If you’re interested in keeping your body and joints safe during sports and exercise, it’s best you take certain measures to protect yourself from injury with protective sports equipment and safety gear.
There will be several times in your career in which you will wish you had protected your joints during football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, hockey and tennis games.
Compiling a list of protective sports equipment and safety gear is the first step in protecting yourself from injury. This can give you piece of mind, save you months of setback, and ensure your gains are not in vain.
Stabilize your joints and put them in the best possible position to succeed and do their job correctly.
Find what works for you in this:
List of Protective Sports Equipment and Safety Gear
#1 Knee Brace
In any sport, the first piece of protective equipment and safety gear you’re going to want to think about is a knee brace. A knee brace may be just the thing you’ve been needing to stay active and healthy.
You may need a knee brace for running, a knee brace for sports, or even a knee brace for arthritis.
If you suffer from arthritis or have structurally unstable knees, the knee brace will provide you with a protective and pain-relieving mechanism to help your knees feel stronger and more stable.
There are two types of knee braces that fit in the fitness and athletic spectrum and you need to decide which one works best for you.
- Prophylactic Knee Brace
This brace is intended to prevent or reduce the severity of knee injuries during sporting activities. The prophylactic knee brace is known for reducing the frequency and severity of MCL injuries. People participating in any sport or activity that requires power, cutting, jumping, or sliding should be using a prophylactic knee brace.
- Functional Knee Brace
A functional post injury knee brace is typically worn by those who have recently suffered an injury. In particular, the functional knee brace reduces translation and rotation following an ACL injury. People who use the brace often report reduced pain, enhanced performance, and improved confidence.
One knee brace I recommend for exercisers and athletes is the POWERLIX Compression Knee Sleeve. This strong, protective, breathable design helps you perform your best during any sport or lifting activity. The quality, support, and comfort make this design one of the best in the biz.
#2 Ankle Brace
A great piece of protective sports gear is the ankle brace.
Back when I was younger, I would roll my ankles constantly during basketball season. It wasn’t long before I had to consistently tape my ankles and put an ankle brace over the top of the tape.
An ankle brace for basketball or volleyball may be just what you need to keep you in the game.
Ankle braces serve a couple of purposes:
- Ankle Braces Support Ankle Joints Prone to Injury
The stretchy stiff fabric of the ankle brace keeps the ankle aligned and stable. The brace usually has some type of Velcro or laced feature to keep the ankle sturdy and immovable. The ankle brace will help ward off injuries and help past injuries from reoccurring.
- Ankle Braces Reduce Pain and Swelling
In order to reduce the severity of an injury, follow the R.I.C.E.S. rule (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, and Stabilization). The ankle brace ensures that you are applying two of these rules to a rolled ankle (compression and stabilization). Using an ankle brace will reduce your swelling and thus minimize pain.
One ankle brace I like to recommend is the Zenith Lace Up Ankle Brace. This particular ankle brace gives you the mobility and support you need to perform at the highest level, while still being protected from the external elements. Reduce pain and avoid injuries with this ankle brace.
#3 Weightlifting Gloves
Whether a person uses weightlifting gloves or not is usually based on preference.
Weightlifting gloves have 3 distinct uses:
- Skin Protection
Do you (or maybe your significant other) prefer smooth supple hands, or do you prefer rough, calloused hands? Gloves help prevent callouses, blisters and abrasions caused by weightlifting equipment. Weightlifting gloves also improve your hygiene and prevent viral and bacterial transmission and infection because of their ability to reduce the habitual appearance of small open cuts and wounds.
- Improved Grip
If you work a lot with smooth handles or weights that are hard to carry, the improved grip that comes along with weightlifting gloves might be just the thing you are looking for. If you’re pushing around a lot of weight, doing pullups, or are using slippery kettlebells, the glove grip will keep you from slipping out of your lift and will allow you to lift more than maybe your forearm muscles can handle.
- Better Wrist Support
Some gloves are just made primarily for the grip. Others can help support your wrist if you put them in unnatural positions. A front squat, for example, has your wrists bent backward to allow you to hold the bar on your front deltoids. Wrist support could be crucial to keeping your wrists healthy and in good position.
