Crossfit is an intense fitness regiment that can help you get in better shape. It’s a combination of weightlifting, gymnastics, running, swimming and many other forms of activity. When first starting out, the amount of exercises and skill needed to complete them can be overwhelming. In this article we’ll cover all the essential Crossfit movements you need to know.
A history of Crossfit
Crossfit is a popular branded fitness regiment founded by Greg Glassman in 2000. It’s considered to be a unique fitness exercise routine, but it’s also a competitive sport. Crossfit is all about high-intensity interval training (also known as HIIT). HIIT can help with fat loss, aide in muscle building and help individuals improve their cardiovascular health.
What’s so appealing about Crossfit is the combination of different exercises and workout routines. No two Crossfit workouts are alike – which means it keeps your body guessing, so you can get in the best shape. There are aerobics exercises, bodyweight exercises and weightlifting. Users will go through a workout of the day (or WOD) at local Crossfit gyms.
Below are all the essential Crossfit movements that will help you on your fitness journey. Sure, we could have added many more – but this is a solid start. When you know these critical exercises, you will impress your family and friends during your next workout.
The burpee is a classic Crossfit movement that improves your strength and cardio. It’s a full body exercise that targets all of the main muscle groups in the body. The user will begin in a static standing position, then move into a squat.
They will then position their hands on the ground and kick their feet back into a plank (while keeping the arms extended). Finally, the user will quickly pop up into the initial standing position. This motion counts as one repetition. A more advanced version involves completing a push-up at the bottom of the motion.
This is another foundational exercise you are guaranteed to see in Crossfit. The air squat is similar to a standard barbell squat – only without the bar. This bodyweight movement will work your glutes and legs.
Position your body in a shoulder-width stance. Next, descend back and down, while keeping your hips lower than your knees. During the squat motion, it’s important to always keep the heels down and in line with your toes. Finish this movement at full hip and knee extension.
This is another one of our important Crossfit movements and it’s similar to the air squat. You can complete this exercise with a barbell, or a pair of kettlebells. The added weight will increase the level of difficulty.
Begin in a shoulder-width stance and keep your hands slightly outside the shoulders. Avoid a tight grip, as you should hold the barbell loose with your fingertips. Keep your elbows high and descend your hips back and down. Your knees should be in line with your toes as your push through the heels on the way up.
The wall ball is another great Crossfit movement for beginners and pros. This exercise targets the legs, glutes, back and arm muscles – for a challenging full body workout. Give it a try next time at the gym. Begin facing a wall in a standing position, while holding a medicine ball to your chest.
Then squat down as low as you can and explode up – while throwing the ball against the wall. Your body will explode on the way up, but your feet should not leave the ground. Safely catch the ball and then immediately begin another squat – for your next repetition.
The pull-up is a useful exercise for targeting your back and it’s often used in Crossfit workouts. The explanation below is for a standard pull-up – not the more advanced kipping pull-up often seen in Crossfit competitions.
Make sure to have a full grip on the bar, so you can avoid your fingers slipping during the motion. You want to keep your hands just outside shoulder width. Hang with your arms extended, before pulling yourself up until your chin is higher than the bar. Make sure to look forward and keep your chest up before dropping down.
A box jump is a plyometric exercise that can help improve your speed and agility. This Crossfit movement may sound simple, but there is a safe and efficient way to complete it. Begin in a hip-width stance around 12-18 inches away from the box. Some people prefer to be closer than others.
Jump onto the box using a two-foot take-off. Favoring one leg during the take-off may cause you to leave the ground unbalanced. This means that you also want to land with both feet on the box simultaneously. Complete a full hip and knee extension, before jumping down for the next repetition.
A thruster can be preformed with a barbell, kettlebell, or dumbbell. This movement combines a front squat and overhead press – all in one simple exercise. It will work your shoulders, obliques and leg muscles.
In a shoulder-width stance, fully grip the bar with your hands placed just outside the shoulders. You want to descend your hips back and down, keeping the hips lower than the knees. Then, extend your hips and legs rapidly and press the bar over your head. Immediately begin the next rep.
The deadlift can also be preformed with a barbell, kettlebell, or dumbbell. This is a crucial compound exercise that mostly works your lower back and hamstrings. Begin by standing in a hip-width stance, with the hands slightly outside.
Next, grip the bar with your shoulders placed in front of the bar. Maintain the lumbar curve while you lift the bar up. Your hips and shoulders should rise at the same time, while your heels remain planted on the ground. Complete one repetition with full hip and knee extension.
The shoulder press is another one of our foundational Crossfit movements. When doing a strict shoulder press, your shoulder muscles will be doing all the work. But this exercise can also work your legs and core.
Keep a hip-width stance while standing straight up – your elbows should be just in front of the barbell. Press the bar from the center of your chest over your head. You want to keep the torso and legs static during this motion. Keep your heels down and always avoid a curved back to prevent injury.
Once you have mastered the shoulder press, you can move on to the more advanced push press. You can also preform this workout with a barbell, kettlebell, or dumbbells. Begin in a hip-width stance, like you would a shoulder press.
Keep your hands slightly outside the shoulder with your elbows in front of the bar. Use your hips, legs, and core to extend – then press the barbell over your head. The bar should always move over the middle of your foot. One repetition is completed at full hip, knee, and arm extension.