From health magazines to pop culture references, you’re sure to have heard of CrossFit.
The biggest fitness trend of the early 2000s that just won’t seem to die, this high-intensity exercise methodology has enjoyed global success even until now.
If you have a CrossFitter in your life you’re sure to know it (because they probably won’t stop talking about it!), and perhaps it’s piqued your interest.
Enough is enough!
If you’ve been curious about trying CrossFit, dip your toe in the water by trying out one of these beginner-friendly workouts.
This is one of the classic “girl” benchmark workouts revered by CrossFit athletes all over the world.
Cindy is great for beginners because forces you to drill those fundamental body weight movements which are so important to master before getting into more complicated exercises. Not to mention, this workout is very easy to scale.
20 minute AMRAP
15 Air Squats
The objective is to complete as many reps as possible (AMRAP, get it?) within the time allocated.
The score is the number of rounds and reps completed at the 20-minute time cap.
Game plan: The name of the game is to stay consistent. 20 minutes of non-stop movement can be a mental grind for some. Try to stay focused on making short, clean transitions between the exercises.
The beauty of a body weight workout is that there’s always an alternative if you lack the strength or mobility to do it Rx. Sub out the pull-ups for ring rows, push-ups can be modified and performed with your knees on the ground, perform squats to a target if you struggle to get to your hip crease below your knees.
Another option could be scaling for reps. instead of 5/10/15 start with 3/7/10. No matter how you have to scale it, just focus on the performing high quality reps.
The great thing about CrossFit is the variety of exercises that you can find within a workout. CrossFit athletes must find a balance between being strong, agile, powerful, fast while also being competent in with gymnastics and weightlifting. Luckily, it’s an ongoing endeavor but this workout just might be your first step.
3 Rounds for Time
20 Walking Lunge
10 Dumbbell Thrusters
10 Sit ups
The score is the time it takes to complete the workout.
Game plan: Unlike the previous workout, this one is meant to be fast paced right from the beginning.
Keep a tight core during your thrusters and try to keep your body relaxed in the run. Once you hit the 400-meter mark, go straight into the walking lunges, and regulate your breathing to bring your heartrate down.
The weight for the thrusters should allow you to do 10 repetitions unbroken without sacrificing form. If your form begins to breakdown during the workout, break the set: do the first five reps, rest for a few seconds, and then finish the last five before moving on to the sit ups.
The most iconic rep scheme in all of CrossFit. 21 repetitions of each exercise, then 15, and then 9. Don’t let the shortness of this WOD (workout of the day) deceive you. Even if the workout only consists of two exercises, you can count on it testing your aerobic capacity.
21 – 15 – 9
Deadlifts (135/95 lb.)
Burpees over the Bar
The score is the time it takes to complete the workout.
Game plan: The good thing about this rep scheme is that there are fewer reps in each round.
Mentally, it’s a lot easier to keep pushing through even when it begins to feel hard. This also allows you to increase the intensity as you move towards the end of the workout.
Stay consistent in the burpees and take your time to set up correctly every time you approach the bar.
The deadlifts should be performed at a weight that feels comfortable, so feel free to scale the weight or swap out the bar for a kettlebell or dumbbells.
Every Minute on the Minute
Introduction to EMOMs (every minute on the minute), another typical workout format. The idea is as follows: you get one minute to complete the prescribed work. Once the work is completed, you can rest for what’s left of the minute. No completion equals no rest. How about that for motivation?
16 minute EMOM
20 Double-unders / 40 Single-unders
10 Kettlebell Swing
10 Kettlebell Goblet Squat
10 Push up
Game plan: There’s no scoring for this workout, just do your best to have some time to rest in each minute.
Adjust the reps so that you can perform each exercise with good technique.
You should be able to rest for at least 15 seconds in each minute before the fatigue kicks in and makes your rest time shorter.
Fight Gone Bad
This is one of CrossFit’s best known benchmark workouts and just as the name would have you believe; you’re going to feel pretty beat up afterwards. It combines compound exercises with explosive, high-intensity one-minute intervals.
Give this one ago once you feel confident with the exercises.
1 minute Wall Ball Shots (20/14 lb.)
1 minute Sumo Deadlift High-Pulls (75/55 lb.)
1 minute Box Jumps (20 in)
1 minute Push Press (75/55 lb.)
1 minute Row (calories)
1 minute Rest
The final score is the total of reps completed within the entire workout.
Game plan: Keep a steady pace throughout but go just a bit harder in the row which you have just before the one minute of rest. The push presses are also a good place to push the envelope; this exercise has a short range of motion, meaning more time to rack up those reps.
Just make sure you keep track of your score. It will be a great reference point a few months down the line when you feel even more comfortable with the exercises, and your aerobic conditioning improves.
From the spectators’ view, CrossFit looks intimidating. Sure, some dramatics are over the top, but that’s part of the charm; the build up of intensity that ends in throwing yourself to the ground in victory and relief.
Rest assured that CrossFit is very much accessible to all levels, so go in with a good attitude and an open mind. Even if you turn out to be one of the few people who don’t become hooked after the first workout, you can’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
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