So many of us have bags with us in CrossFit gyms. But what’s inside them? This article details the 11 most useful items that come in handy when at CrossFit.
1. The Bag
Sounds simple, but a bag is a good place to start. These 45L backpacks come in a huge array of sizes and colours, suitable for men and women.
2 main compartments see huge amounts of space for everything. And then some.
You can find exterior straps which are useful for foam rollers, lifting belts and airing knee sleeves. The main compartment opens out 180 degrees for huge access.
A very common sight to see these in CrossFit gyms. Make sure you don’t get ripped off by the companies that import and mark them up.
These ones on Amazon are very similar, and half just the price.
With 9 colours to choose from, there’s plenty of choice. Plus, you get to customise with your patches
2. Wrist Wraps
CrossFit is full of wrist-based action.
Exercises like these demand a significant load on our wrists:
- Front Squats.
All this can be fairly burdensome, especially if they’re weak from say injury or mobility.
What they do
Wrist wraps provide just a little extra support for when you need them.
You don’t need to draw for them every time – they’re good to have in your bag, however.
Best Gym Hack: when you wash them, apply the velcro together. This stops it getting stuck to your clothing and causing. Delicate female pants and heavy-duty Velco does not mix.
3. Voodoo Band
What on earth is that, you ask!
It’s medium density, highly stretchy elastic band. They’re also known as a mobility or floss bands, too.
The voodoo band can be extremely helpful in a couple of different ways:
- Reduces swelling and DOMS
- Use as a resistance band for stretching / mobility
- Increasing blood flow
How it works
They work by purposefully restricting blood flow for a set period of time. This is then manually released by undoing the band, flooding blood to the sore area.
Fresh blood flushes away toxins and reduces soreness. They work best on legs and arms.
Best Gym Hack: I keep mine inside a weightlifting shoe so it’s always in my bag. It’s stowed inside the shoe so taking up no additional space.
You can grab a voodoo band here from Amazon. Cheap and cheerful – no need to go mad with the brand.
Here is a useful video that will help you get started with using one.
4. Weightlifting Shoes
These are great to help you find more stability in your Olympic Weightlifting movements such as Snatch or Clean and Jerk.
They’re also useful for auxiliary or hybrid movements of the classic Olympic lifts, such as Thrusters. Some people swear by them when doing Pistols too (one legged squats).
Oly shoes are not essential but they are great for squeaking out just that little bit more from the lifts. Or getting that little bit more ankle stability.
This article here breaks down Oly shoes further for you. Check items 5 and 6.
5. Gymnastic Wraps
Gymnastic wraps are great to protect your hands and provide additional grip, particularly when fatigued.
There are many on the market and I’ve been through a few. This article details the best out there so you don’t have to go through many like I did. Check item 4.
Looking after your hands is key. They go through a lot, so wraps are invaluable. The article above will help you with all of that.
6. Thumb Tape
Thumb tape is for…you guessed it, thumbs. (Actually, you can use on your fingers too, if required).
They wrap around the thumb at the base – the part that articulated from the hand.
It offers protection from knurling on the equipment. Useful when high reps of Dumbbell work and Barbell cycling, for instance.
Avoid the cheap tape. It doesn’t stick well and you’ll get annoyed when it comes off mid-workout.
This stuff is tried and tested.
Certain supplements are great to keep in your bag.
Not a 2.27kg tub of powder; more along the lines of ‘Preworkout’.
Check out this pre-workout which is the best of the bunch for CrossFit.
Or capsules like creatine or glutamine. Perfect if you’re heading to your CrossFit gym after work.
There are a number of supplements you can take; also thousands of brands.
Luckily, we’ve whittled it down to the best for CrossFit supplements, what they do and where to get them. View that article here.
8. Water Bottle
This sounds stupid but not taking a water bottle with you is not a good thing.
There’s nothing worse having sweated 0.5-1 litre in a session and not having the H20 on hand to replace that.
A study shows we sweat approximately less than 1% amount in 1 hour of CrossFit. When measured out into understandable metrics, thats approximately 1ml = 1g.
…during a regular CrossFit workout, sweat rates for men are 1.663 ± 0.478 L/h and for women 0.886 ± 0.274 L/h, which is less than 1% of total body weight for both male and female participantsScientific and Academic Publishing
What does that mean?
So if you weigh 70kg, you may sweat up to 1% which equates to 0.7kg = 700g, which is 700ml. That is almost 1 litre, so a fair amount of lost hydration there.
Pack a reusable water bottle.
Even if it’s empty it could be topped up as most CrossFit gyms have a fountain, water refill facility or even a tap with drinking water.
9. Skipping Rope
Most gyms have these hanging up. Granted, it’s usually a hodge podge of battered wire, cord and nylon ropes. Some of which was lost property. And many moons ago.
Getting your own rope is inexpensive. Having your own means you can adjust the size for your own height…
….That means learning the holy grail of Double Unders will be fare more obtainable. What’s not to like about that!
Get yourself a skipping rope. Something like this is great. An inexpensive and effective addition to your bag contents.
10. Exercise Tracking Tech
OK, this is more like on your wrist than in your bag. But it’s worth mentioning, especially for the tech and data buffs.
Many of you out there already own an Apple Watch, Garmin, FitBit, or other such as Whoop.
Given the popularity of CrossFit, some of them offer the CrossFit or Functional Fitness option.
These devices are great at recording and reviewing your stats such as:
- Heart rate
- Calories burned
- Strain / how hard you worked
Tracking your metrics is a great way to keep a handle on progress. You don’t need to go mad on the price.
If you’ve got a bit tucked away to spend on a fitness tracker, you can read about the popular WHOOP band here in this Best Gym Hacks article.
11. Lacrosse Ball
A what, you ask?! Yes, a lacrosse ball.
Why? They are great for working out knots, niggles and tight spots. Keeping one of these in your bag is useful to get those out during class – when you’re warming / limbering up etc.
It’s another very inexpensive, but useful, addition to have in your CrossFit bag.
If you’re feeling a bit fancy, you can get a spiked ball. It adds another dynamic to your mobility time.
Here’s a link to an inexpensive set below.
14. Hand Care Items
There are a number of items out there which will help care for your hands.
We’ve already mentioned gymnastic wraps. Here are a few more items that fall into this category:
- Gymnastic wraps
- Hand tapes
- Hand cream (such as WOD welder)
- Gloves (for high rep rope climbs)
- Pummel stones
How to take care of them?
This topic is pretty broad, so we have a dedicated article just for it. You can read that right here.
It’s good in CrossFit to take care of your hands. They go through a lot.
It’s annoying when they tear. A few products in your CrossFit bag will be useful in good hand maintenance.
These are just 11. There’s plenty more cool stuff you can stick in your CrossFit bag.
If you’re thinking of trying CrossFit, this article will be helpful in outlining what you should take to your first class.
There is so much overpriced stuff out there. Don’t get ripped off buying the unnecessary branded stuff, unless really necessary.
The links provided are up there in terms of quality and effectiveness with some of the products that has a more widely known logo on the side.
Don’t be too bedazzled by branding and logos on this stuff. Be selective and do your research.
To close out
You really don’t need a whole lot, to be honest. One beauty of CrossFit is that you can just turn up in suitable clothing and crack on. No thinking. Realistically, all you need is a bottle of water.
That said, wherever you are on your journey, hopefully this article will help equip and optimise your CrossFit experience.