CrossFit rivals Games of Thrones or The Bachelorette in terms of the sheer number of stans obsessed with the workout. But if you’re new to the “sport of fitness,” the first thing you should know is that there are a few CrossFit workouts that, no matter the box, will at some point wind up being workouts of the day (WODs). Did I lose you yet?
So, what’s it mean? In CrossFit training, the goal is always keep you body guessing, explains Courtney Roselle, Strength and Conditioning Coach, CF-L1 Trainer, and Founder of Iron Grace, a fitness program dedicated to empowering women to embrace their bodies. Beyond a select few workouts here, CrossFitters rarely do the same WOD twice.
Oh, and don’t worry if at first-glance it seems lightyears away from what you’re currently capable of crushing. The pros below share tips for finding the movement scales and weights that’ll work for your body.
WOD 1: Murph
Equipment: Pull-up bar, weight vest (optional)
Time: For time
Arguable the most famous CrossFit workout, (yep you guessed it), Murph is Roselle’s, favorite WOD. “No matter how many times you do it, no matter how much faster your time is from the year before, no matter how many times you workout a day, the workout will always test your physical and mental capacity,” she says. “And it’s truly a full body workout taxing your arms, back, shoulders, legs, core and cardiovascular capacity.” Get those gains.
How to do it: Named after Navy Seal officer and Medal of Honor recipient Michael Murphy who died during combat in Afghanistan in 2005, this Hero workout (as WODs named after fallen soldiers are called) entails bookending 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 air squats with one mile runs. While the prescribed version of the workout recommends athletes doing the workout in a weight vest and competing all the pull-ups before moving on to the push-ups, and all the push-ups before moving onto the air squats, a common scaled version of this WOD is 20 rounds of 5 pull-ups, 10 pushups, and 15 air squats. And, if you need to sub the pushups for box or knee pushups and/or the pull-ups for TRX or ring rows, you do you, boo.
WOD 2: DT
Equipment: 1 barbell
Time: For time
This WOD is named for US Air Force Staff Seargent Timothy P. Davis, 28, who was killed on February 20, 2009 serving in Afghanistand during Operation Enduring Freedom. DT is a punishing Hero workout that tests your proficiency with moving the barbell. “This workout is all about whether or not you have the guts to hold onto the bar, it’s a heavy enough barbell that holding on is hard, but also light enough that it’s completely doable if you have the grit,” says CrossFit Games competitor Brooke Ence CF-L2 and founder of Naked Training.
The prescribed weight for this workout is 105 pounds for women, but when thinking about what weight to use, Ence says you want to pick a weight you can easily do 12 push jerks with when fresh. If that weight seems light for a deadlift, go with it—this WOD is spicier than getting Icy-Hot on your netherbits.
How to do it: This WOD requires loading one barbell and using that same barbell in the following circuit performed for five total rounds for time.
- 12 Deadlifts
- 9 Hang power cleans
- 6 Push jerks
Ence says, “When you choose the right weight for this WOD and limit rest, you’re testing your strength, cardiovascular capacity, and mental grit.” Brain gains or bust, Fam.
WOD 3: Death by Dumbbell Thrusters
Equipment: 2 dumbbells of the same weight
Time: Until you can’t complete the number of reps required per minute
The prescribed weight is two 35-pound dumbbells for women. She WHO? suggests picking a set of dumbbells that you know you’ll be able to get through at least 9 rounds using. Damn.
Death by WODs are EMOM (every minute on the minute) style workouts that have you start with one rep and add an additional rep at the start of each new minute until you cannot complete the amount of reps needed before time runs out. So, for example, if you got to the tenth minute and couldn’t do 10 dumbbell thrusters, the workout would be over.
“I like to remind people that they can probably do dumbbell thrusters faster than they realize by pulling the weight back down after the push-press, and get further into the workout than they might guess,” says Ence. “You end up getting way more rounds than you think.” Hurts. So. Good.
How it works: Minute one is one dumbbell thruster, minute two is two, and so on so forth. The workout is over when you can’t complete the number of dumbbell thrusters in the minute. If you DO complete the amount of reps before the minute is up, the remaining time is your rest.
WOD 4: Fran
Equipment: 1 barbell, 1 pull-up bar
Time: 4 minutes
“I wouldn’t describe this CrossFit workout as famous…more infamous…as this classic is a devastating burner,” says Jason Ackerman, CF-L4 and coach with North Naples CrossFit in Naples, Florida. “Complimentary movements, light load, and descending reps make this a burner that strikes fear in the hearts of CrossFitters around the world.” Sign me up.
