Tag Archives: foam roller

Xmas Gift Ideas for People Who Work Out

If you’re looking for gift ideas for people you know that are into lifting or exercise in general, here are mine. You could also add these to your own wish list or simply buy them for yourself. I have broken them down by price.


$1 – $20

First off, an ab wheel. This is easily one of the best tools to develop your abdominal muscles. For slightly under $13 with free shipping, you can’t go wrong. It’s also rated 5/5 on Amazon with 81 reviews (when I checked).



And who doesn’t want a Superman t-shirt? For $13 with free shipping, you can’t beat it.



Next up… a pair of yoga blocks for just under $13 with free shipping. 5/5 based on 165 reviews when I checked. These are terrific for yoga (obviously), stretching, self-myofascial release, etc.



Lacrosse balls are just about essential for self myofascial release. I would suggest getting three: One for trigger point release and two as a lacrosse ball peanut (to work on thoracic extension). You can get three white ones for $17.95 with free shipping (the cheapest color is blue at $18.95 with free shipping for 3 balls).  If you end up buying only one, most of the colors cost $6.95. Note: The ‘size’ option on the page is actually just how many balls you want. The balls are all the same size. They are standard lacrosse balls.


Foam rollers are awesome for recovery work and you can get one for under $20! The one below got rated 5/5 with 1,014 reviews (at the time I’m writing this) and you can get the 36 inch version for $19 with free shipping. You could also go to a home improvement store and buy a PVC pipe for $3, but it will hurt a lot more. 🙂 If you’re new to foam rolling, this is likely a better option. I’ll add some more expensive foam rollers that are also excellent in the price categories below.


Lifting chalk is awesome to keep a grip on those heavy barbells. Under $13 with free shipping for a pound of the stuff is a great deal. 5/5 rating with 161 reviews makes this stuff a no-brainer, if you even lift.


The eco ball is my favorite chalk alternative. It’s like regular chalk, except it doesn’t leave a mess. $5.95 with free shipping makes this an awesome, yet inexpensive, gift for any lifter or climber. 5/5 rating with 66 reviews. I personally use this, because my gym doesn’t allow normal chalk, and love it.


Liquid Grip is a liquid chalk that doesn’t leave a mess. You can get the 1.5oz bottle for $5 with free shipping or you can get an 8oz bottle for slightly under $20 with free shipping.


Under Armour t-shirts are awesome for keeping relatively dry when you’re sweating your ass off. Usually they cost slightly more than $20, but some size and color combinations can be had for less than $20!


Similarly to the Under Armour t-shirts, UA boxers will keep you from having epic swamp ass. For under $20 with free shipping and a 5/5 rating from 210 reviews, you can’t go wrong with these. I wear them to the gym all the time.


Lifting straps are usually good to have. You can get them for under $6 with free shipping.


Other gift ideas under $20: Deadlift Slippers for $13.95 with free shipping | Bacon Socks for $9.90 with free shipping | Shaker Bottle for under $8 with free shipping | 600g of Optimum Nutrition creatine powder for under $15 with free shipping

$21 – $50

I’ll start this price category off with some Under Armour shorts, which you can get for just under $25 with free shipping. 5/5 rating based on 145 reviews.


Fat Gripz are awesome to make your grip stronger. You can grab some for under $40 with free shipping. Rated 5/5 based on 222 reviews.


The Stick is a great recovery tool. Depending on which one you pick, you can get it for slightly under $28 with free shipping.


A ton of the mobility tools available at Rogue can be purchased for under $50. What I’d specifically recommend would be: Monster Bands, lacrosse balls, Voodoo Floss Bands and a Knobber.


Other gift ideas under $50: 13 inch Grid foam roller for $39 with free shipping | 12 inch Rumble Roller for $45 with free shipping | 2lbs of Optimum Nutrition whey protein powder for $28 with free shipping | Rehband Knee Sleeves for $43 with free shipping

$51 – $100

For around $60, you can get a nice powerlifting belt with a lever.


A blender to make some badass shakes can be had for under $80 with free shipping!


Whether or not you get the blender, Optimum Nutrition whey protein powder is a great choice because you can mix it into water or milk with just a spoon. It tastes great and boosts your daily protein intake with ease. Under $54 for 5lbs of the stuff is pretty damn good!


$60 with free shipping gets you a nice food dehydrator, so you can make your own jerky and dried fruits. Apple chips are delicious!



This is where all the really awesome gift ideas will be of course. I’ll start with the Excalibur food dehydrator. You can get one for $255 with free shipping to make homemade beef or turkey jerky, dried fruits, dried herbs, etc.


For just over $100, you can get yourself an Olympic barbell. The best start to any great home gym.


For $450 you can get an awesome Vitamix blender. Pricey, but arguably the best blender out there. I’m not sure who argues about blenders though…


Need more ideas?

