CrossFit is everywhere. It’s spawned a vernacular with terms like “WOD” (workout of the day), “firebreather” and “Rx’d.”
CrossFit’s dedicated masses have infiltrated our workplaces, our schools and our homes. You may even be living with a CrossFitter right now.
So why haven’t you sipped the Kool-Aid yet?
To its credit — and despite the universally hefty price tag of its memberships — CrossFit remains an open-source model. That’s to say that its workouts, methodologies and countless other resources have been made public record. Anyone with an internet connection has access to hundreds of workouts that they can try with little to no equipment.
The following three workouts work a ton of muscle and stoke your metabolic machinery, all without the burden of the box. (Translation: the gym)
Named for a woman we can only imagine to be grouchy, bad with children and full of bad jokes at parties, “Cindy” is one of the most accessible workouts in the CrossFit lineup.
Pull-ups, push-ups and squats are divided into manageable blocks of five, 10 and 15, respectively, for 20 minutes straight. On the page, it doesn’t look so bad, right?
But five or six rounds in, the burn begins to set in, your lungs begin to protest and your will begins to shrink. But take heart in the fact that it’s only 20 minutes and this, too, shall pass.
AMRAP (as many rounds/reps as possible) in 20 minutes of:
The Report: This workout aggressively taxes your lats, pecs, quads and glutes while also putting a beatdown on your biceps and triceps. But the aerobic demand associated with this work capacity session fully rounds out the suck. Tomorrow will not be pleasant.
Be bullish on your transitions in order to maximize time efficiency. Each time you perform this WOD, you should strive to top your previous performance.
2. Run + Squat
You may know by now that skipping leg day can be hazardous to your health … and your physique, and your ability to confidently wear shorts.
Not everyone can grow a girthy set of quads, but nearly everyone can increase their athleticism and stamina through this CrossFit gauntlet.
Using an online mapping service (try mapmyrun.com) and a medicine ball to keep you honest on your squat depth, this workout is one that you can come back to over and over.
Whether you’re looking to nuke a ton of calories or get some high-volume work for your legs, this workout has you covered.
4 rounds for time:
Run 400 meters
The Report: There will be an inclination to hold back on either the runs or the squats. Don’t. Hobble into your runs and get up to a sustainable speed as quickly as possible with the mindset of getting back to the med ball.
Once you’re back, don’t waste time getting into your squats — better to start your set of 50 and rest later than to waste time standing around. Log your time and consider it the mark to beat next time out.
Named for another woman who probably hated kittens, “Fran” is one of the most revered CrossFit WODs. In this universe, “What’s your Fran?” is the question du jour by which your functional prowess shall be measured.
A chaotic sprint through pull-ups and thrusters — a front squat followed by an overhead press — this routine measures your ability to sustain power production over several minutes.
The 21-15-9 configuration refers to the number of reps you do for each run through this micro circuit. You’ll do 21 thrusters followed by 21 pull-ups, then 15 of each, then nine of each.
For time: 21-15-9
The Report: Elite CrossFitters can complete the work in three minutes or less, while the more human among us might take 10 minutes or more. In either scenario, you should get a medal.
There is no saving grace (the name of another awful WOD) with Fran — you just have to dig in, get stubborn and muscle through. If your shoulder flexibility allows it, kipping pull-ups are really the only viable option here, but you are welcome to use dead-hang pulls. It’s your funeral.
CrossFit may not be for you. Maybe you don’t care for Paleo nutrition or calloused hands, but there’s no denying the competitive appeal or physical benefits of the workout culture these die-hards have cultivated. These three routines put you in the box without the Kool-Aid. And who knows? You might like it enough to become a regular WOD disciple.