I recently watched a documentary on Netflix about the annual Crossfit competition (I think it was called “Fittest on Earth”, or something like that). After watching in awe, one word came to mind… respect. These men and women are in serious shape, like, crazy superhero shape. Got me thinking about the exercises and methods in which they train and see if they could be applied to the home setting. So, here we go, 10 Crossfit workouts from home that will really get ya working. Ready? Of course you are!
For those of you unfamiliar with the phenomenon, let’s define Crossfit before we get too far in front of ourselves.
What is Crossfit?
Crossfit is basically a style of exercise emphasizing durability and power. The Crossfit program uses several full-body movements aimed at functionally improving fitness. Lifting, squatting, pressing, carrying, etc. Functional stuff, stuff we find ourselves doing in the real world all the time.
The goal of Crossfit (according to Crossfit.com) is to make people more fit so they are able to perform any task in life better. It’s designed to improve our power. Remember from physics class that power incorporates speed, being able to perform an exercise or task faster increases power. You’ll notice here in a minute that many of the Crossfit exercises involve doing exercises for a certain time limit. In the Crossfit games, athletes are rewarded for being able to run, swim, or perform a series of lifts in the shortest amount of time. Basically, the athlete with the most power, wins.
Not only will these workouts improve power, but they will improve endurance as well. Crossfit workouts are intense, no getting around it. You will be huffing, puffing, and sweating… but that is how you get the big results! Another cool thing about the Crossfit movement taking place is the camaraderie between the athletes. Although in the documentary these guys and girls are competing against each other, it was amazing to watch how they worked together to motivate each other while competing. It really felt like it was more about finishing the workout than winning. That said, these are obviously some of the most competitive people on the planet. But, the mutual respect between the athletes was inspiring.
I got distracted, sorry. Back to the exercises. Seriously though, if you have Netflix, check it out, awesome movie… you will want to workout immediately after watching. Ok, exercises, here we go. Some of the core exercises involved with Crossfit include:
- Squats- with or without weight
- Shoulder presses
- Push presses
- Pull ups
Some of the above exercises might be a little unfamiliar to you, Crossfit.com has an awesome demo section that demonstrates each exercise. Not all of the exercises listed here will be used in the example workouts provided, but these are great exercises to incorporate in your workout routine whether or not you are doing a Crossfit inspired program.
10 Crossfit Inspired Workouts
A few abbreviations/terms that will be used in the workouts:
- As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP)– you will be given a circuit, you perform said circuit as many times as you can within the given time limit
- Every Minute On the Minute (EMOM)– you will be given an exercise with reps and one minute to complete; typically 3-4 1 min exercises in a circuit; when you finish that exercise, the remainder of the min is your rest time.
- Ladder– rep numbers in descending order (example: 5-4-3-2-1), do 5 reps first set, then 4 reps, than 3, etc.
- For Time– complete set number of reps for each exercise any way you like, but try to finish as fast as possible
#1 20 min AMRAP
- 10 burpees
- 20 push ups
- 30 sit ups
- 40 squats (body weight)
- 50 sec plank
I found this one on pinterest, tried it 2 days ago…still a little sore. Primarily the squats, surprisingly enough. In 20 min I was able to complete 3 rounds and start the 4th…thats 120 body weight squats! Great workout, simple but intense. Be prepared to sweat. I think this is a great intro to Crossfit workout because it only takes 20 min.
#2 20 min EMOM
- 20 push ups
- 10 pull ups
- 15 sit ups
- 20 squats
So, for this one you have 1 min to complete 20 push ups, then rest with whatever time is left over. When the second min starts, you have a min to do 10 pull ups, and rest with whatever time is left over. Etc. Etc. So, as long as you are reaching your goals, you will do each task 5x (it’s basically a 4 min circuit, 5x in 20 min). You need a pull up bar to do this one completely, if you don’t have one you could do lat pull down with a band. No band? Grab some dumbbells and do bent over row. No dumbbells, try another workout.
- Push ups: 20-19-18-17-16-15-14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
- Thrusters: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-20
Alternate between the 2 exercises. So, start with 20 push ups, then immediately perform 1 thruster (choose light dumbbells, 15-20 lb may be plenty). Work your way down the ladder alternating between the two, on last set you will perform 1 push up and 20 thrusters. Brutal workout. See how fast you can finish it, took me almost 20 min first time I did it. Do the math, 210 push ups and 210 thrusters!
#4 20 min AMRAP
- 20 mountain climbers
- 20 squats
- 20 push ups
- 20 sit ups
With the mountain climbers, its 20 for each leg (sorry, I’m mean). The push ups become difficult on this one, the heart rate and breathing are elevated by the time you get there. Again, see how many times you can complete the circuit in 20 min. Try to beat your record next time.
#5 For Time
- 100 push ups
- 100 sit ups
- 100 kettle bell swings
- 100 squats
- 100 dumbbell rows
500 reps…yea, I know. Crazy. Give it a try. For this set up, split the sets anyway you want, the goal is to complete all reps in as short amount of time as possible. I like the 5×20 reps idea, but I sometimes have to rest before 20. I don’t have a kettle bell, so I use a dumbbell instead, works just as well. Pick a light weight for the rows, it’s a lot of reps. Enjoy!
