Why use these CrossFit workouts?
The four CrossFit workouts below will help improve every aspect of your fitness. If you include them in your training routine expect increased strength, stamina, and muscle definition.
To bring you a genuine CrossFit training experience, we’ve sourced workouts used by the sport’s leading athletes. You’ll get to go head-to-head with 5 X CrossFit Champion Rich Froning as you battle it out for supremacy over 22.3, a gruelling whole-body complex.
Also, you can enjoy a complete conditioning workout with 4 X CrossFit champion Tia Toomey. Her ‘morning routine’ builds serious strength while improving aerobic fitness.
Some of the CrossFit workouts are straight out of the book, but others have been developed by the athletes themselves.
Fitness benefits of these CrossFit workouts
The four featured CrossFit workouts are all very different. Because of this, they promote different fitness benefits.
For example, the first workout is a mix of calisthenics and light barbell compound exercises. Though a short workout, it improves upper body muscle endurance and stamina.
Workout two, by contrast, provides a whole-body conditioning blast. As well as developing lower and upper body strength, the cardio phase will enhance aerobic fitness. These dual benefits will also help burn fat and improve muscle definition.
The final two CrossFit workouts are comprised of a mixture of Olympic and powerlifting movements. Together they’ll increase whole-body strength while enhancing endurance exercises.
Benefits of CrossFit workouts
Increased whole-body strength
Develops dynamic, functional fitness
Improves a broad range of fitness components
Enhances repertoire of exercises
Promotes self-competition while also offering the opportunity to compete against CrossFit contemporaries
Explodes muscular endurance
Can be sued to build muscle and burn fat
Provides a highly stimulating exercise experience
Rich Froning 22.3 workout
The structure of this workout couldn’t be simpler and all you need is an Olympic barbell, skipping rope, and pull-up bar. Comprised of just three exercises – pull-ups, double unders, and barbell thrusters – you will be descending a repetition pyramid.
Organised into three rounds, the rep totals decrease each time. However, as the reps decrease the barbell weight increases. Also, for the final round, pull-ups change to muscle-ups – an explosive calisthenics exercise that requires considerable strength and control.
Essential reading: First: What it Takes to Win | Rich Froning
Remember, though, if you are unable to perform muscles-ups, or pull-ups for that matter, modify the exercise so that you can do it. For example, if you can do pull-ups but not muscles-ups, just stick with pull-ups for the final round. There’s no shame in that. If you can’t do pull-ups, try the inverted variation or do lat pulldowns instead.
The same goes for double unders. Either substitute with normal skipping or, if you can’t skip to save your life, jog on the spot.
Key points of CrossFit workouts 22.3
The objective is to complete the three rounds of three exercises as quickly as possible.
Remember that the reps for all exercises decrease after each round.
Kipping is permitted for both the pull-ups and muscle-ups.
The barbell weight for thrusters increases after each round.
Don’t forget to time yourself.
21 pull-ups (kipping is permitted)
43 double unders
21 Barbell Thrusters (30/40% of 1RM)
37 double unders
18 Barbell Thrusters (40/50% of 1RM)
31 double unders
15 Barbell Thrusters (50/60% of 1RM)
Tia Toomey | Morning Routine
This is a veritable smorgasbord of CrossFit exercises and training methodologies. Best broken into four distinct sections, the focus of the first three is on strength development. After a lower body and then upper body barbell complex, the strength section concludes with a heavy barbell squat.
Essential reading: How I Became the Fittest Woman on Earth
When the last few droplets of strength have been wrung from your legs, you enter a quad-quivering 30-minute cycle phase. So, with that in mind, make sure you reserve enough juice to get through the 12 ascending intensity cycle sets.
Key points of Toomey’s morning routine
Because the workout starts with a series of heavy lifts, it’s advisable to warm up well first.
Section one is a squat and Cuban press complex. The reps and weights stay the same. Progress the complex three times total.
Section two is a mix of classic CrossFit compound exercises. The reps are low, but the weight is not far off maximal.
Section three sees you perform four sets of four reps of barbell squats. Again, the reps are low but the weight is 90% of 1RM.
Finally, section four consists of 12 cycle sets. Each set has been assigned a target RPM (revolutions per minute). Do your best to maintain the stipulated RPM for the duration. After every three completed sets, you get a three-minute rest. This changes a little over the final set.
Section 1: Squat complex
14 Cossack Squats
12 Wide stance squats
10 Standing Cuban Press*
Complete the exercises three times
Section 2: Barbell complex
1 Power clean
1 Hang clean
3 Push jerks
2-minute rounds X 6 @ 80% max effort
Section 3: Barbell squat
4 X 4 reps @ 90% max effort
Section 4: 30-minute Cycle
5-minutes maintaining 85 rpm
4-minutes maintaining 95 rpm
3-minutes maintaining 100 rpm
4-minutes maintaining 90 rpm
3-minutes maintaining 95 rpm
2-minutes maintaining 100 rpm
3-minutes maintaining 100 rpm
2-minutes maintaining 105 rpm
1-minute maintaining 110 rpm
1-minute maintaining 115 reps
1-minute maintaining 115 reps
1-minute maintaining 115 reps
Related: Need a WOD of the day? Here’s 21 for you!
Matt Fraser 15.1 CrossFit workouts
15.1 is deceptively simple. At a glance, it hardly seems worth putting your kit on for. Comprised of just three exercises, the reps and weights are surprisingly low – surprising for a CrossFit workout.
Essential reading: Hard Work Pays Off | Matt Fraser
But, be warned, if you tackle this workout as though you’re competing for a place on the podium, you’ll soon be blinking through a deluge of stinging sweat and suffering a nasty burn in the forearms.
This workout mercilessly attacks the forearms and lower back. After a couple of rounds, transitioning from toes to bar to deadlifts will fill you with dread. And I can promise you it won’t be long before you’re forced to break those meagre reps into even smaller sets.
Key points of 15.1 workout
Ensure that you’ve warm-up well. That way you’ll be ready to hit 15.1 running.
Before you start your first set of 15 reps toes to bar, start a 9-minute countdown timer.
Begin at the first exercise and cycle through the triad as many times as possible in the allotted time.
If you have to break the reps into sub-sets, do so.
Aim to keep a methodical pace throughout.
The weights are light – 20 to 40% of 1RM.
15 Toes to bar
9-minutes to complete as many rounds as possible of the three exercises
Brooke Wells | Whole-body Strength Barbell Blast
This final CrossFit workout is an uber pared-down power-packed whole-body barbell blast. Yes, it’s simple. Yes, it’s comprised of only two exercises. And yes, the reps aren’t even that high. But, and there’s always a but – but this workout features two brutal compound exercises in existence.
Thrusters engage all the major muscle groups –legs, back, core – and also a whole host of smaller ones – shoulders, upper chest, triceps. It’s as close to a complete exercise as you can get. Because thrusters activate a myriad of different muscles, they also quickly get the heart pumping. Even performing thrusters over short sets like those below is enough to trigger the aerobic system.
As for sumo deadlift to high-pulls, this amalgamation of two highly engaging compound exercises targets those muscles that thrusters missed. A pairing of posterior chain specialists, this dynamic duo will build strength in the hamstrings, glutes, erector spinae, trapezius, and rear deltoids – aka, the posterior chain.
Key points of Brooke’s whole-body barbell blast
The objective is to traverse the 10 sets as quickly as possible. So that you can begin the workout at a high intensity, it’s advisable to complete a 10-minute warm-up first.
Before you initiate the first set of thrusters, start your timer.
Ensuring to apply safe lifting principles, progress down the descending repetition pyramid.
You can either keep the barbell weight the same throughout the workout or incrementally increase it with each reduction in reps.
Remember, if after the 10 sets you are left hungry for more, either go back to the start or ascend the repetition pyramid.
15 reps Thrusters
21 reps Sumo deadlift to high-pulls
12 reps Thrusters
18 reps Sumo deadlift to high-pulls
9 reps Thrusters
15 reps Sumo deadlift to high-pulls
6 reps Thrusters
12 reps Sumo deadlift to high-pulls
3 reps Thrusters
9 reps Sumo deadlift to high-pulls
CrossFit training FAQ
Instead of ending with a pithy conclusion, we decided to wrap this article up with a quick CrossFit FAQ (frequently asked questions).
The questions cover elementary insights concerning the characteristics of CrossFit, some of the workout particulars, and standard terminology. We’ve endeavoured to answer the questions fully and accurately.
However, if you are left scratching your head, or you’re itching to ask a question of your own, pop it in the comments box and we’ll answer it when we get back from the gym.
What is CrossFit?
The popular view? CrossFit is where a horde of hulking mesomorphs battle it out over a series of strange fitness events for the crown of fittest person in the world. Picture beefed-up sperm cells swimming frantically for the egg.
The view as per the official CrossFit website? ‘CrossFit is a lifestyle characterized by safe, effective exercise and sound nutrition.’ The CrossFit ethos and training methodology can be applied to ‘accomplish any goal, from improved health to weight loss to better performance.’ And, apparently, ‘the program works for anyone’ from the beginner to the advanced trainer alike.
What are the best CrossFit exercises?
Some of the best CrossFit exercises originate from Olympic powerlifting disciplines. The snatch and clean and jerk, for example, are standard Olympic lifts that CrossFit makes liberal use of in competitions. They have put their own spin on these exercises though – such as the thruster, power clean, and hang clean, all modifications of Olympic lifts.
Furthermore, CrossFit workouts are often performed at high volume. Olympic weightlifting, by contrast, is a controlled process where the athlete completes a series of low rep lifts at near-maximal intensity.
But some of the best CrossFit exercises include the
Clean and jerk
Skipping (double unders)
There are many more
What’s murphy crossfit?
Murph is a standard CrossFit event that often features in competitions. Legend has it that one of the co-founders of the CrossFit movement named the event in honour of a military mate who was killed in combat.
The Murph event consists of the following exercises:
300 Air squats
That’s a pretty punishing workout I think you’ll agree. However, it gets worse. CrossFit competitors are required to clad themselves in a 20lb (just shy of 10kg) weighted vest. Also, there are rules.
First, all the reps must be performed to exacting specifications – no partial pull-ups or pathetic squat pumps. (But you can kip on the pull-ups.)
Second, the exercises must be completed in the order shown. And you cannot progress from one station to the next until the distance and reps have been completed.
What’s a WOD when it’s at home?
WOD is an acronym for workout of the day. These are workouts disseminated daily by affiliate gyms to subscribing members. A CrossFit coach pens a WOD and promptly posts it on a forum that gym members have access to.
Typically, the WOD is comprised of a series of exercises synonymous with CrossFit competitions. The objective is to complete the WOD for time. Times are posted back on the forum with feedback concerning the merit and worth of the WOD.
Is CrossFit for beginners?
As the saying goes, you’ve got to start somewhere. And for beginners, that somewhere is acquiring a small range of the less complex CrossFit exercises. These exercises, once mastered, can be organised into CrossFit-style workouts – AMRAPS, EMOMS, and the like.
Related: Compound Exercise List | Learn the Fundamentals
When the beginner’s confidence and competence grow, they can begin broadening their repertoire of exercises. In addition, they will increase the intensity and duration of their workouts. At this point, they are no longer beginners.
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