CrossFit Gear Part 2!
In the last equipment blog, I wrote about the 3 types of equipment that I thought were 100% necessary for CrossFitters. This blog will focus more on some of the other kinds that can be helpful and how/when to use them! Keep in mind that just because someone else isn’t using that particular type of equipment, doesn’t mean it can’t help or benefit you! Everyone is built different and certain gear can help you personally!
1) Lifters: These are a special type of shoe that you will see many people using at the gym. It has many uses such as improving ankle mobility, providing stability and just looking cool! Most of the time you will want to use these when doing squats and Olympic lifts. You are more than allowed to use them during Metcons, but beware that these aren’t the easiest shoes to maneuver around in. If you know that the WOD has running, jump rope or other moves that require flexion in the foot, I would recommend staying away from them. Deadlifts are also another movement that you should avoid wearing lifters for, as the lifters can pitch you forward and make it harder to apply force into the ground using your hamstrings.
2) Wrist Wraps: I’ve actually come to enjoy wearing some form of wrist wrap when doing anything overhead: Presses, Overhead Squats, etc. They help provide stability in the wrist and if you have nagging pain when doing these movements they can help keep your wrist from overextending into an uncomfortable position. I’ll usually put them on when I know I’m going to be putting a heavier weight overhead. Like much of this equipment, there are a ton of different brands out there. Some even combine the wraps with the hand grips!
3) Knee Sleeves: If you do enough research on knee sleeves, you’ll know that they don’t do much in the way of stability. They do however help with warming up the knees by increasing blood flow, which can be difficult to do when its colder outside. They won’t STOP injuries from occurring though! You should of course still focus on form even when wearing them. The majority of people will wear these when squats are involved with the WOD, but they can realistically be used for most movements: running, jumping, etc. I’ll usually use them with heavy squats or a complex squat (pistols, OHS, etc.), I’ll also throw them on for box jumps to help get the knees warm and ready for impact training.
4) Heart Rate monitors: There are so many of these out there now (WHOOP, MyZone, etc.) and they can be really useful IF you pay attention to them! They provide valuable feedback both during and after the WOD. Being able to tell if you are being too aggressive at the beginning of a long WOD can be crucial to maintaining intensity and knowing how fast your heart rate returns to your resting heart rate is a great indicator of fitness. These are not totally necessary in my opinion though, most of the time determine your effort based on how you feel during a WOD. If you are the type of person that likes data and analyzing trends, I recommend you check them out!
5) Chalk: I suppose this should be higher up based on how often it is used in CrossFit gyms. Chalk is a great tool to prevent slipping on the Pullup bars and helping to grip barbells. If you feel like your hands are getting sweaty and it is hurting your ability to perform movements, then it is time to chalk up! Don’t fall for the shenanigans though! It is all too easy to chalk up after just a few reps or in between every movement, that can slow down transition time and therefore intensity. You don’t have to use it as often as you think, trust me I’ve tested it :)
6) Bonus: WOD Wax: This one is a recent item that has burst onto the scene. Before the workout, you apply some WOD Wax to your pullup bar and it gives it a bit sticky. This can be really helpful if you find that your grip slowly starts to fade when doing high volume gymnastics movements on a rig. I’ve used it a few times and can say that it definitely helps, but chalk works well too!