CrossFit is a very popular approach to what some consider extreme fitness. It combines physical practice and the adoption of a specific diet in order to develop strength and/or lose weight. During training, CrossFit exercises can be adapted to suit your fitness level and goals.
There is also a CrossFit culture. Since classes are usually held in dedicated gyms, known as “boxes”, people who train in the same box often develop a sense of community. They also use the CrossFit language. For example, WOD means “workout of the day”.
Because CrossFit movements can be modified to suit almost any fitness level, it is said to be suitable for almost everyone: young or old, athletic or not. But when you are just starting CrossFit, the best advice is to start small and work your way up.
If you want to try CrossFit for yourself before you take the plunge, here are 7 beginner’s CrossFit workouts you can start with. Obviously, the best CrossFit workouts are the ones where you push your limits, but you need to know the right way to do them or you could end up hurting yourself.
1. AIR SQUATS
Squats are a movement that strengthens the legs and the buttocks. Air squats are like standard squats, but instead of using extra weights, you use only your body weight. You should begin the air squat by initiating the movement at the hips and knees, making sure your feet are flat on the floor throughout the movement.
- Keep your back straight, paying attention to the arch of your spine.
- Bend your knees and get down.
- Move down until your hips are below the level of your knees.
- Pull yourself up and back to a standing position by pushing on your legs.
2. SHOULDER PRESS
The shoulder press is a fundamental movement for beginners as it creates a “strong overhead position” for more advanced CrossFit exercises.
- Hold an empty bar on your shoulders.
- Push the bar upwards, directly above.
- Return to the starting position.
Burpees are the move that everyone loves to hate. Why? They are solid and efficient. They are perfect for metabolic conditioning.
- From a standing position, lower yourself into a squat.II. Place your hands on the floor and bring your legs into a push-up position.
- Do a push-up.
- Bring your legs back to a squat position.
- Jump into the air, land in a crouch and repeat.
Push-ups are a quick and effective exercise for building strength. They can be performed from virtually anywhere and require no equipment. They work the triceps, pectoral muscles and shoulders. When done properly, they can also strengthen the lower back and torso by engaging (pulling) the abdominal muscles.
- Place your hands directly under your shoulders.
- Lower yourself to the ground.
- When you reach the bottom, immediately push back to the starting position.
5. BOX JUMPS
This is a jumping exercise to push your muscles to the max and increase your power, strength and speed.
The box jump is a movement where you jump from the ground to an elevated surface, like a box. Box jumping is one of the best CrossFit exercises in terms of explosiveness.
- Using a stable box or platform, hold your feet hip-width apart with your toes pointing slightly outward.
- In a gentle swing, propel yourself upwards, using the momentum of your arms.
- Land with both feet simultaneously on the box, standing or crouching.
- Step down by placing one foot after the other on the ground.
The clean is a multi-joint CrossFit exercise that develops power and strength throughout the body. The exercise also helps develop core strength and athletic coordination. To avoid injury, we suggest using an empty bar when starting.
- Start with your feet at hip width. Throughout the exercise, be sure to keep your chest open.
- Squat down and hold the bar in your hands just in front of your shins, directly above your feet. Your arms should be locked with your elbows facing out. Keep your chest as straight as possible.
- Start lifting the bar vertically, pulling it slightly towards your body.
- Once the bar has passed your knees, jump slightly and raise your shoulders to bring the bar as high as possible to catch it.
- When the bar reaches its maximum height, squat underneath it so you can place it on the front of your shoulders. Repeat.
If you want to know more about this exercise, I suggest you watch this video about the clean.
7. KETTLEBELL SWING
The kettlebell swing is the most important kettlebell exercise of all, but also the one that most people struggle with. Kettlebell swings are similar to the deadlift and use almost every muscle in the body, especially those of the posterior chain, which helps strengthen the back. When doing a kettlebell swing, make sure you don’t keep your knees locked and avoid pushing them forward.
- With your feet hip-width apart, back straight and chest up, stand over the kettlebell.
- Squat down with your back straight and grab the kettlebell with your palms facing your body.
- Stand upright. As you do this, shift your weight to your heels, bend your knees slightly while pushing your buttocks toward the wall behind you.
- As you do this, pull the kettlebell between your legs.
- In a hip movement, swing the kettlebell forward, lifting it just below shoulder height in front of you, contracting your glutes and hamstrings.
CrossFit can be a fun way to change up an existing workout routine or start new healthy habits. But be sure to listen to your body and tailor the workout to your needs.
Each time you start a new program, a new set of exercises, start slowly. Use small weights or no weights until you are sure you have mastered the movement. Build strength slowly and you will get the most out of your workouts with the least amount of risk of injury.