Ahh, the holidays… the most wonderful time of year! Not only do we get to share good food and kick back with family and friends, we get to show our loved ones just how much we care. For those of you with a special Spartan on your gift radar, we tapped SGX coach Yancy Culp for his best-of-2019 gear advice. From Sprinters, to Beasts to Ultra runners and OCR athletes in between, we selected the best in performance and fitness technology that’s sure to top their wish list. Check out our 15 top holiday gifts for athletes — even if that athlete is you!
Best Holiday Gifts for Sprint Runners
Don’t let the shorter distance fool you — Spartan Sprinters go just as fast and hard as their Beast and Ultra counterparts. Over three miles, these athletes crush 20 obstacles where speed is the name of the game. Great for beginners and veteran racers alike, here are three items for the speedster in your life.
Spartan Strength Band
Sprint success comes down to speed and strength. For improvement in both areas, look no further than the Spartan Strength Band. A top choice among coaches, the lighter resistance version lends itself to dynamic mobility exercises. According to Spartan SGX coach Yancy Culp the bands are “a great tool for working the all-important grip and pull strength endurance.” Culp utilizes the bands during assisted pull-ups, hand position changes, shoulder taps, and hip slap reps to maximize strength training during workouts.
BUY IT: Spartan Strength Band; $15
Spartan Foam Plyobox
Jumping higher, lifting heavier and moving faster all start with developing fast twitch muscles. Top trainers say the best way to do that is through plyometrics. The sturdy yet storable Spartan Foam Plyobox comes in a range of heights for abilities and fitness goals so you, or your Spartan, can get after it.
BUY IT: Spartan Foam Plyobox; Starting at $143
Spartan by Craft Compression Knee Sock
While socks for the holidays might seem like a letdown for most, Spartans know the right pair can make or break a race. And these aren’t your average gym socks. Craft’s Compression Knee Socks are packed with features to help you perform at your peak. A snug fit reduces muscle vibration and improves stability. Meanwhile, ergonomically placed pressure points and cooling panels keep you comfortable as you crush the course at 110 percent.
BUY IT: Spartan by Craft Compression Knee Sock; Unisex $40
Best Holiday Gifts for Beast Runners
Spartans that seek to conquer a Beast train for the trifecta of performance: speed, strength and endurance. Over a half marathon (that’s 13.1 miles) Spartans tackle 30 obstacles that demand dedication, grit and perseverance. These three essentials will help them crush the course with confidence.
Spartan Resistance Loop
This stocking stuffer packs a punch for the athlete in your life. From seasoned Spartans to beginners, these loops can make training even more fun and versatile (think: squat variations, lunges, body weight lifts, you name it). According to Coach Culp, the loops “provide you with an inexpensive and convenient full body strength training tool.” At 12’’ in diameter, the loops easily fit around the upper and lower legs for hip and lower leg workouts.
BUY IT: Spartan Resistance Loop; $5
When getting to the gym isn’t an option, don’t slack off. Instead, grab the Ramroller and get creative at home. Crafted from 100 percent recycled materials, you can use this tool for over a hundred workouts to improve everything from grip strength to power to endurance. Best of all, the Ramroller works in recovery as a roller for myofascial release to increase flexibility and reduced muscle inflammation.
BUY IT: Spartan Ramroller; 44LB $119
Spartan Junk Big Bang Lite Headband Heathered Beast
Get psyched up for the main event (and dress the part!) with this Beast edition moisture wicking headband. The poly-spandex is formulated to feel like normal t-shirt material but offers breathability and resists odors. Plus, it’ll wick sweat and keep it from stinging your eyes. This trusty piece will be a staple of your daily training kit.
BUY IT: Spartan Junk Big Bang Lite Headband Heathered Beast; $15.99
Best Gifts for Ultra Runners
Ultras demand everything Spartans have got, and more. We’re talking from physical strength and endurance to mental resilience and toughness. Over 50 kilometers, athletes face 60 challenging obstacles that test both training and resolve. These gifts will help them tackle training and prep for the haul.
Spartan Mobot Foam Roller Water Bottle
Ultra Runners train longer and harder than most Spartans — that means they’re almost always recovering from a workout. This unique bottle makes hydration easy (because we all know how important that is) and offers the bonus of do-anywhere muscle recovery thanks to the built-in foam roller.
BUY IT: Spartan Mobot Foam Roller Water Bottle; $50
Petzl Tikkina Classic Headlamp
Anyone who says there aren’t enough hours in the day to train for an Ultra is right — that’s what this headlamp is for. Don’t let the sun dictate your workout schedule. At just 81 grams, this small but mighty weather-resistant headlamp pumps out a 250-lumen flood beam for workouts before the sun rises and after it sets. No excuses now.
BUY IT: Petzl Tikkina Classic Headlamp; $19.95
Spartan Fuel Collagen Protein
When you’re on intense training programs, it’s critical to ensure you’re properly refueling your system. Spartan Fuel’s Collagen Protein promotes overall body health, especially skin, bones, muscles and joints to help you reach your optimal fitness. Add this to your workout smoothie for quicker, better recovery.
BUY IT: Spartan Fuel Collagen Protein; $39.95
Best Holiday Gifts for Athletes: OCR Men
Skip the tie and itchy sweater this holiday season (because, really, what guy needs more of those). Instead, get the Spartan man in your life something that’ll withstand the beating of training or an intense race. (The secret: in every guy, there’s a little boy just dying to get dirty… these gifts will have him well on his way.)
Spartan by Craft RD Pro Trifecta OCR Running Shoe
Whether he’s running his first Sprint or his third Ultra, this OCR running shoe is designed to go the distance. Designed by OCR racers, for OCR racers, it’s lightweight, flexible and offers all-terrain grip to conquer any obstacle in any weather. It also features unique ACR-Foam that absorbs impact providing lasting comfort beyond the finish line.
BUY IT: Spartan by Craft RD Pro Trifecta OCR Running Shoe; $140
Spartan by Craft Stow Light Vest
When the temperatures drop, he’ll happily reach for the Stow Light vest. This layer is perfect for cold-weather workouts or apres a gym sweat session. Primaloft insulation helps manage heat and moisture better than traditional down. And best of all, the vest compresses into its own pocket for easy packing so he can take this extra layer on the go.
BUY IT: Spartan by Craft Stow Light Vest; $120
Best Holiday Gifts for Athletes: OCR Women
Spartan women are some of the toughest around. Outside of the course, they’re moms, business professionals, gym rats, PTA masters, and pack serious mental grit to get it all done. Show your Spartan woman just how much you love her with these gifts that’ll not only fit into her busy lifestyle, but enhance it.
Spartan by Craft Transit Studio Bag
All the goods she needs for a training session at the gym fits easily in this sleek 25 liter tote — Think: ample pockets for snacks, water, and the necessities for everyday life. A zipper top keeps the elements out and her gear inside, and an adjustable shoulder strap and a carry handle make this ideal to sport around town.
BUY IT: Spartan by Craft Transit Studio Bag; $60
Spartan by Craft Compression Tight
Durable enough to crush a Spartan course, these Shape tights are so comfortable she won’t ever take them off. Camo detailing and sweat-wicking material balance performance and function with fashion. Made of a dual poly-elastane blend with ergonomic paneling, Craft’s tights move with the body and provide essential support to key muscle groups.