Want to build your CrossFit Tool Box?
These useful items help you with some common issues in the gym and beyond- some to help you gain an advantage, some to avoid pitfalls, and some that are just nice to have. I’ll be listing options as “Good”, “Better”, and “Best” as it depends on your preference and budget.
The following are links to products we recommend, some are affiliate links which add no extra cost to you.
We use our hands to address nearly all of the equipment in the gym, from the pullup bars to gymnastics rings, barbells to odd objects, dumbbells & kettlebells, and more. Make sure you have hand protection to avoid more frequent hand care and maintenance. I keep two pairs depending on how serious I’m taking the workout… one for training and one as a backup in case the first pair fails (as the fabric will weaken over time/volume)
Good: Element 26 Iso Grips
Best: Victory Grips 3-Finger. These have become my favorite brand of grips due to their robust designs and selection of durable materials. Like other grip companies they come in a plethora of cuts, but I’d always suggest a grip that give you a good amount of coverage. For most people a three-hole design would do well, and you don’t have to utilize the holes either (it’s a nice option to have). Four-hole designs seem to almost have too much material in the way if you don’t have it properly sized.
Sometimes you need a bit of extra support when your technique or tissues aren’t up for the job. In the gym we’re constantly bearing weight on these joints whether it’s a barbell in a rack position, supporting our bodies on the ground, or taking a bell to an overhead position. In an ideal world your flexibility and stamina would be able to bear the loading, but until then you may need these in your bag.
Good: Wrist Wraps – These are the most basic in design and do the job when you need them. Basically you have a long piece of fabric that wraps around the wrist. You simply twist to tighten to your preference.
Better: RockTape Wrist Wraps – This is an intelligent melding of the two most popular types of entry-level wrist wraps. The twist-to-tighten fabric wraps and the stretch-and-tack wraps.
Best: Richmond Weightlifting Wrist Wraps – These leather wraps feature a unique design that feel like the sturdiest wraps I’ve ever used and it gives me a boost of confidence in my heaviest lifts on my not-so-great days.
Learning how to brace your truck to protect your spine are some of the first things we teach our athletes (plank, anyone?). At some point in your CrossFit career you’ll have to develop better bracing habits and a weightlifting belt can help you setup for lifts more consistently. There are only two options on this list. Maybe you’re just paying for the brand as I haven’t had the chance to test the E26 belt, but 2Pood has been around the CrossFit realm for a very long time and are now a sponsor of USA Weightlifting.
Good/Better: Element 26 Self-Locking Weightlifting Belt – This is basically a replica of the 2Pood straight belt, but it came after and the Element26 equipment just doesn’t seem as high-quality (it’s the Titan Fitness to 2Pood’s Rogue Fitness, if you will). Solid enough for most athletes it’ll get the job done when you want to take your weightlifting to the next level.
Best: 2Pood Straight Belt – This is the industry standard now. Those old-school belts with weird shapes aren’t any better because people just don’t know how to use them properly. The velcro on this is probably the best on the market, but with use and time it’ll fade and you’ll have to re-up (though I’ve had mine for about 4 years and it still works like a charm)
I’m only going to talk about one particular (dare I say) magical piece of equipment that fits into any bag. My choice comes with two so you can have one that travels with you, and one you can keep at home.
Good/Better/Best: There’s only one choice and that’s the Floss Band.
You can 1.) do shoulder prep, 2.) use it like a Crossover Symmetry for shoulder development, 3.) if you throw a loose knot in you can use it like a jump stretch band, 4.) you can floss your joints and tight muscles for better recovery, 5.) you can use it for squat prep and knee rehab. It’s a miracle tool!
ABS & HAMSTRINGS AT HOME
We say it all the time in the gym: most people have weak butts. Let’s get it stronger with some specialized targeting equipment.
Good: Hamstring Curl Strap. The easiest to setup and second smallest of the bunch.
Better: CAP Roman Chair, basically a baby GHD (Glute Ham Developer). I wouldn’t do volume situps on this (depending on body type), but this is solid for building a bulletproof back and booty.
Best: Booty Bands, to learn how to externally rotate your hip and get those glutes stronger! We use them for preparation, but have you ever done a full workout in these?
These aren’t necessary at all, but for those who want that extra challenge a weight vest or a ruck would be a great way to overload bodyweight movements to increase difficulty.
Good: Titan Fitness Adjustable Weight Vest. Cheapest but definitely not as comfortable as it could be though it’s modular enough to change how much is weighs. I don’t personally like these vests because of that- where do you store the extra weights when not in use? I also dread that part of it could fail and you could get hurt by a loose brick.
Better: Bear Komplex Weight Vest. It’s great supporting a brand that was born out of and has supported our culture for a long time. While not the most comfortable, it features some nice hardware for fastening and works well for most people.
Best: 5.11 Tactical TacTec Weight Vest. This was the first style of vest popularized for CrossFit competition at the CrossFit Games. It continues to be some of the best because it was designed for actual combat use, keeping mobility and usability in mind. Probably the most secure and most comfortable out of the bunch. I love mine and because it features tons of loop on it you can add all your favorite morale patches.
Stay tuned for Part 2 later this week!