How to do it: This workouts calls for doing thrusters and pull-ups in order, starting with 21 resp of each, then 15, then 9. The prescribed weight for this WOD is 65 pounds for women and 95 pounds for men. Real talk: “The goal of this workout is to finish it in under 4 minutes, but the best of the best will finish it in less than two-minute,” says Ackerman. (He’s serious.)
Can’t complete this WOD as prescribed within that time limit? “You can lower the weight of the thrusters, even so far as using a 2 ounce PVC,” Ackerman suggest. “Or scale the pull-ups to banded pull-ups or jumping pull-ups.” Do it for the CrossFit street cred.
WOD 5: Hotshots 19
Equipment: 1 barbell, 1 pull-up bar
Time: 35 minutes
Ask Stacie Tovar, eight-time individual CrossFit Games veteran and co-owner of CrossFit Omaha and Go Far Fitness programs, for her favorite Hero workout and she doesn’t hesitate: “Hotshots 19,” she says. She programs it at her box every August to honor the nineteen members of the members of the Prescott Fire Department in Arizona who were known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots team and died fighting a wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona in 2013. “My community members always love pushing through this workout together, and I love that it’s a full-body workout that taxes the legs, the grip, and the lungs,” Tovar says.
How to do it: Compete six rounds of the following circuit.
- 30 air squats
- 19 power cleans
- 7 strict pull-ups
- Run 400 meters
Set up a station with a loaded barbell (95 pounds barbell is suggested for women) and pull-up bar, then measure out 400 meters. While typically Hero workouts don’t have a time-cap, Tovar says she wraps this one at 35 minutes because if you scale the weight properly, five or so minutes a round should be doable. Noted.
If you’re just getting back into the fitness realm or you don’t quite have the strength built yet to power clean at 95 pounds or perform strict pull ups, Tovar suggests women do the ring rows in place of strict pull-ups, and the power cleans with a 55 pound barbell (or less) or a set of 20 pound dumbbells. For the barbell, Tovar says, “Use a weight that you can string at least 5 to 7 reps together with, even when under fatigue.”
WOD 6: Diane
Equipment: 1 barbell, 1 ab mat
Time: For time
Considered a “benchmark” workout, this is one of the few WODs CrossFitters will repeat, in order to track their progress over time, says Nancy Monroe, CF-L1 with CrossFit Grayson in Georgia. That said, it’s so intense athletes only repeat it once every few years.
An advanced version of it, called the 18.4 is performed at the annual CrossFit Games—which is a little bit of trivia you can use to impress the more seasoned athletes at your box. You’re welcome.
How to do it: If you’re planning to do this workout prescribed—21-15-9 reps for time of deadlifts and handstand pushups (HSPU)—set up a HSPU station with two 25-pound plates and an ab mat. (The weights go on either side of the mat and are where you’ll place your hands. The padding itself is intended to be a cushion for your head.) Then, place a loaded barbell nearby—155 lbs. is recommended for women. Complete deadlifts followed by pushups at each rep count before moving on to the next number of reps. If you need to scale the barbell weight, pick something you can safely do 12 reps unbroken when fresh. And if you can’t do HSPUs, sub them for seated dumbbell presses or wall walks. Hello, boulder shoulders.
WOD 7: Kalsu
Equipment: 1 barbell
Time: For time
PSA: Tony Carvajal, Certified CrossFit Trainer with RSP Nutrition says this Hero WOD is best for long-time fitness fiends. “It’s a strength-based workout, it turns anaerobic quickly and really tests your mental fortitude,” he says. Why? Because it’s repetitive AF—you’re doing five burpees EMOM plus, barbell thrusters in between until you reach 100 reps. Deep breaths.
“If you’ve never done CrossFit before, lower the number of thrusters or use light dumbbells.”
So, while this might not be a CrossFit workout for beginners, per se, it’s a good one to start building up to early. “If you’ve never done CrossFit before, lower the number of thrusters or use light dumbbells instead of a barbell—you’ll still get the same benefits and stimulus,” Carvajal says. Warning: Taking the stairs the next day is probs not going to
How to do it: Load up your barbell, then set up your clock counting up. Ideally, your timer will have a feature that makes it beep at the top of every minute.
