Crossfit Essentials – 10 Must Have Workout Gears

CrossFit Gear

The typical training session throughout gyms and health clubs all around the world typically consists of isolation movements combined with extended aerobic sessions. It seems that entire fitness community managed to convince public that curls, lateral raises, leg extensions, sit-ups and other popular exercises glued together with a 20-40 minute aerobic workout on a stationary bike or a treadmill are the way to get the super-hero body. While the promoted results can be achieved that way, the question that comes into play is: How conditioned your body really is after doing exercises that pinpoint perfectly each, but never all of them at the same time? In CrossFit, we don’t talk just about chiseled abs and arms that only look good, but can help you in situations when you need muscles the most! 

The CrossFit training session consists almost exclusively of compound movements and HIIT aerobic sessions. An athlete performs bodyweight exercises of various difficulty that target not only a specific muscle (like biceps) but entire muscle group it relates to (shoulder, triceps, pecs). The method of CrossFit is practiced among major university sports teams and sports academies throughout the world. Thanks to the online communities and the expansion of IT technologies, it became available to the general public, recreational and professional athletes who wouldn’t be able to practice at such a high level otherwise.

So, you decided to try CrossFit? Specialized gyms are widely available nowadays. There you can find people who already know a lot about CrossFit and have been practicing it for a while. Also, there are some online communities devoted to honing the secrets of CrossFit and keeping an eye on such places is also a good idea. The fitness program requires dedication and a commitment to master all the moves. Although this might sound like an easy task while reading about it, in practice, some exercises and movements take months of perseverance and discipline to make it. Like everything else in life that’s worth fighting for, it all comes down to iron will.

The method requires a specific kind of training equipment such as lifting shoes, belts, knee sleeves, chalk, etc. This article is all about giving a heads up about the equipment needed, so keep reading soon, you will find out about different choices you can make. The CrossFit market is full of brands that release new gear almost on monthly bases, so choosing the necessary minimum may be an overwhelming task for a newbie. Oh, whatever you do, don’t ask the guy that sells the equipment what do you really need, because it might turn out you need absolutely every item displayed in the store.

We put the list below to make your choice a bit easier (especially if you are on the budget). The right equipment will, definitely, make you look really cool, but on top of all, it will give you necessary protection- over time those exercises will become quite demanding for your body.

10 must-haves for a proper and safe CrossFit training

Before you head to the closest sports equipment store, bear in mind you don’t have to buy all of these at once. For advanced exercises, proper equipment, technique, and safety become an issue over time. But for those who are just starting out, a good pair of shoes and adequate clothing is all you need for a great start!

1. Compression clothing

Compression garments are useful, because loose gear can be trapped behind the bar, and that is just not what you want while performing complex movements. Tight, compression clothes, are well designed to fit your body, don’t use extra space, protects your skin, it’s breathable and evaporate extra moist quicker. Plus, it looks cool.

2. Lifting shoes

Running shoes are not advised in CrossFit. It’s not that they are useless, but when you start doing heavier and technically more complex lifts, running shoes and their raised sole can make difficult to maintain a more upright position during cleans, snatches, front squats, med ball throws, etc. Lifting shoes are a piece of equipment you should get as quickly as possible. If not, get a pair that has a flat sole that’s made out of non-slip material. CrossFit athletes usually recommend Reebok Nanos, Nike Metcons, etc. so you can check those out.

3. Calf long socks

Calf long socks can be useful for avoiding bruising your shins while pulling the bar from the floor (the bar will slide over them, instead of pulling the hairs and cause friction and bruising). For performing lifts in high quality, the bar should be as close to your center of gravity as possible. Other than that, CrossFit socks are designed for extra convenience. They usually have ribbed texture to keep the foot cool and dry, which is crucial for the prevention of blisters, calluses and fungal infection of the foot. Even though bruised shins are cool and manly to see, you should be focusing on the workout of the day and staying safe and uninjured instead of looking like a war veteran.

4. Compression pants

Avoiding shorts with pockets is advised simply because your thumb can get stuck while performing jumps, muscle ups, or doing a combination on gymnastic rings. You don’t want that. What you can do, is to get a few pairs of compression pants or joggers, so you don't have to worry about the inconveniences such as shorts hooking to the worst possible place at the worst possible moment.

5. Knee sleeves

Knee sleeves, to clarify are different from knee braces, knee sleeves provide some support, but don’t restrict movement (like braces). Knee sleeves are designed to prevent the knee injury. The protection is especially important in deep squat positions when performing Olympic lifts. Compression knee sleeves also encourage blood flow.

6. Arm/ elbow sleeves

Those have pretty much the same effects as knee sleeves; protect skin, help blood circulation, prevent muscle soreness, and promote quicker muscle recovery.

