Athletes in the Olympic and Paralympic Games share their top tips so you can fuel your body and rock your workouts Like an Olympian.
Some Olympians may go to expensive and extreme lengths for their training, but anti-gravity treadmills, exclusive sneakers and high-end massage therapy treatments are generally not what top athletes credit for their success. For most, it's a few simple — even affordable! — pieces of workout gear.
We chatted with four 2022 Olympians and Paralympians to learn about their most beloved exercise products. These buys are difference-makers for anyone looking to add athlete-approved gear to their exercise rotation. With their guidance, get ready to take your training to your most elite level.
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1. Layering Pants
When U.S. Olympic skier and 2021 World Cup Winner Winter Vinecki is on the slopes, in the gym or even just hanging around her house, she's rocking the Athleta Salutation Stash Pocket II Capri. A key highlight for Vinecki? The pockets! These can stash your phone, AirPods, ChapStick and granola bars, too.
Most importantly for the winter-weather athlete, the leggings make a great base layer to wear under a pair of cozy sweats or ski pants with some high socks. And, worn alone, they offer enough breathability for an indoor gym session or Pilates class.
What to Look for
- Slim cut: If you're looking for a good pair of layering pants, slim cut is key for fitting smoothly under snow pants or sweats.
- Sweat-wicking fabric: Nylon, Lycra and polyester help your lower half stay warm and dry.
- Thermal material: Wool and nylon are great for keeping you warm if you need extra protection from cold temperatures.
Athleta Salutation Stash Pocket II Capri
Buy it: Athleta.com; Price: $89
DEVOPS Men's Thermal Compression Pants
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $19.98
32 Degrees Women's Lightweight Baselayer Legging
Buy it: 32degrees.com; Price: $6.99
2. Resistance Bands
"Especially since the pandemic and accessible equipment became harder to come by, I've gotten really creative with the use of resistance bands with my trainers," he says.
There's pretty much no shortage of exercises you can do with a resistance band. You can even add them to your favorite barbell moves to make them more challenging. (Pro tip: Try banded hip thrusts and you'll never look back.)
You can find exercise bands in a variety of shapes, sizes and resistance levels, depending on the exercises you want to do:
- Long-loop bands: These are the most versatile bands out there. While a must for assisting in exercises like pull-ups, they also let you squat, row, press and twist against resistance. You can also wrap them around dumbbells or barbells to make free-weight exercises more challenging.
- Small-loop bands: Also known as hip circles or booty bands, these are ideal for exercises like lateral band walks in which you want to challenge your side glutes.
- Tubes with handles: The handles on these resistance bands make it easier to grab the band for exercises like biceps curls or overhead presses.
RitFit Pull Up Assist Band
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $26.95
Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $6.99
RitFit Single Resistance Exercise Band
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $10.95
3. Workout Gloves
"I get cold fingers really easily, so a thick, durable glove is a must for me," says Danielle Aravich, a 2022 Paralympian in Nordic skiing.
What to Look for
- Dry materials: Read the product info for a fabric that's sweat-wicking and breathable (like nylon or polyester) so your hands don't get swampy.
- Thermal fabrics: Wool and nylon are good choices for cold temps.
- Tech-friendly finger pads: Because who wants to have to peel off their glove to adjust their phone's pump-up playlist?
Smartwool Merino 150 Glove
Buy it: Smartwool.com; Price: $30
Unigear Lightweight Running Gloves
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $15.99
Under Armour Liner 2.0 Gloves
Buy it: Underarmour.com; Price: $25
4. Ski Machines
The treadmill, elliptical and indoor bike are some of the most popular cardio machines at the gym. But the ski exercise machine definitely doesn't get enough credit, says sled hockey gold medalist Jack Wallace.
"I have spent countless hours on this machine building my skating capacity," he says. "It is an extremely taxing workout device, so it also strengthens your mental ability to push through pain and fatigue."
It's hard not to fall in love with the ski machine once you give it a try. Mimicking the act of skiing, this machine involves pulling two cables to your sides (like ski poles) while you lower into a squat.
Bottom line: It's the ultimate way to shake up your cardio routine.
What to Look for
- LCD screen: This is important if you want to track your progress and performance.
- Space-saving dimensions: Make sure the machine is compatible with your available space
- Adjustable flywheel: This lets you customize the resistance.
WOLFMATE Ski Indoor Exercise Machine
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $999
Concept2 SkiErg With PM5
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $1,095
NordicTrack Classic Pro Skier
Buy it: Nordictrack.com; Price: $799
To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Winter Olympics, beginning February 3, and Paralympics, starting March 4, on NBC.