• Crossfit Moves You Should Do


      By Jeremey DuVall Men's Fitness

      CrossFit - even the word can stir up conversation and arguments at the smoothie bar. Regardless of whether you like to crush WODs for your workouts or stick with old school strength training plans, there’s no doubt that CrossFit exercises are both hard and effective. By pairing difficult exercises together, often times in a race against the clock, CrossFit has a way of leaving athletes completely gassed and zapped of strength. The exercises themselves aren’t new to the strength and conditioning field. In many cases, they have simply become popular since tied alongside workout names like Fran and Linda. Almost all work your entire body at once and build skill, coordination, and flexibility at the same time.

      To get those same benefits in your workout, we picked five popular CrossFit exercises that every lifter should have in their own routine and talked with Micah Macbeth, head coach at Crossfit 215, to find out how you can improve on each movement.

      1. Overhead squat

      So, you’ve mastered the back squat and perhaps you’ve even tinkered with the front squat. The overhead squat (OHS), popularized by benchmark WODs like Nancy, provides an added challenge in comparison to your typical squatting staples. By forcing you to lock the bar out overhead, your upper body and midsection have to work overtime to provide stability as you descend down into the movement. Just getting into proper position requires a decent amount of flexibility from your upper body.

      Macbeth acknowledges that upper body flexibility is going to be a limiting factor for the majority of guys. The fix? A whole lot of soft tissue work like foam rolling and tons of practice with lighter weight. “I think people miss the fact that sometimes the best mobility for a movement is just doing the movement over and over. With some of my athletes who lack OHS ability, I just make sure they do the movement every time they are in but with a PVC pipe or an empty barbell.”

      To get the best of flexibility and strength with the overhead squat, implement the movement into your warm-up while you practice and master form. After you have the move down, you can begin adding weight for a complete workout.

      2. Muscle-up

      If you thought pull-ups were a way to impress your lifting buds, think again. Muscle-ups may be the king of upper body exercises combining both the pulling motion of a pull-up and the pressing motion of a dip to bring the lifter up and over the bar in one movement. Often times, this exercises is performed on rings increasing the demand for stability at the shoulder joint.

      Macbeth acknowledges several limiting factors preventing most guys from being able to get themselves up and over the bar. First, lifters should develop baseline strength levels. “We make sure that people can complete 3-4 dips to end range of motion, and then they need to be able to perform a strict chest to bar pull-up.” Outside of strength standards, Macbeth indicates that shoulder flexibility is a huge component to avoid getting injured at the bottom of the dip. “You are thrusting yourself up and then down into the bottom of an extreme range of motion. This can be a compromising position if you do not have extensive time spent under tension in this position.”

      Outside of building baseline strength and flexibility, work on what may be the hardest part of the exercise - the grip. “A lot of people forgo the turn-over portion of the muscle-up. Do drills just to practice that turnover from the pull-up to the dip like jumping into the bottom position of the dip to work on technique,” says Macbeth. Familiarity with the equipment certainly plays a role as well. While focusing on building strength in the two exercise components, work on the rings for bodyweight rows and dips to become comfortable with the equipment and build shoulder stability.

      3. Thruster

      Anyone that has attempted to complete the most popular CrossFit WOD of all-time, Fran, certainly is familiar with thrusters. The combination of a front squat straight into a press overhead is the epitome of a total body exercise. After a string of several in a row, you’ll find that it’s not simply a strength exercise either; it will blast your cardiovascular system as well. Macbeth indicates that the reason this exercise is so taxing is primarily due to the distance the bar travels. Since lifters are dropping down into a squat and then pressing the bar all the way overhead, the weight is traveling an incredible distance therefore increasing the work that needs to be done.

      The main issue limiting the performance of most guys on the thruster is front rack mobility. According to Macbeth, “An athlete must be able to keep their elbows up all the way through the movement for safety reasons.” Due to limitations in the upper body, the elbows of most athletes fall as they descend into the movement making it much tougher to keep the bar in place.

      Working on the individual aspects of each exercise - the front squat and overhead press - will certainly help alongside building flexibility. Start by using this exercise as a warm-up with a light bar to master the bar path before incorporating it as a strength exercise with heavier weight.

