Training for a fitness event this year but don’t know what’s out there to help get you in tip-top shape? Whatever you’re training for, there are plenty of innovations to see you through to tough times, from bodyweight training tools to high-tech recovery aids.
With that, here’s my rundown of the best equipment, tech, gizmo, innovation – whatever you want to call it – for any type of training so that you’re suitably kitted out for any workout, event or challenge.
BODY WEIGHT TRAINING AND CALISTHENICS
TRX Home 2 suspension training kit
The TRX home kit can be used alongside a free app for bodyweight workout ideas TRX
If you haven’t swung from the rafters with TRX suspension training before, you’re doing life wrong. Invented by a Navy Seal to keep his fellow troops fit in remote parts of the world, TRX involves the use of hanging bands to engage muscles using your own body weight. They help sculpt an over-all physique, too, as they can aid in changing the way you angle your body during exercise, so every muscle can be engaged in a pull or push motion.
The TRX home kit is great because you can fix it to a door or crevice of your choice with ease, transforming any room into a gym. All-in-all, TRX is a super simple method of exercise that can help anyone to reach a desired fitness goal, be it weight loss, improved muscle tone or just overall strength and wellbeing.
Auster Power Rings are great for body strength training and can be taken anywhere, especially the park for hanging from a tree Auster
The Power Rings will take your training intensity up a gear, helping to develop pull-ups and dips and increase your workout options. While the rings are designed to work with the Auster System, clipping easily onto a Patented Dual Carabiner on the Auster anchors, they can also be used as a standalone piece of equipment. This means they can be individually looped around a bar and fastened using the carabiners, or better yet, taken to the park, hung from a tree, and used as a workout tool during a lovely sunny day.
With all adjusters, anchors, carabiners, and clips being made from aerospace grade aluminum, each strap is strong enough to withstand over 550kg of force, so ideal for anyone.
Available here: austerfit.com
WEIGHT TRAINING AND THE GYM
Smart Tools Plus Smart Cuffs
BFR training is essentially a strategy that involves the use of cuffs or wraps placed around a limb during exercise Lee Bell
The Smart Cuffs device by Smart Tools Plus is one of the best kits out there for the training of Blood Flow Restriction (BFR).
BFR training is essentially a strategy that involves the use of cuffs or wraps placed around a limb during exercise. The aim of this is to safely restrict venous blood flow from a working muscle while allowing arterial blood flow, which is usually done with low-intensity resistance training. Since the ability of that blood to escape is dramatically reduced, metabolic stress and cellular swelling are greatly increased. As a result, increased growth hormone, muscle hypertrophy, and muscle strength (are said) to occur. The Smart Cuffs can be used on the upper arms, as shown in the above photo, but also work on the lower limbs as well as while working out on a TRX system.
BFR has been around a long time but is only now gaining some real traction, especially in the rehab and therapy world. Mainly because it allows us to achieve similar changes in strength and muscle growth without having to use higher loads.
I tried them at No1 Fitness Training in London. While I could feel a lot of tension in my muscles while lifting the weights, it didn’t hurt; it simply felt like my muscles had reached overload much more quickly, and with much lower weight than they would normally. You do feel a little like your muscles are going to pop towards the end of the set, but it’s a good feeling – almost like good old Arnie pumping some iron in a Gold’s Gym. The cuffs also work on the lower limbs (legs) as shown above, and can be used while working out on a TRX system.
Available here: Smarttoolsplus.com
Halo 2 Sport
The Halo Sport 2 help speed up the learning process or skill acquisition, improve movement efficiency when training Halo Sport 2
The Halo 2 Sport is the next-generation pair of headphones, building on the original that were designed to make your training or practice more efficient by improving your brain’s natural plasticity. By applying a mild electric field to the motor cortex, Halo’s Neuropriming technology induces a state of “hyperplasticity”. This is apparently because when you train in a hyperplastic state, the brain’s normal fine-tuning process occurs more rapidly — meaning better results from each practice rep.
