We're firm believers that you don't need much to get a great workout. Some weights, some time, and some willingness to sweat are where it starts—although gym wars get waged daily about how much of the first two are even necessary.
But we're also believers that the right workout accessory can make a big difference on certain lifts—and your whole body is covered with these four winners. If something inexpensive that fits in your gym bag can make your squat or bench form better, your back work more effective, and your arm training more brutal and efficient, what's the downside? (The answer: Nothing).
Here are your favorite workout tools from 2018!
Winner: Fat Gripz
It seems too simple to work; add a couple of pieces of thick rubber to a dumbbell, barbell, or even a cable handle, and it makes every upper-body exercise you do better. And yet, we hear constantly from lifters old and new that Fat Gripz were the game-changer they never knew they desperately needed.
So, let it be known from this day forward: When it comes to the upper body, using a bigger (not to be confused with heavier) bar is better. Your forearms, biceps, shoulders—everything works harder, gets stronger, and even your form improves when you incorporate fat-grip training. Yes, you'll have to go lighter—at least, at first. But no, that's not a bad thing.
Mark Bell's Sling Shot is the best invention since, well, the bench press. So, what makes the Mad Dog stand apart? For one, there's pretty much no ceiling to how heavy it can go. If you're benching around 400 pounds or more, this is the one for you. It was designed with input from the world's biggest benchers, and when you use it, it doesn't just make you a stronger bencher—it makes you a better bencher. Your form is better, the right muscle groups play together the way they should, and your nervous system gets prepped to handle even bigger weights in the future.
Meet the secret weapon of elite bodybuilders and physique competitors worldwide. The Pro Series from Versa Gripps takes grip fatigue entirely out of the question, allowing you to really focus on feeling that mind-muscle connection on essential pulling movements like rows, pull-downs, and deadlifts. It also provides wrist support, and features an innovative quick-release feature that makes it easier than ever to release the bar and prevent injury. Don't let your hands hold you back!
See a trend? Fat Gripz make you a better presser and curler, the Sling Shot makes you a better bencher, Versa Gripps make you a better rower, and the Sling Shot Grippy Hip Circle is a one-stop shop for making pretty much every lower-body movement more effective. Of course, you can use it to help warm up your glutes before any and all lower-body training. You can also wear it while performing squats, a simple shift that instantly and dramatically helps improve your squat form. Drop the flimsy butt-bands and invest in one of these bad boys, and you won't regret it.