What’s in Your Gym Bag?

Just like any other sport, CrossFit comes with its own list of equipment that is commonly seen in members’ gym bags. Whether you’re new to CrossFit or you’ve been in the game for a while, it can sometimes be difficult to decide which “accessories” you should spend your money on. Here is a list of essential (and non-essential) items you should carry in your gym bag. 

Gym Bag Essentials

  1. Workout shoes – The CrossFit shoe industry has exploded since the sport has gained popularity from the CrossFit Games. Now, major brands like Nike, Reebok, Nobull, and Inov8 all boast an impressive collection of workout shoes specific to CrossFit, such as the everyday wod shoe, running shoes, and weightlifting shoes. Oftentimes, with all of these choices, deciding which shoe is the best fit can be overwhelming. As a general rule, you want to invest in a shoe that is relatively light and has a flat bottom. 
  2. Jump rope – The importance of having your own personal jump rope cannot be emphasized enough. Oftentimes, CrossFit boxes will have a stash of jump ropes on hand that you can use, but it can be difficult to find one that is sized appropriately, and if you’ve been in the jumping game at all, you know just how important it is to have a rope that fits your personal dimensions.  If you are just starting out, it is best to get a jump rope that has a thicker rope and is more on the heavier side. This will make it easier to learn how to do double-unders. As your jump roping skills advance, start looking for rope that has a thinner rope and lighter handle, such as a Rogue speed rope or an RPM rope.
  3. Gymnastics Grips – We CrossFitters love to brag about our numerous calluses and bloody hands. But even though these wounds attest to our hard work and no quit mentality, they can often result in missed days and modified workouts because our hands are too raw to touch, let alone grip a barbell or pull-up rig. One way to prevent these annoying “injuries” is to wear hand protection (aka gymnastics grips) during your workouts. Here is a short list of the most popular brands used by CrossFitters: BearCompleX, Victory Grips, Wodfitters, and Jerkfit Wodies. This is not an all-inclusive list by any means, but it’s at least enough to get you started. 

Gym Bag Non-Essentials

  1. Wrist straps – Certain movements (such as the overhead squat, any shoulder to overhead movement, and the front rack position) can often put extra strain on one’s wrists. To combat this, athletes wear wrist straps to provide extra support and reduce pain. 
  2. Weightlifting Shoes – These are predominantly used for squatting and the olympic lifts. Weightlifting shoes differ from regular workout shoes in several different ways: they are generally heavier than your average workout shoe; they have a flat sole; they usually have midfoot straps for a secure fit; and they have a raised heel made out of a hard, non-compressible material. Why wear weightlifting shoes? The raised heel reduces the amount of dorsiflexion that your ankle needs to reach the bottom of a squat. Furthermore, the shoe’s weight, density, and flatness increases stability which makes you feel more locked in and cemented to the ground.
  3. Knee Sleeves – You have probably seen athletes around your gym wearing neon-colored knee sleeves and you might think to yourself, ‘Do I need some of those?’ Knee sleeves do not fix knee pain, tendonitis, bad movement, etc., so if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms then you need to consider a more permanent method of fixing them. However, knee sleeves do provide warmth and compression which can help reduce knee discomfort. One of the most popular brands for knee sleeves is Rehband.