As you walk into your first CrossFit class, a bit nervous, you check out the WOD to get yourself mentally prepared for whats to come in the next hour. Other members are walking in and you notice many of them are carrying gym bags full of goodies. Some check out the whiteboard before changing shoes and you start to worry…"Oh no, I'm not prepared!" "Do I need all this?" "No one told me!"
Dont panic! Most everyone can get through a class without these extra supplies. But just like any hobby or sport, there is an endless stream of equipment made for it, and usually there is someone telling you it is a MUST to have. A lot of the equipment you may consider investing in will really depend on your experience level with CF. So let's start with the basics.
1. A water bottle. Pretty simple. Of course, any bottle will do, but because you will be drinking water ALL day long (remember you started CF as part of your healthy lifestyle) it helps to have one you really like. Tons of options out there from old school Nalgene types, to Camelbak and Contigos. Find which one works best for you and start chugging!
2. Good shoes for CrossFitting. They need to be stable for lifting, which means they have a low heel drop that are not pitching forward to your toes when you're trying to squat/snatch/jerk/deadlift/etc., and without extra cushion on the bottom. The reason for this is so you are able to apply maximum force to the ground. Being able to feel the ground while squatting is crucial, but a little cushion is ok so they are comfortable when you are running or jumping. Last, you want them lightweight. No one enjoys burpees or box jumps in a shoe that feels like a brick. Power lifters have specific shoe needs, as do runners. However, CrossFit involves a little of everything and therefore needs a versatile shoe. And surprise!! There is a shoe specifically made for CrossFit, the Reebok CrossFit Nano. I have tried plenty of shoes in the years I have been CrossFitting, and these are definitely my favorite. Other brands that are worn often are INOV8 and New Balance. If you are unsure of which shoes work best for you, I suggest trying on different brands to see what feels the most comfortable and supportive.
After you have been doing CrossFit for a few months (in your new shoes) and you are starting to build some skills and strength, perhaps you would benefit from a few more accessories.
3. Jump rope. As you start to master double unders, it can be frustrating to use a different length rope every class. It can be very helpful to have your own, one you can customize to the exact length you like, and use it every time you practice. Choose something simple and inexpensive to start. You may not be sure of the type/length of handle you prefer, or the cable weight and length. Wait until you are proficient at double unders and have tried out several different types of ropes before you commit to a more expensive one.
4. Athletic tape. As an intermediate CrossFitter, you may have acquired your kipping pull ups and/or toes to bar and it is taking a toll on your hands. While some may choose to wear gloves (we will discuss later the case against gloves) tape is usually a better option. It allows you to feel the bar the best, provide some protection, and because it doesn't add a thick layer, you're not taxing your grip the same way you would with gloves. If you are not sure how to use tape to protect your hands, there are a ton of videos on YouTube to help you out.
This list should help get you started on your way to the CrossFit Games…of course there is a ALOT more we can be adding to our gym bags, and I will be covering more on my next blog. Stay tuned!