Whether you have been doing CrossFit for years or you just started, it is always good to review your equipment. When I joined CrossFit Conquest, I showed up with a bottle of water in hand and running sneakers on my feet. It was all I thought I needed. That is, until I hit the pull up rig. My fresh, baby soft hands were quite angry and screaming for protection! So, I made my first CrossFit gear purchase of gymnastic grips. It was the first of many purchases as I progressed on my fitness journey. Today, I have amassed quite the collection of items. It has been a process of trial and error to find what works best for me. I've compiled a top ten list of items that are pretty common in a CrossFitter's bag.
1. SHOES: A good pair of running/athletic sneakers are a must. Your feet need to be properly supported for all that we do: running, jumping, rowing, etc. You will see a variety of sneakers at the gym. It is personal preference to the brand and style you want to wear. You want something comfortable with some stability and some flexibility. Nano's are one of the most popular shoe in CrossFit. They are great all around and provide stability for lifting, but not wonderful for long distance running. The key is to try on a few different brands and find what works best for you.
2. HAND PROTECTION: Let me set the record straight, ripping your hands open is NOT COOL! Does it happen? Yes. Can you do things to minimize the possibility? Yes. It hurts to rip. Especially when it rips underneath a callous. There are tons of options for hand protection: gymnastic grips, natural grips, gloves, tape, woddies, etc. Chances are you will try several different types before you find the best that works for you. Your hands will thank you!
3. WRIST WRAPS: Wrist wraps give support to the wrist joint. They are helpful to keep your wrists strong and stable. There are different kinds of wraps available: thicker strength wraps and fabric wraps. Each kind has its own merits. The thicker are useful for heavy lifts. The soft are good for all around activities. If you are feeling pain in your wrists in the front rack position, snatches, overhead movements, or handstands, grab a pair of wrist wraps. They are even helpful in keeping sweat from running into your hands during wods.
4. TAPE: Tape is necessary!!! It can protect your hands and wrists. It can hold your grips down. It can keep your thumbs from rubbing raw during Olympic lifts. You will need tape more than your know. Try all different kinds, but basic athletic tape is fine. Go buy tape! Tape, tape, tape!!!!
5. JUMP ROPE: Buy your own jump rope. We suggest a speed cable rope. It should be light and fast. One of the keys to success in getting double unders is having a rope that fits you. They are sized according to your height. We can assist you in sizing it. Having your own rope means you will never have to scramble to find one that measures to your height from the rack of gym ropes.
6. WEIGHT BELTS: Weight belts are an excellent tool for keeping your back and core tight during weightlifting. Olympic weightlifting belts are made of a softer, more flexible material. They allow athletes to have more movement while maintaining the necessary support. Power lifting belts are thicker and sturdier. They provide stronger support for heavier lifts.
7. OLYMPIC WEIGHT LIFTING SHOES: At some point, you may explore the option of Olympic weight lifting shoes. These provide stability during your lifts. They are made specifically for Olympic lifts and weight lifting. They are slightly lifted in the heel to give you better posture to perform the lifts, ie. squats, cleans, presses, snatches, thrusters, and any variation of them. You will see most people wearing them during Strength training. Side note: It is not advised to wear them during dead lifts. You want a flat shoe to perform the movement. Converse are a great shoe for dead lifts, and for weight lifting. Nanos also work well for met-cons with lifting, and provide adequate support. Oly shoes are not often worn for traditional met-cons. It depends on the WOD.
8. KNEE SLEEVES: These can be a wonderful tool for those who have knee issues. They can help keep your knees tracking correctly. They can provide support on heavy lifts, protect knees during lunges, and help warm your knee joints quickly. They are a personal preference. They come in two different thicknesses: 5mm and 7mm sleeves.
9. MOBILITY TOOLS: If you are going to work hard, make sure you take care of your body properly. Mobility and mobility tools help flexibility, soreness, and stretching of muscles, along with improving performance, assisting recovery, and minimizing injury. Foam rollers, lacrosse balls, VooDoo floss band, softball/MobilityWOD Supernova, therabands, monster bands, etc., are all part of my daily routine to keep my body feeling its best. There are many different tools available. The tools help smash, floss, stretch, and strengthen your muscles. There is a great app available called MobilizeMe. Another great resource is a book called Becoming A Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance by Dr. Kelly Starrett with Glen Cordoza. Also, check out the Mobility Wod website.
10. WOD LOG: A WOD log is an important tool to keep track of your all your strength numbers and your WODs. It can be a physical book or an app on a phone. You are responsible for keeping track of your numbers. The coaches are not able to keep track of every single member's numbers, so if you ask them, they will tell you to check your log book. Logging strength numbers is very important because we utilize percentages of our max weights. When writing down the WOD information, you will want to note what weight you used, and your score. This is especially important when we do a Benchmark WOD. These numbers and scores will show your progress and keep you on track to success!
There are many more things that can be found in a typical CrossFitter's gym bag, from protein to towels to deodorant. It is a personal preference as to what is most important to each individual member. You can always ask a coach, or other members about the different tools used. A great source for all these items and more is Rogue Fitness. Rogue Fitness has a wide variety of options for all of these items.