A bit of preparation for gym can give you a completely different experience and take it to the next level. Even simple accessories like knee and wrist wraps improve your workout and make the process easy. Today I will discuss 10 handy items I keep in my gym bag all the time to optimize my workout sessions.
1. Wrist Wraps
People with weak wrists will find these super useful. They come in elastic with thumb straps to secure them and also in non-elastic versions.
You can perform anything from push-ups, jerks and handstand push-ups and other exercise. They are quite handy and convenient.
2. Knee Sleeves/Knee Wraps
You get extra support from the compression which makes squatting convenient with heavy loads without any pain. They come in elastic and non-elastic version too.
You can slide the stretchable neoprene sleeves both over and under pants or on bare knees if you have shorts on. The non-elastic knee wraps have to be tied using strings in the same way.
3. Olympic Lifting Shoes
I find the Olympic lifting shoes perfect for the flexibility they provide to the ankle with the little raise to the heel. The traditional shoes had a wooden sole with Velcro straps which are suitable for lifting.
The modern shoes with plastic soles eliminate the need of changing pairs for shifting from back squat to a box jump. You can also lift conveniently with them.
4. Athletic Tape
This multipurpose tape is perfect for beginners who have chances of tearing their hands doing pull-ups. You will not need them after your hands get tougher.
They have many other uses like managing a slippery bar or protecting your thumbs and fingers in certain exercises involving hook-gripping. It’s a good idea to have one in the bag!
Used in the right proportion, chalk can eliminate moisture from hands and ensure a strong grip. I have always found it customary to use chalk before lifting be it liquid chalk or a block of it.
Don’t overdo on the chalk as it may have a negative result causing slips.
6. Foam Roller
A foam rolling session relives various kinds of pains by untying knots in muscles and healing the tissue. You can either buy them full length or at half length.
The full length one is great for using at home while the half sized one fits perfectly in the gym bag. It’s great to get the massage effect from the foam roller after you have finished your training and are exhausted.
7. Speed Rope
Speed ropes are the superior version of the jumping ropes we used at childhood. The spin fast with little effort and you should keep an eye not to whip yourself while you miss a jump.
Not just the gym, you can carry the compact thing everywhere and have your workout session right there. It’s great to warm up with some skipping before you begin the WOD.
You can use bands of different resistance for optimizing your workout. It’s best to keep all three types- easy, medium and hard to get mobility and integrate resistance to your lifts.
They are also quite useful while warming up the shoulders or performing muscle-ups. When it’s difficult to get weights, use the bands for some easy resistance- that’s a trick I use!
9. Weight Belt
At first I used to think weight belts are unnecessary, but a few sessions of lifting made me see sense. You could experience improvement here – all by practicing simple exercises like the back squat, dead lift and snatch.
When you need to tighten your core to make a lift, the belt gives a base to apply pressure against using the core. The process becomes a bit easy and the effectiveness of the exercise is also increased. So, the next time you try out back squat with a weight belt, it would just be that much more effective than before.
10. Go In For a Notebook or Just Use a Mobile App
It’s a good idea to track your progress and check back on it after some months or a year. You can easily use a notepad to write down your times and scores.
If you want something advanced, you can use various fitness and training mobile apps. They come loaded with common exercises, lifts, benchmarks, WODs and other workout ideas.
You can also get timers to time your Tabata or AMRAP or countdown meters. Everything is saved and kept for you to track your improvement.