Pro tip: Pick a weight with which you can do 8 to 12 thrusters unbroken when fresh.
When the clock starts, lift your barbell and do as many thrusters as you can in the first minute. At the minute mark, drop and do 5 burpees. You have the rest of that minute to do as many thrusters as you can before you gotta drop and do burpees again. Repeat this, adding up your thruster reps until you get to 100.
WOD 8: Linda
Equipment: 3 barbells, 1 bench press station
Time: For time, but you’re aiming for 20 minutes
If Linda were actually a woman, she’d most definitely be a fire sign. As it stands, this workout, which is a descending ladder of deadlifts, bench presses, and squat cleans that starts at 10 reps of each move and goes down by one until you reach zero, is all kinds of lit. “I love using barbells in my training so I really doing this 3-barbell workout,” says five-time Regional CrossFit athlete, Colleen Fotsch, athlete with FINIS. Get. Those. Muscles.
“When choosing your weights for this workout, pick ones that will allow you to finish the workout in no more than twenty minutes,” suggests Fotsch. And, if you don’t have access to a barbell this workout can also be done with dumbbells, she says.
How to do it: Start by setting up three separate barbells—the prescribed weight is 1.5 times your bodyweight for the deadlift, bodyweight for the bench press, and .75-times your bodyweight for the clean. Start the clock and complete 10 reps of the deadlift, 10 bench press, 10 squat clean. Then, do 9 of each movement, then 8 and so on, ending with one rep of each move. Phew!
Gabrielle Kassel Gabrielle Kassel is a New York-based sex and wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.
- The 15 Best CrossFit WODs for Beginners (Part 2)
- 1. Up The Ladder
- 2. Defying Gravity
- 3. Feel The Burn
- 4. Black and Blue
- 5. All Boxed In
- 6. The Burpee Row
- 7. Take Your Medicine
- 8. Road Trip
- 9. Bar Crawl
- 10. Heart of Gold
- 11. Fast and Loose
- 12. Wicked Game
- 13. Ring the Bell
- 14. Quad Goals
- 15. Push, Sit, & Run
- BONUS WOD: The Grazing Rhino
- Crossfit Workouts
- 1) As many sets as you can of 10 squats, 10 press ups and 10 sit ups – timed for 5 Minutes.
- 2) 50 Burpees
- 3) 20 burpees, 20 push ups, 20 sit ups, and 20 squats – repeated 4 times.
- 4) 100 Pull-ups.
- 5) 12 Burpees, followed by 12 pull-ups x 10 rounds.
- 6) In 20 minutes, complete as many sets of 5 box jumps, followed by 10 pull ups, and 15 knees to elbows as you can.
- 7) 4 rounds as fast as possible – 400M sprint then 50 squats
- 8) 10 Burpees, 15 box jumps and 20 Kettlebell swings – repeat for 20 minutes.
- 9) 800m run, 50 press-ups, 100 squats, 150 sit ups, 800m run – timed.
- 10) 20 squats, 15 press ups, 25 lunges – repeat for 20 minutes
- Getting Started with Crossfit
- Half Cindy
- The Beginner-Friendly CrossFit Workout You Can Do At Home
- CrossFit Workouts for Beginners
- CrossFit exercises
- Your first week of WODs
- Important things to know before starting crossfit
- Best WODs to start with crossfit
The 15 Best CrossFit WODs for Beginners (Part 2)
Once you’ve caught your breath and picked yourself off the floor, don’t forget to record your results with Wodify Perform in the gym or on your smartphone so you can stay on track and meet your goals. If you’re a member of a gym that doesn’t use Wodify for performance tracking, forward them this blog post! Your fellow athletes will thank you 🙂
(If you missed Part 1 with more beginner workouts, check it out here.)
1. Up The Ladder
20 sit ups
20 push ups
20 sit ups
20 push ups
2. Defying Gravity
15 minute EMOM (Complete all reps, every minute on the minute, for 15 minutes.)