#6 20 min AMRAP
- 21 squats
- 15 push ups
- 9 burpees
9 burpees doesn’t sound like much, but burpees are really tough. The squats become really taxing on this workout as well. I find the push ups are the easiest task in the circuit. This is a good simple, no BS body weight workout. No equipment necessary, no excuses.
- burpee + pull up
- squat + push up
With this ladder, you are going to do 2 pairs of exercises, alternating between them for the extent of the ladder. Start with 10 burpees and 10 pull ups, after you work your way down to 1 burpee and 1 pull up, rest as much as necessary and then start over with 10 squats and 10 push ups. I personally like the ladder style workouts, I’ve been incorporating these into my workouts for awhile now. Whenever I’m bored or not sure what I want to do, I pick 2 exercises and make my own ladder. I try to incorporate an upper and lower body exercise into each pair.
The first 7 workouts are good examples of how Crossfit works. Trying to perform as much work as possible in a short period of time. Including total body exercises and high reps. I wanted to finish the list off with a couple of classic Crossfit workouts. These are the type of workouts the Crossfit athletes, both professional and recreational, are performing on a regular basis. I haven’t been brave enough to try any of these…yet.
- 100 pull ups
- 100 push ups
- 100 sit ups
- 100 squats
This is a for time workout, perform exercises in order. That is a lot of pull ups…
- 5 pull ups
- 10 push ups
- 15 squats
This is a 30 min EMOM workout. Do the math: thats 10 rounds… 50 pull ups, 100 push ups, 150 squats!
- 1 mile run
- 100 pull ups
- 200 push ups
- 300 squats
- 1 mile run
This is a for time workout, knock out the reps as fast as possible. This is the essential Crossfit workout. Pure insanity. I was curious, so I looked up some times online. Someone posted a time of like 24 min…wow. Oh yea, almost forgot, they perform this workout while wearing a 20lb weighted vest… yup.
The above list of circuit style workouts gives you a good example of how Crossfit works. Circuits consisting primarily of full body exercises, performed over high reps with an emphasis on speed. These workouts are designed to build strength, power, and endurance.
These workouts are using strengthening exercises to provide a great cardio workout, I love it. One thing all of these workouts have in common, is that the rest times are small. This is going to keep your heart rate elevated throughout the entire workout. In other words, you will be getting a cardio workout while you do any of these routines. Anytime you can get a great cardio workout without running on a treadmill for half an hour, I’m happy.
Not that there is anything wrong with jogging on a treadmill. Running is a great exercise and a great way to stay in shape. I’ve incorporated running into my workouts off and on for years. Problem is, for me anyway, I don’t have the mental endurance for long distance running…I get bored. I do a little better with higher intensity interval type running for 20 – 30 min at a time. For those that enjoy running and are interested in affordable treadmills for the home:
Great thing about these Crossfit workouts though, is that you are getting the cardio workout while performing your strengthening exercises. Push ups, pull ups, squats…all great exercises for building strength. Knocking out these high reps and combining the upper and lower body exercises will give you a full body workout while improving your endurance at the same time.
Now that you have the workouts, it’s time to get busy! If these workouts or exercises are new to you, I would start with workout #1. I didn’t mean to put them in any type of order, but the first few workouts I listed are a little easier, and the last 3 are definitely the most difficult.
Feel free to modify any way necessary as well. Don’t feel like these workouts are written in stone. These should be used as guidelines. Some people may not be comfortable with pull ups or kettle bell swings. Others might not have dumbbells or a pull up bar. Switch out exercises any way you like. Currently I’m not using a pull up bar in my house, so pull ups aren’t an option for me. I do have bands, so anytime a workout calls for pull ups, I just substitute lat pull down with the bands. Done and done.
Feel free to incorporate these workouts into your regular regimen anyway you see fit. You could easily add one workout to your mix weekly, or do the same workout 3 days/wk. Find something that works. If you enjoy these intense circuits and start doing them more, you will definitely get better at them. You could even start doing them daily. Crossfit likes to keep their athletes “on their toes” by changing the workout every day. They refer to it as the WOD (workout of the day). Just make sure to incorporate some rest days, remember, these workouts are pretty intense.
I’ve started incorporating these workouts into my regular routine. Right now, I’m doing 3 circuits a week. Tends to be Monday, Wednesday, Friday (or sometimes Saturday). Depending on my schedule, or how tired I am, I will either take the other days off or do some type of cardio on the other days. I want to eventually bump up those numbers so that I am doing 4-5 of these circuits a week.
I hope you enjoyed reading about Crossfit. I also hope this post inspired you to give these workouts a shot. They are challenging, but you will feel great when you finish.
If anyone is currently working out Crossfit style and has some pointers, I would love to hear from you. Send me a comment and I will get back to you shortly.