The Finest Crossfit Tools for Your 2022 House Gymnasium – SI Showcase

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CrossFit is all about functional fitness, meaning it develops your fitness in real-world ways, whether that’s via aerobic capacity (so you can sprint for the subway or chase after your kid) or muscular strength and endurance (so you have no problem hoisting your groceries or laundry). And while it can seem like there’s a CrossFit box—aka gym—stocked with all the equipment you could dream of on every corner these days, what’s more functional than setting up a space for you to do your WOD—your “workout of the day”—at home?

An at-home CrossFit gym can be an exercise in choosing your own adventure. Technically, you don’t even need equipment for certain CrossFit WODs, but you’ll be able to do more WODs and maximize each individual workout with even just a few choice pieces of gear. It really comes down to figuring out what exercises you like to do most and what you want to invest in first. But if you’re not sure where to start, these are our top picks for anyone looking to set up a CrossFit gym at home.

Our Picks for the Best Crossfit Equipment:

Reebok Nano_product

Key Features:

  • $125
  • Midsole is made of lightweight, responsive Floatride Energy Foam
  • One of the most popular shoes among CrossFitters

The key to a good CrossFit shoe is versatility: You need to be able to run, jump, rope climb, lift weights and more in it. The Reebok Nano X2 nails it, with a flexible and breathable knit upper for dynamic movements; lightweight cushioning for running; a seven millimeter heel-to-toe drop to keep your weight evenly distributed while lifting; and a durable rubber outsole for traction whether you’re climbing or sprinting. People who focus more on heavy lifting may prefer a weightlifting-specific shoe, but almost every CrossFitter can get what they need from an all-around training shoe like this.

Pros:

  • Works for HIIT, CrossFit and short-distance running
  • Reworked upper keeps foot locked in without sacrificing flexibility
  • Improved heel construction eliminates blisters caused by previous version

Cons:

  • Less stable than lifting shoes due to the cushioning
  • Wide toebox may not work for people with narrow feet
  • Knit upper is less durable than other materials

Purchase Reebok Nano X2

5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier

Key Features:

  • $215
  • Adjustable design allows for a customized fit
  • Fits multiple weight options

Strategically dispersing additional weight across your body can make exercises—especially during high-intensity workouts like CrossFit—more challenging. 5.11’s vest holds two weighted plate sizes within its nylon frame, which maximizes range of motion with adjustable shoulder straps and stretch waist bands (it accommodates users with a waist circumference between 52 and 57 inches). Because it’s designed as tactical combat gear, there are several features CrossFitters won’t need, like the grab-and-drag handle in the back and an emergency quick release handle, but that also means this vest is tough enough to handle anything a WOD throws at you.

Pros:

  • Oversized airflow panels keep you from getting too sweaty
  • Durable construction
  • Padded front and back panels and shoulder straps are padded for comfort

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Tactical features are superfluous during exercise

Purchase 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier

gymreapers_product

Key Features:

  • $49.99
  • Provide warmth and compression to the knee, which increases blood flow and responsiveness
  • Made from durable, supportive neoprene material

These knee sleeves aren’t meant to act as a brace, but do provide support during squats, deadlifts, lunges and more without restricting your range of motion. More importantly, the compressive effect—which generates and retains heat around the knee joint—can reduce swelling during and after a workout, aiding the recovery process so you can get back to it sooner. Gymreapers’ sleeves are made from seven millimeters of top-grade neoprene and feature reinforced stitching so they’ll stand up to even the heaviest loads. For a tighter fit, measure the circumference around your kneecap and go one size down than what’s recommended.

Pros:

  • On the thicker side to provide solid support
  • Neoprene won’t tear or weaken over time
  • Free carrying bag included

Cons:

  • The smell can get pretty intense if you don’t wash regularly
  • Some people may prefer thinner sleeves closer to three millimeters thick
  • Sizing may be confusing

Purchase Gymreapers 7mm Knee Sleeves

Bear KompleX

Key Features:

  • $44.98
  • Has three finger holes
  • Made from triple-stitched carbon fiber

The goal of CrossFit is to get ripped—not rip apart your palms while lifting heavy barbells or hoisting your own body weight. These hand grips from Bear KompleX protect your skin against tears, abrasions and calluses as you start to rack up the reps while doing moves like pull-ups, muscle-ups, kettlebell swings and deadlifts. Three finger holes (over your index, middle and ring fingers) secure these safely to your hands, and the triple-stitched carbon fiber creates a super sticky grip even without chalk.

