How To Choose The Best Crossfit Workouts For Beginners

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

Muscle-ups: One of the hardest movements to first master, it is recognized as a milestone in most beginners advancement. Getting the first muscle up is always an exciting and emotional time. People try so hard and making it finally "click" and get that rep. is such a relief and amazing thing to watch and experience. A muscle up requires one to pull-up their body through rings suspended from an area above them an then turn themselves on top of the rings and press out a dip (See video for muscle up).

Step 2

Very few will ever walk into a gym for the first time and accomplish a clean rep in first round of attempts. Although adequate strength is required, understanding the feeling and motion needed to help propel oneself through the rings is an even greater necessity. In order to build up strength there are a few modifications you can try to help progress this skill. NOTE: Those of you that are unable to do a proper pull-up shouldn't try learning a muscle up first--you should build into that strength first.

Step 3

Modification #1--Combinations of dips and ring rows. If muscle ups are supposed to be in a workout or you would like to strengthen the two main portions of the movement, and are unable to do pull-ups, substitute ring rows and dips. For every muscle up in the workout posted, do 3 ring rows followed by 3 dips (rings or straight bar or elevated box depending on skill/strength level of dips). For example, if a workout has 30 air squats then 5 muscle ups then 10 cleans, you will do 15 ring rows and 15 dips in sets of 3 before moving on to the cleans.

Step 4

Modification #2: As more of skill session, you can attach a couple of elastic stretch therapy bands to the rings, and combine them together so the band hangs between the rings. Sit down onto the band and hold the rings with your respective hands. Make sure your feet are straight and in front of you resting on a box or the floor. Once you are sitting with arms extended, pull-up through the rings aggressively and turn over into the dip position. This modification is to allow you to get comfortable with the transition and add some resistance to help you lift yourself when lacking the strength to do so normally. You can also use this during a workout, but again multiply original muscle up amount by three.

Step 5

Pull-ups: Mod. #1--If you are unable to complete a single pull-up without kipping, use an elastic band for resistance under your feet and attached the bar. Allow the band to hang down in front of you. Slip the free end under the instep of your foot (you do not need both feet in band). The band will ad resistance and is good to develop pure strength necessary for pull-ups.

Step 6

Modification #2--Jumping--you can grab a box That allows you to be positioned about 4 inches from the bar if arms are fully extended above your head. To complete a rep, jump up to grab the bar and use your jumping momentum to help propel your chin up over the bar as you pull. Depending on your strength, use the appropriate height of box (closer to bar the easier... further is harder..). Again, multiply reps of pull-ups by three to get extra work, and if jumping is too easy, begin learning kip or use a thinner band for pull-ups.

Step 7

Hand Stand Push-ups: Modification #1--If you really struggle with standing on your hands or are unable to do so, use a piked push-up. Put both feet onto about a 2 ft box (find what works the best) with toes and body facing floor. Elevate your body and walk toward your feet and the box, creating and "L" shaped position with your body between the box and floor.

Step 8

While keeping elbows in, perform a push-up directing the body up and down, touching the floor with the top of your head. This position allows for you to build shoulder strength without supporting your entire body weight and an easier lever to work with. The higher the box, the more difficult.

Step 9

Modification #2--Wall walks--If you feel your shoulder strength is adequate, and you can at least support yourself upside down, then using wall-walks to further develop strength is beneficial in becoming comfortable with the movement. Start on the floor facing away from the wall, kneeling on your knees. Place your hands on the floor and kick up your legs or walk them up the wall behind you using your arms and the pressure against the wall to hold you off the ground.

Step 10

Continue walking up with your feet and your hands toward the wall until you can touch your hips to the wall. Once you touch your hips, slowly walk yourself back down the the ground and repeat. If you are unable to touch your hips, go up as far as possible until you develop more strength and confidence.

Step 11

Mod. #3--Tall bees or wall bees--Once you more comfortable with supporting your weight upside down, you can get into position just as you would for wall walks. Instead of walking up the wall, in one movement jump your legs up to the highest point on the wall and back down. You are basically kicking from the floor up to full extension of your legs using your arms to support yourself upside down

Step 12

Mod. #4--Banded push-ups--Once you have developed consistent strength holding yourself upside down, but are still unable to complete a full hand stand push-up, you should attach a resistance band between a squat rack on the holding prongs (or anything that will secure the band). Place the band at about chest to neck level (several bands together may be needed).

Step 13

Proceed by doing a hand stand into the bands and wrapping your legs over the top of the band to help stabilize and support your body upside down. Use a spotter to help catch your legs safely if your apprehensive about trying this for the first time. Once upside down, the bands will give you resistance as you lower your head to the floor. Remember to engage your core muscles and to not let your body bow or bend too much. Your head should touch in front of your hands just as a push-press with a bar bell, forming a triangle press between you palms of both hands and your head.

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

-There are modifications for everything. The above listed are just a few examples of other options to use as substitutes or training strength to achieve full completion. -For air squats you can use a box to sit on, push ups can be elevated to help strength deficiencies, and certain lifts should be altered to help teach correct progression with weight. -Do no try and accomplish a skill or lift until you have mastered the subsets of that lift (exp--muscle ups--get pull-ups first; hand stand push ups--get hand stands and control first and strong push press)

Stuff You'll Need

Suggested Further Reading

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Due to the quick rise in popularity in Crossfit over the last few years and recognition on ESPN, people are now becoming more curious as to what this new fitness phenomenon involves. At first glance, especially if you are watching the Crossfit Games, it can seem intimidating and appear not for everyone to try. The truth is that everyone can do Crossfit and the games are just a source of competition for those to measure progression and create a sense of sport. Workouts and exercises are taught and scaled and modified for anyone ranging from kids all the way to a disabled 60+ year old person. Like anything, it takes time to gain full strength to complete workouts and exercises as listed and prescribed, but everything can be modified or changed to benefit the skill set of an individual to achieve the best results. Below, I will explain some modifications for exercises that can be used for those unable to complete the standard movements shown in Crossfit.

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