Over the past 20 years, functional training and CrossFit has been responsible for the outstanding physical condition of thousands of people all over the world. Every day, men and women from different fitness levels and ages are jumping on board to benefit from the high intensity, functional training that cross training provides.
While functional training is a sport deemed for anyone and everyone, being prepared with the right fitness clothing and gear can make all the difference when you’re first getting started.
Functional training workouts are constantly varied and high intensity. One day you may be focused on handstands, jump rope, and cartwheels, and the next deadlifts and weight training. Your old standard gym trainers and basketball shorts may not quite cut it. This is why we’ve put together a list of the best clothing and gear to get you started so you can focus on what really matters - your fitness.
Fitness Shorts and Leggings
Whether you’re squatting, lunging or jumping, you want breathable, lightweight, and flexible fabric that can move with you not against you.
Both shorts and leggings are great options depending upon your preference. Shorts such as the Venum Contendor offer a fitted cut with 4-way stretch and an open pocket on the side for your headphones or essentials.
One thing you can always count on in functional training is sweating. Whether you prefer a tank top, t-shirt, or long sleeve, the material should be lightweight, flexible and anti-chafing.
Shirts with mesh fabric, especially across the underarms are great for keeping cool and allowing heat to escape. Choose a slim fit. Baggy clothing can get in the way and add unnecessary material.
Thick seams also cause chaffing which can be painful and irritating. Find shirts with flatlock stitching or rash guard to avoid irritation.
For both and women and men, we recommend Venum’s Rash Guard shirts.
There’s nothing more annoying than uncomfortable feet during a workout. Ditch the cotton for moisture-wicking socks. Wicking socks will keep your feet dry and cool no matter how much you sweat.
Your socks should be lightweight and comfortable with a technical, breathable fabric and ergonomic fit that prevents blisters.
High Impact Sports Bra
Functional Training is a diverse movement activity so you need a high impact sports bra that will support you whether you’re running, jumping, or lifting weights.
Like with most fitness clothing, your sports bra should be made out of breathable, supportive fabric with bonded seams to avoid chafing. We also recommend wide, adjustable and padded straps to prevent your bra from digging into your skin.
We recommend checking out the Manto Ladies Logo Sports Bra.
While you may be ok using your everyday trainers for the first few classes, you’ll quickly realize having proper functional training shoes is better suited for the wide variety of full body training that changes from class to class. While there isn’t one particular shoe that works for everyone, here are some features you’ll want to keep in mind when selecting your fitness trainers.
Running shoes are designed with a softer sole to allow for more flexibility while weight lifting shoes tend to have firmer soles for better support. You will be doing a mix of both in functional training so finding a shoe that is somewhere in the middle is best.
Lightweight and Breathable
Since functional training exercises are demanding on both the legs and feet, having a lightweight shoe will keep unnecessary added weight from dragging you down. In functional training, you will sweat from your head to your feet. Find a breathable shoe that allows your feet to stay cool and dry.
Both running and weight training exercises in functional training will require firm lateral support. Many different exercises can force your knees out and shift your weight to the outside or inside of the foot. If your shoes don't have adequate lateral support, your feet can slide out over the edges of your shoes, increasing the risk of injury.
Cross Training shoes such as Nike’s Romaleos or Metcon are perfect for both men and women.
What equipment do you need for functional training? Like with any workout, there is essential gym gear you should bring with you to your functional training classes. However, we’ll also cover additional functional training equipment and gear most gyms will provide but you may want to consider buying for personal use.
A gym necessity- using a towel is common courtesy and good hygiene. In functional training you will be working incredibly hard, sweating, and be surrounded by other very sweaty people. Don’t sit in your sweat, bring a towel and use it to stay dry and clean throughout your workout.
When we talk about towels, we don’t mean a full size beach towel, a standard cotton hand towel or small bath towel will do the trick.
If you’re sweating then you need to stay hydrated. As a general rule, it’s better to bring a water bottle rather than rely on your gym to have a water fountain available. Make sure you keep it close by to ensure you stay properly hydrated and cool throughout your workout.
We recommend choosing a BPA-free, well insulated water bottle such as the Hyperfly Hydrofly Water Bottle
Speed ropes aren’t your childhood jump ropes. Used in functional training for double unders, they are designed to spin quickly and with little force. While many gyms will have some basic ones available for use, it’s a good idea to invest in your own. They are small, lightweight, and can easily be carried around.
There is nothing more painfully satisfying than rolling out your sore muscles on a foam roller; and after a functional training workout, you’ll definitely be sore.
Foam rollers are usually provided in most gyms, but having your own to use at home as well can definitely help massage and knead those painful spots. Foam rolling is great for mobility, improving circulation, working out the knots, and recovery both before and after your workout.
A weightlifting belt helps you keep proper form, especially as your progress into your functional training and start adding heavier weights. A weight belt secures tightly to your abdomen, forcing you to use proper muscles when you lift. It provides extra core and back support as well.
Grabbing barbells and gripping onto pullup bars can be tough on your hands and your grip. Most functional training athletes will develop calluses. When your hands are sweaty or you want to ensure you’ve got a solid, tight grip, hand grips or tape can help.
Athletic tape is inexpensive and can be a great solution to protect your hands against torn skin and it can be used for a variety of needs.
Functional training workouts promise to keep members in the best shape of their lives. Aside from the physical benefits, functional training offers a tight-knit community because of its group-based exercises. The support system you build with functional training motivates you physically and nutritionally. According to an NCBI study, CrossFit practice is associated with higher levels of sense of community, satisfaction, and motivation.
There is a lot to focus on when you first get started with functional training. Follow these tips to ensure you’re comfortable and prepared. Made4Fighters is your source for fitness clothing in the UK- shop our full selection and get geared up in the best.