Pros:

  • Specifically suited to slick and powder-coated bars and handles
  • Adjustable wrist strap beneath the buckle provides support without digging
  • Carbon fiber material is very durable

Cons:

  • Finger holes require breaking in
  • Circular openings are less comfortable than square cut openings
  • Not as grippy as leather

Purchase Bear KompleX Three-Hole Carbon Hand Grips

Buddy Lee

Key Features:

  • $33.71
  • Made from durable PVC cord
  • Swivel bearing system avoids drag and tangles

Jumping rope is a serious cardio workout: A 140-pound person can burn nearly 200 calories in just 15 minutes. Buddy Lee’s Aero Speed Jump Rope weighs just over half a pound to keep your wrists flicking and feet pogo-ing as fast as possible. No matter your pace, the swivel bearing system allows for free rotation and almost no drag, so you won’t get tangled up in the rope. And with nearly 10 feet of durable PVC cord, you can even customize the rope to your height without wrapping it around your hands like you once did at recess.

Pros:

  • Designed for athletes of all levels
  • Six-inch handles allow for solid grip

Cons:

  • Not for people over 6’5″
  • Not weighted for extra resistance

Purchase Buddy Lee Aero Speed Jump Rope

Rogue Echo Bike

Key Features:

  • $845
  • Comes with a two-year warranty
  • Uses a belt-drive system

If you want to scorch calories, one of the best ways to do it is with an air bike, which replaces a traditional front wheel with an oversized fan and is powered by your exertion (read: the faster you pedal, the more resistance you’ll generate). Rogue’s Echo Bike, made from reinforced steel with a weight capacity of 350 pounds, is a rock solid addition to a home gym—especially one with multiple users. The adjustable seat has eight different height settings and five front-to-back settings, and a battery-powered LCD console displays your stats in high contrast.

Pros:

  • Belt-drive system requires very little maintenance
  • Has one-inch polyurethane wheels at the front for easy maneuvering
  • Includes rubber leveling feet under each base tube to adapt to your flooring

Cons:

  • Has a large footprint
  • Requires a heart rate transmitter (not included) to send data for heart rate tracking
  • Wind guard, phone holder and bottle cage all sold separately

Purchase Rogue Echo Bike

rep-plyo-box_product

Key Features:

  • $109.99
  • Available in three different dimensions
  • Has a weight capacity of 400 pounds

Plyometrics—aka explosive jumping—increases your muscle power. And it’s a super easy way to spike your heart rate without running out your door for sprint intervals. This three-in-one box from REP Fitness wraps soft foam (which absorbs your body’s impact) around an inner wood core (which can support up to 400 pounds), and covers it all with thick vinyl to keep your feet (and the box) from slipping. Depending on which side you place down, you’ll get three height options, allowing you to progress your jumping over time and perform bodyweight exercises like decline pushups or tricep dips.

Pros:

  • Compact footprint with multiple height options for versatility
  • Vinyl is tough enough to use outside and removable for cleaning
  • Absorbs shock to protect joints

Cons:

  • No handles for easy moving
  • Can be unstable at the tallest height setting
  • Tallest setting has least amount of surface area, which can be challenging

Purchase Rep Fitness 3-in-1 Plyo Box

kettlebell kings_product

Key Features:

  • $114.98
  • Available in nine weight options
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

You can definitely find cheaper kettlebells on the market, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any that match Kettlebell Kings in terms of longevity. This bell is made with gravity casting, which increases the accuracy of the set weight, and single-cast iron, meaning it’s one single piece of metal (with no add-ons that could break off after wear and tear). A machine bottom finish allows the kettlebell to sit flat on the floor instead of rolling around, and the powder coating resists rust and scratches and helps you maintain your grip, with or without chalk.