If you need more fitness-related gifts and found nothing you liked in my list, browse through the Rogue site and I’m sure you’ll find something you like. I wish I could buy almost everything on there…


Foam Roller Fail

I was just going through looking at these foam rollers and came across this epic picture. I’m not sure WTF this guy is doing, but it’s awesome! Stay safe, brahs.


Back to School Training Advice

For those of you going back to school now, there might be less opportunities to get your training done. This is especially true for athletes. Below are a few quick tips to make it easier on yourself.

Reduce Training Frequency and/or Volume

This one is pretty straightforward. If you have less time to train often, then train with less frequency. Make sure you keep intensity high, so you continue to grow stronger and at the very least maintain your muscle mass. Programs like 5/3/1 (I’d also recommend reading Beyond 5/3/1, if you plan to run it) offer 2 or 3 day per week training templates, which can still be extremely effective. Sometimes it’s more about quality than quantity.

If you have some time to train daily, but it’s not enough to do all the volume you’re used to, prioritize your workouts. Figure out what exercises are most important (probably the compounds like squat, deadlift, row, pull up, bench press and overhead press) and for the rest of your training try to combine exercises (i.e. instead of doing dumbbell lateral raises and cable external rotations simply do a dumbbell L-Raise) or superset them (i.e. do a set of pullups between OHP sets).

Remember that the added school stress can create a situation where fatigue accumulates more quickly. This doesn’t mean you should stop training hard, but training smart would be a great idea as well now. Be efficient with your time. Do enough to make progress, but don’t hammer away with things that basically only help make you more tired and sore.


Improve Time-Efficiency with At-Home Workouts

Let’s say you have a limited amount of time per week to hit the gym, but you have some time during study breaks where you could squeeze in some quick workouts. An efficient way to set up your training program based on these requirements would be to hit all your big lifts at the gym, when you have access to the weights you need for those. Then just do the rest of your assistance work at home.

Even if you have limited space, you can probably rig up a door frame pull up bar and do some band exercises. A lot of body weight exercises are also possible. I’d recommend checking out Convict Conditioning and Convict Conditioning 2, because a dorm room is a lot like a prison cell.

An example: If you want to get better at pull ups, this would be a good opportunity to try a grease the groove program for that. You’d basically do a few pull ups during your study breaks to get better at them. Use bands to assist if you can’t do a few regular pullups with your body weight yet. Or add weight with a weighted vest.

Study breaks are also a very good opportunity to get some foam rolling and/or stretching done. Or do some yoga to relax and stretch. My active recovery article has some more basic information.

If you feel tired and need to wake the fuck up, try out Elliott Hulse’s bio-energizer routine. You might look like a nutjob doing some of the ‘drills’, but it does work.

Tools you might find helpful for at-home workouts: Door Frame Pull Up Bar | Jumpstretch Bands | Weighted Vest | TRX Suspension Trainer | Rumble RollerThe Grid Foam RollerRegular Cheap Foam RollerLacrosse Ball (for trigger point self myofascial release) | Yoga Kit for Beginners |


In Season Athletes: Train for Your Sport

If your season is starting and you’ve been lifting weights 4+ times per week, it’s time to reduce this and focus on your sport. Give 100% in practices and don’t hold back to reserve energy for lifting. If you get 1-2 lifting sessions in per week during the season, that’s fine. Simply do what your energy levels allow for. If you have free time outside of practice to train, make sure you prioritize recovery over lifting. Now is not the time to get stronger, you should prioritize this during the offseason. Now is the time to become better at your sport.

To get an example of what I’m talking about, check out the in-season training portion of Westside for Skinny Bastards from DeFranco.


Prepare Meals Ahead of Time

If you have access to a kitchen daily with the time to cook, this might not be a big deal… but that’s not the situation a lot of college students will find themselves in. So make it count when you do have time and access to a kitchen or you’ll probably end up eating a bunch of junk food. Cook your meals in bulk, separate them into tupperware containers and also make yourself healthy snacks that can be kept for a while (i.e. beef or turkey jerky, dried fruit, hard boiled eggs, or homemade protein bars). A food dehydrator can be very helpful! Excalibur is a bad motherfucker.


And that wraps this one up. Remember that I’m not a doctor, so this is just advice from a guy who lifts and has been pressed for time in the past himself. I hope it helps some people!

Limber 11 Video – Upgrade of Agile 8

One of the most popular lower body warmup and general flexibility routines has been the Agile 8 from Joe DeFranco. The video below is a new and improved version called the Limber 11, also from Joe DeFranco. This routine will improve your hip mobility and can be a part of your daily active recovery work.

Tools you will need: Lacrosse Ball | Foam Roller – A PVC pipe does the trick and the Rumble Roller is probably the best foam roller you can buy. I also like the Trigger Point The Grid foam roller.