10 jumping lunges
3. Feel The Burn
18 min AMRAP (Complete as many reps as possible in 18 minutes)
9 Russian twists
9 Lunges on plate (L+R=1)
9 squats with plate
9 sit ups with plate
9 mountain climbers (L+R=1)
9 pull ups
4. Black and Blue
30 min AMRAP
10 25-pound dumbbell shoulder presses (each arm)
15 box jumps
20 DB 25# front squats
25 sit ups
300 meter run
5. All Boxed In
10 35-pound kettlebell goblet squats
10 box jumps
20 35-pound Russian kettlebell swings
20 box jumps
6. The Burpee Row
500 meter row
400 meter row
200 meter row
7. Take Your Medicine
20 14-pound medicine ball cleans
200 meter row
20 14-pound wall balls
200 meter row
8. Road Trip
15 cal bike
15 anchored leg raises
9. Bar Crawl
10 70-pound kettlebell deadlift
10. Heart of Gold
11. Fast and Loose
3 85-pound barbell deadlifts
3 85-pound power cleans
3 85-pound front squats
3 box jumps to a 20” box
12. Wicked Game
10 min AMRAP
10 25-pound dumbbell squats
10 25-pound dumbbell push presses
13. Ring the Bell
6 box step-ups with a kettlebell
10 push ups
14 Russian kettlebell swings
18 goblet squats
14. Quad Goals
2 min- bike
2 min — squats
2 min — bike
2 min- push ups
2 min- bike
2 min- sit ups
15. Push, Sit, & Run
400 meter run
10 push ups
400 meter run
10 sit ups
400 meter run
10 push ups
400 meter run
10 sit ups
BONUS WOD: The Grazing Rhino
8 minute AMRAP:
6 pull ups
6 alternating dumbbell snatches
So, you’re looking to improve your functional fitness?
Great decision! 🙌
But where should you start?
Well, one option could be to adopt CrossFit workouts into your exercise routine.
CrossFit workouts offer plenty of diversity and variation which is great for beginners and those just getting started.
Although the idea of going to a CrossFit gym may seem intimidating, they are in fact usually the complete opposite. They put community at the heart of their gyms and make anyone feel welcome, regardless of ability.
Each workout offers something slightly different but you can be rested assured they will all challenge you in various ways. Before you take on some of the infamous workouts and routines you are likely to see at the CrossFit Games or even just at a CrossFit gym, below is a list of 10 beginner Crossfit exercises you can do at home.
By giving these exercises a go, it will help you decide whether this is the right type of exercise for you.
These Crossfit workouts can be seen as templates and depending on your fitness and current ambitions, you can adapt them as required. If you are just starting out then it’s good to stick to a workout plan so you can note down your progression. This makes monitoring your fitness a lot easier.
Crossfit can work for everyone – from professional athletes to someone who’s never stepped foot in a gym. The value the training offers is clear. Crossfit communities usually train in gyms called ‘boxes’ but there’s no reason why you can’t start these workouts at home, in your garage, at school, in the park or anywhere you find yourself.
Crossfit workouts are focused on being scalable rather than adaptable. What this means is that the same routine will benefit everyone.
Remember though, before undertaking any new form of exercise, it’s always worth consulting a local personal trainer or doctor to ensure it is suited to your own specific health circumstances.
So here we go, 10 of the best beginner workouts to get you started!
1) As many sets as you can of 10 squats, 10 press ups and 10 sit ups – timed for 5 Minutes.
This tests your whole body and is all about speed. It’s you against the clock so make sure you have enough energy to keep powering away for the full 5 minutes. Like any exercise you perform, make sure you don’t lose form. After a few minutes your muscles will feel tired and you’ll be out of breathe, but ensure you are still able to get real reps out. If you’re struggling, pause for a bit and then keep going.
The aim of this routine is to increase the amount of sets you can do in 5 minutes.
If you enjoy this type of workout, make sure you check out Tabata workouts too.
2) 50 Burpees
This appears very straight forward but burpees are tough and take a lot out of you very quickly. Burpees are a useful exercise to include as they test your whole body in one smooth motion.
To complete the perfect burpee make sure your feet are shoulder width apart. As you lower yourself down, you’ll be entering into a squatting position. As your hands touch the floor, you need to spring your legs back so you end up in the press up position. You now need to be doing your press up, before leaping as high as you can, ready to repeat all the movements.
The target is 50 burpees so every time you attempt this, you should hopefully be completing it quicker.
3) 20 burpees, 20 push ups, 20 sit ups, and 20 squats – repeated 4 times.
This Crossfit workout focuses on four very simple but effective exercises. The volume of reps required will ensure you are sweating and feeling sore the next day.
