CrossFit For Beginners: Exercises And Tips To Get Started
CrossFit is all the rage. It’s quickly become a popular fitness trend, proving to be more than just a workout program. It’s a lifestyle. But CrossFit training can be intimidating when looking to get started in this world. However, CrossFit workouts can be done even for beginners who have no previous experience.
There was once a misconception that CrossFit is for those extremely passionate fitness enthusiasts who like to lift heavy weights and show off their athletic abilities by doing impressive exercises like high box jumps.
But CrossFit has exploded into the preferred workout for both men and women of all fitness levels. Many often find a sense of community at their CrossFit gyms and adopt an overall healthier lifestyle after starting CrossFit training.
So how does a beginner get started? Consider this your guide to the best Crossfit workout for beginners.
The Basics: Everything You Need To Know
What exactly is CrossFit?
At its core, it’s a fitness regimen that consists of powerlifting, plyometrics, Olympic weightlifting, calisthenics, and high-intensity interval training.
CrossFit exercises are all about strength and condition, a combination of aerobics and bodyweight exercises and weightlifting.
CrossFit training consists of the “workout of the day,” WOD, which is the meat of the hour-long class. This is typically 20-minutes long and varies based on what the coach assigns or what is posted on CrossFit.com.
This includes exercises like squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, box jumps, pull-ups, and kettlebell swings. All these experiences prerecorded to track progress. This way the athlete can see they could do X amount of weight for X amount of reps week 1 compared to week 12.
The remainder of the workout includes a warm-up in the beginning and stretching.
History of CrossFit To Now
CrossFit itself is a branded term to describe this workout program that was first created by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai in 2000.
According to Glassman, CrossFit training is all about enhancing performance in cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.
The first CrossFit gym is in California, but there are now affiliated gyms that now include more than 13,000 locations.
More than a good workout, CrossFit has grown to be more of a lifestyle. This includes curbing carbs and following stricter diets as well as making exercise the main part of living a healthy life. There is also a large CrossFit community, which serves as a support network of like-minded athletes.
Tips To Getting Started
CrossFit training might sound intimidating—especially with terms like power clean and hang power snatch being thrown around.
The truth is that many people of all ages, weights and fitness levels start every day. Just keep in mind that these types of gyms don’t have ellipticals or are tailed for those who aren’t into challenging workouts. Challenging the body is what CrossFit training is all about.
1. Get A Trainer
The biggest tip for CrossFit beginners is to sign up at a CrossFit gym and work with a trainer.
Most places even offer a free trial class. It’s in this class where the trainer can guide you through the workouts, and nail proper form for deadlifts, squats and teach how to properly power clean.
Measurements are taken and the basics are taught.
The good news here is it’s great to be a beginner when it comes to lifting weights because a trainer shows you the proper form needed. This can be carried to solo workouts and even when the athlete no longer does CrossFit and just lifts on their own.
2. WOD Applies To Everyone, So Make Adjustments
The workouts are assigned to be universal. This means the bodybuilder and the beginner can both do the workout. Just adjust the weight.
The Rx or prescribed weights, reps and time for the WOD is meant t be for those advanced in the program. Don’t take this as what you need to be doing.
Go slower when needed(since the WOD is all about fast reps in a set time), and ease on the weights in the beginning. Also, don’t be shy to modify exercises.
Part of CrossFit is being able to see progress, so don’t be discouraged by starting off with the not so heavyweights. Strength isn’t built overnight.
And many find that the CrossFit community is not judgmental and instead very encouraging.
3. Plan To Be In The Gym A lot
CrossFit training consists of a program that is meant to be followed with at least three days spent in the gym. This makes it great for those looking to include strength training with their running program. But many find these workouts are addicting and hit their CrossFit gyms more often.
CrossFit for beginners is all about getting comfortable with the exercises and progressing in this type of fitness regimen, but many go on to then train for competitions including the CrossFit Games.
4. You Are Not Alone
This point refers to the community sure, but mainly to the idea that CrossFit isn’t a solo venture. Workouts are done in the group training style, so those who like to lift weights on their own might not like this program.
