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3 CrossFit Workouts You Can Do Without the Box

author image Eric Velazquez
Eric Velazquez, CSCS, is a veteran health and fitness writer based in Southern California. He is current contributor for MuscleMag and Muscle & Performance magazines.
3 CrossFit Workouts You Can Do Without the Box
"What's your Fran?" Photo Credit Thomas Barwick/Taxi/Getty Images

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?

Read More: 10 CrossFit Myths Debunked

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.

Read More: 17 Practical Reasons to Start Doing CrossFit

The following three workouts work a ton of muscle and stoke your metabolic machinery, all without the burden of the box. (Translation: the gym)

It's only 20 minutes — no problem, right?
It's only 20 minutes — no problem, right? Photo Credit kupicoo/E+/Getty Images

1. Cindy

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?

Read More: How to Tackle One of CrossFit's Hardest Exercises

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:

5 pull-ups

10 push-ups

15 squats

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.

If you want to wear shorts, do not skip leg day.
If you want to wear shorts, do not skip leg day. Photo Credit Ardijatree/AdobeStock

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.

Read More: The 10 Most Common CrossFit Mistakes

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

50 squats

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.

Read More: 15 CrossFit Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do at Home

Why do you hate me, Fran?
Why do you hate me, Fran? Photo Credit Stanislaw Pytel/DigitalVision/Getty

3. Fran

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.

Read More: 16 Essential CrossFit Moves

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.

Read More: 11 Ways to Make the Most of Your First CrossFit Workout

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.

What Do YOU Think?

Are you a CrossFitter? What’s your favorite WOD? Do you do CrossFit at a box or at home? Have you noticed a difference in your body after doing CrossFit workouts vs. “regular” workouts? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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