11 Best CrossFit Workouts (Build Strength & Endurance)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: April 30, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
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CrossFit enthusiasts around the world are familiar with the Workout of the Day (WOD) as a scheduled series of exercises. These workouts can be performed in any CrossFit gym or even in your own backyard.

As a certified fitness trainer, I have helped hundreds of clients achieve their fitness goals through a variety of CrossFit exercises.

In this article, I will discuss the most effective CrossFit exercises, their benefits, and safety precautions for your training regimen.

Quick Summary

  • Optimal CrossFit workouts include a range of exercises like Murph, Candy, Cindy, Open Workout 16.4, Lynne, Open Workout 23.2, Helen, Annie, and Filthy Fifty Variation.
  • Improve your CrossFit training by incorporating a mix of exercises like squats, lunges, and kettlebell swings to target different muscle groups, fostering a well-rounded CrossFit routine.
  • A study from the National Institute of Health suggests that regular engagement in CrossFit workouts is associated with a significant increase in cardiovascular fitness and overall strength.
  • As a fitness trainer, I think that CrossFit has a transformative impact on building physical strength and fostering mental resilience, especially when combined with a proper diet and supplements.

The Best CrossFit Workouts

Girls doing best CrossFit workout

1. “Death By”

The Death By workout involves selecting a specific movement you want to focus on and performing it repeatedly until you reach a point where you can no longer continue.

Here's how you do it:

  1. Perform as many reps as possible (AMRAP) for this workout.
  2. Choose one exercise from the options: burpees, push press, push-ups, or air squats.
  3. Perform one repetition of the chosen exercise at the beginning of each minute.
  4. Add one more repetition with each passing minute.
  5. Continue until you are unable to complete the required repetitions within one minute.

2. Open Workout 16.4

A wide view of a cheap home gym

The 16.4 workout is the third of the five open workouts designed by David Castro. The workout, lasting for 13 minutes, requires participants to perform as many rounds as possible (AMRAP).

Men are advised to use a 225 lbs (102 kg) weight for deadlifts, while women should use 155 lbs (70 kg). In wall ball exercises, men use a 20 lbs (9 kg) ball aimed at a 10 ft target, and women use a 14 lbs (6 kg) ball directed at a 9 ft target.

The objective is to complete 55 deadlifts, 55 wall balls, 55 calories on the rower, and 55 handstand push-ups.

3. Lynne

Lynne is not timed, allowing for more time to complete all five repetitions.

It serves as a benchmark to assess fitness levels, and progress can be tracked over time to observe improvements in power, muscular endurance, and strength.

The workout involves performing 5 rounds of maximum repetitions for both bodyweight bench press and pull-ups.

4. Open Workout 23.2

a picture of a woman doing burpee pull ups

For CrossFit Games Open workout 23.2, try to complete 60 or more reps in part A, and in part B, make at least three attempts to find your maximum weight for a single thruster.

In the 23.2 A portion of this CrossFit workout, participants are tasked with a 15-minute AMRAP. The routine includes 5 burpee pull-ups and 10 shuttle runs, where one repetition involves covering 25 feet out and 25 feet back.

Following the completion of each round, participants are required to add five additional burpee pull-ups to the workout.

In the 23.2 B portion of this CrossFit workout, participants are directed to move straight to the next phase immediately after finishing 23.2 A. This involves a 5-minute session focused on establishing the one-repetition maximum for thrusters, performed from the floor.

5. Helen

In this CrossFit workout, complete 3 rounds for time, comprising the following exercises:

  • 400-meter run
  • 21 kettlebell swings
  • 12 pull-ups

6. Murph

a photo of people running

You can choose to do Murph with a weighted vest or just your body weight. To better manage the high volume of this challenging CrossFit workout, it's advisable to partition the repetitions, both for physical and mental endurance.

The workout consists of the following:

  • 1-mile run
  • Pull-ups or resistance band lat pulldown
  • 100 push-ups
  • 200 air squats
  • 1-mile run

7. Annie

In this CrossFit workout, execute 50 repetitions of each movement, followed by 40 reps, then 30, 20, and finally 10 reps.

The movements for the workout, to be completed as rounds for time, are as follows:

  • 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 double-unders
  • 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 sit-ups

8. Cindy

photo of a woman doing push up

This CrossFit exercise follows an AMRAP format with a 20-minute time limit. Cindy shares the same bodyweight exercises as Murph, making it a popular choice among CrossFitters to break down Murph's repetitions. The workout consists of:

  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 air squats

If a pull-up bar is unavailable, you can substitute with:

  • 5 push-ups
  • 10 sit-ups
  • 15 air squats

9. Candy

In this exercise, set a timer and aim to complete 5 rounds of the following workouts, striving to finish the session in under 30 minutes. The exercises for each round are as follows:

  • 20 pull-ups
  • 40 push-ups
  • 60 air squats

10. Filthy Fifty Variation

a picture of people doing an exercise

This workout consists of 50 repetitions for each of the 10 exercises, and you will continue the training until all 500 repetitions are completed.

As a fitness trainer, when I found myself without the necessary equipment, I opted to rely on my body weight. It was challenging, but this workout truly elevated both my muscular and aerobic endurance.

