We have included 34 of the most popular CrossFit exercises with detailed photos, videos and instructional guides to help you learn the basics of these movements. These guides include helpful information about how to perform each exercise correctly along with which specific muscle groups they target and things to watch out for when executing each movement so you can be safe and get the most out of each CrossFit exercise.
CrossFit Exercise Guides
How Was CrossFit Founded?
CrossFit was founded by Greg Glassman who was a former gymnast. He came to discover that he could become stronger than other gymnasts by using barbells and dumbbells versus the traditional way of gymnastics training which only uses your own bodyweight. In 1995, Greg established his own gym in Santa Cruz, California. In that same year he was contracted to train the police department in Santa Cruz. Greg had been involved in training individual clients privately, but when he began to get overbooked, he started doubling up his clientele. He found out that by doing this he could make more money and his clients also enjoyed the group activity. He also came to realize that he could still offer enough attention to individual clients, which in return, led to very safe and effective training. This was the beginning of the CrossFit community which has grown substantially since then. CrossFit was formally established as a company in 2000. Today, there are more than 10,000 CrossFit affiliated gyms worldwide, which are also known as “boxes”.
What Exactly is CrossFit?
CrossFit can be described as a strength and conditioning program that was designed to improve strength, stamina, cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, speed, flexibility, agility, balance and coordination. The program offers a full body workout that combines speed training, strength training, explosive plyometrics, Olympic weight lifting, power lifting, gymnastics and endurance exercises. The program requires you to workout 3 to 5 days every week. CrossFit workouts (or “WODs) are short and very intense. They only take about 5 to 15 minutes to complete.
The 9 Foundational Movements Used in CrossFit:
- Air Squat
- Front Squat
- Overhead Squat
- Shoulder Press
- Push Press
- Push Jerk
- Sumo Deadlift High Pull
- Medicine Ball Clean
Many of the CrossFit exercises include a wide range of athletic movements like rowing, running, pushing, squatting and pulling. Some of the most popular CrossFit exercises are:
- Olympic Lifts
- Climbing Ropes
- Flipping Tires
- Using Medicine Balls
- Jumping Rope
Why is CrossFit So Popular?
The CrossFit program is designed to prepare your body for the unexpected. CrossFit workouts are very popular because they are high intensity workouts that only take a short amount of time to complete. This means that you can get a great workout within a very short span of time and this is very beneficial for people who have limited schedules and want a quick and effective workout. The following are some of the other reasons why the CrossFit program is so popular:
- Since the exercises that are included in each WOD are very similar to sport-specific conditioning, athletes and former athletes really enjoy using them.
- There is a wide variety of workout routines (called “WODs”) and they routinely change. This helps make each and every CrossFit workout new and exciting while also being very challenging.
- The WOD can be done at home without the need for expensive equipment or the need to travel to a “Box” which is a CrossFit affiliated gym.
- You can learn how to do the exercises with the help of certified CrossFit instructors who will help teach you how to modify each movement depending on your current level of fitness.
- The CrossFit community is very helpful and the social aspect of working out as part of a team in a group environment is extremely rewarding.
- CrossFit can be a very effective way for endurance athletes to train with weights without interfering with their main objectives. This is because CrossFit workouts only require a short amount of time to complete each training session.
What is a CrosFit WOD?
WOD is short for “Workout of the Day”. CrossFit affiliated gyms post a new WOD every day. A large number of these workouts exist and they keep changing every day. Each WOD can either include different training styles like As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP), Every Minute On the Minute (EMOM), For Time (measure the time it takes to complete a prescribed workout) and Metabolic Conditioning (MetCon). Some of the most popular CrossFit WODs are:
- Filthy Fifty
- The Seven
WODs (Workouts of the Day) can be performed at home if you have the necessary exercise equipment, or at most traditional gyms and fitness facilities, so you don’t necessarily need to go to a specific CrossFit affiliated gym to complete them. CrossFit offers many benefits for strength and conditioning, but it’s very important to understand how to perform each exercise correctly to avoid injuring yourself. CrossFit movements can be extremely complex so it’s always recommended to get the help from a certified CrossFit instructor when you are first starting out so you can get the most out of each exercise while staying injury free.