GEARING UP FOR WODs by STRONG MONIE
Remember the first time you walked into a CrossFit Box and got a good look at everyone inside? I bet you that you were thinking, “what in the heck are these people wearing?” Would you believe that knee socks are actually a functional CrossFit item? It’s not all about fashion. Check out today’s Guest Blog from Stong Monie where she discusses essential CrossFit Gear. — Lisa
I remember being completely overwhelmed when I ventured into my first CrossFit gym for my first WOD. Everyone around me was dressed similarly – minimalist shoes, weird things on their hands, long socks with crazy patterns, and other such gear. At the time as a runner, I was standing there in my trusty Brooks Adrenaline and some random running shorts that I knew were new enough to not totally reek the moment I started sweating – what with the years of sweating, most running clothing I own produces the most ungodly odors once exposed to any kind of moisture – not the best first impression to make in a humid, totally packed gym.
I quickly learned that gear can really hurt or enhance your WOD and after much research (i.e. asking everyone around me “how do I stop my hands from exploding open,” “do those socks stop your shins from bleeding,”) I’ve got everything I need to suit my preferences. Since there are so many new people at Incendia I thought it would be helpful to make a list of things that you may want to think about getting for CrossFit. Keep in mind, most of this stuff is personal preference so if you have any desire to try anything out before buying it, you can always ask me to test out my stuff.
I started CrossFitting in my running shoes that have some medial stability for overpronation (huh?) I see tons of newbies wearing their running shoes to WOD and I highly, HIGHLY recommend investing in a shoe more appropriate for CrossFit shoe. Running shoes are pretty sophisticated and are very much designed to move you forward in the most efficient way possible. If you notice in CrossFit, the majority of movements are lateral, jumping, or throwing weights around. Sure we run 400’s or 800’s a couple times per week but for such short distances, you are better off with a shoe that’s a little less specialized – find yourself a Renaissance Man of a shoe. Right in our neighborhood there’s a great store called “Tortoise and Hare Sports” that will fit you for a CrossFit shoe. The owner, Nathan, is a CrossFitter himself and really knows his stuff. Wonder what the shoe fitting process is like? Check out my fitting experience with Nathan.
Or, if you are in Central Phoenix you can check out Runner’s Den. Runner’s Den is known by runners around the world as one of the best specialty running shops out there. The entire staff is trained in running mechanics and are experts on any type of running or athletic shoe. Oh, and I used to work there which is reason enough to visit!
#2 Grips and Tape for Hands
Yeah so tearing your hands during pullups, toes-to-bars, and muscleups (or failing at muscleups in my case) really sucks. Nothing worse than that moment when you know that your hand is definitely torn open and you were definitely planning on doing the dishes when you get home or trying out some now mousse in your hair – DRAG CITY! So grips are a godsend for me! I got mine after spending an afternoon searching random gymnastics places around town before finally finding one gym that had a munchkin-sized pair for $10. You can get them so much easier because Dick’s now carries them of, of course, you can order them online. I love my grips because they are easy to put on and now that they are all broken in, they fit my finger holes perfectly… that sounded funny “finger holes.”
Some badasses at the gym use tape or cloth and make their own grips. They have more patience and scissor-skill than I do so each time I’ve tried has resulted in a wad of tape and a heap of tears. However, this video does a great job explaining how to make them if you care to try. All-in-all when it comes to what works for your hands it’s all about trial and error. One common theme I’ve noted is that gloves are a bad idea. I wore gloves for 7 pullups and my hands looked like I placed them on a piping hot stove; I’ve heard the same thing from several other CrossFitters as well.
#3 Wrist Wraps
Oh man, my first time doing overhead squats I thought I had developed rapid-onset arthritis of the wrists. One big challenge I had when learning the barbell lifts was how much my wrists would ache, almost to the point where I couldn’t think about anything else but dropping the bar and thrusting my wrists into a vat of ice. Luckily, this gets better but getting a good pair of wrist wraps helped with the soreness a lot. Wrist wraps are long pieces of cloth or elastic (usually in cool patterns) that you wrap around and secure on your wrists. People use them for lifts, handstand pushups, pushups, and even pullups to give themselves a little extra support and comfort. I have Gym Rat Wrists Wraps and I love them – mainly because of the mascot’s cute buck-teeth. Others at Incendia ordered theirs from Strength Wraps – very cool patterns available. Like I mentioned above, some people get elastic ones which are easily found at Dick’s. I don’t really know the difference, just a preference thing I’m guessing.
#4 Jump Rope
I love my jump rope! I’m convinced that everyone has a soul-rope; that one rope that makes your doubleunders as smooth as butter. I found mine by accident. My beautiful friend Larou ordered a rope and then decided she didn’t want it so it became mine. After I got it, my doubleunders were so much better and easier – and thus this rope and I shall never part. So yes, it’s important to invest in a good jump rope and there are so many great choices. I’m all about RX Ropes. There’s a lot of variability in jump ropes so I recommend trying some friends’ out before you order. RX Ropes are great because once you purchase one, you can order a replacement cable of different weight for really cheap and just swap it out. Nothing will absolutely fix your doubleunders but a good jump rope is the way to start.
My last post touched on CrossFit socks. Although I think the fashion element of the socks is very important, I was neglectful in describing their utility. These tall socks save your shins from scrapes from the bar when deadlifting, cleaning, and snatching AND they save you from rope burns. I’m bad about wearing them because I look ridiculous in them but I really should be better because my legs are torn up all the time. For rope climbs, you need thick socks. I’ve had several pair of my cute socks destroyed with just a few climbs leaving my shins exposed and eventually bloody. You can also reinforce under or over the sock with tape – I feel very studly when I do this. Thin socks seem fine for lifting. I think having one or two pairs is sufficient. Some guys at the gym wear them almost every WOD – lord knows why, I guess they’re trying to look hot or something.
Hope this list helps you get your CrossFit gear in order – let me know if I forgot anything!