The 16 Best CrossFit Workouts to Test Your Strength and Fitness

The Best Crossfit Workouts

If you’re looking for some ideas on training sessions to push yourself to the limit then you’ll be needing the best CrossFit workouts.

Whether you’re a fully-fledged CrossFitter or someone who’s looking for a few new workouts to try out at the gym, the world of CrossFit workouts is a great place to start getting some challenging ideas. Many of the formats used aren’t specific to CrossFit gyms and you can do most of them without the need for any special equipment.

Why are CrossFit workouts, or WODs (workouts of the day) as they’re known, so popular? Well, they tend to use a range of simple formats that mean the same workout can be replicated by anyone. That means that you can easily compare your efforts with people around the world doing the same workout.

As well as being designed to test a range of fitness skills, they’re also made to be scalable. So you can do the majority of them regardless of what level of advancement you’re currently at. That might mean using significantly lighter weights or modifying an advanced movement completely.

I’ve done my fair share of WODs over the past couple of years. Some I’ve come out of looking like I can barely move, others I’ve just had lots of fun doing. Here are some of the best Crossfit workouts I’ve tried out.

The Best CrossFit Workouts: Murph

Murph is by far the most famous CrossFit there is, largely because it’s such a simple series of exercises that make up the core basis of any functional movement. That simplicity doesn’t make it easy though and it’s one of the most demanding WODs you can do.

Depending on how you’re doing it, you can carry out the exercises in order or break them up. The workout is for time, so as soon as you’ve finished the list, you’re done.

For time:

  • 1 mile Run
  • 100 Pull-ups
  • 200 Push-ups
  • 300 Squats
  • 1 mile Run

The Best Crossfit Workouts: Fran

Fran is where it starts to get ever-so-slightly technical with the inclusion of thrusters (probably the exercise I hate the most). The workout itself looks relatively minimal on paper. All you need to do is 21 thrusters and 21 pull-ups, then 15 of each and then 9 of each. Doesn’t sound like much does it?

Don’t let the simplicity fool you. It’s horrible, and by the end, your arms, back and legs will be wrecked. Extremely fit people tend to do it in around 5 minutes, which feels like a very long time.

21-15-9 reps for time of:

  • Thrusters (95/65 lb)
  • Pull-Ups

The best CrossFit Workouts: Annie

Another reps for time workout that seems relatively simple, Annie is an absolute killer for the core and the legs. Basically the main challenging element of the workout is the double-unders because there’s a hell of a lot of them in it (if you can’t do double-unders stick with singles).

The sit-ups may seem like an easy addition, but that’s a lot of repetitions focussing on your stomach, and trust me, it’s going to hurt very quickly.

50-40-30-20-10 reps for time of:

  • Double-unders
  • Sit-ups

The Best CrossFit Workouts: Helen

Helen is actually one of the enjoyable CrossFit workouts I’ve ever done. The main reason for this is I actually really like running. However, for a lot of CrossFitters, that’s often the worst part.

The number of each reps in each block is actually fairly manageable without seeming like an impossible effort, although by the third round it’s going to start hurting. The key is to focus on the form of your kettlebell swings as it can be dangerous if you start doing them incorrectly as fatigue appears.

3 rounds for time of:

  • 400-meter run
  • 21 kettlebell swings (1.5/1 pood)
  • 12 pull-ups

The Best CrossFit Workouts: Angie

The nicest element of Angie for me is the fact that you do 100 reps of each exercise, which makes it really easy to remember whilst you’re doing it. You also only need a pull-up bar, so you can do the WOD pretty much anywhere – it’s a favourite of mine if you need a quick session outdoors that works pretty much every major muscle group.

If it’s too difficult, all you need to do is drop the number of reps down and build-up over time. You can also switch out the pull-ups for something easier like inverted rows if you need to.

If you’re sticking to the rules you need to do each exercise in order before you move onto the next one. But as a training session, I tend to mix it up.

