The Ultimate Guide to Crossfit Workouts for Beginners

The Ultimate Guide to Crossfit Workouts for Beginners

CrossFit has taken the fitness world by storm. In 2005, there were a mere 13 affiliate gyms. In 2013, there were 7,000. Currently, an approximately 98% success rate is reported by those opening a CrossFit gym, and the CrossFit Games have grown 166% year over year. If you have ever seen a sign for a Crossfit gym or a local Crossfit competition, you have probably wondered if there are any Crossfit workouts for beginners. We'll cover that question and topic here.

With about half of adult Americans actively trying to lose weight, CrossFit is an excellent sport to get into because it is so readily customizable. You can start out at whatever level of fitness you have and you will quickly gain strength and shed fat if you give it an honest effort and keep your eating in check. Keep reading to learn more about Crossfit, consider whether you should give it a shot, and gain exposure to five great CrossFit workouts for beginners.

What Is CrossFit Training?

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CrossFit is often presented and marketed as "the sport of fitness." It encompasses a sport and a philosophy that teaches people from all walks of life and all fitness levels how to improve their cardiovascular fitness and physical well-being with ever-changing, highly intense, functional movements. While the exercise is extreme, most competitors are welcoming, encouraging and accepting. In fact, even if you have never stepped foot in any gym before, there is a very good chance that at least one CrossFit participant you meet will relate to your situation and offer helpful lifestyle tips and words of encouragement.

You can subscribe to a service and each day, you will receive a workout in your inbox testing a different component of your conditioning or functional strength. The goal of CrossFit workouts for beginners is to build your body into a "machine" capable of handling nearly anything and everything it could possibly confront. According to the official CrossFit site, this discipline strives to condition and train people in each of 10 general skills. These skills are accuracy, agility, cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, flexibility, balance, power, speed, coordination, strength, and stamina.

What Is a CrossFit Class Like?

Even more intimidating than wondering if you can find a CrossFit workout suitable to your level are truly is wondering what your first class will be like. Rest assured that nearly every CrossFit gym allows potential members to try out a free class to see if it is a good fit. Introduction classes are offered for people who have never done CrossFit or another organized fitness program before. There is normally a brief overview of the sport, focused on CrossFit workouts for beginners and their benefits, followed by a simple, initial, movement-based workout.

If you have a strong sense CrossFit workouts are right for you, some gyms may require you to complete an On-Ramp/Elements course which teaches you the proper form that accompanies the nine foundational CrossFit movements. Even if you are no stranger to squats or Olympic lifts, a trained pair of eyes and a little coaching will go a long way in improving your form and function.

Typical CrossFit workouts last between 45 minutes and an hour. Everyone starts at the same time, and instructors are available to keep people motivated, improve form. All participants are expected to be positive in attitude and supportive of one another.

A traditional CrossFit class will usually start with a dynamic warm-up, focusing on pull-ups, lunges, push-ups, jumping jacks, jumps or jump ropes. You may also find yourself performing mobility work, stretches and functional movements to complement the movements involved in the workout of the day. Next is skill or strength work. Strength days normally involves pure-strength motions such as deadlifts or squats. Otherwise, you will work on a particular skill you wish to improve, such as muscle ups or one-legged squats. Workouts conclude with group-based or individual cool-downs and stretches.

Should I Try a CrossFit Program?

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We believe that just about everyone with fitness goals should give CrossFit a try, mainly because the workouts are designed for universal "scalability" and adaptable to different physical makeups and capabilities. There is not one workout for weekend warriors, another workout for seniors, and yet another, radically different workout for young people who may never have touched a barbell. Instead, there is one workout each day and you customize it to your fitness level and goals.

If you have a physical impairment that prevents you from doing full-fledged squats, for example, you can substitute a similar motion. If you cannot complete the number of indicated repetitions or sets, you can reduce those specs and simply challenge yourself within the parameters of the program. You may also feel free to take longer rest periods between each set or even split the workout of the day into segments you perform at different times throughout your day.

Am I a Good Candidate for CrossFit Training?

Crossfit is perfect for individuals who have never lifted weights in their life or have only weight-trained on machines. With a good CrossFit coach assisting you, you can get personalized training on how to perform lifts safely, along with tips on motivation, goal-setting and goal accomplishment. The environment is both nonjudgmental and highly supportive, and you may even fall in love with resistance training.

You will also find CrossFit workouts for beginners are made a little easier by the growing, thriving CrossFit community. You are not just a membership number or monthly payment. Rather, other CrossFit acolytes will likely see you as a neighbor, co-worker or friend worthy of willing support and nurturing development. Even if you can't afford to enlist a coach right now, members at your local CrossFit gym, or perhaps at a gym thousands of miles from your home but in contact with you online, are willing to support your quest and help keep you powering through your grueling workouts.

Crossfit is ideal for fitness fanatics who need a workout every day or else they feel like something is missing. While the traditional protocol is three days of Crossfit workouts and one day of rest, many people go to their Crossfit gym every day.