Pros:

  • Gravity casting ensures weight accuracy and durability
  • Has a machine bottom finish to sit flat
  • Powder coating resists rust and scratches

Cons:

  • On the more expensive end of the spectrum
  • Handle may be too small for double-handed swings

Purchase Kettlebell Kings Powder Coated Kettlebell

titan-fitness_product

Key Features:

  • $489.99—$649.99
  • 1,100-pound rackable weight capacity
  • Available in two height and depth options

A power rack is mostly used for barbell exercises like bench presses, shoulder presses, deadlifts, bicep curls and shoulder shrugs. These steel cages have horizontal safety bars that can be adjusted to different heights for safety when you’re working out without a spotter. Designed for elite level athletes, the Titan T3 Series Power Rack is made from heavy-duty steel with one-inch hole spacing through the bench pressing and cleaning zones, and two-inch spacing above and below. It also comes standard with a 1.25-inch pull-up bar, a two-inch fat pull-up bar, and two reinforced J-Hooks to hold your barbell in place.

Pros:

  • Can be customized with T-3 Series Weight Plate Holders
  • Compatible with a variety of power rack accessories
  • More affordable than most competitors

Cons:

  • Takes up a significant amount of space
  • Needs to be bolted down for stability
  • Barbell and weight plates must be purchased separately

Purchase Titan T3 Series Power Rack

force-ranger_product

Key Features:

  • $259.99
  • Weight limit of 1,500 pounds
  • Made from zinc-plated steel

With or without a rack, a barbell is a powerful, versatile tool for CrossFitters. Use it for deadlifts or ab rollouts, glute bridges or landmine presses. The Ranger Barbell from Force USA is seven feet long with a 28-millimeter diameter ideal for Olympic lifting. Knurling (a diamond pattern on the bar) increases the amount of friction between the steel bar and your hands so your grip stays secure, even if you’re somehow capable of loading it all the way up to the max capacity of 1,500 pounds. The bar is finished in black zinc, which protects against rust.

Pros:

  • 170,000 PSI tensile strength heavy-duty durability
  • Works well with chalk if you need more grip
  • Has four bearings, which allow the loadable sleeves to spin well with weight plates

Cons:

  • Only available in 20 kilograms, which may be a heavy starting point for some users
  • Designed for Olympic lifting, not powerlifting

Purchase Force USA Ranger Barbell

What Equipment Is Needed for CrossFit at Home?

There are plenty of CrossFit WODs that only require body weight, but investing in certain pieces of at-home fitness equipment can significantly expand your workout options (and variability is a great way to make gains and stay entertained). Besides proper apparel, you’ll want aerobic equipment, including things like a jump rope, air bike, rowing machine, plyo box, a sled and battle ropes, plus weight lifting essentials like a barbell, weight plates, squat rack, kettlebells, dumbbells, medicine balls and sand bags. But you don’t need to get everything at once. Start with a big investment, like a squat rack, barbell and weights, or buy several more affordable smaller items, like kettlebells, a jump rope and a medicine ball.

How to Choose the Best CrossFit Equipment for You

Fitness Goals

The right CrossFit equipment for you is what supports your fitness goals. Are you focused on losing weight? Investing in a cardio machine may be the best way to start. Would you rather build muscle? A squat rack will serve you better.

Space

Because so much of CrossFit revolves around bodyweight exercises, you can get a solid WOD in even with minimal equipment due to limited space. Ideally, you want about 10 x 10 feet to set up an at-home CrossFit gym. That gives you enough space for equipment, as well as room to comfortably move around, whether you’re jumping on and off of a plyo box or doing endless burpees. If you don’t have room for a bulky piece of cardio equipment, remember that you can always do sprint intervals up and down your stairs or outside.

Budget

Budget is probably the biggest factor in setting up your at-home CrossFit gym, because it will determine what equipment you can get. Big ticket items—like an air bike or squat rack—can ring up at nearly $1,000, while there are plenty of smaller items (which can be just as challenging!) that you can buy for under $100. Once you decide your budget, choose the items that you know you’ll be most comfortable with and that you’ll use most often—that’s the best way to ensure you’ll stick with the workout and get the most bang for your buck. 

