By: Gary Ostroski CFL3
If you have done CrossFit for a while you know that we love our gear. We have things for our back, things for our wrists, things for our knees and more shoe needs than the people on MTV Cribs. But figuring out what we actually need and why we need it is left in the dark for most. We just buy things to fit in or because our friend told us it helps them. Well, guess no more. Here is your gear guide.
CrossFit/cross training shoes: These should be your go-to shoes. They are good at everything but not designed for one thing. The benefit is that they are good to lift in and you can also run and jump in them as well. Whereas, running shoes have soft bottoms and aren’t great to lift in. The two major CrossFit shoes are the Nano by Reebok and the Metcon by Nike. The benefit of these over say an Under Armour Cross Trainer is they have a rope guard. So, when you climb the rope you won’t mess your shoes up. There are deals all of the time on shoes. You shouldn’t pay over $100 for these. The Nike 5 just came out so the 4 should be pretty cheap.
Running Shoes: It is good to have a pair of shoes designed for running. The training shoes will get you through about 90% of workouts. However, I have found that anything over about 3 miles and I start to experience some soreness. Anytime I do a running only or mostly running workout I wear Nike Pegasus. These are my preferred running shoe but there are a ton of affordable options for running shoes.
Lifting Shoes: When you start to lift heavier it helps to have a pair of lifting shoes. The hard sole and heal to tow drop (tall heal) offer a solid lifting platform that helps with ankle and hip mobility. There are also tons of options here. Unless you are trying to be a lifting specialist then grabbing a pair of Reeboks will do the trick. You can get these for around $100 versus getting the Nikes for $200. The lifting shoes last for years since they don’t get too beat up like a running shoe would.
The knee sleeve isn’t for everyone. This is a neoprene wrap for around the knee. The main benefits that I find are: 1) keeps the knee warm. Temperature, yes. But I am speaking more to warmed up and ready. 2) Adds stability about the joint. 3) Gives a little bounce out of the bottom… Get these if you feel like you want a little more help with keeping your knees safe. They run about $40/sleeve.
A lifting belt is a great tool to have. The key is knowing how and when to use one. The belt acts as a wall for you to push into when you expand your diaphragm. This is helpful at keeping your core locked in place so you don’t round your back and/or pitch forward on say a squat. A belt should be used sparingly. I say on lifts 85-90% and above. Using it all the time takes away gains that you would make in developing core strength. I liek to get the velcro belt because you can take it off easily if you need to during a metcon. They are also cheaper. The cost is about $40 for a velcro belt up to $100 for a leather belt.
Some like them and others hate them. I personally only use hand protection on Murph and if I have a tear. If you like grips then go with gymnastics grips. Stay away from gloves. Gymnastics grips provide the most flexibility from one movement to the next. If you are doing pull ups then running you can pull them off of your fingers easily and put them back on when you are back on the bar. Also, I have found that gloves can still rub the hand raw underneath. You can grips for as low as $20.
I personally find these limiting but I also have pretty good mobility through my wrists and shoulders allowing me to getinto good rack and overhead positions. If you have wrist pain then your wrap will help keep you from over extending the wrist to a point where you develop some tendinitis. As with most things this comes down to comfort. Are you ok without them? If yes, then don’t bother. If you have some pain then they are worth a try. They are about $30.
This one might seem silly but shorts in the summer can be a crucial decision. We sweat a lot in the summer so I always go with board shorts or some material that will not carry excess water. They also aren’t baggy so they don’t get in the way. Stay away from jorts! I get Rouge board shorts for $45.
Yes. Socks. If you are following our advice then you are keeping the bar in close to your body. You might scrape your shins from time to time. Getting some crew length socks will help. Also, you can’t climb the rope without long socks covering your legs.
Jump Rope – having one set to your size will help ensure you are using the same length and the perfect length for you each time. A good bearing rope should run about $40
Tape – we don’t carry tape at the gym so if you want to wrap an area on your hand that needs a break then have some tape in your bag. Getting some good tape like Goat Tape is worth the investment if you find the cheaper stuff balling up easily.
Foam Roller – we have plenty at the gym but some people like to roll out at home. You can get a pretty good one on Amazon for $25.
There is always more gear but I hope this provides some insight into some of the items we see most frequently.