Some good gloves to look into would be the skott 2019 Evo 2 Weightlifting Gloves. These durable, double stitched, anti-slip gloves provide support, protection, and comfort for any of the lifts you may come across.
#4 Compression Socks
Athletes and runners are always looking for a way to get the edge on the competition.
Every little benefit counts in a world where seconds and inches matter.
Compression socks may be the thing to push you over the edge.
There have been many studies done on compression socks.
The theory behind their performance benefits indicate that compression socks improve blood circulation, increase oxygen delivery to the tissue, and accelerate the removal of lactic acid.
They also have been known to reduce muscle soreness, fatigue, cramping, swelling and recovery time.
One study found that wearing compression socks for 48 hours after running a marathon improved performance on a treadmill test 2 weeks later.
Check out this colorful assortment of CHARMKING Compression Socks. There are compression socks for men and compression socks for women. Beat the competition with the increased blood flow, decreased soreness and swelling, and improved movement the compression socks provide.
#5 Orthotic Foot Inserts
Whether you have back pain, knee pain, or pain in your feet or ankles, orthotic inserts might be what you need to correct your gait, posture, and standing position to reduce or remove the pain in the associated and affected areas.
Try getting your gait analyzed by a professional. In any case you should get with a podiatrist and have them diagnose your foot related pain.
They might find that you have flat feet, high arches, and pronated or supinated feet. They can diagnose whether you have plantar fasciitis, bursitis, tendonitis, and foot ulcers or pain.
There are two types of orthotics that a podiatrist may prescribe:
- Functional Orthotics
These types of orthotics are based the ability to control abnormal motion that is created by the position or motion of the foot. They are usually crafted with semi-rigid material such as graphite or plastic. They may be prescribed by a podiatrist, orthopedist, or chiropractor. They are best used in tennis shoes and dress shoes with closed toes and heals.
- Accommodative Orthotics
The accommodative orthotics are softer and meant for better cushion or support. In other words, they are not controlling your mechanics as much as the functional orthotics, but act as a better means of comfort. They may help treat pain, ulcers, and calluses on the bottom or the feet.
Some excellent athletic inserts are the Physix Gear Sport Full Length Orthotic Inserts. These high quality inserts support your arches, are made with anti-micrbial fabric, are great for athletes, and provide an ergonomic non-slip design.
#6 Athletic Tape
A simple and effective piece of protective sports gear is athletic tape.
I often see basketball players with their shoulders, ankles and wrists taped.
Athletic tape is one of those multi-functional, multi-use products that almost any athlete can use.
Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape (KT) works to keep your body and joints functioning healthy and strong.
There are 3 things that athletic tape is good for:
- Joint Support
Athletic tape is great for joint support. Many people wrap their ankles or wrists before any competitive event to help their joints become strong and sturdy. I remember doing this before every basketball game for the added support. If you pair the wrap tape with an ankle brace, you create a structurally sound ankle. You can also wrap your wrists to give you support in lifts like the bench press or clean and jerk.
- Reduces Pain, Inflammation and Swelling
The compression that athletic tape provides helps to reduce the pain, inflammation, and swelling in your joints. Athletic tape can also be used post injury. If you allow fluid to build up in your joints after an injury, it’s bound to be even more swelled, painful, and inflamed. Keep a few rolls in your bag so you can use it as often as your joints require.
- Prevents Injuries
I’m not a fan of ankle sprains, muscle strains, and tendonitis. I’ve had all of them. And if I had used athletic tape, I wouldn’t have had to go through the injury recovery process. I’d rather just prevent the injuries all together. Don’t be afraid to throw on the tape if you think your joints may be at risk. Always allow your body to work under optimal conditions.
I like the Physix Gear Sport Kinesiology Tape. It’s water and sweat resistant, provides muscle support and pain relief, and comes with an illustrated guide to help you maximize its athletic use.
#7 Weightlifting Belt
Walk into any gym and you’re likely to see someone squatting, deadlifting, or performing some sort of power movement that requires you to have a strong and supported lower back.
