don’t turn it away; instead, try it! Learn it!

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