I get asked all the time what pieces of equipment a new CrossFitter should have, so I figured it would be a good idea to list my top pieces of gear. These are in order of importance, starting at the top. In my opinion anyways 🙂
Time to upgrade your footwear! Most people start CrossFit with some sort of Nike or Asics running shoe, thinking it is good for any kind of workout. Unfortunately running shoes have wavy soles – they put extra padding to protect the knees. The wavy soles actually make it very difficult to stabilize our bodies for a lot of the movements we do in CrossFit. Instead, what we want, is a flat footed shoe, which we call zero drop shoes. No cushion, no wavy soles, all we want is a flat, stable surface for our feet to stabilize in. Once you get a CrossFit shoe, you’ll find things like your squats, lunges, KB swings, etc all improve a lot. The best CrossFit shoes on the market are currently Reebok Nanos and Nike Metcons.
Personal Jump Rope
Are those darn double unders still an elusive mystery to you? Maybe your issue is that the ropes that the gym supplies aren’t a good length for you. The main benefit of a personal rope is that you can customize the length to match your body perfectly. Plus, when you have your own, you’ll develop much more confidence with it and you won’t have to worry about the gym running out of ropes during big classes. The two top jump ropes on the market right now are the RPM speed rope and the RX Smart Rope. These things are fast and furious.
Sick of your hands tearing up after you finish a gymnastics heavy workout? Gymnastics grips to the rescue! These things actually accomplish two things – 1st, they’ll protect your hands. You’re tearing will be reduced drastically just from the extra protection they offer. 2nd, they’ll improve your grip strength because of the extra material between your hands and the pull-up bar. The best grips around are Bear Komplex grips, in either leather or carbon fiber. I prefer the three hole grips because it offers more coverage on my big ole mits. If you have smaller hands, two hole grips are probably fine.
There are a few different kinds of knee sleeves to understand, and they are different based on function. There are thin (3mm), medium (5mm), or thick (7mm) knee sleeves. Thin knee sleeves are good if you are doing a lot of cardio, like running, rowing or box jumps. They are intended to keep your knees warm, but don’t offer much support. The thick sleeves, on the other hand, are the other way around. They offer a ton of support for heavy lifting, but aren’t good for moving at all. They’ll slow you down for things like box jumps and burpees. My favorite is right in the middle, the 5mm sleeves. They offer support for when you are lifting, but are light enough that you’ll still be able to move efficiently in them. The best company for knee sleeves is Rehband.
Do you get achy wrists during overhead movements? Wrist wraps to the rescue! These guys will save your life with the support they offer your wrists. You can get Velcro or tie versions, either work perfectly fine. Velcro is quicker and easier but the tie versions are adjustable during workouts and usually look a lot cooler.
Foam Rollers and lacrosse balls should be a staple in any CrossFitter’s gym bag. Whether you are on the road or need to hit a quick roll-out before you go to bed, you should all have the ability to grab some sort of mobility tool at a moment’s notice.
Bonus – Blender Bottle
While I’m not the highest on supplements, I still think it’s a good idea for everyone to have their own water bottle. Drink a few bottles full of water each day and you should be sufficiently hydrated. If you have supplements or protein to add, well now you have a convenient bottle for that.