CrossFit Gear 101
CrossFitters love their gear, and for a good reason! Certain gear can not only help with movement but potentially increase performance. Personally I try to limit the amount of gear that I use, simply because I don’t want to always rely on it to get me through a WOD. That being said I still think that there are plenty of benefits to using various pieces of equipment. This blog will go over what I think is essential for CrossFit, and in part 2 of the series I will go over other types and why they can help.
1) Lifting Belt: This is a staple for most athletes and I’m all about “belting up”. The belt can be very useful when going heavy during lifts as it helps to stabilize the core and can provide physical safety as well as mental benefits. Personally I try to avoid the belt until I start reaching weights that are over 200lbs (this will be different for everyone), that weight usually clocks in at a 7/10 on the difficulty scale for me. There are other situations that make me belt up though: high volume Deadlifts, fast Clean and Jerks, complexes, etc. My rule is that if I think the belt will help me feel “safer” when lifting then I put it on.
2) Jump Rope: Yes we have gym ropes, and they are top of the line, but having your own rope can help in a number of ways. Everyone has a preference, and there are so many options out there for cable/handle weight, style of handle, etc. Each of those can have a positive effect on your performance. Having a rope that’s all your own will help you feel more consistent and comfortable when WODing, plus you can fit it to your height and continue to make any adjustments that are needed. This is one of the few things I recommend new members get when starting CrossFit. I personally use the “RPM Speed Rope 4.0”, it has lightweight handles and a basic steel cable.
3) Grips: If you are not a fan of rough calloused hands, then I suggest getting a set of these. They not only prevent rips and calluses, but they can help you hang onto the bar when doing gymnastic movements. They are usually made to be taken on/off pretty easily and can definitely save your hands in the long run. Or you can do what I did and avoid them until your hands become grips of their own :) . I know that Rob Olson uses the Bear Complex brand, and he uses the fancy “Rich Froning Edition'' (it’s made with carbon fiber) and he is a fan of them.
So that is my top 3 for equipment. Since CrossFit has exploded over the past 10 years, the number of companies that produce these pieces of gear has grown with it. I recommend going to roguefitness.com and browsing through the site (they have a whole CrossFit section). Rogue carries all the gear and treats, and always carries high-quality gear.