Strength training and football training equipment is EXPENSIVE, but there are some things that give you a tremendous bang for your buck. This is a list of my 13 favorite training tools you can buy for under $100 that will allow you to get some quality work done.
I’m sure I’ll hear your thoughts on what YOU believe should be on this list, so go ahead and fire away down below.
$20.99 each – Captains of Crush grip trainers – http://www.functionalhandstrength.com/captains_of_crush_grippers.html – Hand strength should be a priority for any football player, and the Captains of Crush grip trainers offer several levels of resistance. The Trainer, .5 and 1.0 versions are hard enough, but there’s a darn good chance you won’t be able to close their #2. It’s that hard. Probably no need to even try the #3, and forget about #4 and #5. If you have some serious grip training planned, this is an awesome tool. I recommend tying them up to your squat racks so they don’t walk out of the facility. They seem to have legs, and even though they’re not too expensive, replacing anything stinks.
$79 – Rogers Athletic Agility Circle, 10′ circle – http://www.rogersathletic.com/football/catalog/index.html – Sure, you can grab a rope or set up cones, but training circular patterns with an agility circle makes it WAY easier. Rounded patterns are not trained nearly enough, but you’ll see players using them in just about every play. There are a variety of drills you can do with this tool, so don’t think it’s only for defensive ends. Rogers is also one of my favorite companies to deal with because they have about as much integrity as anyone in the business.
$90 or $55 unfilled – Rogers Athletic 100 lb Jam Bag handled sand bag – http://www.rogersathletic.com/football/catalog/index.html – A good sandbag allows you to do dozens of exercises, and one with handles is even better. What I love about Rogers is that they give you the option to buy an unfilled bag for less, and it saves quite a bit on shipping. Lunges, presses, rotations movements, carries and more can be done with a 100 lb. bag. If you’ve never picked up and trained with a 100 lb. sandbag, you really owe it to yourself to give it a try.
$71.99 Medium Single Band Package from ResistanceBandTraining.com – https://rbt.infusionsoft.com/app/storeFront/showProductDetail?productId=70 - Dave “The Band Man” Schmitz is THE MAN when it comes to band training, and he puts together packages that make sense. Sure, you can get cheap bands for less, but trust me, you get what you pay for. The medium package will allow you to do dozens of exercises and train a large number of people all at one time. It’s like having multiple stations of a piece of strength equipment, except this costs less than $100.
$94.95 – 60 lb Cast Iron Kettlebell from Power Systems – http://www.power-systems.com/p-3451-kettlebells.aspx - Heavy kettelbell swings are a fantastic way to train the posterior chain and hip hinge movement, and the 60 lb cast iron version from Power Systems was the heaviest one I could find under $100. Other companies regularly run specials, so you might be able to get a heavier one for less, but I had to go with the normal catalog price to keep things consistent.
$81 – 6” Box from GTech Fitness – http://www.gtechfitness.com/body-solid-6-inch-plyo-box.aspx?gclid=CIyd_8b1y7kCFckRMwodKS0AUg – For ankle strengthening and training the stretch-shortening cycle in the lower leg, I love the 6″ box. Performing 1-leg hops on and off a 6″ box is an excellent way to develop lower leg rigidity and teach body control, but who wants to pay hundreds of dollars for a tiny, little box? If you don’t have a step or someone to make you a wooden box, G-Tech Fitness has the solution.
$99 – Jungle Gym XT – Suspension training for under $100! Awesome. http://www.performbetter.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product1_10151_10752_1005607_-1?cmp=cel&trigger=ac – Before you tell me that you prefer the TRX or whatever, just remember that the Perform Better Jungle Gym does the same thing for under $100. So, if you want to add suspension training to your program, but don’t want to spend a lot, this is a deal. This is especially important when you’re buying 5-10 of them.
$51 Leather Dip/Chin Belt – http://www.gtechfitness.com/troy-usa-sports-aldb-leather-dip-belt.aspx - You can certainly find different versions of a dip/chin belt, so I’m not saying this is necessarily the only one you should buy. I put this item on the list because it’s a “must have” addition to any weight room. Lots of athletes can perform dips and chins for high reps, so how do you overload it if you don’t have a way to add weight? You don’t. That’s why you need a dip/chin belt. Get one. Better yet, get three or four.
$32.50 Ivanko Super-Gripper – http://www.wwfitness.com/supergripper.html – This is probably my favorite item on the list. As much as I like the Captains of Crush grip trainers, the Ivanko Super-Gripper is one of the best values I’ve ever seen. It allows you to adjust the tension and hand placement for just about anyone, from really weak to incredibly strong. You can also focus on the thumb or individual fingers, which is something that’s very difficult to do with any other grip apparatus. If you’re reading this list and thinking “Which one should I buy first?” this is the one.
$99 – 24 kg Competition KettleBell from Perform Better – http://www.performbetter.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product1_10151_12301_1005565_-1?cmp=cel&trigger=ac - I know I already have a cast iron kettlebell on the list, but for all the kettlebell snobs out there who only want a competition kettlebell, this is for you. The 24 kg bell is not super heavy, but it’s heavy enough to get a good training effect for a lot of people, and it’s under $100.
$65 Rogue Fractional Plates (.25, .5, .75 & 1.00 lbs) – http://www.roguefitness.com/rogue-fractional-plates-lbs.php – Love this one. I think Rogue makes these for Olympic lifting in CrossFit, but there are a variety of other ways to use them in your weight room. In many lifts, increasing by very small amounts is the optimal way to “trick” your body into getting stronger. Sometimes, adding 5 lbs. to the bar is too much, and ruins your progress. When that’s a problem, fractional plates are the solution. Plus, Rogue makes them in pretty, all-American colors, which is very cool.
$95 – Rogue 24” Wooden Plyo Box – http://www.roguefitness.com/rogue-wood-plyoboxes.php – I love me some plyo boxes, but it sucks to spend hundreds of dollars just to jump on or off something two feet high. I’ve tried making my own, but I stunk that up. So, I usually end up shelling out crazy money for the metal versions. Sure, they last forever, but it’s always nice to have a less (much less) expensive option when you want to purchase multiple boxes. That’s where having a box under $100 can really save the day. Rogue to the rescue.
$99 – 50 foot, 1.25” diameter Dacron Battling Rope from Sorinex – http://store.sorinex.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=ROPE125 - This isn’t the thickest, heaviest rope out there, but getting a Dacron rope for under 100 smackers is a great way to add some training to your weight room. Just keep in mind that a 1.25″ diameter rope is going to be more for shoulder strengthening then for huge power slams because it’s not super heavy. For most of us, that’s a perfect use for a rope, and many of the huge ropes are way too much for young athletes anyway. Sorinex is another great company.
So, there it is. My 13 favorite training tools under $100. By the way, none of these are affiliate links, so we’re not making a dime from any of these companies. These are simply items that I like and think are great values. Now, let’s hear what you think I left off the list.