If you’re feeling confident with this, you can always increase it to 5 or 6 repetitions of the workout.
4) 100 Pull-ups.
Pull-ups are a necessary exercise for Crossfit so it’s best we tackle them head on. The target with this exercise is achieving 100 reps. There is no time limit so don’t rush things and really concentrate on your form.
If this seems too hard then there are a few things you can do to help you. A great tip for improving your pull-ups is using a resistance band. By placing the band around the bar and your knee/foot, it will help support you during the pull up. The band helps offer a slight spring upwards which will make the pull-up easier. This is a great tool for anyone who doesn’t feel confident with pull-ups. Similarly, if you’re working out with a friend, get them to spot you and assist you as you do the pull-up.
Pull-ups target all the pulling muscles in your upper body including your back, forearms and biceps.
5) 12 Burpees, followed by 12 pull-ups x 10 rounds.
The combination of burpees and pull-ups is going to require every muscle in your body to step up. 10 rounds is also quite tough so make sure you don’t burn out after the first couple of sets. This is good practice for when you start more advanced workouts. These workouts require you to save some energy in the tank and involve a good amount of cardio fitness.
6) In 20 minutes, complete as many sets of 5 box jumps, followed by 10 pull ups, and 15 knees to elbows as you can.
This is a great exercise for anyone who is looking for a bit of diversity. It tackles an array of muscles at different points in the workout. Find a box that is suitable based on your experience and height/abilities. Start with a lower box and once you get comfortable you can challenge yourself further by using a higher box for your jumps.
Box Jumps are particularly effective as they help develop that explosive power and muscle needed for many sports (and is great for improving speed, agility and quickness). To get the most out of your box jumps, really focus on exploding off the floor into your jump. It’s something easy to go through the motions but by making sure you are really pushing off the ground as hard as possible will help develop this explosive strength in your legs. This will also make squats and other leg exercises feel easier.
7) 4 rounds as fast as possible – 400M sprint then 50 squats
This is another time based workout but make sure you complete full squats and don’t rush things. This is a very tough workout due to the endurance and aerobic stamina needed. There’s no opportunities to get your breathe back so if you’re hoping to feel fitter then this type of workout is sure to burn fat and improve fitness.
8) 10 Burpees, 15 box jumps and 20 Kettlebell swings – repeat for 20 minutes.
Kettlebell swings offer the muscular challenge to complement the aerobic challenges of the burpees and jumps. Kettlebell swings are a great exercise when done correctly but ensure your form is maintained otherwise it could cause injury.
Kettlebell swings are an explosive exercise so you want to really push the kettlebell with as much force as you can during each rep.
9) 800m run, 50 press-ups, 100 squats, 150 sit ups, 800m run – timed.
This is a long burner so make sure you’re up for the challenge. About half way through the squats you’ll suddenly realize that this workout is going to test you to the limits. Make sure you don’t overdue the first 800m run otherwise you might find yourself struggling during the whole process. This workout requires you to understand your body and understand how to manage your energy throughout it.
10) 20 squats, 15 press ups, 25 lunges – repeat for 20 minutes
This Crossfit workout punishes your legs so get ready for sore legs the next day. The press-ups offer a slight rest for the legs but going from the lunges to the squats will require focus and determination.
To perform the best lunge, step forward and lower your hip and bend your knees. Your front knee should not extend passed your front toes. If it does, it means you’re leaning forward too much.
Getting Started with Crossfit
As you can see from this small selection of workouts, Crossfit offers plenty of diversity and variation. These workouts are a great starting point to try at home and if you enjoy them and find them useful, then get yourself down to a local Crossfit gym!
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Why CrossFit? For one thing, it’s incredibly effective, as proven by the tens of thousands of ripped dudes around the world hoisting barbells in “Nice Snatch” shirts.
But you don’t have to know how to do a muscle-up or a power clean to reap the beneﬁts of CrossFit’s high-intensity, constantly-varied workouts. These workouts are short—but what they lack in total time, they make up for in intensity, so keep rest times short (or don’t rest at all, if possible). Focus on good form and reduce your weight if you’re struggling to complete the prescribed number of reps.
Before starting any of these WODs (that’s “Workout of the Day” in CrossFit-speak), complete a warmup like an 800m run, ﬁve minutes on a stationary bike, a couple rounds of jumping jacks, air squats and lunges, or a 500-meter row. Follow that with some static and dynamic stretching, focusing on the muscles you’ll be using in that workout. And ﬁnish each workout with a long stretch and foam rolling.
