You’ve probably heard the term ‘CrossFit’ thrown around—maybe you’ve heard it so many times that it’s too late to ask what it is. CrossFit is a fitness regimen that incorporates high-intensity interval training (HIIT), weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, and other exercises. According to the CrossFit website, “CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.” There are currently over 13,000 CrossFit affiliates, half of which are in the United States. CrossFit workouts are data-driven. They repeatedly show results for people committed to the workout. If you’re ready to see results fast, to gain muscle and strength, and to sculpt and tone your body, try these CrossFit exercises at home.
Burpees are the ultimate strength and endurance exercise designed to get your heart rate up and your limbs burning in no time. A burpee involves a push-up and a jump done alternately and as quickly as possible. To perform a burpee, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Get into squat position and put your hands on the floor inside your feet. Thrust back into a plank and do one push-up, then jump your feet back toward your hands, stand, and jump in the air. When you land, immediately go back into squat position and start again.
Push-ups are a great exercise for strengthening your arms, shoulders, and chest. The wider you spread your hands in a push-up, the more you activate your chest. Make sure your body forms a straight line—no sinking hips, no raised bottoms.
Squat jumps engage your lower body—calves, thighs, and glutes—to perfectly balance out those push-ups. Squats strengthen your legs while a jump engages your whole body, raising your heart rate, turning a strengthening exercise into a cardio workout. Squat jumps are exactly as they sound. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend into a squat. Jump up into the air, and when you land go straight into a squat again. That’s one rep.
Good ole’ jumping jacks. There’s a reason people hate them—but you shouldn’t. Jumping jacks will get your heart pumping, your blood flowing, and you’ll feel it all over. They’ll bring you closer to your goal. Stand with your feet together, hands by your side. Jump your feet out in a wide stance as you lift your arms in the air, then quickly jump back, lowering your arms to your sides. That’s one jumping jack.
Sprints are used a lot in CrossFit because by nature they are high intensity. They engage speed and strength in short bursts of high-energy running. They get your heart rate way up, which is certainly a CrossFit workout goal.
Pull-ups are difficult. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t-do a complete pull-up when you first start working out. They require a ton of upper-body strength. All you need is a bar that can support your weight and you can work up to doing a single, perfect pull-up. Once you’ve mastered one pull-up, start doing sets. Your first set can be one single pull-up and one minute of rest.
Sit-ups are a versatile exercise because they have many variations, and they can be done almost anywhere. In CrossFit, you’ll be doing a lot of sit-ups in a relatively short amount of time. To complete one CrossFit sit-up, sit on your mat with your back straight, legs spread and knees bent, with the bottom of your feet touching one another. Extend your arms out in front of you and touch your feet. Roll back with your arms extended in front of you until your shoulder blades touch the floor. Slowly roll back up and touch your feet again. If you feel a strain in your lower back, fold a towel and place it under your lower back for lumbar support.
Back lunge with a twist
This exercise engages your core, glutes, and leg muscles. It’s a back lunge with a twist—literally. The back lunge with a twist can be performed holding a weighted ball for an arm workout, or with hands clasped out in front of you. From a standing position, step back with one leg and lower your hips until your knees are bent at 90-degree angles. As you hold the position, twist your torso to the left, to the center, then to the right, and back to center. Step forward and repeat with the same leg ten times. Then switch to the other leg.
To properly do leg lifts, your core muscles must be engaged. Make sure you aren’t using your back muscles or straining your neck while performing this exercise. Lying face-up on your mat, place your hands, palms to the floor, under your bottom. Extend your legs and lift them to a 45-degree angle. Lift your left leg up to a 90-degree angle, then lower it back down and switch, lifting your right leg. Keep alternating legs.
Plank with opposite limb extension
For people who have mastered the standard plank, this exercise takes the plank to the next level. It’s challenging because you only have two contact points on the ground at any given time. Make sure not to rotate your hips or bring your bottom up in the air. This exercise will test (and improve) your strength, balance, and endurance. From standard plank position, keeping your legs and arms extended, lift your left leg and your right arm in the air at the same time. Hold for 2 seconds then go back to standard plank position and switch limbs, alternating until you complete a set.
Beginner CrossFit Combo
Now that you have the basics, it’s time to kick it into high gear. Try this exercise combo to feel the burn really!
- 5 Minute AMRAP (as many reps/rounds as possible in 5 minutes) 10 push-ups, 10 jumping jacks, 10 back lunges with a twist
- Sprint 200 meters, do 10 burpees—5 rounds
- 20 sit-ups, 5 pull-ups—3 rounds
- 3 Minute AMRAP leg lifts
- 5 Minute AMRAP 10 squat jumps, 10 jumping jacks
- 2 Minute Plank with opposite limb extension
Congratulations! You’ve completed your first CrossFit workout. Next time, take it up a notch and add even more reps!