If you have a pulse, you have probably heard about Crossfit, an exercise and fitness program that is often advertised as “the sport of fitness.” It’s absolutely everywhere these days, and lots of people swear by the program as a way to get fit and stay fit. But what is Crossfit, exactly? Well, there are really two answers to that question; a literal one and a more abstract one. Crossfit as a brand was founded in 2000 by Greg Classman in Santa Cruz, California. Nowadays, there are thousands of Crossfit affiliates worldwide, all of whom are specially certified to instruct fitness acolytes in Crossfit. As for the more abstract answer, Crossfit is comprised of “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movements.” That’s quite a mouthful, so we will be sure to break that down for you in just a moment.
If you’ve been interested in Crossfit but haven’t joined an affiliate gym–whether it’s because your schedule doesn’t permit it or there isn’t one nearby–then you should know that there are Crossfit home workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own backyard or living room. One of the most appealing things about Crossfit is that anyone can do it; no matter their body type, fitness level, or experience level. Whether you have wanted to work out for a while and just haven’t known where to start, or just want to amp up your existing workout, Crossfit could be just the thing you need to get up, get fit, and stay that way.
What is Crossfit…Exactly?
Well, we touched on those three main points earlier, so let’s just take a look at them a little more in depth here.
Keeping your Crossfit home workouts constantly varied is one of the most important aspects of Crossfit. Forget about boring, predictable routines or circuits. The idea is that if you don’t give your body any time to adapt, it won’t have a chance to plateau and stall your progress. In fact, even though we will list a number of Crossfit exercises below, they aren’t meant to be done in any certain order. It will be up to you to keep your workouts varied!
You won’t be doing long, repetitive movements, and in fact, one of the great things about Crossfit is that the workouts can be as short or as long as you need them to be. Of course, to make up for this, you will need to up the intensity of the movements and exercises that you do. This isn’t an invitation to burst a vein in your forehead, however, so remember to practice correct form and know your limitations.
The body is meant to move a certain way, and that’s why you Crossfit home workouts should not include insane acts of contortion that can potentially cause injury to yourself. In your workouts, your varied, intense movements should be the natural extension of movements that you already perform every day.
Okay, so now that you have a better idea of what Crossfit entails, let’s go ahead and dive right in with some exercises that you can use to tailor your own Crossfit home workouts. Ready? Of course you are!
Your Crossfit home workouts won’t be complete without some kind of weightlifting. Crossfit employs Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman lifting, and kettlebells. A deadlift is a very basic powerlifting move that is a breeze to learn.
Get it Done:
- Begin with a barbell of a comfortable or slightly challenging weight on the floor.
- Crouch to grasp the barbell with both hands.
- In one smooth movement, engaging the legs and glutes and keeping your back straight, lift the weight until you are back in a standing position, with the weight in front of your hips.
Barbell Yolk Carry
The yolk carry is just one of the strongman weightlifting exercises that no home Crossfit workout would be incomplete without. A traditional yolk carry is done from a standing position with a piece of equipment called a yolk, which is comprised of a lift bar and suspended weights. For a barbell yolk carry, a simple barbell will do.
Get it Done:
- Position a barbell on a rack at the level of your shoulders when in a squat position. If you do not have a rack, you’ll need to use a spotter to help you.
- Keeping the bar across the back of your shoulders, bend your elbows outward to grasp the bar on either side.
- In a smooth motion, lift to a standing position.
- Carry the weight for as long as you can in any direction, using deep lunges to step.
Variation: Overhead Carry
The overhead carry is similar to the yolk carry, in that it incorporates weight lifting with movement. Instead of starting from a squat, start with a lighter barbell on the ground, and do a clean overhead lift before you move.
American Kettlebell Swing
Kettlebells are another important strongman component that you should incorporate into your Crossfit home routines, especially if you are a beginner or don’t have any barbells in your home gym equipment. Kettlebells come in many different weights, and are relatively inexpensive.
Get it Done:
- Holding the kettlebell with two hands, sink into a light squat.
- In one fluid motion, swing the kettlebell between your legs.
- Without pausing, swing the kettlebell back up, keeping your arms extended until it is up overhead.
- Reverse the pull and repeat as many times as you can.
