My Favorite Training Gear

My Favorite Training Gear

I’m a total gearhead.

Few things can get me as excited as trying out new training equipment.

Most fitness gadgets are overpriced, overhyped crap. So I decided to compile this list of my favorite training gear to help you get more out of your gym sessions.

And with Christmas approaching, finding one of these items gift-wrapped under the tree will put a smile on the face of any weekend warrior or washed-up meathead.

Weight Vest

Weight vest

Very handy for loading bodyweight exercises like push-ups, dips or chin-ups with external resistance.

Also great for conditioning when worn while walking.

Hampton International Thick Pad

Hampton bar pad

You can’t really do barbell hip thrusts without some sorta cushion as protection… unless you want to destroy your hips.

This is the best pad for that purpose I’ve come across.

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Gymnastic Rings

CFF gymnastic rings

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The #1 upper body training tool that can be carried everywhere.

I’ve written about the benefits of ring training multiple times in the past – here, here and here – and the longer I train with them, the better it gets. They’re THAT amazing.

And here’s a short demo of how you can take a basic exercise such as the push-up and make it more challenging over time by introducing the rings.



The most innocuous-looking piece of exercise equipment out there.

The first time I saw these, I thought they were a joke. Nobody could possibly use these for strength training, right?

Then I tried them out and saw the light.

So far they’ve turned out to be really effective on push-ups, reverse lunges, leg curls and bodysaws. Plus, you can’t beat their portability.

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Fat Gripz

Fat gripz

Easily turn any regular bar into a thick bar that is easier on the joints.

I don’t recommend these for pulling exercises though, since it will affect the grip too much for my liking.

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Ab Wheel

Ab wheel

A cheap yet demanding training tool for hitting the abs. You can buy one for 10 bucks and it will cover any ab rollout variation from beginner to advanced.

Kneeling ab rollouts too easy? Do them standing.

Still not difficult? Wear a weight vest.

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Trap Bar

Trap bar

Ever since the gym where I train got a trap bar a few weeks ago, I’ve been smacking that thing around as if my name were Chris Brown and it were called Rihanna.

Excellent for deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, farmer’s walks and shrugs.

Dip Belt

Dip belt

Mandatory lifting equipment on weighted chins and dips. The one in the pic above is the most comfortable I’ve ever tried. I’ve had mine for six years and it shows no signs of breaking down anytime soon.

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Spud Straps

Spud straps

Best straps on the market

Great grip aid on pulling exercises like heavy deads, DB rows and certain Olympic lift variations.

Unlike many other straps I’ve tried, these won’t feel uncomfortable against the wrists and can take years of abuse in the weight room without snapping in half.

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Yunus Barisik

Yunus Barisik, CSCS, is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for an elite junior hockey organization based in Espoo, Finland. He has trained hundreds of hockey players at the junior, college and pro levels, including NHL Draft picks and World Champions. An accomplished author, Yunus has had articles published on top fitness and performance sites, including STACK and Muscle & Strength. He also wrote Next Level Hockey Training, a comprehensive resource for ice hockey players on building athletic strength, size and power, while staying injury-free.