7. Gloves

Choosing from various kinds of CrossFit gloves can be confusing because there are many different types: 

WODfitters – they’re as basic as one can get when it comes to CrossFit grips. – Perfect for high volume pull-ups;

WODies 2 in 1 – great combination of the classical gymnastics grip with the added protection of the wrist warp;

Emerge pullup grips – These provide an exceptionally firm grip and support to the wrists. People who practice other styles of exercises can use these grips;

The Gym Paws grips – Even though they look like a kitchen cooking gloves, gym paws are lightweight, not bulky and tend to last longer due to their leather base;

The gripper – close contender to Gym Paws. They also have a straightforward design, and can be very easy to remove during training;

The bear complex grips – they are simple grips that remove irritation of the plastic part on the wrist. A 2 hole version and 3 hole version are available to suit lifters needs and come in various colors;

Mechanix gloves – inexpensive, protect the whole hand, which might be unsuitable for some athletes and exercises.

Some lifters don’t even use gloves unless they tear really bad. Bear hand lifting can be painful, but also, you can feel a greater connection with the bar while not wearing gloves. It is not recommended to newbies, so you should definitely choose a pair, at least until your hands and wrists become stronger and more resistant to friction.

8. Lifting belt

Lifting belts are made out of leather, or other synthetic strong material in order to support the spine, and core muscles while completing lifts. Belt primarily serves as another stomach layer (such as internal fascia), that wraps around and increases abdominal pressure to keep core tight while lifting. Also, reduces the risk of herniation.

9. Sticky goat tape 

It’s similar to Kinesio tape, and it’s put around palm and thumb, to increase traction and grip strength. The tape was designed to support all athletes. It stabilizes ankles, keeps your hands safe and ensures the risk of injury is put under control. Basically, it supports the joins of the hands by limiting their motions.

10. Sports bra

This is highly recommended for female athletes, since in CrossFit there is a lot of running, squatting, jumping, change of pace and direction, and an athlete must feel comfortable and dry. Constant strain on a breast tissue due to vigorous movement can cause very unpleasant soreness. There are a lot of styles and brands and are not too expensive.

On top of those, items every athlete should keep these in their bag:

Chalk– a white powder that makes you look and feel cool while executing a big clean exercise. The chalk will keep your hands stay dry, which can be useful in maintaining grip strength at very last reps;

Jump rope– since its used by a variety of athletes, every gym probably has a number of them, but there is a difference in material, length, etc... so it might be smart bringing your own to the gym if you are planning on burning your calves and lungs;

Protein powder– proteins are definitely essential for refueling yourself after an intense workout so you can spare your body while in catabolism phase;

Water– Water is vital during an exercise, so you can continuously keep cooling yourself because it’s the one thing after oxygen you need the most;

Lacrosse ball or Mobility WOD SuperNova 2.0 - Developed by world-class physical therapists, this ball allows you to hit those big muscle knots and put more pressure on them than a traditional foam roller can (massage). Its unique surface pattern is designed to help shear the muscle spasm quicker;

Assistance rubber bands – can be used in different ways, when you are learning a new technique to act as resistance when you are rehabbing from injury, or when you are stretching, so it’s definitely recommended to have a piece in your training bag.

Those of you who keep an eye on CrossFit games may have noticed that competitors use different gear and have a different style of clothing. Before the competition, all of them get the same set of gear, but they are free to choose what they need from the collection. Depending on their preferences and individual characteristics they build up their own suit. The rules are simple: “You get to choose anything from the pile of equipment we gave you, and bear in mind that your competition number have to be visible on at least one piece of equipment.

I think most people who follow and support me realize that I’m not a guy who minds too much how his equipment looks like," says the Pat Vellner, a CrossFit legend. "I’m not spending too much time picking out my outfits."

"But, when it comes to choosing the gear for the Games, I'm a bit pickier. Seeing my name and on the shirts, amps me up. That’s why all the sleepless nights and exhausting training sessions."

For the second year in a row, shirts are made of Activchill fabric. It’s a unique fabric that speeds up the sweat evaporation from the body surface (that way improving the cooling of the body and preventing a heat stroke). The events are usually organized during the summer heat, so cooling is quite an important issue among athletes.

The sports bra selection improves every year. Except for skinny strap bras, ladies also got to choose between a variety of colors of a strappy high neck bra (it looks good and more to the point, protects the neck against bruises) and various colors of the Micro Bra.

When it comes to convenience, ladies find the Micro Bra as an absolute best.

Since pro athletes are choosing their own gear to feel good, so should you!

So, these would be the things to consider getting when jumping into the world of CrossFit.

Since there are so many CrossFit workouts, you don’t necessarily need every piece of equipment there is for every training session. However, the more gear you have, the easier it is to get a full-body workout. So planning out a session, or knowing your Workout Of the Day (which hardly ever happens) might help in deciding what to bring to the gym. But needless to say, every workout is a story of its own, so having a big training bag where you can fit everything in, might be the best idea.

If you are a beginner, you don’t need to have all this gear instantly. Start training first, and then while training, you will realize what extra piece of equipment you need and what fits best for you. If you are having trouble deciding, ask your coach, or other advanced athletes for advice.

Good luck and happy lifting!

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