Each of the following ﬁve workouts uses one of the main structures of a CrossFit workout: Baseline, EMOM (Every Minute, On the Minute), AMRAP (As Many Rounds as Possible), Chipper, and Benchmark. You might notice that none of these workouts involve a barbell; it’s important for beginners to establish the cardiovascular base needed for CrossFit’s intense, fast-paced workouts ﬁrst. Nail all of these and you’re ready to hit your local box where a CrossFit coach can work with you on the barbell movements you’ll see in many other WODs.
A baseline workout is used to establish, well, a baseline for performance. Try this workout ﬁrst and come back to it throughout your training to check your performance. It should improve each time. (Don’t forget to keep a record of your times.)
- Row 500 meters
- 20 Air Squats
- 20 Push-Ups
- 20 Sit-Ups
- Row 500 meters
Set a timer for 15 minutes. At the beginning of each new minute, perform the following movements in succession. The remaining time in the minute is your rest time. So move quickly to maximize your chance to rest! To scale: Instead of toes-to-bar, perform knees-to-elbows if you don’t have toes-to-bar just yet.
- 3 burpees
- 5 toes-to-bar
Set a timer for 15 minutes and perform as many rounds as possible of the following sequence in that time. Try not to rest between rounds and deﬁnitely keep a pen and paper handy to record how many rounds you complete! To scale: Use a band for the pull-ups or perform jumping pull-ups.
- 200 meter run
- 10 dumbbell overhead press
- 10 pull-ups
- 10 wall balls
The chipper gets its name from the way you approach this monster WOD: by chipping away at it. It generally includes high reps and a number of exercises, done in succession. You’ll likely need to give yourself some rest time in this one but be strict about it—watch the clock and try not to rest for more than 10 seconds at a time. To scale: Step-up and back down instead of jumping for the box jumps.
- 10 burpees
- 20 box jumps
- 10 burpees
- 30 kettlebell swings
- 10 burpees
- 30 alternating lunges
- 10 burpees
- 20 air squats
Some of the hardest WODs in CrossFit are the ones named after women. Cindy is a great example of a WOD that looks easy but gets utterly exhausting fast. Cindy is programmed at 20 minutes but try going with 10 minutes for your ﬁrst time. To scale: use a band for the pull-ups or perform jumping pull-ups.
10-Minute AMRAP of:
- 5 pull-ups
- 10 push-ups
- 15 squats
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The Beginner-Friendly CrossFit Workout You Can Do At Home
Whether you’ve a CrossFit beginner, veteran, or have never set foot in a box (a.k.a. gym), chances are you’ve had a taste of the workout’s AMRAP (as many reps as possible) formula in your high-intensity classes. There’s good reason why many studios crib from CrossFit—its mix of functional moves and HIIT is truly body-changing. (Don’t believe us? Just look at these seriously fit chicks of CrossFit.) “In any given CrossFit workout, you’ll do gymnastics, weight lifting, and explosive exercises that will make you strong for life, and you’ll do them either as heavy or as quickly as you can,” says Jared Stein, the cofounder and head coach at WillyB CrossFit in New York City. Working out this way, you push your fitness level past any flatline and see the kinds of muscle definition that inspires an extra shot of confidence.
If you’ve been too intimidated to try it, you should know that you don’t have to belong to a box or work out with a spotter to do CrossFit. (Here are 12 other myths about CrossFit.) What makes a workout CrossFit is the programming. A traditional WOD (workout of the day) includes three elements: a warm-up, strength or skill work, and a metabolic conditioning (or metcon) portion.
“Just as much thought goes into programming the warm-up as the metcon portion,” Stein says. The strength or skill part of the workout is done slowly and is intended to help you to build strength and to practice something you may not be great at. Then the metcon involves functional exercises strung together at a nonstop pace to get you to work at your max. “Add those three components together, and your body learns how to move better, builds absolute strength and endurance, and improves explosiveness,” Stein explains. Basically, it turns you into a fit machine—and that goes for any person of any age and any ability, Stein adds.
