Whether you’re restocking your gym gear, recommitting and need something new or you’re just stocking up for the first time, having the right workout gear can make or break your workout experience.
It’s good to keep things simple, but it’s important to invest in the right equipment and technology that can help improve your training and comfort. You’ll use these picks almost every time you train, so you’re going to get the very most from each item.
Here is a list of the gym gear essentials you’ll want to have on hand:
A GOOD PAIR OF TRAINING SHOES
Fact: 25% of your bones are in your feet. Treat them well.
Whether you’re lifting weights, running trails or walking around town, the right pair of shoes can make all the difference. Meanwhile, the wrong pair of shoes can hurt your performance — many shoes, for example, are too stiff, heavy and restrictive.
So what shoes should you pick? While it depends on your individual needs, good options are lightweight and breathable (which help you feel fresh for those long runs and hot days), comfortable, durable and supportive.
If you’re a guy and you don’t own a pair of compression shorts, do yourself a favor and buy some right now. They’re absolutely essential if you do gym exercises like squats, deadlifts and lunges (and pretty much any athletic endeavor).
Instead of regular underwear that tends to limit your range-of-motion, compression underwear pulls, twists and stretches with you. It wicks away moisture so you stay dry, keeps you cool and keeps everything in place.
Compression underwear can also potentially offer real performance benefits. Studies have found that compression shorts might boost athletic performance, reduce injuries and possibly reduce soreness after a workout.
The right music can make all the difference: from putting on some heart-thumping tunes before a big bench press to listening to relaxing music during a recovery day, your music can help you set the right mood.
But traditional headphones aren’t always practical. Loose cords or bulky headsets can impede your exercise and make things a lot harder. If you’re serious about your training (and music), I recommend getting a set of wireless headphones that are engineered to stay tight in your ears as your lift, jump and sprint.
If you’re serious about your fitness training, a heart rate monitor is an essential. The reason is simple: To improve your conditioning, you need to know how your body is performing aerobically or anaerobically.
With a smart fitness tracker, like the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro, you get real-time information on how your body is responding to training stress so you can adjust accordingly — all right there on your wrist. It’s durable and swim-ready and syncs with MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun.
If you’re doing a recovery workout, you should stay in the aerobic zone which is usually anything below ~150bpm. During interval training, you take all the guesswork out of the rest period. If you’re sprinting for 15 seconds, instead of resting for 45 seconds, rest until your heart rate dips below 130bpm before you do another sprint. That way, you’re not only improving your sprint ability, but you’re also improving your ability to rest between sprints.
Bands are so versatile, and they travel well. It doesn’t matter if you have all the dumbbells or barbells in the world, resistance bands can really help your fitness.