Improve your overall physique and physical well-being with a dynamic, high-intensity workout regimen like CrossFit. According to a 2013 study posted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the vigorous training offered by CrossFit-based workouts improves overall body composition and fitness level, not just for men, but also for women. Incorporate daily CrossFit-type exercises into your workouts at home or at a credentialed CrossFit gym.
The fitness regimen CrossFIt, is defined by its developer, Coach Greg Glassman, as a program that optimizes your fitness through teaching and utilizing "varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity," notes CrossFit.com. The variable movements combined with fast-pace exercise repetitions is a major element in this type of workout program. The diversity offered in a CrossFit workout cannot be simplified as one type of exercise and it also involves variability in timing for each total workout of the day, or WOD, that is completed.
Metabolic conditioning, gymnastics movements and Olympic-style weightlifting occur in the CrossFit workouts. Master the foundational movements and then include weight to optimize your muscle tone and cardiovascular conditioning. Common functional moves with weight include variations of the squat using a barbell overhead or in a front hold position; the power clean into an overhead shoulder press, or push press; the snatch; and kettlebell swings. For safety, work with a certified level-1 CrossFit coach to understand methodology, technique and workout sequences and before including weighted movements at home.
A major bonus of CrossFit exercise is that you do not necessarily need equipment to get an intense workout each day. Foundational movements, done with correct form, are a key component of the program and simply require you to use your body weight for resistance. Foundation moves include air squats; push-ups; burpees; sprints, or 400-meter runs; and sit-ups.
Timing, Rounds and Repetitions
Common terms used to signify variability of the actual workout time and repetitions can include AMRAP, or as many rounds/repetitions as possible; Tabata, which is an interval method of 20 seconds of one movement to 10 seconds of rest -- for eight rounds -- totaling four minutes; or a specified set of exercises done in a specified set of rounds for the best time. Timed exercise movements encourage you to amp up your pace in the workout to get the most cardiovascular benefit in a short amount of time. Setting a time cap to each full workout increases the challenge of completing all movements.
CrossFit Exercise Option 1
In five rounds, engage the following exercises for best time: run 200 meters; squat 10 times without weight, or air squat; and complete 10 push-ups. The total work that you will conduct is a 1000 meters of running, 50 squats and 50 push-ups. Do a proper air squat by starting in standing position with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Lower your body, keeping your knees from collapsing inward as your bottom pushes towards the ground. With tightened abdominals, maintain an upright torso and, if necessary, raise your hands towards the sky to prevent your chest from caving to your knees. Once your thighs are parallel or close to parallel to the floor, push upwards through your heels and back into the standing position.
CrossFit Exercise Option 2
In as many rounds as possible with a 20-minute time cap, complete 25 sit-ups, 20 walking lunges, five pull-ups and a 400-meter run. For an additional challenge in the lunge, include weight in the form of a dumbbell or kettlebell. In CrossFit, basic-strength standards are defined for women verses men, notes CrossFit.com. As a beginner performing a weighted move, it is best to use a manageable weight, starting low to safely build strength. A trained CrossFit coach or charts posted on CrossFit.com can help define the right weight for you. "Prescribed" weight is the standard for a well-conditioned intermediate female, whereas the term "scaled" refers to weight that is less than the prescribed amount but what you are able to use to complete the workout.
CrossFit Exercise Option 3
Using Tabata intervals, complete four minutes of squats, four minutes of push ups and four minutes of toes-to-bar from the floor. The motion of toes-to-bar from the floor involves lying flat on your back with your legs straight and your arms extended above head, gripping a weighted 35-pound barbell to maintain stability and prevent your upper body from coming off the floor. The barbell is not intended to be lifted, rather it helps maintain form. Bring your feet towards the bar, maintaining a flat back on the floor but bringing your bottom off the ground once your straightened legs reach the bar, thus allowing your toes to touch. Return to the starting position and repeat for maximum reps during the Tabata interval.
- Journal of Strength Conditioning and Research / National Strength and Conditioning Association: CrossFit Based High-Intensity Power Training Improves Maximal Aerobic Fitness and Body Composition
- ACSMs Health and Fitness Journal: Extreme Conditioning on Campus, Cracking Open a University Box
- CrossFit.com: CrossFit Exercises
- CrossFit Journal Articles: Metabolic Conditioning
- Military.com: Avoid the Gym by Using Calisthenics
- CrossFit.com: Basic Strength Standards