FAQs

How many times a week should I do CrossFit?

CrossFit generally follows a t​​hree-days-on, one-day-off, two-day-on, one-day-off workout schedule, which means you’d be working out five days a week. But beginners should tread carefully: Your body needs time to recover from high-intensity workouts, and skimping on that recovery can lead to overtraining and injuries. Two to three days a week is a good starting point: You should wait at least 24 hours between strength training sessions to see improvements, according to 2018 research published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, and in one comparison between two different CrossFit WODs, it took 48 hours for biochemical and physical performance values to return to normal, a 2019 study published in the journal Biology of Sport determined. However, if you’re not working the same muscle groups, you could work out on back-to-back days (i.e. leg day followed by arm day).

Is CrossFit good for losing weight?

Weight loss is about burning more calories than you consume. And the harder you work, the more calories you burn. High-intensity workouts like CrossFit burn more calories than steady state exercise in the moment and post-workout, thanks to something called the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, also known as the afterburn effect. In order to bring itself back to its resting state, your body continues to burn calories even after you’re done sweating—and those who did high-intensity interval training showed significantly higher energy expenditure up to 14 hours post-exercise in a 2021 study published in the International Journal of Exercise Science. Meanwhile, ten weeks of CrossFit training decreased body fat by an average of 15.5 percent in a 2013 study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Will CrossFit get you ripped?

CrossFit is a type of metabolic conditioning, which means it combines cardio and strength exercises performed at different intensities, with structured patterns of work and rest periods. Translation: You’re improving your cardiovascular fitness, burning fat and building stronger muscles simultaneously. CrossFit training—which integrates exercises like deadlifts, squats, Olympic lifts, push ups, pull-ups and burpees into your training routine—uses bodyweight and actual weights to challenge your muscles, and can be used as an alternative to classical resistance training, a 2019 study published in the Asian Journal of Education and Training determined. It’s not going to turn you into a bulky bodybuilder, but it will help you develop whole-body strength, power and endurance, according to a 2018 meta-analysis published in the journal Sports Medicine.

Do I need a squat rack for CrossFit?

You don’t need a squat rack to do CrossFit, but if you’re committed to this type of exercise, it’s a worthy investment. A squat rack allows you to do Olympic weightlifting exercises like squats, snatches, cleans, bench presses, jerks and rows. For an at-home gym, you might be better served by a power rack, which is safe for working out alone. If you’re not looking to spend that kind of money or don’t have the space for a rack, there are plenty of CrossFit workouts that use bodyweight exercises or more compact equipment like dumbbells or kettlebells (you just won’t be able to lift as heavy loads with free weights).

How can a beginner start CrossFit?

Anyone who’s a beginner to CrossFit should start by going to a CrossFit gym (aka box) and working with a certified trainer. CrossFit is all about scaling movements—i.e. progressively doing more reps, moving faster or lifting heavier loads. A pro can help you determine your starting point, and advise you on how to progress safely. If you’re starting at home, don’t be afraid to start with body weight, even if an exercise calls for additional weight. It’s about quality over quantity; ripping through unfamiliar exercises with poor technique can lead to injuries. Nail proper form first, then start adding weight or picking up the pace.

How do you set up a CrossFit gym?

First, choose the essential equipment you want to have on hand and that you can fit in your space. In setting up your space, make sure the equipment is close enough together to be easily accessible, but far enough apart to allow for free movement. Place the biggest pieces of equipment (a squat rack, a cardio machine) against the walls to leave enough floor space for at least two yoga mats, so you have plenty of room for exercises done on the ground or jumping around. Depending on where you’re setting up your at-home CrossFit gym, you may want to invest in rubber tiles that protect your floors and reduce noise.

Final Thoughts

Setting up an at-home CrossFit gym isn’t a one-and-done endeavor. Start small—either with several low-cost items or one big-ticket item—and go from there. The more you stick with it, the more you’ll want to trick out your home workout space.

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