Protect your shins and lift with confidence with shin guards specifically for powerlifting. Here’s a breakdown of the best deadlift shin guards.
Here’s a statement courtesy of Captain Obvious:
Deadlifting is kind of the best.
It’s functional, builds a massive amount of muscle, and there is nothing more satisfying than picking up a butt-ton of weight and putting it back down.
But you already know how awesome deadlifts are.
What is not so awesome, on the other hand, are gnashed up and bruised up shins. A knurled barbell will chew up your skin and the bar will leave your shins battered and ouchie’d over the multiple sets and reps.
- See also: Want something lighter to protect the skin on your legs while deadlifting? Check out the top socks for deadlifting.
Deadlifting shin guards are frequently used in powerlifting circles because they protect your shins leaving you to focus on proper technique and execution of the lift.
Shin guards also have several other benefits, including keeping your calves warm and encouraging a better starting technique.
Buuuuut deadlifting shin guards are not all made the same.
They each feature different features, price points, fabrics, and so on. Some are adjustable, some are one-size-fits-all, and some need to be properly sized.
Here’s a breakdown of the best shin guards for deadlifting, key features to look for, and more.
Let’s get into it.
The Fit Guy Deadlifting Shin Guards
⭐⭐⭐ Best overall pick for speed of application + custom fit
The Fit Guy’s Shin Guards are warm, comfortable, and will protect your shins against gnashing.
The guards are easy to slide in and out of thanks to thick Velcro pads on the back and are designed to be one-size-fits-all.
The Velcro makes the pads adjustable for lifters with calves from 13 to 18 inches in size and makes them superior compared to sleeves and socks as they provide a custom fit each time.
Made with neoprene, the same material that a wet suit is made of, the guards are very warm, keeping you calves nice and toasty while lifting.
They can be worn over your deadlifting socks or pulled out of your gym bag and worn over skin.
Bear Grips Shin Guards
The first thing you will notice is that Bear Grips guards are comfortable. Slide them over your shins and calves, and a silicone ring at the top keeps the guard from sliding down while you are training.
A 5mm pad runs along the front, protecting your shins when deadlifting or doing jumps onto wooden or steel plyo boxes.
Bear Grips offers them in a variety of colors (green, black, red, pink) and in a variety of sizes.
There are some things I wasn’t wild about.
For starters, the guard isn’t as easy to put on and take off as our top choice from The Fit Guy. In comparison, taking your shoes off and rolling on the guard takes up much more time.
And second, you don’t have the custom fit that comes with The Fit Guy’s Velcro straps.
That said, these things are high-quality and comfortable when you get them on, and I appreciate the variety in color patterns and sizes.
RockTape RockGuards Shin Guards for Deadlifting
RockTape is perhaps better known for making a line of kinesiology tapes for athletes and injury-management, but their shin guards are surprisingly awesome.
Made with a 5mm neoprene shell, the top of the guards have a silicone ring that keeps the guard in place while you are training, and a foot strap at the bottom of the guard keeps it from riding up.
Available in a variety of sizes, RockTape’s RockGuards are very affordable (around $30 the last time I checked—click here for availability and pricing at Amazon) and will protect your shins when deadlifting, rope climbing, etc.
Smart Strength Plastic Shin Guards for Deadlifts
⭐⭐ Best plastic deadlifting shin guard
All of the shin guards we have looked at so far are made of soft neoprene. The drawback to this kind of guard is that while they protect against gnashing and rubbing, they provide a minimal amount of protection against impact.
Plastic shin guards provide a sturdier level of protection for your shins. Made of hard bearing plastic, Smart Strength’s guards give you max buffering against hard plyo boxes, barbells, and gouging.
Smart Strength’s guards are exceptionally light, easy to put on, and if you are the kind of athlete that gets real warm in the gym, they also provide protection with unnecessarily warming you up.
Shinnovate Shin Guards for Deadlifts
Another adjustable shin guard that can be customized to the size of your calves, Shinnovate’s guards feature two Velcro straps at the top and bottom that secure the guards while also letting the back of your legs breathe.
My favorite part of Shinnovate’s guards is that two polyethylene inserts protect your shins. Slide them in when you want to train, and then pull them out when you want to wash them.
At just under ten inches in length, Shinnovate recommends the guards for lifters with calves up to 18.5” in diameter, making it perfect for most of us.