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Best Workout Gear: Make Your Workouts Better

By Marc Perry / July 27, 2017

If you’ve been thinking of trying out some of the new fitness gear around, you might feel overwhelmed by so many options. After all, most of us probably don’t have seven pairs of running sneakers, six kinds of heart monitors, five types of treadmills.

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.

Best Workout Gear #1 | Minimalist Shoes

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.

Kristin Rooke, CPT

Best Workout Gear #2 | Vibrams

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.

Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT

Best Workout Gear #3 | Weightlifting Shoes & Straps

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.

John Leyva, CSCS, CPT

Best Workout Gear #4 | Powerlifting Belt

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.

Stephen Bergeron, CSCS, CPT

Best Workout Gear #5 | Vibrams

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!

Kevin Deeth, CPT

If you have a favorite piece of gear you like, leave a comment below!


  • Dimitris says:

    Marc, I am a bit confused about Vibrams and other minimalist shoes.. I would appreciate your help:

    1.Do you think they are best for running too, or they are best mostly for walking around and gym workouts?

    2.I had always flat feet ("pes planus") and all these years I have been using Nike air max 360 (ie those with the full air cashioning) for running; they have proved very comfortable, but do you think Vibrams would be just as good for running (at least after a period of my feet adjusting to the new biomechanics)?

    Thank you very much!

    • Cory says:

      Since no one has replied to your comment I thought I would touch on it briefly. Running in shoes like Vibrams is very different from running in shoes with a lot of cushion. Personally I prefer to run in the minimalist shoes because it gives me a better feel for the ground. It does require a change in most peoples running styles when switching to minimalist shoes. Check out http://www.naturalrunningcenter.com/ for a lot of great information.