Since starting CrossFit, I’ve managed to acquired a bunch of new swag. My gym bag is full of some gear that I definitely could not do without – and I want to share some of it with you!
Because CrossFit is made up of so many different movements and skills, it’s important to make sure that your body is taken care of – especially when a workout includes a high rep scheme or heavy lifts.
I was hesitant at first to just go out and buy gear, primarily because I hate buying things just to be a cool kid. I want to know that if I’m buying gear, it’s because I know it’s something I need, that will protect me in some way, or support my performance. For example: I have yet to buy olympic lifting shoes. These shoes are specially designed to assist ankle mobility and help athletes lift heavier weights by allowing their bodies to get into optimal position. Knowing that my ankle mobility is pretty good and that I’m still very much learning and improving in my olympic lifts, I don’t feel like it’s necessary that I drop $200-$300 on shoes just to look good.
After a few weeks, though, I did some evaluating and determined that there was one thing I could definitely use: grips. The volume of pull-ups, toes to bar, hollow holds, and other bar work that we do results in some gnarly calluses and puts me at risk of ripping my hands. Anyone who has done gymnastics knows just how AWFUL hand rips can be. They are the literal worst. Clay and I did a lot of research (the CrossFit market is flooded with products… not all of which legit), and found Victory Grips. These are designed by a former gymnast, are durable, provide great hand coverage, and are really easy to break in. Since using them, my hands haven’t ripped once. I started out with their leather grips, which I liked, but didn’t do well with the bars in our gym, and have since switched to the stealth grips (pictured), which are synthetic. I love them.
For Christmas, Clay filled out the rest of my gym bag needs. He hooked me up with a weight belt – something I’ve wanted for a while, but like Oly shoes, I didn’t want to use it as a crutch for bad weightlifting form. Belts provide more core stability when lifting heavy loads – but if you don’t take the time to learn how to brace your abdominals and low back properly, even a belt isn’t going to help you. I use mine when lifting heavy or when the volume of a workout is pretty high and I’ve found that it’s helped make me even more aware of keeping my midline tight and consciously working to protect my back.
While I wish I looked as badass Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, I do have those knee sleeves she’s wearing, so that’s close enough for now. Clay also grabbed me these Rehband knee sleeves for Christmas and I’m really glad he did. Now, I’ve never had knee problems, thankfully, but in the past year or so I’ve noticed that my knees crack and pop a lot more than they used to. I also find that they get sore a lot easier – which is probably the result of me becoming decrepit. These sleeves are made of some sturdy neoprene offer compression and support when I’m lifting heavy. We found new 1 rep maxes last week for our squat cleans and hang snatches… I was definitely glad I had my sleeves on when I pulled 205 from the floor and caught it in a front squat!
I generally try to be judicious about what gear I buy – I want to make sure that the equipment I’m spending money on is going to help me improve as an athlete and ensure that my body is protected and can stay in the game for the long haul. Each of these items has so far proven to do just that.