Stein created a classic, beginner-friendly CrossFit-style workout you can do at home—all you need is a kettlebell (or a dumbbell). The warm-up moves, like wide climbers, will work your core as they engage muscles such as your shoulder girdle to prep you to hoist weight in a safe way. The strength portion consists of a single supermove: a kettlebell snatch (moving the weight from the floor to overhead in a fluid motion) into a squat. “You’ll improve your balance and coordination as you build total-body power,” Stein says. (It’s one of the most effective kettlebell exercises).
You’ll finish with the metcon, which is 21 reps of three simple exercises (kettlebell swings, burpees, and goblet squats), then 15, then nine—with no built-in rest. “See how hard you can go until you finish,” Stein says. “It’s tailored so that right when you hit the point of total exhaustion, you’ll be at the finish line.” (If you need a breather at any point, take one breath and count to two-Mississippi, then pick back up.)
Keep tabs on how heavy a kettlebell you use for the snatch and then how quickly you work through the metcon. “By week three, you’ll be so impressed by your progress on every level of fitness, you’ll be hooked on it,” says Stein. You’ll also tighten up every inch from head to toe for a fierce body that’s ready to take on all the fun and sweat of summer. 3, 2, 1…go!
CrossFit Workouts for Beginners
By James T. Cains
You’ve probably heard of CrossFit and wondered what it is and how you can start doing CrossFit workouts. CrossFit is an intense, cross-training exercise program that combines different kinds of exercises into varied fitness routines called Workouts of the Day (WODs). CrossFit athletes rarely do the same routines in the same week. For example, in Monday’s WOD, you might do 15 sit-ups, 20 lunges, and run half a mile, completing as many repetitions as possible (abbreviated AMRAP) in a certain amount of time. In Tuesday’s WOD, you might do 5 pull-ups, 10 sit-ups, and swim 5 laps AMRAP. CrossFitters spend somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes per day on a WOD.
For an introduction to CrossFit, check out this CrossFit For Dummies video.
Getting started in CrossFit is easy. Don’t be intimidated by those seemingly superhuman CrossFitters who compete in the CrossFit Games. Anyone with the motivation and drive to improve his or her health and fitness can perform CrossFit training, beginning with light, simple WODs and progressing to harder ones.
CrossFit training works the 10 fundamental physical qualities: Cardio/respiratory endurance, strength, stamina, power, flexibility, speed, agility, coordination, accuracy, and balance. That means you’re going to do a whole bunch of different exercises in various disciplines, working as many parts of your body as possible. The goal is make your body as fit as possible, so that you can be prepared for any kind of activity. In fact, if you participate in CrossFit classes or even in the CrossFit Games, you won’t necessarily know what the workouts are ahead of time. So you need train your body to be ready for anything.
Here are some of the disciplines CrossFitters work in and the principle exercises for each:
Some of these exercises require going to a gym or other specialized facility that has the necessary equipment. If you want to join a gym for CrossFit, you should find a CrossFit-affiliated gym, which shouldn’t be difficult because there are about 5,500 affiliates worldwide. CrossFit-affiliated gyms have CrossFit classes with CrossFit-certified instructors to guide you though the routines. Use the CrossFit Location Finder to find a location near you.
However, if you’re just beginning, you may not want to join a gym just yet — and you don’t have to. You can perform many of these exercises at home, either with no equipment or with a small investment in equipment.
Your first week of WODs
If you want to try CrossFit on your own at home, the table below shows exercises you can do each day of the week. This gives you an idea of how CrossFit works. Feel free to change out the exercises for similar activities or ramp up the reps if these workouts are too mild for you. And if you find these exercises a little too boring, get creative. CrossFitters pride themselves on their creativity in coming up with new WODs. Just be realistic about what you can do.
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t do all the exercises or very many reps initially. Remember that your body may not be used to some of these activities. The goal is to build yourself up!
|AMRAP 20 minutes||3 rounds||5 rounds||AMRAP 20 minutes||Rest day!||4 rounds||AMRAP 20 minutes|
|10 sit-ups||Run 200 meters||20 lunges||15 sit-ups||Walk for 5 minutes||20 air squats|
|10 push-ups||50 jumping jacks||Jump rope for 3 minutes||10 burpees||10 jumping jacks||15 push-ups|
|15 air squats||Run for 5 minutes||25 lunges|
If you are new to crossfit, you are probably wondering; first, what is Froning doing, and second, how to actually get into the world of WODs, intensity, discomfort and elite functional fitness.
