Gear for Beginning CrossFitters
So you've just finished your last day of OnRamp, and you're ready to go full on into CrossFit classes! Let the fun begin! On your first day of class, maybe a bit nervous, you walk over to the Garage to check out the WOD and get yourself mentally prepared for what you're about to embark on, and as other folks for your class start walking in, you notice that many of them are carrying gym bags full of goodies. Some stare at the board for a few seconds before changing shoes, others take out long strips of fabric, tape, or jump ropes. "What is all that stuff in there?", you think. "Am I supposed to have this stuff? No one told me I needed so much STUFF to do CrossFit...."
Just like any activity or sport, there is an endless stream of equipment made for it that someone will tell you that you absolutely MUST HAVE if you want to ________ (do more pull ups, squat heavier, keep your hands safe, etc.). We've posted recently about what you DON'T NEED (gloves when performing olympic lifts), but what types of equipment DO you need? That answer is usually related to your experience level more than anything else. So let's start with the newbie CrossFitter: what gear should you consider?
1) A water bottle. Yes, of course you can use a regular plastic water bottle. However, drinking water is not just an "at the gym" thing. You joined CrossFit because you're interested in developing a healthy lifestyle, right? A HUGE part of that is drinking enough water throughout the day (half your body weight in ounces, to be exact). It turns out that many of us are more likely to drink water if we have a water bottle that we love using! Think about it: if you're going to drink water throughout the day, this bottle has to be something that you carry with you constantly - so you better like it! Whether it's the old school Nalgene type, the Contigos that are everywhere now, some other fancy brand, or freebie that you have lying around the house, you need a water bottle with you at all times. Period.
2) Good shoes. What are good CrossFit shoes? Good CrossFit shoes:
- Are stable for lifting. The best lifting shoes have a low heel drop so that you're not pitching forward to your toes when you're trying to squat/deadlift/push press/etc., and that aren't super squishy (think very cushioned heel running shoes) on the bottom. The reason we want firm and not squishy is so that you are able to apply maximum force to the ground. Being able to feel the ground when you're squatting is crucial. Don't believe me? Next time you're in the gym doing some heavy squatting, try it without your shoes on.
- Are comfortable and have SOME cushion for spiriting and jumping. Not too much, or we lose that benefits that we were just talking about in the previous point. Most of us find that jumping and spiriting in Converse, which have ZERO cushion, are a bit uncomfortable.
- Are lightweight. No one wants to do a burpee or a box jump in a shoe that feels like a brick on your foot!
A power lifter has specific shoe needs. A runner places particular demands on his/her shoes. However, a CrossFitter does a little bit of everything, and therefore needs a very versatile shoe. The best one we've found is (no surprise) specifically made for CrossFitters: the Reebok CrossFit Nano. It's durable, light, stable, provides lateral support, and has just enough cushion. You can find them at any of the Reebok outlet stores, at Academy, Luke's Locker, or online.
Inno-V8 and New Balance are other brands with shoes that CrossFitters often wear. If you're unsure what shoe to buy, I'd recommend heading to Luke's Locker. The staff there is knowledgable about CrossFit and the demands of your workouts, they have a great variety of shoes that will work for CrossFitting, and can help you find a shoe that works for you.
"The Other Total"
1RM bench press
1RM overhead squat