Want to get fit via the best crossfit equipment? We have all you need to ditch the dumbbells, sack off the squat rack and get fit like a caveman or woman. Come on, it’s January; you probably could do with it.
Anyone with a penchant for a sweat towel and one of those elongated plastic sports bottles will be aware that CrossFit is fitness regime du jour at the moment. Although for reasons of copyright infringement, it’s also often called ‘functional fitness’ kit.
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What is crossfit?
Conceived by the surprisingly tubby Greg Glassman in 2000, cross fit is a high-intensity workout that blends old-school, Olympic power lifting techniques with insane cardio effort for a fat-crippling, muscle-making workout.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you go the whole hog and become one of those unbearable CrossFit-branded ‘box’ junkies (‘box’ is what CrossFit physical jerkers refer to the gym as – rolling eyes emoji).
However it’s undeniable that the mix of aerobic exercise and calisthenics, as well as an innovative use of ropes, medicine balls and plyo boxes, makes for a heady mix, and concentrated workouts that are perfect for the home.
The kit tends to be pretty affordable too, as well as easy to maintain and compact enough to keep in a large room, garage or ‘man-cave’, if you actually possess such a thing. If you’re a woman, perhaps you have a ‘lady cave’. I don’t know.
Anyway, here’s a collection of the best CrossFit/functional fitness kit we could come up with. Go hard or go home, dude.
How to buy the best functional fitness equipment
It’s worth being truly honest with yourself and come to a solid conclusion regarding fitness levels. It’s no good investing in pull-up bars, slam balls and heavy ropes if your base fitness level doesn’t stretch to lifting a can of beans above your head.
The fact of the matter is, CrossFit and functional fitness regimes are hard work: short, sharp balls of energy that require good technique and commitment to get the most out of them.
Plyo boxes (boxes that you jump on and off), Power Bags (heavy sacks for lifting) and Kettlebells are a good place to start, as they can be specified in a sliding scale of height – with regards to the plyo boxes – and weights.
It allows newcomers to start off light and manageable, and then work up to the heavier, more taxing stuff.
Also, it’s worth bearing in mind space, as something like 50ft Battle Rope will require plenty of room, while the neighbours might not appreciate the slamming racket if you’re thinking of using these indoors. That’s not really recommended unless you live in a mansion.
What’s the best bit of crossfit kit to buy?
Now that’s tricky. Most of the equipment selected in this list is great for building muscle while simultaneously giving the heart and lungs a thorough beasting.
That said, it’s very difficult to beat a good set of Kettlebells seeing as they are so highly versatile, compact and useful if used correctly. We think the 16kg cast iron lump from Men’s Health is superb value.
Find kettlebells a bit boring? A good set of Battle Ropes can offer a very tough and effective workout for those with time constraints. It helps if you have a massive and well soundproofed house or a garden (or don’t mind dragging them to a local park).
The best crossfit equipment
You will need a fair amount of space to make the most of the Battle Rope (and pretty deep pockets) but they a magnificently well-rounded workout that can be isolated or added to an existing weights-based regime to bulk up muscle and get the pulse soaring.
This high quality poly-twine rope is sturdy, thick, and finished with wrapped rubber ends for a more comfortable grip. The solid construction means it can be happily used both indoor and out, although we’d suggest the latter unless you want an ASBO.
Whether its making waves, slamming or carrying out ab-shredding Russian twists, the humble Battle Rope provides a varying range of resistance (simply increase the slack to increase the intensity of a workout), meaning it’s an investment that will last.
Master the art of the Kettlebell and you’ll be left thinking why you hadn’t picked up and swung a lump of iron betwixt your thighs before.
Although difficult to master the moves, these be-handled weights work almost every muscle group in the body when in the correct hands, allowing the user to both tone up and improve cardiovascular fitness in one condensed workout.
This 16kg offering is a solid old lump. Fashioned from cast iron and finished with a rough exterior, it’s not exactly the most comfortable thing to use but there’s plenty of grip, which is required when swinging a 16kg weapon around the house.
To be clear: there are better Kettlebells out there, but it’s highly unlikely the average fitness enthusiast will notice the difference and these represent great value for money. I’d get some weightlifting gloves to go with it, mind – it’s not the silkiest finish on that cast iron.
Don’t get this squishy Slam Ball mixed up with the bizarre dusty Medicine Balls that you or may not have had dropped on your abs by an over zealous PE teacher back in secondary school.
No, this rubbery lump of fun is designed specifically to be thrown, in anger, at a wall or the floor, building huge amounts of explosive strength in the user, toning up muscles and releasing aggression like a leaking gas main.
This 20kg unit from Bodymax feels sturdy, while its dappled rubber exterior makes it easier to pick up from the floor and toss at an unsuspecting surface. It’s a very sensible price too, with the option to buy a range of weights if you feel 20kg is a little too heavy to begin with.
Honestly, there’s very little in the gym world that gets the heart pumping like a solid Slam Ball session. It’s tough on the muscles, sweaty and noisy, so you’ll need a nice secluded place to carry out the exercises and maybe some chalk, as these things get slippery when damp with perspiration.
Plyometrics is a very scientific term for essentially jumping around, with exercises in this portfolio namely revolving around springing from the ground to a raised platform in order to increase power in the lower body. So get out your seat, and jump around. Get up, get up, and get down.
Although professional athletes have long used equipment like this, it has only been fairly recently that Plyo Boxes have been popping up in gyms… and now you can take one home.
The clever design of this Body Power Wooden 3 in 1 Plyo Box means it’s possible to quickly raise the platform from 20-inches to 30-inches, with a stop over at 24-inches in between.
Made from 18mm thick plywood and solid internal timbers, this glorified packing box is hardy enough to withstand a pummelling and once you’re done jumping all over it, you can use it for split squats, incline press ups and much more. Or just leave your gym kit on it.
Sandbags make an adaptable alternative to dumbbells and barbells, as these chunky, strap-laden beefcake bags can be slung across the shoulders and used in conjunction with traditional leg exercises, thrown and caught like a medicine ball or curled, pressed and snatched like a traditional weight.
In fact, the only thing you can’t do with a Sandbag is slam it on a surface, or risk spilling its content across the floor.
The wealth of sturdy strapping on this model from Jordan improves the versatility no end, while it is one of the only bags of this nature to feature a top handle, which is great for one handed split lunges or overhead pressing.
Admittedly, the bag itself is limited to just one weight – although you could always buy a few – but there’s little better if you want to improve explosive strength, increase cardio ability and get the metabolic rate spinning into a frenzy.
- For more fat burning tips, read our guide on how to lose weight fast