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Fitness Festivus

We found the best gear gifts for the holidays.

By Amanda Burrill, MS


Choosing the right gifts for the gym folk in your life is no easy task. Fitness buffs can be just as picky about their gear as they are about their choice of pre-workout. I tested a ton of stuff and found what I think will make that special someone do the happy dance after tearing through the wrapping paper.

Nothing says “Happy Holidays!” like a well thought out gift that the recipient will actually use. I’m talking some gym classics that directly translate to gainz. I’m no stranger to the “this is for you, but it’s actually for me, too” gifts. You know what I’m talking about, like that Nobu gift card or the cute little see-through negligee. How about a little something that will render your honey even better and hotter than before? Win-win.



Harbinger Flexifit Contour Belt

Cost: $35

Where to buy:

Some folks have the impression that weightlifting belts support your core so that your muscles don’t have to. False. Belts actually help increase the use of your abs and low-back muscles. They stabilize and reduce stress on the spine, help create better mechanics, and thus lead to better performance. Harbinger’s ultralight men’s and women’s Flexifit Contour Belts offer support and stability with a new overlap front panel, rigid central panel for additional abdominal support, and two kidney pockets to enhance comfort around the torso.


Slidez Core Stability Discs

Cost: $30

Where to buy:

Supreme overall strength originates from the core. These Slidez are fun and versatile, engaging muscles through a vast array of range of motion and training drills. The super smooth side is built to glide over pretty much any surface so you don’t need any special flooring or footwear. The opposite ergonomic surface keeps hands and feet from slipping while performing the exercises. I’ve been seeing similar items used in gyms for a while now, but bring your own so you don’t have to wait your turn. Another cool feature you won’t find on similar gear: Integrated fasteners clip the Slidez together for bilateral training.



Fat Gripz

Cost: $40

Where to buy:

I was late to the party on this movement, but this simple technology is taking arm and forearm size and grip strength by storm. By thickening handles and bars with the Fat Gripz, you stimulate more muscle activation. Imagine bench-pressing with a thick bar compared to a standard skinny bar. The thick bar shifts the stress off the joints and onto the muscles, spreading the weight over the larger area of the hand, stimulating all sorts of untouched muscle fiber. Fair warning, you may feel humbled by the amount of weight you’ll lift when first using these. The forearm burn will be insane, but soon everything will catch up and you will be bigger and stronger than ever.




Harbinger BioForm WristWrap Gloves

Cost: $40–$50

Where to buy:

Harbinger has built its reputation over time as a performance-oriented brand for athletes and bodybuilders. Their latest glove additions for both men and women come in all colors and durabilities, but I’ve singled out these particular gloves for two special features. First are the BioForm pads that soften with body heat, molding to hand and bar for excellent grip. Second is the fully adjustable wrist-wrap technology integrated into the glove, reducing wrist fatigue and injury, and increasing capacity to lift heavier weights. It’s a glove and wrap rolled into one.




SKLZ Weighted Vest

Cost:  $90

Where to buy:

The holy throne of bodybuilding cardio, the stair climber, is the perfect way to get acquainted with this understated—thank goodness­—nylon mesh vest. This breathable model distributes weight evenly adjusting from one to 10 pounds in half-pound increments, and the weights are soft, allowing it to bend and flex with your movements. I’m taking mine rock climbing to amp my upper-body strength. Another awesome feature are the Velcro belts that adjust to fit almost anyone, making it perfect for swolemates. While he lifts, you stair climb with this, and then switch off.




Crossover Symmetry Shoulder System

Cost: $195

Where to buy:

The Crossover Symmetry Shoulder System is an evidence-based shoulder-health invention engineered to relieve pain and prevent injury while maximizing the work. It’s all highly adaptable with five programs (Activation, Activation+, Recovery, Strength, and Mobility) that target different aspects of shoulder performance, band-resistance options to fit current strength needs (novice, athletic, and elite), and three attachment options (door belts, wall mounts, and squat rack loops), so you can do it anywhere. Also of note, Crossover Symmetry improved my posture, aided in the neck physical therapy I was involved in, and, best of all, it only took five minutes a day.



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