Diane Crossfit Workout (Benchmark WOD for a Challenge)

Tracy Thompson
Published by Tracy Thompson | Senior Coach
Last updated: November 29, 2023
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As a personal fitness coach, I regularly work with CrossFit coaches, and I like going to CrossFit classes as part of my own fitness regime. One of the things I found most interesting about it is that there are all these different female names to describe the variety of classes.

The Diane WoD was one that intrigued me the most, as I could immediately see that handstand push-ups would be both a strength and balance challenge.

And because our team loves challenges, we got together with a CrossFit coach to come up with instructions on how to plan this session.

Quick Summary

  • Doing the Diane workout at a CrossFit gym requires mastering a combination of handstand pushups, deadlifts, and even a handstand walk to finish it off.
  • It’s a workout specifically targeted at building upper body strength, and you’ll need a good fitness level to even get started with handstand push-ups.
  • The Diane WoD at a CrossFit gym or at home will require careful attention to nutrition and supplements for recovery.

How To Plan The Diane Crossfit Routine

A gym couple planning the Diane CrossFit routine together in the gym

The plan is to do these exercises three times with a decreasing number of reps.

Aim to do 21-15-9 reps at a time in each deadlift/push-up combination.

Your breaks and rest time should be as short as possible, and don’t take a long breather until you complete one cycle [1].

Here are the stations you want to plan for: 

  • Strict handstand push-ups (21 reps): This is the basic form of handstand push-ups, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Set up your mat close to a wall, get into a handstand position, and then get down as low as possible.
  • Deadlifts (21 reps): Pick a deadlift weight that is reasonably light, as you’ll be aiming to start off with 21 reps and gradually lower them.
  • Kipping handstand push-up (15 reps): This is an advanced handstand push-up where you lower your body down and bring your knees to the chest. On the upward movement, you explode the legs back up.
  • Deadlifts (15 reps): We’re back to working on your core with another set of deadlifts.
  • Dumbbell push press (9 reps): This is an overhead press that I recommend doing with a hammer grip. You can pick up some reasonably heavy dumbbells.
  • Deadlifts (9 reps): Here is a final set of CrossFit deadlifts before you get a chance to take a short rest. Don’t forget to write down your time for your own CrossFit benchmark.

If the above hasn’t completely exhausted you, then add these two extra ones:

  • Pike push-ups (9 reps): This is similar to a decline push-up, but you get into a downward dog yoga position and then bend your elbows.
  • Deadlifts (9 reps): And now it’s time for one more set of deadlifts, just in case your core isn’t screaming for rest already.

This additional superset is entirely optional, and you could just as easily work on beating your personal best in time.

Or you could strap on a weighted vest to make the handstand push-ups that bit more challenging.

What Are The Benefits?

A buff male doing CrossFit in the gym

The main benefits of doing the Diane workout are serious increases in strength as well as improvements in balance.

Here is a closer look: 

  • Strong Upper Body: When you get to a stage where you can complete handstand push-ups as part of a long workout like this, you will start seeing some significant compounding strength increases in your arms, shoulders, and back.
  • Strong Core: The constant switch to deadlift movements will also challenge your core with this exercise, from your abs to your lower back [2].
  • Balance Skills: Being able to do quality push-ups during a handstand will build your balance and gymnastic skills as well.

“In the same way that core exercises improve standing and sitting posture, core strength training has the potential to help your workout form.”

- Daniel Bubnis, M.S., NASM-CPT

Who Should Consider This Workout?

People who are struggling to achieve total exhaustion for their arms, shoulders, back, and core with other CrossFit workouts should consider the Diane routine.

This would be considered one of the most advanced workouts you can do.

However, if you can’t get anywhere near 15 handstand push-ups, then this is not a workout you should consider.

Will You Need Supplements?

A person taking supplements in the gym

Yes, you will need some supplements to support this kind of workout. The first thing I would recommend are high quality CrossFit pre-workout supplements.

Even a small boost in endurance and strength will go a long way toward helping you get through this exercise.

And you should also consider giving your body everything it needs to recover faster.

That means a protein supplement that delivers large quantities of amino acids to boost muscle protein synthesis [3].


  1. https://journal.crossfit.com/article/rest-and-recovery-in-interval-based-exercise-2
  2. https://www.physio-pedia.com/Core_Muscles
  3. https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/ijsnem/32/1/article-p49.xml
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