Essentially, they speed up the learning process or skill acquisition, improve movement efficiency (which decreases the ‘cost’ of exercise energetically and load wise), and therefore mean more efficient, less physically taxing training for better results.
The latest generation of the headphones, the Halo 2 Sport, feature improved sound quality in line with high-end headphones, updated Primers that make Neuropriming much easier, and a fresh Halo Sport app that includes tracking, reminders, and brain training tips.
Available here: haloneuro.com
CYCLING SPORTIVES AND TRIATHLONS
Canyon Endurace AL 7.0 road bike
The Endurace AL 7.0 is a very good mid-range road bike for all levels of cycling expertise Canyon
Obviously, if you’re doing a cycling sportive, race or triathlon, you’re going to need a bike. And not just any type of bike: a decent road bike, something lightweight and thus fast, but also the right fit for you. This is something I didn’t have. So I took myself off to one of the biggest bike brands, Canyon, who stock a range of decent quality road bikes made for events like triathlons that are super high quality but won’t bankrupt you.
I opted for the Endurace AL 7.0, which I was told is a good quality but also affordable road bike for all levels of cycling expertise. All in all, it has so far proven to one of my favorite bikes to ride, ever, mainly because it not only feels super sturdy but it’s also very light (just over 8kg) thanks to a light aluminum frame. You feel like you can carry it anywhere and thus doesn’t feel a burden like a lot of bulky, heavier bikes can, meaning I want to take it out more with me and have been more likely to train.
It’s a true all-rounder and thus perfect for a triathlon. I’ve also found it to be great for flat or hilly terrain, so even a goer for practicing in cities like London, like I have been.
Available here: canyon.com
Garmin Edge 1030 is a GPS genius when it comes to road cycling Lee Bell
The Garmin Edge 1030 is the perfect cycling companion, especially when doing longer cycling journeys, such as sportives or challenges. It’s the firm’s most advanced Edge computer to date. Thanks to built-in GPS, it doesn’t rely on your phone to tell you where you are or which way to go: a sat nav for bikes. You can also upload pre-recorded routes to follow and it will guide you the right way. Its feature list is never-ending and it even can record where you’ve traveled.
I used the Edge 1030 to measure everything I needed as it tracked my cycle adventure during a sportive in the New Forest last year, from the speed I was going as I bombed down the country lanes, to the miles I’d covered when I got back home. If you’re serious about cycling and want to keep a dedicated track your rides, the Garmin Edge 1030 is an ideal companion.
Available here: buy.garmin.com
Theragun G3 is the firm’s latest device to aid muscle recovery Theragun
The Theragun G3 is the firm’s latest device used to aid muscle recovery. For a truly deep muscle treatment, most devices and therapies cause a great deal of pain, limiting their effectiveness and causing discomfort. However, the G3 uses a strong percussive force on the muscle that creates intense blood flow to help the muscle recover without the pain normally associated with deep muscle treatment. It’s also extremely well made, sturdy and a premium feeling device that you’ll love showing off in your home gym, for example.
Available here: theragun.com
The NormaTec recovery stockings are like a sports massage without the hefty bill at the end Lee Bell
The NormaTec compression “stockings” great for boosting circulation post-workout thanks to the firm’s patented PULSE technology, which helps athletes recover faster between training and after performance. They use compressed air to massage your limbs, mobilize fluid, and speed recovery and do feel akin to a sports massage, just without the pricey bill afterward.
This is because they have the effect of improving the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues while removing metabolites and waste products from muscle activity. Before I tried them, I was told they would give me a feeling of freshness and relaxation, decreasing muscle soreness and ensuring readiness to train again sooner. I have to say, they weren’t wrong. It felt super relaxing as the stockings squeezed my legs tight; I certainly didn’t want to get out of them when it was time to take them off.
Available here: normatecrecovery.com