Over the year of practicing the sport of CrossFit and other different types of training, I found out a few things that I bought that were a waist of money as far as accessories and tools that I thought I needed them at that time.
A lot of things we use have been around for decades, like Olympic lifting shoes, knee sleeves and weightlifting belts, while some other items are more sport specific and could significantly effect your performance.
Below are the top Items I have in my gym bag and I usually recommend to my Athletes to take their game to the next level.
Speed ropes and not just your regular school yard jump ropes. They will help you with those ever elusive double-unders. These speed ropes are designed to spin quickly with little force, but be careful with this speed spinning: they really leave a mark if you miss a jump. Don’t worry, it’s good motivation to no mess up. Speed ropes are small and perfect to take with you literally anywhere! You can do an entire WOD with just your rope and an open space.
As a new crossfitter I tore up my hands every time I did more than 10 pull-ups. If you have ever ripped your hands you know how bad it hurts and how long it takes to recover. I started taping my hands or using my hand grips before doing pull-ups and as my hands got stronger and good calluses developed I no longer needed the tape to protect my hands. Now I keep the tape and my gloves in my bag at all times.
Want to increase your back squat, dead lift, or snatch? A weightlifting belt can help. We’ve all heard our coaches say to take a deep breath and tighten our core before we lift. A weight belt helps by giving you something to apply pressure to in-turn keeping your core tight. It took me a few days of lifting to feel comfortable using my belt and now I can’t PR without it.
Knee Sleeves/Knee Wraps
Like with the wrist wraps, also knee sleeves come in elastic or non-elastic form. The neoprene sleeves are stretchy and slide on under or over your pants. The non-elastic wraps tie on and go over your pants or on bare legs if wearing shorts. I have the neoprene ones and can’t squat without them. The added compression provides supports and allows me to squat both heavy and/or high volume without suffering from over-use pain.
These are great if you have weak wrists like I do. You can get elastic and non-elastic wrist wraps which are great for push-ups, handstand push-ups and jerks. Most elastic wraps have a thumb strap that helps you keep the wrap in place. You can choose to use it or not, in either way it won’t affect the effectiveness of the wrap. Toss these in your gym bag before you head to the box.
Foam Roller/ Lacrosse Balls
If you have not experienced the glorious pain of a good foam rolling session I suggest you put that on your to-do list. Most boxes have at least one of these devils of delight laying around. Next time you see a foam roller give it a try, and then get your own. These come in 2 lengths, full sized and 1/2 sized. I have a full sized one in my living room and roll out almost every night while watching my favorite TV shows. The 1/2 sized ones fit in your gym bag better so you can take it with you. Foam rolling is great for mobility, release nuts, tightness, and it helps recovery before or after your workout.
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Whats with the CrossFit shoes?
We often get the question why does everyone wear those shoes? Do CrossFit shoes really make that much of a difference? Well here is no definitive shoe but there is one reoccurring theme you will likely hear from fellow athletes at your Box is that you should invest in a pair of CrossFit Shoes.
It’s really quite simple, running shoes are designed for those who want to run on a road and CrossFit is certainly not about purely running on roads. Running shoes create instability, primarily laterally, in the ankles. Running in a straight line for miles is a linear activity and that’s when a well-designed “Running” shoe makes sense. CrossFit is definitely not a linear activity! We zig, we zag, jump, sprint, crawl, climb and lift heavy stuff.
It’s true CrossFit involves lifting heavy weights often above your head. Weightlifting is a very specialized sport and requires specific shoes. It is not preferable to do a WOD (Workout of the Day) that involves box jumps, T2B (Toe to bar) or DU (Double Under’s) purely wearing your Oly shoes. Oly shoes can become very heavy quickly. They do have Hybrid Lifting shoes but again although the construction of the shoe is lighter they are not ideal for a long AMRAP they are more of a specialized shoe. You really want a all-around good lightweight flat shoe.
Stylish shoes with Big cushy heels encourage athletes to put their weight forward, not back into their heels, and what do you always hear your coaches yelling? “Weight in the heels!”. Most importantly you don’t need be doing Olympic lifts on a soft unstable base – think overhead squats while standing on Spongey wet grass not ideal for Overhead Squats is it? That is the effect that you would get from wearing a running shoe that has a large spongey heal its going to make you unstable and put your weight forward. Hope this helps to clarify why you see some of the more experienced athletes in your box wearing those colorful shoes. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask your coaches what might be the best fit for what your trying to achieve! TAKE UP TU 70% OFF AT THE REEBOK STORE. Katy Mills Mall. Katy, TX.
Things do take time and the body will adjust, albeit up to a certain point so the correct use of equipment will help you reach your potential When it comes down to it, you must ask yourself… does your training outfit match? ;)