So, it’s nice to have the option to see what those who’ve already tried, tested, and picked a “best of” chose as their best workout gear.
I’m a big fan of minimal shoes. I currently wear New Balance Minimus although I’ve used Vibram Five Fingers shoes in the past. The Minimus has a wide toe box and is light and flexible so your foot can move more naturally. I also workout barefoot when I get the chance. Less footwear is better for improved body mechanics.
Otherwise, I use a heart rate monitor during my runs, and a Gymboss Interval Timer when doing high intensity interval workouts.
Right now my favorite fitness gear would have to be my Vibram Five Fingers. It took me a long time to try on a pair because I thought they looked silly. But the more I learned about human movement, and the more fitness assessments I completed with people of all ages, the more I began to consider the importance of footwear to overall health and well-being.
When I complete a postural assessment for example, I start from the feet and work my way up. So many people have pronated ankles (ankles fallen inwards) and their toes are squished together. I was in this category.
After two weeks with Vibrams, my toes separated, I had better balance, and my pronation went away. I think it makes intuitive sense for a shoe to compliment the natural shape of our feet, not change them as a normal sneaker does. Another thing that really drives me crazy about traditional sneakers is that the foot is moving around all over the place in the sneaker during a forward lunge for example. That simply shouldn’t happen, the foot should be 100% stable.
I suggest Vibrams to all my friends, family, and clients, especially for walking around and gym workouts. After that, I would definitely say a foam roller and massage ball if that counts as workout gear.
If I’m squatting (rarely happens), Olympic Weightlifting shoes.
If I’m deadlifting heavy, straps.
If I’m working on grip, both Fat Gripz and straps. The Fat Gripz help with wide grip strength. The straps are not to be used around your hands, but instead around the weights and work on narrow grip strength.
If I’m working on anything else, a towel and stainless steel water bottle. I’ll generally fill up the water bottle about 4 times during the course of a workout, which is about a half-gallon of water during a workout.
My favorite piece of workout gear is definitely my powerlifting belt. It only comes out when I have heavy deadlifts or squats and I only use it for 90% or greater of my 1 rep max for those two lifts.
Since I don’t lift that heavy each week, the weight lifting belt coming out is always a special occasion for me. It reminds me that all my hard work is paying off and gets me really excited to train for the day. There is nothing like strapping on that thick belt and moving some heavy weight at the end of the day.
If I’m wearing my belt and a barbell isn’t deadbolted to the ground, chances are I am going to pick it up.
I am a firm believer of eating everything in its most natural state. The same goes with exercise. Anytime you can simulate natural movements with free weights or perform exercises in their most natural state will always provide the greatest benefits.
The sock-like shoes known as Vibram Five Fingers form fit to your feet to provide a barefoot-like feel. Here are some of the benefits associated with barefoot exercise: no heel, increased balance and posture, and no more shin splints!
If you have a favorite piece of gear you like, leave a comment below!