The exercises are as follows:

  • Air Squats
  • Push-Ups
  • Step-Ups
  • Hollow Rocks
  • Jump Squats
  • Sit-Ups
  • Walking Lunges
  • Burpees
  • Supermans
  • Resistance Banded Lat Pulldowns

11. Unnamed Workout

This challenging CrossFit workout includes thrusters (95/65) and burpees.

Here's How You Do It:

  1. Begin with 15 repetitions for each movement, followed by 12 repetitions, and conclude with nine reps.
  2. Take a 3-minute rest.
  3. Proceed to the next phase: thrusters (95/65) and burpees.
  4. Complete the first set with 12 repetitions for each exercise, followed by nine reps, and finish with six repetitions.
  5. Take another 3-minute rest.
  6. Move on to the final round: thrusters (95/65) and burpees.
  7. Perform the first set with nine repetitions for each workout, followed by six reps, and finish with three repetitions.

What Is Crossfit?

CrossFit is a high-intensity conditioning program that incorporates diverse functional movements such as climbing, lifting, rowing, and more. These exercises engage every part of the body, fostering flexibility and adaptability in our muscles.

PubMed research indicates that CrossFit activities have improved key fitness metrics, including maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max), endurance, stamina, strength, and body composition [1].

Related posts:

CrossFit Workout Terminologies

photo of person training arm with resistance band

AMRAP

AMRAP stands for "as many rounds (or repetitions) as possible," a common CrossFit workout format designed to push the body to its limits quickly, as per ResearchGate [2].

According to Todd Nief, Head CrossFit Coach, AMRAPs help you gauge the pace of your effort within a set timeframe, making it easier to manage your training session.

EMOM

EMOM, or every minute on the minute, involves completing recommended repetitions within a minute, followed by rest. Using a watch, stopwatch, or clock is essential.

The structure encourages harder work to earn more rest, aligning with a new minute each round, according to research from PubMed [3].

Related: EMOM Workouts for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide

WOD

photo of woman doing squats in smith machine in the gym

WOD, or workout of the day, is the recommended daily workout from CrossFit or a branch gym.

Initially, these were one-time exercises on the CrossFit website, but they've evolved into smart, periodized programming.

Customized to achieve specific goals in CrossFit or personal fitness, WODs are designed for daily implementation.

METCON

METCON, short for 'metabolic conditioning,' targets various energy systems while incorporating strength or gymnastics practice, according to the National Institute of Health [4].

These workouts, commonly referred to as short and intense lung scorchers, usually last under 20 minutes and are often reserved for the conclusion of the WOD.

RFT

According to ResearchGate, RFT, which stands for rounds for time, is an effective method for assessing your strength and fitness by comparing your performance to previous timings [5].

Benefits of Doing CrossFit Workout

photo of people in the gym

Makes You Stronger

CrossFit combines weightlifting, Olympic lifting, and resistance exercise, offering a comprehensive approach to building strength. The exercises in CrossFit are designed to target multiple muscle regions simultaneously.

"The majority of CrossFit activities are compound movements, which means they engage muscles from all across your body."

- Grayson Wickham, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist

Burns Calories Efficiently

CrossFit enthusiasts burn 12 or more calories per minute due to the intense nature of the exercises, making it an effective way to enhance cardiovascular health and calorie burning.

It May Help With Weight Loss

photo of a close up legs on weight machine

Although weight loss may not be the primary goal for everyone starting CrossFit, its fitness benefits, such as increased lean muscle mass and a boosted metabolism, contribute to reducing body fat and overall calorie burn.

Maintains Calorie Burning After a Workout

CrossFit workouts usually incorporate weightlifting, which not only burns calories during and after the session but also promotes muscle growth—a crucial factor in boosting metabolism.

Boosts Mobility

CrossFit, though unconventional in its mobility approach compared to yoga or Pilates, is recognized as one of the best programs for improving mobility, enhancing both range of motion (ROM) and strength.

CrossFit Safety Precautions

photo of people stretching

While CrossFit exercises are popular, their high-intensity nature may intimidate newcomers. To ensure safety, follow these precautions:

Warm-up: Initiate warm-up routines to prepare your body before applying pressure on muscles and joints.

Self-Restraint: Exercise patience, especially when starting out. Seek expert advice if you're a beginner to reduce the risk of injury and achieve optimal results.

Limitations: Understanding your body and executing workouts correctly is crucial. Focus on being deliberate, with controlled intensity, and prioritize correcting your posture.

A Healthy Diet: CrossFit sessions emphasize a diet with recommended amounts of carbs, lean protein, healthy fats, and plant-based macronutrients.

Accuracy: Maintain proper posture and form while learning techniques to prevent injuries.

FAQs

What Are the 7 CrossFit Workouts?

"The seven" CrossFit workouts are the hero CrossFit WODs. Athletes must perform seven rounds for time: seven handstand push-ups, seven kettlebell swings, seven thrusters, seven burpees, seven deadlifts, seven knees-to-elbows, and seven pull-ups.

What Is the Best Schedule for CrossFit?

The best schedule for CrossFit is the 3-day-on, 1-day-off, and 2-day-on. It entails working out Monday through Wednesday, taking a rest or active recuperation day on Thursday, then completing the workouts on Friday and Saturday.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7473349/
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/345257344
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34822344/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9199896/
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343084566
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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