If you're dying to try CrossFit but a little worried about what it may entail, we're here to tell you not to worry. The sport involves loads of varied movements using different types of equipment that will help you gain strength and push you to try new things. Plus, WODS (that's workout of the day, in CrossFit slang) often pack a killer workout that will stoke your metabolism in a short amount of time.
We recently caught up with CrossFit's Fittest Women on Earth, Katrin Davidsdottir, at the launch of the Reebok Nano 8 in New York City. Davidsdottir gave us a 20-minute AMRAP (that's as many reps as possible) perfect for beginners. Twenty minutes, she says, is a great length sweat session to get started with.
"Imagine you were doing an easy workout, would you be happy leaving the gym?" she asks. "You want it to be hard, because that's when you get better. I find that 20-minute workouts help you hang out around that sweet spot. You know you're getting better."
20-Calorie row (row until the monitor on the machine shows you've burned 20 calories)
10 Barbell thrusters @ 55 pounds
20 Box jumps
Do: Each exercise set in its entirety before moving onto the move. Continue for 20 minutes, writing down how many rounds you scored at the end.
Note: Davidsdottir suggests a 55-pound barbell for this workout. If you feel like that's just too much, scale it down! Opt for 45 pounds, or instead use just the barbell. You want to use a weight that will enable you to go through all 10 thrusters unbroken — or without breaking. Before embarking on any CrossFit workout solo, it's incredibly helpful to visit your local box and sign up for a fundamentals course.
Do it: Lower into a crouching squat with your hands on the floor. Do a squat thrust by jumping your feet back into a plank position. Do one basic push-up, bending the elbows, then straightening back to plank. Jump the feet forward to the hands, and come into a squat. Do an explosive jump straight up, getting as much height as you can. If this feels too difficult, omit the push-up and/or the jump while doing the move.
Davidsdottir says: "People forget to breathe doing burpees. But you could get lactic acid build-up because of that, and your muscles will cramp. Make sure to focus on breathing, and exhale at the bottom of each jump."
Davidsdottir says: "The most common mistake with rowing is that you're leaning too far backward. If you do that, you've taken away all the power of your back. Stay with your shoulders in front of your hips, and finish extended with you legs." More tips on rowing form here.
Do it: Stand with your legs just slightly wider than hip-distance apart, arms raised to shoulder height with elbows bent, barbell at chest height. Bend your knees, squatting down low, as if you were sitting in a chair, keeping weight on your heels. Press the barbell overhead as you straighten your knees to return to standing. Return to start for one rep. If you don't have access to a barbell, you can also opt to do dumbbell thrusters.
Davidsdottir says: "Thrusters are a total-body move. Make sure to keep an upright torso, heels on the ground, and push your knees out. Most people push a lot with their arms. Instead, let your legs do the work. Once the bar pops off your shoulder a little, that's when you finish with the press. Your arms won't tire out so fast this way."
Do it: Stand with your feet slightly wider than hips-width distance apart in front of a sturdy box. Bend your knees and swing your arms back. Jump onto the top of the box with both feet at the same time, swinging the arms forward to give you a little momentum. Once you land, stand up until your legs are straight and drive your hips forward. Step one foot at a time back to the floor or jump down softly with both feet for one rep.
Davidsdottir says: "It's OK to rebound if the box is low, but that jumping can be very taxing on your achilles. Instead, step down, then breathe at top. It'll help you keep an even pace."