So: Who Should Not Try CrossFit?

Only a very small segment of the population should not give CrossFit a shot. Even people with some significant physical limitations can adapt CrossFit workouts for beginners to accommodate them. If you enjoy working out strictly on your own, however, CrossFit may not be enjoyable for you. There is no reason why you cannot complete the workout of the day in your basement or home gym each morning or evening, but CrossFit performed at a CrossFit gym is a group activity.

Crossfit is not ideal for athletic or fitness "specialists" or sport-specific athletes. In fact, CrossFit is defined in part by not specializing in one activity, pursuit, or movement set. Thus, if you are a powerlifter or other specialist, you will not get workouts that align with accomplishing your goals every day.

Athletes training for a particular sport may find some CrossFit workouts for beginners good for cross-training. However, they are better off getting a coach who is trained in getting the best performances out of athletes specific to their sport. Each sport has unique movements which demand particular kinds of power and flexibility in particular muscle groups.

There are always exceptions to every rule, such as box jumps being good for basketball players who need to work on their vertical range. Furthermore, some coaches of various sports may recommend a marriage between CrossFit and sport-specific workouts.

CrossFit is ideal for people who love pushing their limits and surpassing their wildest dreams. We recommend starting out by completing some CrossFit workouts for beginners. Then, work to beat your personal best time or number of reps. Next, you can try competing against the "big dogs" at your gym. One day, you may find yourself in an international competitive event. If you are willing to put in the work, the sky is truly the limit for your fitness level.

It is the opportunity to travel the country or world competing that makes CrossFit a favored pursuit for many older and former athletes. CrossFit training builds in competition, camaraderie, and teamwork. Nearly every workout incorporates a component of time. This can be finishing a number of reps as quickly as possible or completing as many reps as you can before time runs out.

In the beginning, you can compete against people in your class. Then you can go online to see how you compare with elite CrossFit athletes from around the world. If it has been a while since your glory years, you may thrive in the CrossFit environment and find you perform even better than you did when you were younger.

CrossFit Workouts for Beginners: Movements & Reps

It can be a little intimidating at first to step into a CrossFit gym and see people on gymnastic equipment or jumping atop boxes which are higher than your waist. Let's take a quick look at some of the best CrossFit workouts for beginners.

Barbell Squat

To perform a barbell squat, stand with your feet a bit farther than shoulder-width apart while using an overhand grip to hold a barbell across your upper back. Do not rest the bar on your neck. Engage your upper back muscles (especially your lats) by hugging the bar into your traps. While keeping your rear end out, back erect, and head up, sit back into your squat slowly. Lower yourself until your knees and hips are aligned. Your legs should be at 90 degrees.

If you have the flexibility and strength, drop into a deeper squat. Driving your heels into the floor, explosively push yourself up again. Maintain your form until you are standing straight once again. That is one rep. Try to complete five sets in a row of 10 repetitions each. Since this workout is customizable, if the workout of the day (WOD) calls for 50 reps of 135 pounds, you can, for example, complete it without weight or with a much lighter bar.

Barbell Deadlift

To complete a barbell deadlift, squat down and grip a barbell. Your hands should be around shoulder-width apart. Keeping your chest up, lift the bar while looking straight ahead and pulling back your shoulders. Keep the bar as close to your body as you can throughout the entire movement and take the weight backward onto your heels. Lift the bar to the level of your thigh, momentarily stop and return to the starting position while maintaining control of the weight. Strive to complete five sets of 10 reps.

Treadmill Sprints

Treadmill sprints are one of our favorite CrossFit workouts for beginners because they are so easy to customize from person to person and day to day. For this workout, complete five sets of 60-second sprints. Rest for 60 seconds between each set.

Box Jump

The box jump is one of the most challenging CrossFit movements for beginners because it requires you to be so explosive. With the box a comfortable distance in front of you, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Quickly drop into a quarter squat and jump upwards explosively onto the box while swinging your arms. Land as gently as you can. Take a controlled backward step off the box. Complete as many repetitions as you can in 20 seconds to make up one set. Complete five sets.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are not as difficult as they may sound. Standing a couple of feet behind a kettlebell with your feet marginally wider than shoulder-width, lean forward by bending your knees and use both hands to grasp the handle. While keeping your back flat, use your lats to pull the weight between your legs. Make sure you do not swing too deeply. Driving your hips forward, pull the kettlebell up explosively to shoulder height. Your arms should be straight out in front of you. Return to the start position and try to complete five sets of as many reps as you can in 30-second bursts, maintaining proper form throughout.


CrossFit rapidly exploded in popularity and remains popular, in part, due to the accessibility and practicality of CrossFit workouts for beginners. Whether you are a lifelong "couch potato" or a former high school or college athlete, CrossFit offers workouts for you. Each WOD is customizable to your current level of fitness and can be easily adjusted to help you quickly gain strength, burn fat or both. If you thrive on competition, whether against your previous personal best or versus elite athletes around the world, you may find yourself feeling right at home participating in CrossFit competitions.


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