7 Common Gym Clothes Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

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1. Squatting in Trainers

The physics explanation: wearing shoes with easily-compressed heels means you lose force as you drive into the floor. Less scientifically, you’ll be able to lift less weight, and might turn an ankle. Get a pair of Converse High-Tops – the flat soles and canvas sides promote stability, and you can wear them to a Mumford & Sons gig afterwards.

2. Using Trousers to Put off Leg Day

Fun fact: Arnold Schwarzenegger was so determined to make his stubborn calves grow that he cut all his training trousers off at the knee as a constant reminder that they needed attention. You needn’t go that far – every man needs a comfortable lounging sweatpant – but wearing shorts should keep you from skipping your weekly run at the squat rack.

3. Any Kind of Hat

Beanies are only acceptable if you’re training outdoors, in an unheated basement, or are Sylvester Stallone. Baseball caps – especially turned backwards – are only acceptable if you’re Sylvester Stallone in 1987 action film Over The Top. Bandanas are acceptable if you’re a pirate, or in prison. Otherwise: leave it off.

4. Swimming in Board Shorts

Save the surf attire for the beach – it might look nice, but if you’re training for a triathlon or trying to improve your length time, it’s like wearing a giant, water-sodden parachute. Speedos are one option – the new generation of skintight longshorts (as worn by modern Olympians) is the other.

5. Overdoing the Compression-Wear

The jury’s out on whether it works at all, but swathing yourself in it is an invite to ridicule. Wear a top, or a pair of tights if the gym’s cold. Not both.

6. Wearing Gloves

Yes, keeping your hands soft and gentle is important. No, looking like a character from 1980s gang-war movie The Warriors is not the solution. Gloves artificially thicken your grip and make control of the bar a tricky – use chalk to prevent slippage and calluses instead. Oh, and moisturise: most strongmen do it, so you can’t be wrong.

7. Sunglasses

C'mon mate, you’re not at Coachella.

Joel Snape

From 2008 to 2018, Joel worked for Men's Fitness, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Though he spent years running the hills of Bath, he’s since ditched his trainers for a succession of Converse high-tops, since they’re better suited to his love of pulling vans, lifting cars, and hefting logs in a succession of strongman competitions.