To be honest, it’s pretty simple. Google “crossfit wod” and hope for something easy. Challenging workouts and high intensity are what crossfit is best known for; shorter training routines performed at a higher heart rate (and usually accompanied by heavy breathing).
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Those workouts are called either WODs (workout of the day) or MetCons (metabolic conditioning). The goal is pretty clear: as fast or as many reps as possible in a certain time frame.
If your first thought was “that seems to be pretty competitive”, you are right. Crossfit WODs spike competitiveness in all levels of athletes: from newbies just starting crossfit to experienced pro athletes.
Important things to know before starting crossfit
Best way to kick off your new training journey is by joining a gym. You will get the exact guidance you need on how to safely and efficiently begin with your new training regime.
Technique is the most important virtue and only experienced coaches can fix your movement in a way it fits your level, age, background, goals, etc. Besides, crossfit incorporates movements and skills from various sports: gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting, rowing, athletics, etc., and we all need someone to teach us that.
In case for some reason you can’t find a box or a coach, here’s a couple of workouts you can do on your own.
Build the basics first: core strength
Let’s say you are new to strength training. Most likely your body is not trained to do all kinds of lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling. It’s extremely important to develop basic core strength and a certain level of pelvic stability before tackling on any of the famous crossfit workouts. Improved core strength and stability will reduce the risk of developing lower back pain or other spine related injuries.
Here is a simple routine which will help you develop sufficient strength to later safely proceed with more demanding movements and WODs.
5 sets of:
10 hip weighted thrusters
20 side (left and right) sweeps with a stability balls
45 sec plank
Add a squat routine to your workout plan
The above mentioned core training is a great addition to a workout routine which includes the king of all exercises: the squat. Squat is the most important muscle building exercise and a great foundation for all kinds of activities and sports. This complex exercise will help you develop full-body strength, stability and flexibility, basically everything you need before starting crossfit.
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Keep in mind, squat is a skill. It does not matter how much you can lift, but how you lift the burden. Your torso should stay upright while your hips have to travel below parallel.
A simple squat workout plan would be:
Part 1: Work up to a heavy, but technically beautiful 3-repetition squat.
Part 2: Take a 5 minute break and perform 4 sets of:
5 air squat jumps
20 air squats
Eventually as bodyweight squats get too easy, take a kettlebell and do goblet squats, hold the kettlebell in front of your chest, instead.
Best WODs to start with crossfit
You don’t have to do the core and squat routines only. There are a lot of beginner friendly workouts you can put into your training routine. Just make sure you don’t over-perform on those: 3 MetCons per week are more than enough.
Annie is a couplet, made of two movements: sit ups and double-unders. If your DUs are still a skill you’re working on, do single-unders. While the WOD might look simple, 150 sit-ups will make it quite a challenge.
50-40-30-20 and 10 rep rounds of:
As the name suggests, this workouts pushes you to the failure. Meaning, you are doing burpees for as long as possible.
Min 1: 1 burpee
Min 2: 2 burpees
Min 3: 3 burpees
… Min 23: 23 burpees
Continue in this order until you can no longer complete burpees for the number of minutes on the timer.
Cindy is one of the most popular workouts out there. It’s a simple 3-set of pull ups, push ups and air squats.
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AMRAP stands for as many reps as possible. So within the time frame of 20 minutes try to complete as many rounds as possible of:
5 pull ups
10 push ups
15 air squats
Time cap: 20 minutes
You can swap the pull ups for ring rows or bent over rows, and do wall-supported push ups instead of the regular ones.
Beginner friendly Cindy:
10 wall supported push ups
Besides kettlebell swings and pull ups, Helen in one workout that includes running. You can also change running for rowing or spinning. Just make sure you sweat a little.
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21 kettlebell swings
12 pull ups
Tabata is a simple, and also a very popular one, workout routine to bring the intensity up and progressively train your body for other metabolic conditioning routines.
Chose one exercise and perform it in 8 sets: 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest.
For example, take kettlebell swings. Perform as many swings as possible in the first 20 seconds. Take a 10-second rest. Repeat the set for seven more rounds.
Choose one exercise and pair it with burpees
If you want to challenge yourself and train your body for crossfit, do burpees in a combination with one of the resistance exercises.
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A very simple workout would be:
Best workouts are actually pretty simple. When starting crossfit, set a goal of mastering the basics first. Once you get the basics, try to learn the more advanced movements. Focus on the technique and the movement. Ask yourself: does it look perfect?