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360 Training Kettlebell, $45 for 20-pound bell (price varies by weight), store.kettlebellinc.com

Swing, Press and Snatch your way to a full-body workout with these cannonball-shaped weights.

This training trend recently exploded onto the scene, but kettlebells can be traced back to 18th Century Russia, when soldiers and athletes used them to train to dominate international opponents.

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360 Training
Kettlebell, $45 for 20-pound bell
(price varies by weight), store.kettlebellinc.com

Swing, Press and Snatch your way to a full-body workout with these cannonball-shaped weights.

This training trend recently exploded onto the scene, but kettlebells can be traced back to 18th Century Russia, when soldiers and athletes used them to train to dominate international opponents.

Nowadays, athletes from the NFL to the UFC are using kettlebells to increase power, build endurance and cut fat.

Unlike a dumbbell, the weight is constantly displaced as you swing or press the kettlebell, requiring the stabilizer muscles to be fully engaged throughout all ranges of motion.

"One of the main benefits we have found since starting the kettlebells is the improvement in our overall core and core stability," says Gabe Teeple, assistant football strength and conditioning coach at Vanderbilt University.

Because of its unique shape and the displacement of the handle from the weight, "the kettlebell creates downward resistance, so it's great for the legs," adds Denver Nuggets strength and conditioning coach Steve Hess.

Band Aid
PPT Band, $40, attackathletics.com

Lose the ankle braces and super high-top basketball shoes. The PPT Band strengthens the muscles that stabilize the ankle to help you to run the court injury-free all season.

"We won't say it will prevent ankle sprains," says Tim Grover, president/CEO of ATTACK Athletics and the point man for training Dwyane Wade. "What it does is strengthen the muscles, that in case you do roll your ankle, [make it] strong enough to bounce back,"

Simply wrap the PPT Band around your waist and adjust the tension ring to increase the amount of resistance—the closer the ring is to your waist, the more resistance. Place your foot into the loop created by the tension ring, and you're ready to strengthen those muscles in the lower leg.

Whether in the weight room or practicing on-court, make the PPT Band the closer to your training routine.

Pro-Functional
TRX Pro Pack (includes 65-minute DVD, 35-page workout guide, and two new bonus workouts), $190, fitnessanywhere.com

The pioneer of functional training is making the jump to the pros. The TRX Pro Pack contains the new TRX P2 Suspension Trainer, complete with all new exercise content, to deliver an even more diverse approach to functional training than the original TRX.

Design improvements for the P2 include a new anchoring system with a quick-release carabineer for faster set-up. The self-adjusting Equalizer Loop is more durable, "making it so much easier to adjust on the fly," says fitness guru Gunnar Peterson.

The P2 is the X factor for Peterson, whose A-list clientele ranges from J-Lo to Carmelo. It was an instrumental piece of Carmelo's off-season, body-fat burning regimen—one that helped him shed 12 pounds in a month and a half of training with Peterson.

Despite the upgrades, the P2 keeps functional training simple, which is ideal for keeping the intensity high. "We're in and out of sets in anywhere from 20 to 45 seconds," Peterson says. "There's no reason to be doing two- to three-hour workouts. Hit it and quit it."

Peterson says, "Once you get comfortable with bodyweight, train from different angles, and then you can even progress to weights. Keep your mind open to any and all training protocols. That's the way you're going to get better in your sport."

React Right
SPARQ eyeReact Ball, $15, sparqtraining.com

Opponents are unpredictable—reason enough to train unpredictably. Try the SPARQ eyeReact Ball—a unique vision training tool that develops hand-eye coordination through variable bounces, forcing you to accelerate and work first-step quickness.

Rope Shaker
Battling Ropes, $105 to $150, powerropes.com

Is there a simpler training apparatus than a piece of rope? We're "a frayed knot." The Battling Ropes System, developed by strongman world record holder John Brookfield, trains the central nervous system to resist fatigue.

Dave Morgan, president of Enhanced Fitness and Performance and certified strength and conditioning specialist, says the ropes are geared toward training "the ability to maintain power over a long period of time. The key is to keep the ropes moving fast."

Training with the Battling Ropes is easy. For wave training exercises, the 50-foot rope is wrapped around an immovable object to create two 25 foot lengths. The athlete holds an end in each hand and swings the rope up and down to create a wave effect. Morgan says: "The wave has to get [from one end] to the other. If the wave doesn't, you're not going hard enough."

Training with the standard one-inch rope presents an effect similar to hitting a speed bag, according to Morgan. Increase difficulty by increasing the rope's diameter. Manilla ropes are best for outdoor training, but will shed from wear and tear; polyester ropes are best for indoor use and have a greater lifespan.

Training Day Supplements

Bigger, faster, stronger. Goals all athletes set; and two absolute musts for achieving them are proper training and nutrition. Yes, nutrition matters. Big time. Ask New Orleans Saints LB Scott Shanle.

"When you compete at a high level, you want to find every edge possible," he says. "You must be at the top of your game because of all the talent that's always on the field."

One way Shanle finds that edge during the offseason is by leaning out while gaining muscle. To do so, he ups his protein and takes quality supplements. "Supplements have a huge role [in my diet], because I'm always breaking my body down and [need to] refuel my muscles before the next day's workload."

Aside from a daily multi-vitamin, Shanle is a proponent of Training Day's performance supplements: Pre Season, Game Time and Post Game, all of which are specifically formulated and targeted for athletes of all sports. Training Day has garnered quick appeal among other Saints players, along with the Denver Broncos and Nuggets. The product's performance benefits are one selling point, and the fact that Training Day is NSF Certified means the product is guaranteed to be free of all banned substances.

Impressive. And you'll be equally impressed by the packaging—a sleek, metal canister housing individually packaged doses. Here's a breakdown of the Training Day trilogy:

Pre Season, $60
This version is formulated to develop and strengthen muscle tissue and fatigue resistance. Mix with 12 ounces of water and consume during or after a workout. Each packet is made with waxy maize starch, a complex carb that provides a continuous supply of energy.

Post Game, $60
Each dose contains six gel caps, formulated to improve muscle recovery and reduce muscle soreness while also boosting the immune system (because of its inclusion of zinc). The product also contains glutamine, an amino acid that promotes protein synthesis and aids in lessening muscle breakdown.

Game Time, $70
Designed to improve endurance, energy and explosiveness, this formula is made for practice and game days. Mix one packet with water and consume 15 to 30 minutes prior to practice or during a game. Contains Branch Chain Amino Acids [BCAAs] like Isoleucine, which regulates blood sugar, and Leucine, the body's most abundant amino acid, which aids in maintaining glycogen.

Keeping the Water Outa the Way

Barracuda Hydrobat Goggles, $15-$17, skylinenw.com

Barracuda's first-ever competitive goggle will have you seeing first place more clearly. Suitable for competitive swimmers of all levels, the scopes have a sleek, batlike design, which provides a "wide field of vision," attests U.S. Olympic triathlete Matty Reed. Curious about the three holes below each lens? These "flutes" direct water away so the goggles stay glued to your face as you're diving and flip-turning.

Vested Interested

Strength Weight Vest, $160, strength-systems.com

Increase your training intensity by wearing this fitted weighted vest, suitable for any sport's athlete—and reap a multitude of benefits, including improved endurance, explosive power and speed. Load up to 30 pounds of coated lead weights in the vest's individual pockets. The vest comes with a complementary training manual featuring recommended drills.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock