Much ado has been made over the benefits of CrossFit, an intense workout program that combines calisthenics (a.k.a, bodyweight training) with functional strength training and explosive movements.
That’s because CrossFit delivers results. If you want to get lean, grow strong and become a cardio machine in a relatively short amount of time, CrossFit can get you there but it won’t come easy.
CrossFit workouts can be utterly brutal, and they’re meant to test your limits. The repetitive, no-breaks routines range from extremely difficult to completely insane, and you have to give it your all to reap the benefits.
Thankfully, the benefits are plentiful and oh-so-worth it. Because of its intensity and focus on full-body movements, it means no standard cardio workouts and hours spent at the gym.
You’ll also see dramatic improvements in stamina, strength, coordination, flexibility, power, speed, balance, agility and endurance. Not bad, right?
Keep in mind that during a CrossFit workout, you generally complete as many exercises or repetitions as fast as you can, or within a certain amount of time. For that reason, it’s common for people to sacrifice form, which can lead to strain and injury.
This has made CrossFit controversial, but as with any exercise program, form comes first especially in CrossFit. So make sure you have the moves down-pat before trying any of these exercises in a CrossFit sequence.
That’s also why this list of CrossFit exercises you can easily learn below are merely suggestions. What makes CrossFit special is the sheer intensity of its routines, or as CrossFit enthusiasts like to call them, “WODs” (workouts of the day).
Basically, if you perform these moves at a leisurely pace, then you’re not really doing CrossFit right.
You won’t find a lot of tiny, targeted movements in CrossFit. If it doesn’t get your heart rate up, your blood pumping and the sweat dripping, it’s likely not going to be part of your CrossFit routine.
So if you’re looking to do static bicep curls or work your triceps with standing triceps extensions, look elsewhere. CrossFit is all about constant, dynamic movements remember, you’re trying to get fit fast, and all over.
The Butterfly Sit-Up
Traditional sit-ups can hurt your lower back and cause neck pain, but this modified butterfly sit-up is just as effective at carving your abs, if not more so.
That’s because the range of motion is greater when you do a sit-up with your legs raised, and a greater range of motions often also means a tougher, more impactful movement.
How to do it: Sit on the ground with your legs spread apart and your feet touching each other; your knees should be pointed outwards. Reach your arms out in front of you so your fingertips touch the floor in front of your feet.
Keeping your hips open the entire time, crunch backward and swing your arms back over your head with control, so that your back nearly touches the floor. Try to get your arms to touch the floor above your head.
When you’re about an inch away from the ground, use your core strength to pull yourself back to the starting position for one rep.
As with many functional CrossFit exercises, this move provides some killer functional training by targeting several muscle groups at once and working out your entire body from head to toe.
Blast calories and increase* strength, while targeting your thighs, hips, shoulders, and triceps.
How to do it: Hold a pair of dumbbells in each hand, just above your shoulders with your palms facing each other. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, sink your body down.
Then push yourself up out of the squat to standing while simultaneously pressing the dumbbells above your push yourself back up to starting position, while simultaneously pushing dumbbells straight up above your head, until your arms and legs are straight. That’s one rep.
Burpee Box Jumps
Thought you hated burpees? You’ll really hate burpee box jumps. This is one seriously tough movement that requires (and builds) substantial stamina and power.
How to do it: Perform a standard burpee by jumping your body down to the ground until you are in plank position, then jumping your feet back to standing. Instead of raising your hands and jumping straight into the air, you’ll jump up on a box and jump down to complete one burpee box jump.
Wall balls are a challenging part of any Crossfit workout. Your arms, glutes, legs, and shoulders will get a serious workout with this one and you’ll get a cardio boost* to boot.
How to do it: Begin standing facing a wall, with your feet standing shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball in your hands at chest height with your elbows underneath the ball.
Sink down into a squat, then as you come back up, throw the ball up to hit the wall and catch it. That’s one rep.
Inch Worm To Grasshopper
This may sound like a yoga pose, but this animal-inspired exercise catches up with you quickly and really targets your shoulder, back, chest, arms and especially your abs.
Think of them as mountain climbers, but with an added twist to target your obliques.
How to do it: Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, hinge forward at the hips with your back flat walk out to a push-up position.
Keep your shoulders over your hands as you jump, and reach your shins to the opposite arm, performing two mountain climbers on each side. Return to the push-up position, then inch back up to standing.
Try incorporating these beginner CrossFit moves into your own WODs by creating your own set number of rounds for time. (For example, 6 rounds for time of: 25 butterfly sit-ups, 15 dumbbell thrusters, 20 burpee box jumps, 25 wall balls, walking-lunge steps, 15 inch worms to grasshoppers).
Before diving into any CrossFit workout, make sure you perfect the moves and are supervised by an experienced trainer.
CrossFit isn’t for everyone, and there’s an increased risk of injury for beginners who aren’t already physically fit or who don’t perform the exercises with perfect form. Listen to your body and ease into any new fitness routine.
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