Variation: Russian Kettlebell Swing
For this variation on the kettlebell swing, bring the kettlebell just up to eye level on the upswing, keeping your arms extended out in front of you. Be careful not to drop it! As you become more comfortable with integrating these two swings into your Crossfit home workouts, increase the intensity by doing more swings or using a heavier kettlebell.
Sumo Deadlift High Pull:
This exercise uses a kettlebell to perform a version of the deadlift, and relies on the dynamic, constant motion of your body to provide the intensity. For this move, you may wish to try a heavier kettlebell than you would for the swings.
Get it Done:
- Stand over the kettlebell with your legs spread fairly wide.
- Sink into a full squat, keeping the soles of your feet flat and your toes ahead of your knees.
- Grasp the kettlebell with both hands.
- In one fluid movement, lift into a standing position, bringing the kettlebell to the level of your waist.
- Without hesitating, pull the kettlebell up so that the grip bar is resting under your chin, bending your elbows to the side.
- Reverse the pull and repeat.
The wallball exercise is done using a medicine or weighted workout ball that is heavy enough to be challenging, but not so heavy that you can’t lift it. Because you are throwing the medicine ball against a wall, you should only do this exercise against a wall or surface that won’t be damaged by the ball. Alternatively, you can toss the ball straight up into the air and catch it using the tips of your fingers.
Get it Done:
- Holding the ball in front of you with both hands, sink to a complete squat, making sure that your knees are lined up with your toes and that your feet stay flat on the ground.
- Explode into a standing position, throwing the ball as high as you can up against the wall.
- Catch it, and without hesitating, sink back down into the crouch and repeat.
To increase the intensity of your wallballs, try some timed drills to see how many you can do in a minute, two minutes, or five minutes!
You can put a spin on regular old push ups by using a set of kettlebells to increase the difficulty of this popular calisthenic move. Because it requires balance to grip the kettlebell, you are not starting from a resting position as you would with a traditional push up. You can also use push up grips or flat sided hand weights if you prefer.
Get it Done:
- Start as you would a normal push-up, in a supine position with your legs extended behind you keeping your elbows bent.
- Engaging your abs and core, extend your arms to lift yourself away from the kettlebell.
- Lower yourself again into the bent elbow position and repeat.
Pull-ups are another calisthenic move that you should try and incorporate into your Crossfit home workouts where you can. A lot of sports and fitness equipment stores have simple push-up bars that you can install in an open door frame, or you can head to your nearest jungle gym to do this exercise.
Get it Done:
- Use an overhand grip to hold the pull up bar, spreading your arms wide enough to ensure that you have room to pull yourself up.
- Bend your knees to lift your feet from the ground, and cross your legs at the ankle.
- Without swinging, bring your chin up and over the pull up bar before lowering yourself back down to repeat the pull-up.
Plank with Toe Taps
Plyometrics are an integral part of any Crossfit home workout, along with a number of other jumping plyometrics. Plyos, as they are sometimes called, work a group of muscles with extreme intensity for a short amount of time, and are an incredibly effective way to condition and train.
Planks by themselves are not necessarily plyometric, but by adding simple movements to a static plank, they can be.
Get it Done:
- In a supine position, make fists out of your hands and place them in front of you, lifting yourself up to your elbows and the tips of your toes.
- Without hesitating, lift one foot up off of the ground and up, engaging your glutes and core.
- Bring the leg down swiftly to tap the mat, and then repeat with the other leg immediately.
Variation: Plyometric Plank
This variation makes use of your upper body strength where the toe taps used your lower bodies. To do this variation, begin in a standard plank, push up to extend your arms and pop your hands off of the ground, clapping your hands together. Return to plank position and repeat immediately.
There are many, many more moves and exercises that you can mix to create your own Crossfit home routines. In fact, we’ve barely scratched the surface! Besides weights, calisthenics, and plyometrics, Crossfit uses cardio exercises like running, rowing and swimming, and even dabbles in gymnastics with ring exercises and tons of variations of the handstand and balance exercises. The point of Crossfit isn’t to box yourself in, though! Remember that variation will keep you on your toes and keep you interested, so it’s always a good idea to check out other short, high-intensity routines!