Holiday 2014 Gift Guide - for the mobility & fitness fan

A gift guide for and from those of us who are interested or learning about fitness, training, mobility, and movement--regardless of skill level or athleticism.

I spend a lot of time thinking about strength and have been making big gains in my performance in the weight room, but mobility is equally, if not more, important. My dad and I often compare notes about our latest mobility exercises and tools, and my wife gets as excited as I do when we figure out a new technique or get new at-home equipment.

Last year at Christmas, my dad gave everyone lacrosse balls for rolling and smashing on muscle tissue and some bands for active stretching. We use them all the time. This got me thinking, there are some great gift ideas you could give friends and family to get them started with mobility work that feels good and helps training or everyday performance.

  1. Resistance bands for assisted pull-ups and banded distraction. This set of 4 or this set of 2 would be a great gift. I use them for banded distraction for my hips as well as higher rep  sets or working strictly on form in the pull-up.
  2. A high density foam roller is a great tool for working out tissue and a fun way for someone to start doing rolling work before and after workouts. (Or while watching TV!) We have the longest one (36") and use it all the time.
  3. I've worn Chuck Taylor Converse for years, but now when learning about weight training and natural movement patterns, I understand the importance of zero-drop shoes--especially for weight training. A squat or deadlift in positive heeled shoes feels so strange now. My Converse get worn out before I replace them, so I think these are a great gift for anyone like me or someone who's used to working out in Nikes but wants to start wearing flat shoes.
  4. Becoming a Supple Leopard by Dr. Kelly Starrett really is the "Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance." It's thick and comprehensive like a textbook, but easy to read and goes over so many of our questions about movement and strength and conditioning. I bought a copy and showed my dad, then he had to buy a copy.
  5. We use basic lacrosse balls for rolling out tight tissue. One or two of these would be a great stocking stuffer. Or get a few and tape two together to create a roller for the neck and down the thoracic spine.
  6. Kettlebells!!! The ultimate portable, versatile fitness tool. (You can read about our experience kettlebell training here.) Even if you only have ONE, you can get a good workout with swings (single- or both arm), goblet squats, and more. I think the 35 pound one would be a good one to start with, but a cheaper option that would be good for a beginner (or intermediate trainer doing Turkish get-ups) is the 15 or 20 pound one. I add these in to an otherwise mobility focused guide because working with kettle bells in proper form will really show you all of your weak spots. Whether it's tight hamstrings, shoulders, poor posture, short pecs. etc. Kettlebell training will help you improve your total body awareness and point you to spots you need to roll out with a roller or lacrosse ball, in addition to getting you stronger!
Hope you enjoy these gift ideas for family and friends!


  1. Ah, those foam rollers are SO addictive! I might have to add that to my xmas list :)

  2. I've been wanting to get a foam roller for quite some time...I should make sure my husband knows that when he goes gift shopping!

  3. The foam roller is on my list! We might be adding a kettlebell to our home workouts, but I'm afraid of what the children might do to/with it...

  4. I really do want a kettlebell. That is a great idea for my own list! Thanks for sharing.

  5. foam rollers are awesome!!


  6. Yes!!!! I want ALL the kettlebells!! ;)

  7. Fantastic list! I've been looking for a good foam roller for my husband.... thanks for the share!

  8. Love me some chuck taylors. I think my husband is really going to like your blog, I'm going to show him!

  9. I love this list and 2nd it! My foam roller saved me so that one would be my #1 recommendation.

  10. I'm a big fan of my foam roller. I use it to stretch out my back (chronic soreness, ugh) and there's nothing like it.

  11. Cool post..! Attractive gift suggestions. http://alin-shop.com/.


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