CrossFit workouts: the high-intensity interval training program that can spring a look of fear on even the toughest athletes. Suffice to say, it’s no joke. Launched in 2000, CrossFit soon proved to be the exact opposite of another fitness fad. Today, it has an impressive 15,000 CrossFit gyms across 120 countries, not to mention a cult-like status (those members are about as hardcore as the workouts).
If you’ve ever wondered if CrossFit workouts are for you, you’re in the right place. So, grab your Vital Performance™ RECOVER and come learn everything there is to know before you jump into the “box” (one of many CrossFit terms you’ll soon become acquainted with).
What are the exercises in CrossFit?
Since CrossFit utilizes several functional movements, you’re bound to never get bored. According to Kyra Williams, NASM CPT for 10+ years and Level Two CrossFit Coach, these 9 foundational movements include the air squat, front squat, overhead squat, overhead press, push press, push jerk, deadlift, sumo deadlift high pull and medicine-ball clean.
But that’s not all. Depending on your instructor, you may see additional exercises that test your strength and cardiovascular endurance. “CrossFit includes several movements where there is a combination of strength, skill and balance required to complete them effectively,” explains Deidre Bloomquist, Level Three Certified CrossFit Trainer and functional nutritionist.
“You'll find power movements such as back squats, bench press, and deadlifts, but also gymnastics such as kipping pull ups, muscle ups and single-leg squats,” she tells Lively.
Equally as important as the exercises are the fashion in which you’ll complete them. For this, you’ll need to get familiar with these acronyms: AMRAP and RRT.
“AMRAP stands for ‘as many rounds as possible’ in a specified time domain,” explains Dr. Nicole Lombardo, PT, DPT, CSCS and Level One CrossFit Coach. Additionally, RFT stands for complete a specified number of ‘rounds for time,’ or as fast as you can. Regardless of whether you AMRAP or RRT, you’re bound to feel KO’d at the end of it.
How many days a week should you do CrossFit?
It’s not easy to go from 0 to Beast Mode with CrossFit. You’ll have to work your way up there, giving yourself adequate time to rest and familiarize yourself with the exercises. For beginners, Brittany Marsh, kuudose founding CrossFit Coach, recommends taking a class three times per week.
“Once your body has adjusted following any fitness routine 5x a week is best to allow for maximum changes and adequate rest and recovery,” she says. kuudose trainer Carter Williams adds that you can alter this number based on unique-to-you factors.
You may have heard that CrossFit workouts get addictive. This is why you’ll often see those fitness junkies hitting the CrossFit gym five, maybe even six times, per week. Some are simply there to get ripped and some are even training for the CrossFit Games. In this intense fitness competition that takes place every year, athletes go head to head to compete in the ultimate test of fitness.
If you do end up working out about as many times as them, be sure to take care of yourself in other areas besides fitness. This includes eating healthy, spending time doing parasympathetic activities and getting enough sleep, says Williams.
Can you do CrossFit workouts at home?
Believe it or not, you can bring the CrossFit gym right to your home. These are called WODs (Workouts of the Day). Gyms like Orangetheory have similar terminology. Instead of relying on heavy barbells or the infamous pull-up bar, you’ll be utilizing calisthenics, or bodyweight exercises.
Dr. Lombardo, for instance, likes to do 10- to 15-minute AMRAP of 5 push-ups, 10 air squats and 15 sit-ups. If you wanted to add some equipment into your workout, you can skip the huge barbells and add kettlebells and medicine balls instead.
Joe Costello, nutrition & wellness consultant (NWC), says that having these two items nearby helps you accomplish some of CrossFit’s best exercises: kettlebell swings, walking lunges, medicine ball cleans, wall walks and burpees.
Can I get ripped doing CrossFit?
One look at a CrossFit athlete and you’ll be saying, heck, yes.
“CrossFit is a great workout for building full-body strength and conditioning, so it's not uncommon to see CrossFit athletes who have big muscles, abs and are generally fit humans,” says Bloomquist.
But getting there takes work. The basic formula for this, according to online fitness coach and CSCS Tim Liu is by focusing on getting stronger in your workouts and dialing in your diet (easier said than done, of course.)
Bloomquist recommends working with a coach to determine how to modify workouts for your unique goals. “For example, muscle hypertrophy generally requires going heavier for shorter rep schemes, which means you'll want to tailor workouts to those goals.”
Will CrossFit burn belly fat?
Belly fat is no match to the metabolism-boosting powers of CrossFit.
“CrossFit is one of the best workouts for your metabolism thanks to its focus on both building strength and cardiovascular capacity, rather than only focus on one aspect,” says Bloomquist. “CrossFit allows your muscles to burn sugar for fueling, thus creating insulin sensitivity and utilize carbohydrates in your diet as best as possible.”
But just as your diet needs to be clean in order for you to get ripped, the same goes for banishing that extra weight around your middle.
Abs may be made in the kitchen, but they can also be made in your home gym by adding these belly-busting exercises to your at-home workouts. According to Costello, these core exercises include box jumps, burpees, dumbbell thrusters and walking lunges.
Vital note: This article has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Your licensed healthcare professional can best provide you with the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and assist you as well in deciding whether a dietary supplement will be a helpful addition to your regimen.