For time:

  • 100 pull-ups
  • 100 push-ups
  • 100 sit-ups
  • 100 squats

The best CrossFit Workouts: Grace

Grace is training at its most raw. One incredibly taxing exercise done as quickly as possible whilst maintaining an excellent level of form throughout.

The clean and jerk is by far one of the most advanced movements in CrossFit and if you’re carrying out the RX weight for it, you need to be fairly advanced. At 135lb for men and 95lb for women, it’s going to push muscles across the whole body to work at the max – and you’ll be slowing down very quickly.

If you can do 30 clean and jerks with good form, lower the weight significantly as it’s a demanding movement and injuries are likely. If you can do it, you’ll need to pace effectively to stop yourself burning out completely.

The workout:

  • 30 clean and jerks for time

Men: 135 lb

Women: 95 lb

The best CrossFit Workouts: Cindy

If you look at it on paper it sounds pretty easy. No technical moves, no heavy lifts – no weights at all actually. But 20 minutes of this killer workout and you’ll know why it’s one of the CrossFit staple workouts.

It’s all about strategy. Play to your strengths and pace yourself. Burn out too quickly and your speed is going to grind to a halt – and 20 minutes is a long time to rep out when you’re heavily fatigued.

The workout:

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

As many times as possible in 20 minutes

The best CrossFit Workouts: Arnie

Not going to lie, Arnie is only for the advanced CrossFitters. Turkish Get-Ups are really tough when you’re doing them on their own as a standard repped exercise Throw in a competitive element and you’re just asking for injuries if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Basically, if you’re looking at this thinking “right, I’ll give this a go, those Turkish Get-ups don’t look too hard”. Stop. Get yourself a light kettlebell, get someone who knows what they’re doing and give it a few weeks or months. Then come back here and consider it.

Oh yeah, there’s kettlebell swings as well. A lot of them. Enjoy.

The workout:

  • 21 Turkish Get-Ups, Right Arm
  • 50 Kettlebell Swings
  • 21 Overhead Squats, Left Arm
  • 50 Kettlebell Swings
  • 21 Overhead Squats, Right Arm
  • 50 Kettlebell Swings
  • 21 Turkish Get-Ups, Left Arm

For time.

With a single 2 pood kettlebell.

The best CrossFit Workouts: Chelsea

Chelsea is a great workout for beginner or advanced CrossFitters. Actually, based on the fact you don’t need any equipment and there are no technical moves, it’s a great training format for pretty much anyone.

The format is an EMOM, which means you do all the reps ‘every minute on the minute’ – whatever time you have left over in the minute you can have a rest. See how long you can get to without needing more than a minute to complete the three exercises.

The key to Chelsea is pacing yourself. It may seem logical to do it as fast as you can to gain more rest time, but go too fast and you’ll be struggling to recover and crash out earlier.

If you can’t go for the full 30 minutes. Take a break for a full minute and carry on afterwards, then count how many full minutes you manages.

The workout:

  • 5 pull-ups,
  • 10 push-ups
  • 5 squats

EMOM – every minute on the minute for a maximum of 30 minutes.

The best CrossFit Workouts: Clovis

It’s not often you see real endurance training in CrossFit but if you’re looking for a WOD to really test your staying power, Clovis is the one to go for.

To be honest it’s a completely ridiculous workout and not one that’s at the top of most CrossFitter’s list of priorities. On it’s own, a 10-mile run is more than enough exercise for one day, throw in 150 burpee pull-ups and you’re looking at one hell of a session.

You can split up the two exercises to make it easier, although regardless of how you do it you’re looking at one of the longest CrossFit WODs out there. On average the 10 mile is likely to take well over an hour – so don’t expect to do this one in your usual CrossFit session.

The workout:

  • Run 10 miles
  • 150 burpee pull-ups

For time

The best CrossFit Workouts: Bert

If you like long lists of exercises then Bert is the guy for you. The workout includes a complex series of strict exercises and reps to complete for time. There’s a lot of running, a lot of push-ups and a lot of walking lunges. Oh yeah, and it’s all nicely sandwiched between two sets of fifty burpees.

