The sport of CrossFit shows no signs of slowing down, and neither do its athletes. If you’re in the gifting spirit and your partner, friend, workout buddy, swolemate, or neighbor is into functional fitness — or if you want to do a little self-splurging — you’ve come to the right place.
Our list of gifts include:
- Best Cross Training Shoe | Nike Metcon 4
- Best Kettlebell | Kettlebell Kings Powder Coated Kettlebell
- Best Fitness Tracker (Sponsored) | WHOOP Strap 2.0
- Best Whey Protein | Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey
- Best Gloves | MAVA Cross Training Lifting Gloves
- Best Knee Sleeves | Bear Komplex 7mm Knee Sleeves
- Best Belt | Rogue Ohio Lifting Belt
- Best Muscle Stim Machine | Compex Elite Sport 2.0
We review fitness products — a lot of them, and just about every kind under the sun. We try them ourselves, discard the worst, and exalt the best.
This is what your wrapping paper deserves.
Nike Metcon 4
This has a strong TPU heel and outsole, it has Nike Flywire for mid-foot reactivity, and it's lightweight enough for agility work.
Why It’s Great: We tested them with cleans, deadlifts, running, and more, and we think the Metcon 4 is the best shoe for CrossFit® athletes. It’s durable and extremely stable, performing a great job withstanding the compression of heavy lifting.
But despite its toughness, it’s very lightweight. It doesn’t give a feeling of dragging during more athletic movements like box jumps and runs, plus there’s a synthetic material on the toe to prevent it from dragging in movements like burpees. The sides are grippy (great for rope climbs and medicine ball work), it’s breathable, and the slightly sticky outsole provides great traction.
Price: $85 – $96
Kettlebell Kings Powder Coated Kettlebell
A powder coated kettlebell that is designed for versatile work outs and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Why It’s Great: Every CrossFitter secretly wants a kettlebell or two at home. These compact weights allow for a tremendous variety of workouts one can do at home, from a simple set of swings to start the day to punishing full-body workouts to recovery work for rest days.
We like Kettlebell Kings’ bells because they’re single cast (the handle is less likely to break off), the powder coating makes them easy to grip, plus they come with an impressive lifetime warranty.
It depends on the athlete, but 24 kilos is a decent weight for tough swing-and-squat workouts, while 15 kilos is a good place to start for lighter workouts and movements, like Turkish get-ups.
Price: $120 for 24kg, $85 for 15kg
WHOOP Strap 3.0
This gift guide feature is brought to you in paid partnership with WHOOP.
The WHOOP Strap 3.0 is the perfect tracker for the active individual that loves analyzing daily performance and recovery metrics. Use code "BarBend" at checkout to save $30.00!
Why It’s Great: If your giftee is someone who’s really invested in self improvement, in tracking their lifts and food, in minimizing stress, or if they just like tech, WHOOP has a really interesting product.
The wearable tracker uses heart rate variability — the amount of time between heartbeats — and other metrics to provide data on how stressed the body is and how well it’s recovering.
This way, you can tell if it’s a good day to lift heavy or go light, if you’re sleeping well, and the product even tells you how many calories you’re burning, which can make dieting much easier for a lot of people.
Price: $30/monthly subscription. You can purchase months in bulk with options coming in at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein is a tried and true mainstay of fitness supplement programs.
Why It’s Great: There’s an extremely good chance your CrossFit friend drinks whey protein or would happily accept some. Getting enough protein in one’s diet can be one of the toughest parts of gaining muscle or losing fat, and this protein really is the gold standard.
The most popular whey on Earth, Gold Standard is available in dozens of flavors, it’s inexpensive, and it gets good ratings from third party testing companies like Labdoor, which analyzes samples for purity and label accuracy.
Price: $31 for 2 pounds
MAVA Cross Training Lifting Glove
Why It’s Great: A lot of CrossFit athletes have issues with calluses, be it from heavy barbell work or — perhaps more likely — from all of those kipping pull-ups.
We found the MAVA Cross Training Lifting Glove to be the most ideal for functional fitness workouts like CrossFit. It has some rubber covering the palm to provide extra grip, it has a firm double velcro wrist strap, and our favorite feature is that it has an open thumb. This means it’s easier to do hook grip, rope climbing, and other moves that need more freedom of movement.
Bear Komplex 7mm Knee Sleeves
Why It’s Great: Knee sleeves are often used by CrossFit athletes to help their knees track in the right direction and to protect and warm their joints, potentially resulting in a safer squat.
Different sports might prefer different brands, but Bear Komplex is our favorite for CrossFit because the sleeves are as versatile as the sport: they don’t limit mobility too much, so they can help you to pop out of a squat without hindering Olympic lifts. They also have a neat, four-panel design that provides a very comfortable, form fitting feel.
Rogue Ohio Lifting Belt
Why It’s Great: When hitting heavy exercises like squats and deadlifts, many athletes like to tighten a thick belt around their waist to help support and protect the lower back and maintain a tight torso.
Rogue is the go-to for strength sports like CrossFit. Their Ohio belt is made with thick, vegetable tanned leather that’s firm, but has enough flexibility for an athlete to really wrap the torso tightly.
Compex Elite Sport 2.0
The Compex Sport Elite 2.0 Muscle Stimulator is a great device for serious athletes trying to improve their performance and recovery.
Why It’s Great: A lot of big name CrossFit athletes are sponsored by Compex and there’s a very good chance your CrossFitting friend has seen them promoted in their Instagram feed.
Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS) devices, well, stimulate the muscles, and Compex is advanced enough that it has nine ways to do it. The various programs can help to warm up pre workout, relax post workout, improve heavy lifting during a workout, help bring oxygen to muscles on recovery days, and more.
It’s also wireless, so it’s easier to use during a workout and there’s nothing to get tangled.
Whether you’ve got $30 or $530 to spend, there’s a gift here for your special friend with the strong back. We hope this guide was able to provide you with some inspiration for that perfect CrossFit gift,