Gym Bag Essentials for Better WOD Performance

What gear do I need for CrossFit?

CrossFit athletes and avid exercisers tend to love themselves some gear. And why not? Sometimes you need the right tools to get the job done. Here’s a short list of gym bag essentials to keep you prepared for whatever is thrown at you.

Gymnast Grips

There are a ton of options out there to improve your ability to hold on to the pull-up bar (or barbell for that matter). CrossFitters use their grip often, and a high-rep pull-up or toes-to-bar workout can leave your hands feeling fried and torn up. Using some type of gymnastics grips will allow you to hold on for more reps and avoid getting those lovely skin tears. You know, the kind that make taking a shower a near-death experience.

Some popular grips can be found through Roguefitness.com or theNaturalGrip.com. There are plenty of other brands out there, so shop around and see what you like.

Speed Rope

Whether you like it or not, jump rope and double unders are a part of CrossFit programming. Might as well get a rope that excites you to use it! Having a quality rope can make a huge impact on your ability to nail those double or triple unders. Your rope won’t take up much space and you can have it with you wherever you go. Plus, using the stock ropes at your gym likely won’t be sized to your specific height and preference. Getting your own rope allows you to customize the fit.

If you don’t want to make a big commitment yet, get any starter rope through Amazon for $10 or less. Otherwise, we are fans of RPM ropes and RX Smart Gear.

Athletic Tape

This is the cheapest and easiest accessory, but is one that comes in handy in a pinch. Stop wandering around your box asking everyone for tape and get a roll of your own! Use it to wrap up a cut, protect your thumbs for the oly lifts or whatever else you need. Go with the sticky, fabric type rather than the shiny tape. If you are using this to secure your hook grip, the self-adhesive pre-wrap tape is even better.

You can grab this at any local drug store.

Hip Circle

This is a specific product from Sling Shot by Mark Bell. Whether you know it or not, most CrossFitters and people in general have trouble activating and using their hips/glutes. Doing banded walks as part of your daily warm-up will help you feel these muscles firing. The result is less stress on the low back and better performance. This is helpful especially if you find that your knees tend to cave in on squats and deadlifts. Train the hips and glutes. Get a hip circle!

Lifting Belt

A lifting belt can be a really useful tool when that 1RM or 3RM lifting day comes up. I don’t allow our athletes to use a belt outside of that type of use, but when you need it you need it! A belt doesn’t have to be fancy to work. You just need to know how to properly use it. A simple velcro style belt will give you enough support for just about anything. For a more secure fit, you can go for the clasp belt.

High Socks

Keep a pair of high socks in your bag because you may get blindsided with some rope climbs. I think most of us have been in that situation and ended up with a nice little rope burn on the ankle. Be prepared! If you are in a pinch, use a spare knee sleeve instead. Which brings us to the last piece of gear!

Knee Sleeves

Having a nice pair of knee sleeves or compression sleeves can be helpful, much like your lifting belt. I wouldn’t use them all the time. However, they can be good if you have a history of knee issues and want a little extra support for a heavy or high volume squat workout. Knee sleeves shouldn’t be a crutch for a lack of strength or stability in the knee joint, but rather a way to keep the joint warm and supported in times of need. They can really come in handy for a lunge workout to give some cushion between your knee and the floor.

Some popular sleeves with different options for thickness include Rehband, Exo Sleeve, and HookGrip.

Those are the gym bag staples that will help you be prepared to perform better day-to-day. There are plenty of other accessories on the market, but I’ve found these to be the tried and true pieces of gear. We tend to get carried away with different products. However, try to keep in mind that you want your body and joints to be capable of doing what they SHOULD rather than trying to hold yourself together with all kinds of wraps and gimmicks. Now, go gear up with the good stuff!