Don’t expect to bang this one out in 10 minutes. It’s a full-on endurance challenge that could take you the whole afternoon. Maybe just try a bit of it out first and see how you go.

The workout:

  • 50 burpees
  • 400m run
  • 100 push-ups
  • 400m run
  • 150 walking lunges
  • 400m run
  • 200 squats
  • 400m run
  • 150 walking lunges
  • 400m run
  • 100 push-ups
  • 400m run
  • 50 burpees

For time

The best CrossFit Workouts: Karen

Yes, you’ve read that correctly, the Karen WOD is just 150 wall balls – sounds easy, right? Wrong. 150 wall balls is an incredibly difficult workout to do in one go, hitting an enormous range of muscles and joints extremely hard.

The first 20 or so may seems simple. You’re reps are perfect, you’re hitting the target every time and nothing is hurting. Get to 40 and things change significantly. Things start to burn, the target seems to be further and further away and as soon as you miss a couple you start to get frustrated.

Karen is about pacing. You can’t rush it as you’ll burn out way too quickly and the reps almost become impossible with any sort of flow or momentum. Take breaks, get your breath back and keep steady.

The workout:

  • 150 Wall Balls

Men: 20lbs

Women: 14lbs

For time

The best CrossFit Workouts: Nancy

Absolutely nothing about Nancy is fun, save for the joy of going through it with your favourite training buddies. On paper, it looks relatively simple, but essentially it all boils down to how good you are at overhead squats.

If your mobility is seriously lacking then 150 reps of legitimate squats is going to feel like pure hell. To be honest, if your overhead squats aren’t competent enough then I wouldn’t even suggest you attempt Nancy. And that’s before I’ve even mentioned the five 400m sprints.

The workout

5 rounds for time of:

  • 400-meter run
  • 15 overhead squats

Men 95lb

Women 65lb

The best CrossFit Workouts: Jackie

If you rearranged the exercises in Jackie things might be different, but there’s something about the format that really pushes you to the limit. Assuming you go all-out on the 1000m row (and why wouldn’t you?), banging out 50 thrusters and then 30 pull-ups is enough to take down any human out.

Expect to be stood looking up at those pull-up bars with anger and defeat as you realise how much effort rowing and thrusters puts on your upper body.

The workout

For time:

  • Row 1000m
  • 50 thrusters (45 pounds)
  • 30 pull-ups

The best CrossFit workouts: Erin

Two exercises, five rounds, 180 reps. Simple. Well, yes, but not easy. First of all you need to get you split cleans on point. Slightly less tricky due to the fact that you’re using dumbells instead of a barbell, but it does need a higher level of coordination, especially considering you’ll be using some fairly heavy kit.

And then there’s 21 pull-ups. Let’s be honest, 21 is a lot of pull-ups anyway. By the time you get to the third round your arms are going to be in a world of pain. Pace well, practice with lighter weights and focus on form, especially on the split cleans.

The workout

5 rounds for time:

  • 15 dumbbell split cleans
  • 21 pull-ups

Men: 40lb. dumbbells

Women: 25lb. dumbbells

The best CrossFit workouts: Nick

Twelve rounds – sounds like a lot doesn’t it? Well, trusts us, it. is. Not only are you repping out some fairly heavy hang clean squats, but the fact that you’re meant to be doing 72 handstand push-ups in total is almost Herculean.

That’s an enormous amount of effort to put on the shoulders in one session so make sure that not only can you do them safely, but also that you can handle the weight. Maybe start off on something lighter until you’ve worked out your pacing.

The workout:

12 rounds for time of:

  • 10 reps – 45 lb dumbbell hang squat clean
  • 6 handstand push-ups on dumbbells

Published by Tom Wheatley

All round web chap. Editor of The Allrounder and Get Sweat Go. Loves a pizza, Howard Hawks films, fitness and old British sitcoms. Not a fan of cucumbers. Level 3 Personal Trainer and massively mediocre runner. Recently launched The Run Testers video channel.

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