Come On, Kids. Gear =/= Cheating.

I feel like I've had this conversation quite a bit in the past month. Something along the lines of:

Them: "I don't use a belt because I want my core to be stronger."
Me: "Your core is actually able to more fully engage when it has the belt to brace against."
Them: "But it's external support, and (enter something about being a machine, not using machines nonsense)."

Them: "My wrists hurt every time I do front squats/ over head squats/ cleans/ snatches."
Me: "I've been competing in the Olympic lifts for over 5 years now, and I use wrist wraps every time I do X movement."
Them: "I think I just need to mobilize more/ train harder so I can do it right and not need them."
Me: "It's not about doing it right or wrong, in these positions you're sacrificing comfortable/ stable angles in the wrist to be more efficient with the overall movement. It's just part of the movement at heavy weights."
Them: blank stare

Them: "What's with the tight knee wraps?"
Me: "I have a powerlifting meet coming up and I need to get used to them. They're tight so they can help me lift more weight in the squat."
Them: "So it's cheating."
Me: "No…. it's part of the game. My competitors will be using them, so I might as well work on having the same advantage."

At the risk of sounding judgmental, most of the people that come at me with these types of conversations are CrossFitters. There is a culture of BE FUNCTIONAL and RELY ON YOUR OWN BODY in a way that eventually becomes detrimental.

Take workout gloves as an example. You will rarely see them in a CF gym. Athletes have told me they've brought them to a gym and were given a harangue about how they are cheating and you need to toughen up. Well, tearing is stupid, and not everyone cares to have hooves for hands. I wear my natural grown leather mitts with pride, but I have to compete this way. Most people don't and if a callous tear is going to keep you out of the gym for a week, wear the damn gloves.

Where would I draw the line? Wearing those wrist wraps that have hooks built into them.

So before you fully succumb to the "I don't use machines, I AM the machine" mentality to the point of constant suffering, consider these points:

- Do you plan to compete? What equipment is allowed/ banned in that sport?

- Is pain due to inherent position (wrists in the overhead squat) or your movement paterns (valgus knees)?