      4. Kettlebell swing

      If you’re looking for an exercise to build up your back side while also feeling like you just spent 10 minutes on the treadmill, look no further. The kettlebell swing combines power with cardio while emphasizing one of the most important, yet rarely practiced, movements - the hip hinge. While this certainly isn’t a CrossFit-only exercise, it came to the forefront of the fitness industry with WODs like Helen.

      The kettlebell swing, although powerful, is actually rather simple to teach according to Macbeth. “I can get someone churning some pretty high intensity sets with rather minimal direction. You can get most people doing a safe KB swing in a few minutes,” he says. The foundation of the movement lies in the hip hinge pattern, much like a deadlift. To prevent injury, athletes should master the deadlift form first before attempting sets of this powerful exercise. Reinforcing form with lighter kettlebells is also important as repetition helps to build proper movement patterns.

      5. Rowing

      If you’re looking for a strictly cardio-based exercise to get your sweat on, look no further. Although rarely utilized, the rower offers an intense workout in just a few minutes. This exercise combines elements of power with coordination from the upper and lower body making it a little tougher than your typical elliptical workout.

      Perhaps the most downplayed aspect of rowing is the form. According to Macbeth, “Rowing and running are two movement that people just do not practice enough. They think that as long they pull on the handle or pick their feet up and down as fast as they can the two movements will be effective.” In fact, both movements have some very common form errors. Macbeth encourages lifters to learn from someone very familiar with rowing technique rather than trying to teach themselves. Sequencing is perhaps the most important area where people go wrong. Macbeth indicates, “The most important aspect is understanding the sequence of events which must happen in order to have an efficient stroke. Too many people fire them in the wrong order.”

      To start, find someone that’s familiar with rowing technique and has a good amount of experience to help you learn the form. Incorporate rowing as a warm-up exercise before your lifting session focusing on form rather than cranking as hard as possible. After a few sessions of technique, you can begin implementing faster sprints for an intense cardiovascular challenge.

      Source: http://www.mensfitness.com/training/...on-the-regular
      Comments 74 Comments
      1. Bigcountry08's Avatar
        Bigcountry08 -
        Originally Posted by Schyluer View Post

        I have trained at elite mma gyms, Strength and conditioning schools and clubs that work with NFL athletes, Strongman gyms, Power lifting, and Body building gyms. Crossfit athletes are by far the FUNCTIONALLY strongest athletes i have ever trained with. The reason people get hurt is poor coaching. Thats just like any Golds Gym. Any football S&C coach, any MMA trainer, etc. Some trainers are idiots. But there are some that are very good. Crossfit Football is by far my favorite exercise program i have ever done. Tons of Heavy HEAVY Olympic lifting with sled drags rope climbs etc, with a huge emphasis on explosion. Which of you in here could do a do a King Kong wod. Look that up. I dont know why so many men hate on Crossfit. As a man I like to lift heavy things, I like to build for performance, and I like to be a beast. The Crossfit gym i used to train at is one of the top in the nation and it made me a beast.
        http://youtu.be/73YbiqPsF1I

        King Kong Wod = super set welcome to bodybuilding 201, and the guy i just watched doing them was taking way to many breaks. Your supposed to do each exercise consecutively, not take a 15 second break between each rep.

        How are cross-fitters the most functionally strong? Are there any cross-fitters who have done power lifting meets and broke records? Will I see a cross-fitters at this years met-rx world strongest man competition and blow by all the competition? The answer is no, because cross-fitters aren't the worlds strongest, power lifters are and to say and different is idiotic.
      1. Othello1276's Avatar
        Othello1276 -
        It's so funny to see how much hate there is for Crossfit by so many self professed experts. If you ask any legitimate S&C coach worth his salt, he'll tell you that these lifts have their place. Crossfit didn't create them. They just utilize them. How kettlebell swings are a worthless movement is beyond me. I guess if you just want to get big and not be able to actually do anything with your size then these movements aren't for you. Talk to Andy Bolton about KB swings.
      1. huggy77's Avatar
        huggy77 -
        Originally Posted by rugger48 View Post
        Your bashing the one exercise that is worth a crap in the article. Read a little bit from Dan John, kettle bell swings are a great exercise.
        was thinking the same thing, lol....
      1. Wrivest's Avatar
        Wrivest -
        Originally Posted by Bigcountry08 View Post

        http://youtu.be/73YbiqPsF1I

        King Kong Wod = super set welcome to bodybuilding 201, and the guy i just watched doing them was taking way to many breaks. Your supposed to do each exercise consecutively, not take a 15 second break between each rep.

