As you progress along your CrossFit journey you might see some members strapping things on as if they were about to go into battle. You might be wondering why people change their shoes when they’re about to do an Olympic lift or why they are wearing something over their knees.
Here are a few items to add to your gym bag in the future:
Everyday Training Shoes
All shoes are designed for a particular function. You want to make sure you have the right shoes when it comes to training. As you progress in your fitness journey you will need at least 2 kinds of shoes. Possibly 3. Running shoes, CrossFit shoes and possibly weightlifting shoes.
Running shoes are designed to provide support and cushion as you run long distances. They are great for running but may not be the best choice when it comes to your CrossFit/weightlifting workouts. The cushion provided from running shoes can throw us off balance when weightlifting. Imagine trying to squat heavy weight while standing on your mattress.
CrossFit shoes or cross-training shoes have a nice, flat sole which allows your foot to make even contact with the floor during heavy lifts while providing support to your ankle. CrossFit shoes have a built in features that help provide traction and grip when doing rope climbs. If you were to do multiple rope climbs in running shoes, you run the risk of shredding them.
The point is, you want to have the right shoes for the job.
Some common brands and styles are Reebok Nanos, Nike Metcons and NoBulls.
You might have seen a few members wear this style of shoe when we are doing Olympic weightlifting or doing heavy squats and wondered what they were for.
Weightlifting shoes by design are snug, heavy and have a built-in raised heel.
Due to the raised heel, your ankle has to perform less dorsiflexion (shins to shoelaces) to reach the bottom of your squat while keeping your torso more upright. Don’t confuse this with making dorsiflexion easier; it actually just reduces the demand for flexion due to the change in effective angle. Along with that, the weight, density, and flatness of the shoe increases stability, making you feel more locked in and cemented to the ground.
Prior to getting weightlifting shoes, you should be squatting correctly. Just like any other tool it’s very easy for us to use our weightlifting shoes as a crutch. A weightlifting shoe could mask our lack of flexibility and mobility that we need to address first.
Weightlifting shoes can also be quite the investment. Depending on the style, generation, and sales, prices can range anywhere from $80 to $200.
There are many brands and styles. Some of our favorite are Nike Romaleos, Adidas Adipower, Reebok Legacy Lifter.
This week we reviewed how to create proper intra-abdominal pressure when lifting. This bracing technique helps stabilize our spine. Once we have the proper understanding on how to brace, we can incorporate a weightlifting belt.
When used properly, a belt allows you to create maximum intra-abdominal pressure by pushing your abdomen against the belt. This helps to prevent the lumbar from rounding during exercises such as deadlifts and squats, as well as helps to prevent hyperextension of the spine when lifting a load overhead.
A lifting belt won’t fix your technique and it definitely won’t make you more flexible. If you do CrossFit just to stay healthy and fit, you probably don’t need a belt anytime soon either – just pay good attention to your lifting mechanics and stay within ranges that allow good form.
A weightlifting belt is a great tool that can help you get stronger but it’s easy to become dependent on it too. Use a belt only during maximal loads. Lifting belts can be an effective training tool if, and only if, beltless bracing and breathing abilities have been developed.
For CrossFit, nylon belts will get the job done, and are more affordable. Leather belts are also available, but tend to be bulkier, more expensive, and less breathable. Leather belts can be great for powerlifting and olympic weightlifting but a nylon belt is more versatile for CrossFit.
Compression sleeves are a simple, and yet very effective accessory that can help prevent injury and provide support to a joint. If you have existing joint pain, tendonitis or discomfort, a sleeve can provide temporary comfort but it’s best to resolve the underlying issue. (i.e. going to a chiropractor, physical therapist, and/or personal trainer). If there are no underlying issues or the underlying issue has been addressed, wearing sleeves can be a great tool to use as preventative care, which is great for your knees and elbows.
Sleeves are a great investment as they provide warmth to your joints. The compression provides support and increased blood flow.
The only downside is that you must wash your compression sleeves after each (maybe 2) training session. Your nose and everyone will thank you. So either wash them after each use or think about having two pairs.
The type of sleeve we recommend is a neoprene sleeve such as Rehband’s. Neoprene sleeves come in varying thicknesses (5mm, 7 mm). Thicker bands will provide more support, but will also be more restrictive. You can find different styles of sleeves on the Rogue Fitness website.
Just like a weightlifting belt and compression sleeves, wrist wraps are meant to provide your wrist with additional support. But just like a belt, we don’t want to solely rely on wrist wraps each time we lift.
Training submaximal loads with no wrist wraps helps train and develops the extensor and flexor muscles in the wrist. It also allows you the ability to develop your flexibility, especially in the front rack position.
The purpose of a wrist wrap is to provide support to the wrist joint during heavy or max effort lifts in pressing movements and overhead lifts. During these movements, the wrist can be pulled into excessive extension under load and result in compromised mechanics, possible injury, and failed lifts.
There are two styles of wraps. Cloth wraps that are thinner and more flexible and the thicker, elastic Velcro-style wraps.
We already wrote a blog post about hand grips and proper hand/callus maintenance
To see blog post: CLICK HERE
If you are just looking to get healthy and fit, we recommend just having a good pair of cross-training shoes and sleeves. A pair of wrist wraps and hand grips wouldn’t hurt either.
If you are looking to really push yourself and test your capabilities, consider getting all of these accessories at the appropriate time in your fitness journey. You don’t need a pair of weightlifting shoes in your first month (unless you have prior weightlifting experience). And remember to train and strengthen underlying issues instead of depending on your accessories as a crutch.
To all of our CFW members, if you have questions about these accessories, feel free to reach out to any of our coaches.