CrossFit has become the workout de jour and it demands gear that is comfortable, breathable and durable. Much like any rigorous exercise, CrossFit can make you sweat buckets and move in ways you never thought you could: your outfit needs to be prepared to cope with any eventuality.
Some people place great importance on workout apparel while others wear any old t-shirt and shorts that are almost falling apart. While wearing something very smart and expensive isn’t sensible (think sweat, dirt, etc.), you will definitely feel a bit more prepared if you’ve got clothes that are designed for physical activity. For working out you need three basic items: a t-shirt or other top, shorts or leggings, and shoes.
While it’s ok to do some calisthenics with bare feet, you do not want to be lifting heavy weights with toes unprotected. For CrossFit you don’t need specialised running shoes; explosive moves like box jumps demand stable and light shoes: flatter soles and cross training styles are better options.
For your legs there are several options: shorts, joggers, compression pants or leggings. CrossFit involves fast movements like jumping, as well as strength training which necessitates deep squats and the ability to bend ankles, knees and hips freely.
Fabric needs to be stretchy and breathable (there are some WODs that take a while to complete). Baggy shorts or joggers are a no-no: you don’t want extra material getting snagged on a weight. Long pants can work well for rope climbs but can also get too hot for some, so your individual preference is also very important.
There are a few essential qualities for your workout vest/t-shirt/shirt: light material for breathability and temperature, the right fit (neither too tight not too loose), and flexibility for easy movement and free joint rotations. Some people prefer t-shirts while others go for compression garments that give a feeling of pressure and energy by squeezing your muscles a little.
Sports bras are also important and the requirements are the same: comfortable and functional. Apart from this, you’ll have a range of different designs to choose from in terms of colour and pattern.
Some people don’t like using grips but for others they are an essential piece of gear that offer much-needed hand protection when doing pull-ups and lifting weights. It’s very easy to get blisters from repeated friction with bars and once you’ve ripped those open, it’s hard to carry on with a workout without losing focus on form and performance.
Like hand grips, wrist wraps aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but they can be helpful when gripping heavy weights. It’s important that they are flexible and give you a full range of motion. The main element is obviously comfort: you’re not going to like lifting weights if your mind is only concentrating on the discomfort in your wrists. Just like getting your lucky balls, you need to try a few different wraps to find the right ones for you.
Function and form
As with any sportswear, the best clothes to wear for CrossFit are ones that are comfortable and functional – don’t fall into the trap of going for aesthetics over practicality.