Here are my top 10 product recommendations that can help you in the gym or help recovery at home! Keep in mind that not all of these are necessary or should be used at the same time, but you might just find one product that you’ve been searching for!
2. Shoes – No matter your brand loyalty, the main concept that makes a great shoe for CrossFit is a shoe that is flat with minimal padding. This helps your feet grip the ground when weightlifting and working through all the various movements in CrossFit. Having too much padding in the heel will make it feel as if you are wobbling and shifting from side to side when trying to move due to the lateral movements, which do not occur so much when running a straight path.
The shoes pictured above are the Reebok Nano 6.0’s and the Nike Metcon 2’s. Both are fantastic shoes for CrossFit and ultimately comes down to how your feet are made such as arch level and also, what type of walker/runner you are. Do you tend to run on your toes or do you heel strike first? After trying both of the shoes, I have found that the Metcon’s had a bit more arch support compared to the Nano’s, but I liked the Nano’s more when lifting due to the flatter nature of the shoes. Also, both shoes have extra components added specifically to help in CrossFit movements such as rope climbs or handstand push-ups.
3. Weightlifting Shoes – Some of the weightlifting shoe features that are different from other shoes are a hard, flat sole, an elevated heel, straps, and a snug fit around your foot. The best thing about the olympic shoe is that it increases your hip and ankle flexibility which help you get lower in a squat. The elevated heel is the game changer portion of the shoe. Have you even noticed how much easier it is to squat with a raised heel? You can get deeper, knees stay out, and your ankle flexibility is amazing. That is what the elevated heel does for your squat. People who have tight ankles and hips will see a huge improvement in their ability to squat while wearing Oly shoes. If you don’t believe it, put 5 lb plates underneath your heels, and you will notice the difference. There are many brands, styles, and designs of shoes to choose from, so now the process begins of finding the shoe that is most comfortable to you!
4. Hand Grips – Pull-ups, toes to bar, muscle-ups….the list goes on! With all of the movements that we are hanging on a bar, your hands are bound to go through the ringer! Tears to some are a badge of honor, but in reality, ripping your hands means that you’re either not taking care of them well or that you might have improper form while hanging on the bar. That is where hand grips come in! The two pictured below: Natural Grips & leather grips can be used to protect the hand to avoid rips/tears especially when learning all the bar movements and slowly accumulating volume. Do you have a job that you hands cannot be ripped such as a doctor or a massage therapist, then grips would be highly recommended from the beginning of training.
5. Wrist Wraps – Wraps are another great tool that can be used to alleviate pain in the wrist and or add some support to wrists. Below are two different types of wraps that serve the same purpose, but differ in stiffness and tightness. The black/red stripe Rogue wraps are made of thicker material are secured with velcro. The red with black Rogue logo are made of thinner cloth and are secured by wrapping tightly around the wrist and just tucking the string in. Something to keep in mind while using wrist wraps is that you don’t want to use them every time you step in the gym. Take time to warm up your wrists properly, stretch out your forearms, and progressively increase pressure on them to increase their tolerance of weight. There are many ways to properly progress being inverted, so be sure to ask your coach! Remember that movements might be uncomfortable at first, but they should not be painful.
6. Jump Rope – An individualized jump rope can be imperative to finally being successful with double unders! Pictured are two different types of ropes, the RPM jump rope and the RX Jump Rope. They have two different handle types, but both can be custom with different types of lengths and thicknesses of cables. There are many factors to keep in mind when choosing a jump rope:
7. Knee Sleeves – You’ve probably seen athletes sporting knees sleeves around the gym, whether it be one or two for both knees. Did you ever wonder if these things will increase performance or just make you look wickedly awesome? They actually do serve a purpose and can keep your knees feeling “snug as a bug in a rug!” If you do have any type of injury or ache, its a good idea to get that looked at and understood before just slapping a knee sleeve on to cover up the issue. A covered up injury will just rear its ugly head sooner or later. There are also 3 different types of fabrics, which provide 3 different types of supports:
Cloth sleeves: compression and some warmth.
Neoprene sleeves: warmth, injury prevention, and mild compression.
Knee wraps: Extreme compression, typically worn for performance.
Below are the Rehbands, which are neoprene and work well with CrossFit workouts. Be aware that when buying knee sleeves, they are sold by the single sleeve.
8. Rope Shin Guard – Climbing the rope is a huge feat! However, the rope burn that comes along with it isn’t the badge that everyone wants to wear on their shin. The shin guards shown below are thin and made of neoprene with just enough thickness to allow for sliding down the rope, but not getting burned. They also have stirrups on the bottom so that when working through rigorous WOD’s, they won’t slide up and down your shin.
9. Weightlifting Belt – In a nutshell, a lifting belt provides a wall for your abs to push against. The added force with limited space means increased anterior pressure for the spine, helping to stabilize it. This gives you a more rigid torso with better transmission of force from the hips to the bar, plus a more stable foundation for overhead lifts. The width in the back of the belt has absolutely nothing to do with a belt’s function, as many people think. Ideally, a belt between three-and-four-inches wide, all the way around, is sufficient. If it’s much smaller than that, it won’t provide much support. If it’s much larger than that, it may not fit well between your ribs and hips.
There are many different types of belts with many different types of closures, but I have found a belt with a velcro closure works well in CrossFit because you are able to tighten and loosen quickly in workouts that contain many different types of movements.
10. Tape – A good tape can save your hands and thumbs more than you know! The proper stickiness and fabric will help the tape stay in place while you’re WODing to your hearts content! Goat tape is an awesome product that can keep hands protected and also help keep that hook grip in place! The tape is made from soft non-stretch cotton and features high tensile strength, in addition to signature Malaysian-grade adhesive. It is really easy to use and rips lengthwise and width-wise, making application straightforward and hassle-free. Always have a roll in your bag!
What are your favorite products that help in the gym or with recovery? Let us know!