A lot of the questions we get at Catalyst Athletics are regarding equipment and personal gear, so I thought it would make sense to lay out all the gear we use here at the gym and what I use personally, from wraps and straps to supplements and barbells.
I typically use knee sleeves only when cleaning, squatting or jerking heavy. I don’t wear them when snatching. The support of neoprene sleeves is great when you’re squatting or jerking, but they cause me problems by deviating my fibular head, so I limit their use. Mike Gray said it best when he likened the thick blue Rheband knees sleeves to that one ex-girlfriend you know you shouldn’t call but you can’t help it. So what I do is this: for competition or when I really want to push the squat, clean or jerk, I will use the blue Rheband knee sleeves
. For training days when I’m feeling beat up and need a little help but my knees feel fine, I will throw on the thinner gray Rehband sleeves
that aren’t too tight. And for the majority of my training, I use some thin McDavid elastic sleeves
whose purpose for me is just making the Sombra on my knees get hot (they don’t provide any support). I like this system as it keeps my knees feeling good, and I get a little boost in competition or max lifting when I add the bit of rebound that comes with the thicker Rehband sleeves.
I use a Valeo belt
with the plastic cam buckle. These things are lightweight but strong, conform well to your body, and are freely adjustable unlike a traditional buckle that has preset holes. They’re pretty cheap too, but durable—I’ve been using the same one for 5 or 6 years.
Straps I use homemade straps that are 1” nylon because they allow me to snatch without restricted hand and wrist movement. We will be offering straps for sale shortly modeled after these.
Tape & Related
I almost always tape my thumbs when snatching and cleaning. I use elastic tape
(2”) made by Jaybird-Mais. For non-thumb-taping needs, I use a standard athletic tape
(2”) also by Jaybird-Mais. I also use Tite-Grip
to keep my hands dry in order to keep my thumb tape sticking well.
I have used a number of different liniments, and I’m a big fan of Sombra
. The trick is that you need to be sweaty for it to really get hot (hence the thin knee sleeves mentioned above). Outside of training, I like good old Icy Hot
(actually the generic version
from RiteAid that smells like Wint-o-green Lifesavers) to slather on any areas that are bothering me. For cold only, Bio-freeze
I use BodyScience compression shorts
when I train, and at night, I sometimes wear the BSC compression pants
for a couple hours after a rough training day following a dip in the hot tub and/or ice bath. I will say that these things are made for emo butts, but it appears that all other brands are too. So I can’t train in the long pants without them being halfway down my ass each time I move, and I’ve blown out the asses of two pairs during squat workouts. The shorts have held up just fine in training, however, and these are what I wear under my singlet in competition.
Barbells & Weights
We use Werksan
barbells and plates at Catalyst Athletics. We do have a collection of other barbells, but these are specifically for squatting and other rack work.
I like inhaling noxious fumes before a big lift, and lately I have been using Nose Tork
ammonia. I do suggest covering the bottle with some athletic tape, though, so any leaking won’t make the outside slick.
Most of the supplements I take are for help with sleeping, but a few aren’t. Here’s the list:
Energy Advocare Spark
is good stuff, fairly tasty, and gets me pumped to lift well without making me feel strung out. This is especially true if I’m keeping my daily caffeine intake minimal or nothing outside of Spark.
I use Podium Gold powder
, which is actually creatine and beta-alanine. This is the only creatine product I’ve used in over 15 years that I can actually feel make a difference. I do 5 g before training and 5 after. Note that the powder is currently back ordered, so I am using the tablets
I use PurePharma capsules
. 3 with breakfast and 3 with dinner. Sometimes 3 with a mid-day meal if I think of it. I keep mine in the freezer for maximal oxidation protection.
is also a PurePharma product similar to ZMA. I take 3 capsules at bedtime.
I use Carlson liquid
. A few drops at night depending on how much sun exposure I’ve gotten lately.
This is just a magnesium powder
I mix in hot water to down all my nighttime supplements with. Just about a tablespoon or a little less.
This helps drop cortisol levels. I take 2-3 caps
at bedtime and keep a couple next to my bed to take in the middle of the night if I wake up and can’t fall asleep again.
Take a guess: one capsule
at bedtime to help with sleep.
I throw 10 g into my post workout shake. Get the powder
I add about 5 g to my post workout shake. Also in powder