I’ve had a few people ask me to post CrossFit workouts for beginners on the blog but I’ve been hesitant because I’m not a Certified CrossFit instructor. Nevertheless, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to show one of my new coworkers some CrossFit moves last week, when she asked if we could do a “baby CrossFit” workout together at our work gym.
This coworker is the sweetest young girl (I think she’s in her early twenties) and if you can believe it, she had never even done a burpee before! Her reaction as I demonstrated one was priceless: wide eyes as she let out a long “Woaaaa!” (She’s also from Michigan and often says “Nutcrackers” when something goes amiss– she’s adorable!!)
I wanted to do a dynamic stretching warm-up because Aubrey (my coworker) said she liked stretching, and I also knew stretching might wakeup some of the muscles and target areas we’d use during the workout. I also wanted to go through some common CrossFit stretches so that Aubrey had a better since of what to expect in an actual CrossFit gym.
We started with this line-up of movements/stretches, walking (or duck walking, Samson stretch walking, spiderman walking, etc.) about 10 meters and back to the starting position) (Google or YouTube these phrases if you’re unfamiliar with any of these movements):
- Duck Walks
- Spiderman Walks
- Sampson Stretch
- High Knees
- Butt Kickers
- Squat stretch (sit in a squat and push your knees out with your elbows; grab your toes and slowly lift your butt and body up!)
As we did these, I explained that the first half hour of CrossFIt is always dedicated to warming up. We often joke it’s the WOD (workout) before the WOD (the actual workout). I never used to warm up before working out, but since I’ve started, I can tell a big difference in my performance when I’m not warm! I also talked about CrossFit lingo: WOD, box, AMRAP, etc…
I wanted to make sure Aubrey got a real sense that CrossFIt is not just an hour of crazy exercises (a common misconception)- it’s actually at least 20 minutes of warming up, usually 15 or so minutes of lifting, and then the actual workout usually only lasts between 8-15 minutes. I told her it’s never the same, but always challenging.
After stretching we were pretty warm — we were both sweating! But I wanted to make sure we were warm so I suggested we run a quick .25 miles on the treadmill, which is the equivalent of a 400 meter run. (I can tell you some of the coaches at my box would not approve of this as a full warm-up; ours are usually much longer! But for time’s sake and it being Aubrey’s first real workout, I decided to keep it simple!)
After that, I demonstrated each movement we’d do in the workout:
AMRAP 8 minutes:
- 10 Dumbbell Squats
- 10 Step-ups
- 10 Burpees (We dropped this to 5 since she’d never done a burpee before)
- 10 Weighted Russian Twists
We did several squats during the stretching portion of the warm-up so I already had a chance to see Aubrey’s form and give her some feedback, but I demonstrated the weighted squat for her anyway, emphasizing that she keep her chest up and her weight in her heels. I used a 25 lb dumbbell for the workout and she used a 10 lb, but midway she dropped it and just did air squats (an easy scaling option)!
Also, if it’s your first time showing someone CrossFit moves, be prepared to keep an eye on them! People who have never done these moves before lose their form pretty quickly and that’s dangerous! I noticed Aubrey did this – her stance wasn’t wide enough and she was bringing her knees inward [instead of outward] – so we stopped for a minute during the workout to go over form again. (To those who aren’t familiar with the air squat, these images are helpful.) (There’s a also a whole Squat Clinic by Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit.)
Step-ups are an easy swap for box jumps and in a regular gym you can easily put together a step-up station with risers, which is what we did. When explaining the step-up to Aubrey I emphasized opening the hips to full extension at the top, and for the burpees, I suggested she just pop her legs out instead of going chest-to-deck, since it can be harder to maintain a straight back and tight core that way. She happily accepted the scaled option!
The Russian twists were pretty simple: keep your legs elevated and twisting to one side counts as one rep, so these would go pretty fast!
Unfortunately I didn’t have a great playlist or loud speakers to mimic the start of an actual CrossFit workout but I promised Aubrey next time, we’d have the music to get us pumped!
When we started Aubrey jumped right in! But halfway through the workout she said she felt like she might be overdoing it… (I could tell she was definitely winded!) I suggested she drop the weight (she was using a 10 lb dumbbell for the front squats and twists), and just do air squats, as a scaled option. Adding weight to a cardio or other fast motion definitely makes it more challenging and dropping the weight is the easier way to scale without feeling like you have stop altogether!
I got in 4 total rounds and Aubrey got in 3! I was really proud of her for pushing through – it was tough for her, and understandably, she’d never pushed herself like that before! It was really funny when the timer went off, she totally sprawled out on the gym floor – she was whooped! (I secretly patted myself on the back; if she assumed the position, she’s gotten a true taste of CrossFit!)
As we left the gym I begin to worry about the impression I gave Aubrey of this sport, though: did she like it? Hate it? Is she upset? Worried about soreness? What’s she thinking!
Well, when I woke up a little sore the next morning, my worry persisted! Uh oh! Poor thing! She’s probably done-for! But, good news: as soon as I got to work I checked on her — how are you? “I FEEL GREAT!” She said! “Not nearly as sore as I thought I’d be and I got this burst of energy when I got home last night, it was wonderful!”
That day I sent Aubrey a few links about squatting and wouldn’t you know, the next week she came in and she she’d been practicing and wants me to check her form! I think she might have the bug! 🙂
Below is the workout we did for your Pinterest quick-reference pleasure! Remember: I’m not a CrossFIt instructor and this post is by no means adequate instruction for doing some of these moves yourself at home. PLEASE do your research, read and watch some videos online, but then, yea, go for it! AND GIVE IT YOUR ALL!!
Happy Friday loves!
Have you ever pretended to be a personal trainer/CrossFIt instructor and done a CrossFit workout with a friend?
What workout did you do?