Diane Crossfit Workout (Benchmark WOD for a Challenge)

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: January 8, 2024
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As a personal fitness coach, one intriguing aspect I discovered while attending CrossFit classes is the use of various female names to categorize different types 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

  • The Diane WoD typically involves a combination of functional movements such as handstand pushups, deadlifts, and even a handstand walk to finish it off.
  • The Diane CrossFit Workout focuses on enhancing upper body strength, requiring a strong fitness foundation, especially for those beginning with handstand push-ups.
  • According to the National Institute of Health, it's important to consider the impact of the structure of WoDs on metabolic behavior when prescribing CrossFit training.
  • As a fitness trainer, doing the Diane WoD either at a CrossFit gym or in the comfort of your home demands a keen focus on nutrition and the use of supplements to support effective recovery.

How To Plan The Diane Crossfit Routine

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

To plan the Diane CrossFit routine, aim to perform the exercises in three sets with decreasing reps: 21-15-9. Keep your breaks short, and follow the advice from the CrossFit Journal by avoiding long pauses until you complete one full cycle [1].

Here's a breakdown of the stations for your plan:

1. Strict Handstand Push-ups (21 reps): Execute basic handstand push-ups, maintaining proximity to a wall for support, and lower your body as much as possible.

2. Deadlifts (21 reps): Choose a moderately light weight for deadlifts, as you start with 21 reps and progressively decrease the count.

3. Kipping Handstand Push-up (15 reps): Perform advanced kipping handstand push-ups, bringing your knees to the chest during the downward motion and explosively extending the legs upward.

4. Deadlifts (15 reps): Engage your core with another set of deadlifts.

5. Dumbbell Push Press (9 reps): Execute an overhead press with a hammer grip, using reasonably heavy dumbbells.

6. Deadlifts (9 reps): Conclude with a final set of CrossFit deadlifts before taking a brief rest. Record your time for your CrossFit benchmark.

If you're up for an additional challenge, consider these optional exercises:

1. Pike Push-ups (9 reps): Similar to decline push-ups, assume a downward dog yoga position and bend your elbows.

2. Deadlifts (9 reps): Finish with one more set of deadlifts to test your core endurance.

In my opinion as a fitness coach, you may skip the extra superset and focus on improving your personal best time. Alternatively, you can enhance the difficulty by adding a weighted vest for the handstand push-ups.

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, as per Physio-Pedia [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?

The Diane routine is ideal for individuals facing challenges in achieving comprehensive exhaustion for their arms, shoulders, back, and core with typical CrossFit workouts.

It stands out as one of the most advanced exercises you can undertake.

In my opinion as a fitness trainer, if the idea of accomplishing 15 handstand push-ups seems out of reach for you, I would recommend avoiding this workout.

Training Tips

Here's my advice for a safe experience:

Eat before working out: It's important not to start on an empty stomach. Consume a combination of complex carbs and healthy fats to maintain energy levels throughout the entire workout, as per the research from PubMed [3].

Do a proper warm-up: Prioritize a thorough warm-up to ready your body for the Diane workout, and be sure not to neglect the importance of cooling down afterward. Spending five to ten minutes on stretching can have a positive impact.

Ensure a safe technique: If you're a beginner, avoid attempting the exercises solo. Seek proper coaching to ensure your safety. For advanced athletes, practice with someone who can provide guidance and correct any technique issues.

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 is 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.

In my experience, a protein supplement can help provide large quantities of amino acids to boost muscle protein synthesis, as supported by the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism [4].


  1. https://journal.crossfit.com/article/rest-and-recovery-in-interval-based-exercise-2
  2. https://www.physio-pedia.com/Core_Muscles
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8116550/
  4. https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/ijsnem/32/1/article-p49.xml
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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Senior Coach
Christiana Mikesch, CPT is a personal trainer and author with contributions to publications like the Chicago Tribune and Yahoo. She emphasizes a holistic approach to weight loss, combining an energy-fueling diet, goal-oriented workouts, and daily habits. Her approach avoids short-term goals and fosters a lifelong commitment to health and well-being.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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