Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Keep These Six Items in Your Gym Bag

Health and injury prevention require dedication, commitment, and planning. Having the right essentials in your gym bag can improve your chances of staying healthy and performing at your optimal level. Here are six items that you should consider including in your gym bag:

Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is crucial for your overall well-being and athletic performance. Dehydration can have serious consequences and negatively impact your abilities. Make sure to have a water bottle with you to stay properly hydrated during practices and matches. It is recommended to consume around 32 ounces of water per hour of exercise. Pay attention to your hydration status before and after practice/competition as well. Clear to light yellow urine indicates proper hydration.


Eating three meals a day might not be sufficient for athletes. Appropriate snacking can help maintain a balanced diet and provide an energy boost when needed. For example, if you have afternoon practices, having a nutritious bar, fruit, trail mix, or a light sandwich can fuel your body and enhance your performance. Avoid relying on caffeinated energy beverages and plan ahead with a healthy snack.

Self-Myofascial Release Instrument

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Give your muscles some self-massage love. After intense workouts, your muscles can feel sore and tight. Incorporating self-myofascial release techniques into your warm-ups or post-exercise routine can help decrease tension and increase muscle elasticity. You can use a tennis ball, foam roller, or a foam stick to alleviate muscle discomfort.

Band for Shoulder Strengthening Exercises

Shoulder injuries are common in volleyball and can hinder your performance. Continual shoulder strengthening exercises can help prevent and alleviate shoulder pain. Including a band in your gym bag allows you to perform shoulder strengthening exercises wherever you are. Strengthening your shoulder muscles can significantly reduce the risk of future injuries.

Band for Hip Strengthening Exercises

Knee injuries are another concern for volleyball players. Strengthening your hip muscles can improve jumper’s knee and help prevent various knee injuries, including ACL tears. There are several exercises that you can do to strengthen your hips, and incorporating a band into your routine can increase the effectiveness of these exercises. Consider adding a band to your gym bag to work on hip strengthening.

Reusable Ice Bag/Strap

Icing is a common practice for pain relief and inflammation reduction. Instead of using plastic bags and wraps, opt for reusable ice bags and straps. These kits are more convenient, comfortable, and environmentally friendly. They are perfect for immediate post-activity icing to reduce pain and inflammation. If you prefer icing at home, reusable gel packs stored in your freezer can also be useful.

Aaron Brock, USA Volleyball’s Director of Sports Medicine and Performance and the athletic trainer to the U.S. Men’s National Team, emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the right items in your gym bag for optimal performance.

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Q: How much water should I drink during volleyball practices and matches?
A: It is recommended to consume around 32 ounces of water per hour of exercise. Pay attention to your overall hydration status by checking the color of your urine.

Q: Why is hip strengthening important for volleyball players?
A: Strengthening your hip muscles can help improve jumper’s knee and prevent various knee injuries, including ACL tears.

Q: Can I use reusable ice bags and straps for post-activity icing at home?
A: Yes, reusable gel packs stored in your freezer are perfect for at-home icing. However, reusable ice bags and straps are more convenient and comfortable for immediate post-activity icing.


To optimize your gym sessions and minimize the risk of injuries, make sure to pack these six essential items in your gym bag: a water bottle to stay hydrated, a snack to fuel your body, a self-myofascial release instrument for muscle recovery, a band for shoulder strengthening exercises, a band for hip strengthening exercises, and a reusable ice bag or strap for pain relief. By prioritizing these items, you can enhance your performance and take care of your physical well-being during volleyball practices and matches.