When it comes to fitness and bodybuilding, I’m much like one of those old heads in the gym who still wear the shorty shorts and prefer those weird looking rounded end dumbbells. No, I’m not Daisy Duking it or lifting irregularly shaped weights, but I share the old school bodybuilding mentality. With the exception of my Ipod, I don’t use the latest technology or buy whatever the latest fitness trend is at the moment. I like going in a dimly lit dungeon, lift rust tinged iron, and then go home to eat half a cow. (Insert mom joke here if you must.)
You won’t see me wearing one of those expensive yet scientifically useless gas mask looking things for “elevation training” or “oxygen deprivation” or whatever pseudo science nonsense it is. I won’t be wearing 200+ dollar shoes, 50 dollar dri fit wicking tee shirts, 80 dollar matching shorts, 20 dollar pair of knee high socks, or 30 dollar underwear. I wear what’s comfortable and practical. I don’t understand these human Flesh Lights who feel they can only get gains if they buy the latest greatest for top dollar. Some of these dumb taint stains won’t even buy last year’s Nike’s (or whatever overpriced child labor made shoes you prefer.) just because the price dropped since they are “outdated.” They are shoes! They literally are meant for walking on the dirty ground.
Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not anti new technology. I’m the exact opposite actually. I just feel like people depend on gadgets too much and focus less on what’s important, like getting gains. There are a few items though that can actually be very beneficial to your gains and don’t just look cool. For this list I’m not going to give you generic fitness gear like lifting straps, barbell pads, or weight lifting gloves, but rather I’m going to give you some items, new and old, that I believe can really help you achieve your fitness goals. Doing some research and trying to whittle things down to the most useful, here is my list of the most useful fitness gear out there.
1. Weight Vest
I actually bought one of these years ago to help me jump higher for basketball. I bought a cheap 20lb one at Walmart and it worked okay. I eventually got a really nice 50lb one and holy hell did that thing feel heavy at first. I wore it for jump training originally and the most I could do was grab the rim while wearing it. I eventually incorporated it into squats and pullups and it definitely helped me get stronger very quickly. My explosive jumping ability really improved from using the vest and it helped add at least 10 inches to my vertical jump. (This was in about a year’s time.) It was kind of bulky compared to the newer ones but it made every exercise feel way more intense.
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They have some more comfortable and cooler looking ones out now and I highly recommend getting one. It will greatly help improve your athleticism while helping you increase the weight on certain lifts. Just use caution so you don’t accidently hurt yourself. Most weight vest have removable weights so you can start lighter and work your way up to beast mode. Or you can be dumb like me and just throw the 50lb one on and feel like your traps are going to explode. Whatever works for you.
2. Calorie counter app.
I know an app doesn’t really count as gym gear but it’s still useful nonetheless. There are plenty of free ones for both android and apple. Find the one that works for you and be consistent when it comes to putting in your meals, exercises, sleep schedule, etc. These aren’t necessarily fun things to keep track of but the great bodybuilders out there are very diligent in watching their diet numbers. I use an android app simply named calorie counter.
3. Gym Apps That Pay You to Exercise.
There are some awesome apps that will pay you for going to the gym. Usually you put in a set number of days that you will attend the gym and it uses gps to make sure you actually go. If you skip the gym it charges your credit card but if you go, it pays you. Pretty straightforward motivation. One of the first apps like this I’ve heard of is called gympact. I haven’t used it as my gym doesn’t have wifi but I would look around to see what all is out there now.
4. Speed rope.
Speed ropes make cardio slightly more bearable in my opinion. They help with conditioning and coordination. When I need to lose weight I like to do a lot of boxing workouts and jump ropes are pretty much a standard for that. Shop around to find a cheap one. Or you can really go all out and buy a ropeless jump rope. Yes they exist, and yes I just found them online as I’m writing this. I’m sure you will look real cool using it. Hey, to up your cool level you can even become the douche who jumps rope between sets of bench presses.
5. Fitness Bands.
Fitness bands are all the rage but only recently have they started to get some of the bugs out of the them. Fitbit and Jawbone are probably the most popular and affordable bands. These things track damn near everything fitness related and can really help you keep on top of your goals. They are small enough not to get in the way and most of them are waterproof, so you rarely have to take them off. Just make sure they stay clean and dry so you don’t get some kind of gross flesh eating wrist rot. Also these things come with their own software or apps for your phone and computer so you don’t need any other apps with these. (Such as calorie counters, pedometer, sleep tracker.)
6. Resistance Bands.
I’m not going to write a lot about these since most gyms have them standard anymore but I’ve used them over the years for many different purposes. They are great for travel workouts, injury rehab workouts, and just getting a quick pump wherever you are. I like to also throw these in at the end of certain workouts like chest and back to really pump the blood into the muscle. They were a fad a while ago but now they can be bought at any sporting goods store for fairly cheap.
7. Hand Grippers.
My deadlifts always suffered because my grip strength wasn’t great. If you have this problem then I highly recommend getting some kind of hand grippers to increase your grip strength. I prefer Captains of Crush Hand Grippers. The COC #4 takes 365lbs of force to close and dammit does it make you feel weak. Luckily they have easier ones and you can work your way up. If you are a lumberjack of a man or just feel like wasting your money, there is a hand gripper called the beast that takes 1800lbs of force to close. Good luck. I also like the Gripmaster Hand Strengthener as it helps with dexterity and individual finger strength.
8. Fitness Wheel
I hate these fucking things so much. They are great though. They just kill your core in the best way. I can do sit ups, planks, and leg raises for days but for some reason these ab rollers just kill me. Probably would help if I used them more than once every few months.
Well there you have it. A quick guide on some decent things you may want to try out. I’m sure you may have been expecting fancy gadgets and whatnot but I said I wanted to make a list of useful things. Don’t waste your money on garbage and always research products before you buy. Never believe the hype.