CrossFit workouts for beginners 

Monday March 08 2021

CrossFit exercises can be tailored to your level of fitness and ability. Photo/

By Joan Salmon

CrossFit is a combination of cardio workouts and strength training for a whole-body workout. Also similar to High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), these exercises involve more heavy lifting and anaerobic exercise for a more targeted muscle-stimulant focus. 

Elvis Kyaterekera, a fitness coach, says the movements used here are actions in our daily activities such as squatting, lifting, pulling and pushing. 

“They are also meant to help one be fit for any activity. So, for any beginner, the activities include squats, push-ups, and weight lifting set to a predetermined amount of time as the emphasis is to build muscle through progressive overload hence the use of elements of speed, load and distance and speed, which in turn, can aid participants in developing higher levels of power,” he says. 

During these activities, for a set time, items such as rings, medicine boxes, kettle bells, rowers and bikes, and speed ropes are used.

Bob Jaketch, a fitness enthusiast, says, ordinarily, each CrossFit class has three parts; warm up, skill/strength component and the workout of the day (WOD). 
“The warmup prepares you for the skilled workout which later looks to help to better your ability in doing the WOD. On the other hand, strength workout helps one to get stronger while the WOD requires that you do some exercises in a predetermined time which is between eight to 16 minutes,” Jaketch says.

While they are short, they make up for this in intensity, thus, rest time is kept short or cut out. While several gyms will come up with their own WODs, there are also original workouts.


Here are some workouts you may try out. While they follow the main CrossFit workout structure, Kyaterekera says they do not involve the use of a barbell. “It is crucial that a beginner develops the cardio base required for the fast paced and intense CrossFit workouts,” he adds.

As the word goes, it is the basis of other performances, so start with it and keep coming back to it as you train to check your endurance and growth. “As you come back to it, remember to take record of the different durations for the understanding is that you are getting better. The workout involves rows of 500 metres, 20 sit-ups, 20 air squats, 20 push-ups and finally another 500 metres of rows,” he says.

Note: Row is weightlifting where one mimics rowing. Without a barbell, you can use a table thus doing table rows.
Every minute, on the minute (EMOM)
With a predetermined time of 15 minutes, Jaketch says one performs a movement each minute. “These movements include three burpees and five toe-to-bar (however, these can be replaced by toe-to-elbow movements in case there is no bar to work with),” he says. The faster you do each movement, the more time you get to rest, which is what is left of the minute.

As many rounds as possible (AMRAP)
Setting 15 minutes as your predetermined time, do your best to do as many rounds as you possibly can of these activities; 200m run, 10 dumbbell overhead press, 10 pull ups and 10 wall balls. “These must be done in a sequence and in place of plain pull-ups, one can do jumping pull-ups with the help of a band,” Kyaterekera says adding that you should remember to record the number of rounds you have completed.

The name of the WOD is adapted from how the exercise is done. “It has many cycles and several workouts that are done in succession thus unlike in the ones before, one needs to get some rest time. That said, there is need to be strict with time, never resting beyond 10 seconds,” Jaketch shares.

The activities here include 10 burpees, 20 box jumps, 10 burpees, 30 kettlebell swings, 10 burpees, 30 alternating lunges, 10 burpees and 20 air squats. However, to give the workout a twist, he says rather than box jumps, do a step-up and down workout.

Half Cindy
CrossFit workouts with female names are some of the hardest and Half Cindy is no different. Timed at 20 minutes, Kyaterekera says it is an AMRAP with five pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 squats done in succession. “You can substitute the pull-ups with band aided jumping pull-ups and you can actually scale back the time to only 10 minutes. Nonetheless, that is dependent on your fitness level,” he adds.

Jaketch says most of the people doing CrossFit are competitive but it helps to measure and understand your ability as well as desist from jumping steps. “In the start, look to get in great shape and reducing weight to ably do all the stated cycles," he concludes.