The classes include a group a CrossFitters starting the workout at the same time, with instructors going around and helping members with form and keeping track of the exercises.
5. General Tips
Do not start CrossFit training at home. It’s best to learn proper form from instructors to prevent injury.
Don’t settle for a CrossFit gym based on popularity or location. Find a gym where you feel comfortable and enjoy working out at.
Go in with an open mind and confidence. This is a different type of workout, but you will be impressed with what your body can do. Also, don’t assume you are the strongest person in the room when beginning. No matter how fit you are, CrossFit requires lots of hard work so leave the ego behind.
Invest in good sneakers specifically for CrossFit training, as well as gloves for lifting to protect the hands.
Expect to have an increase in appetite, so power up with more sports nutrition products.
Don’t expect to do pull-ups or rope climbs or box jumps to the best of your ability on day one, but all find that over time they can do all the core CrossFit moves. It just takes determination.
First, it’s important to know the general structure of a CrossFit training session.
This includes the dynamic warm-up that consists of stretches and other exercises that get the muscles and ligaments warm, loose and ready to work. This consists of jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups, squats and jump rope.
Next cones the strength work. This includes deadlifts and squats, the typical exercises many associate CrossFit training with.
However, instead of it being a strength day it could be a skill day. This means time dedicated to working on a skill like an unassisted pistol, handstands, toes-to-bar, overhead squats, and ring dips.
Then comes the WOD that includes several reps of exercises that are supposed to be done as quickly as possible.
Finally comes stretching and cool down that is generally done in a group but can be done alone.
So what are some specific CrossFit Workouts for beginners?
A great starting point is setting a 20-minute time limit and doing as many rounds as possible of the following:
Example Workout #1
- 5 reps of pull-ups (bodyweight row for substitution for those without a pull up bar)
- 10 reps of push-ups
- 15 reps of squats
This is a great starting point for CrossFit beginners because these are among the core exercises that are needed to be mastered to do more advanced moves.
For example, without being able to do a squat, the CrossFit beginner can never work up to weighted squats.
Example workout #2
25 reps of each:
- ring rows
- push-ups on knees
Then work up to turning this into:
100 of each:
Workout example #3
Three sets, 21-15-9 reps
- Clean 30 lbs
- Bench dips
- Example workout #4
Three rounds, exercises are done as fast as possible:
- 12 barbell squats
- 10 burpees
- 8 kettlebell swings
Quarter-mile run to finish the workout and then cool down and stretch
Example workout #5
Five rounds, exercises are done as fast as possible:
- 15 lunges on each leg with a weighted barbell
- 60 jumps with a jump rope
Example workout #7
10 minutes of each exercise, as many reps as possible:
- box jumps
- ring dips
- kettlebell swings
Example workout #8
Five rounds, as fast as possible:
- 20 jump squats
- 15 v-ups
- 10 push-ups
Example workout #9
16-minute arm workout, with as many rounds as possible:
- 16 hanging knee tucks
- 19 pull-ups
- 8 push-ups
- 8 burpees
Example workout #10
As many rounds as possible in seven minutes (aim for 10 reps):
- mountain climbers
- front squats
Popular CrossFit exercises to practice:
- Air squat
- Front squat
- Overhead squat
- Shoulder press
- Push press
- Push jerk
- Sumo deadlift high-pull
- Medicine ball clean
CrossFit training for beginners just takes practice and time to get comfortable with the exercises and to establish that inner belief that you can get stronger.
There are lots of CrossFit exercise combination to be done, many even without needing any gym equipment. However, it is still best to start your CrossFit journey at a gym under the instruction of those knowledgeable in this kind of fitness.
- What Is CrossFit, Official Website ,
- 12 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting CrossFit, Website ,
- A Beginner’s Guide to CrossFit: 8 Things to Know Before Your First CrossFit Workout, CrossFit Blog ,
- The CrossFit Training Guide, Official Website ,