Many people think that using a weightlifting belt acts like a brace, hinders power and reduces the strength of the core.
Believe it or not, but a weightlifting belt may improve a weightlifter’s power.
One study showed that a weight belt may improve a lifter’s explosive power by increasing the speed of the movement without compromising the joint range of motion or overall lifting technique.
Another study actually shows that a weightlifting belt may reduce disc compressive force, improving lifting safety.
The weightlifting belt will reduce spinal flexion, extension, and lateral flexion, while increasing the amount of flexion in the hips and knees.
This means that your legs get the grunt of the weight like it’s supposed to be, rather than your lower back.
You can’t go wrong with the Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Pro Weight Lifting Belt. It’s built to last, and doesn’t dig into your sides and hips. You may experience an increase of 10% or more of weight lifted with this rockstar belt.
#8 Wrist Straps/Wrist Wraps
I love wrist straps for lifting and use them quite often for my deadlifts, pullups, and bicep curls.
Wrist straps allow you to lift or pull a heavy weight that you can handle with your legs or arms, but you are not necessarily able to resist with your forearms.
Although you should challenge your forearms to hold what you are trying to lift, sometimes you just reach a point where the weight you can carry exceeds the weight you can hold.
This simple piece of equipment may seem unnecessary, but if you are serious about squeezing every extra ounce of weight out of your lifts, as in a 1 to 4 rep max, then you need to grab some wrist straps.
The wrist straps I use are the Harbinger Padded Cotton Lifting Straps. These straps are simply designed, strong, and easy to use. I can easily roll and unroll them on and off of a dumbbell or barbell.
Wrist wraps are kind of the opposite of the wrist straps.
Wrist wraps limit hyper-extension and promote proper wrist placement under a weighted bar.
They support the wrist for high volume movements like a lot of the exercises you would do in CrossFit.
These are also great for wrist sprains. They keep the wrist supported to aid in the recovery process and can help with swelling and inflammation.
Some good quality wrist wraps for lifting are the ROGUE Fitness Wrist Wraps. These wraps provide the support you need to achieve almost every lift you can think of in the gym.
#9 Knee and Elbow Pads
Some of the most necessary pieces of protective sports equipment for basketball and volleyball players are knee and elbow pads.
Knee and elbow pads can be found throughout the sports and athletic world. Basketball, football, and volleyball players, skateboarders and rollerbladers, cyclers and handballers could all use knee and elbow pads from time to time. The knee and elbow pads give the athlete the opportunity to make a great play without the risk of damaging or scraping their knees or elbows. Or they might just get thrown to grown from time to time and like extra comfort that the pads bring to their joints.
With the continual pounding that joints get during a sporting event, it’s best to keep your joints safe and in great condition.
Try the Mikasa Youth Volleyball Knee Pads to protect your knees from bumps and bruises. These particular pass fight staph infection and eliminate odor. They allow you to be mobile and agile in your sport.
#10 Lifting Chalk
Chalk is used by weightlifters, gymnasts, wrestlers, and rock climbers.
Ever notice a pile of chalk for lifting near the squat rack?
It’s because the person using it wanted better grip when holding heavy dumbbells, barbells, or pull-up bars.
A gymnast will use it to keep an excellent grip on the bar, while a wrestler or rock climber does not want to slip off the person or wall they are going up against.
This simple tool can give you peace of mind that you will not lose grip when you need it the most.
Grab some Gibson Athletic Premium Block Gym Chalk. Reduce hand moisture and get better traction, preventing your hands from slipping. Grip the barbell or the rings without hesitation.
Summary: A List of Protective Sports Equipment (Safety Gear)
Protective sports gear is crucial for sports of all kinds. Athletes and exercisers are continually pushing the limits of their bodies. With the high risk/high reward mindset that many of them have internalized, the best thing you can do for your body is keep it healthy and safe. Try to understand your body and what you need to reduce your risk of injury for the activity you are participating in. It may be the difference between winning your next lifting competition to sitting the season out on the sidelines for the next 6 months and having to start again from scratch.
Do you use protective equipment for your workouts or competitions? What do you like the best? Let me know below!