        How are cross-fitters the most functionally strong? Are there any cross-fitters who have done power lifting meets and broke records? Will I see a cross-fitters at this years met-rx world strongest man competition and blow by all the competition? The answer is no, because cross-fitters aren't the worlds strongest, power lifters are and to say and different is idiotic.
        You will never hear a CFer claim to be the worlds strongest...that is not the goal. The goal is to be fit. Take the met-Rx winner and ask him to then go run a mile, see how that works out for him! Yes, be may be stronger than an Ox, but not necessarily fit!
      1. Tomahawk88's Avatar
        Tomahawk88 -
        Originally Posted by Wrivest View Post

        You will never hear a CFer claim to be the worlds strongest...that is not the goal. The goal is to be fit. Take the met-Rx winner and ask him to then go run a mile, see how that works out for him! Yes, be may be stronger than an Ox, but not necessarily fit!
        So y'all are just better than everyone just not the best at anything haha.
      1. Wrivest's Avatar
        Wrivest -
        Originally Posted by Tomahawk88 View Post

        So y'all are just better than everyone just not the best at anything haha.
        You said it, not me
      1. Tomahawk88's Avatar
        Tomahawk88 -
        Originally Posted by Wrivest View Post

        You said it, not me
        Cool because I just love crossfit. Everyone I know doing crossfit is turning into rich froning.

        In all serious(which is hard to do while discussing this topic), most crossfit people don't seem to know how to program. They neglect actual strength.
      1. Wrivest's Avatar
        Wrivest -
        Originally Posted by Tomahawk88 View Post

        Cool because I just love crossfit. Everyone I know doing crossfit is turning into rich froning.

        In all serious(which is hard to do while discussing this topic), most crossfit people don't seem to know how to program. They neglect actual strength.
        I'll give you that one, good programming is very hard to find, especially since a lot of people wing it. IF, and big IF, you find a gym/trainer that is any good it's a great way to train IMO.
      1. Tomahawk88's Avatar
        Tomahawk88 -
        Originally Posted by Wrivest View Post

        I'll give you that one, good programming is very hard to find, especially since a lot of people wing it. IF, and big IF, you find a gym/trainer that is any good it's a great way to train IMO.
        Agreed but that is very hard to find and probably often times very expensive. I get the whole you get what you pay for but damn crossfit boxes aren't cheap. I think crossfit boxes with a focus on strength is ideal. I have seen a few of them online from a blog/forum. But they are more crossfit in name than principle.
      1. Wrivest's Avatar
        Wrivest -
        Originally Posted by Tomahawk88 View Post

        Agreed but that is very hard to find and probably often times very expensive. I get the whole you get what you pay for but damn crossfit boxes aren't cheap. I think crossfit boxes with a focus on strength is ideal. I have seen a few of them online from a blog/forum. But they are more crossfit in name than principle.
        They are a lil pricey. I went to one for a while with my wife that cost us $105 a month for 3 days a week each. Not too bad
      1. jbryand101b's Avatar
        jbryand101b -
        I'm not sure about the kipups or w/e those pull ups are called, or the rest of crossfits stuff, think the company program/idea w/e is stupid.

        but training at high intensities with heavy weight is hard. and isn't for everyone, like the weak, lazy, or whiney.
      1. Tomahawk88's Avatar
        Tomahawk88 -
        Originally Posted by Wrivest View Post

        They are a lil pricey. I went to one for a while with my wife that cost us $105 a month for 3 days a week each. Not too bad
        It really depends on the area. I got talked to by a guy I know who does crossfit today and he says he pays $70 a month. Which for this area is quite expensive considering most fitness centers cost $20-30 a month here. Plus a large portion of the population has the ability to go to an Air Force base and use the base fitness center. And again who knows the quality of place. Some of the people who are joining don't know what to look for anyway when it comes to programming.
      1. Boatcop1's Avatar
        Boatcop1 -
        I've tried CF. As a bodybuilder it wasn't for me but I gave it an honest go. My problem is with the cult and the ignorant people who preach CF (Not all but most). And to the bro who said the guys in the CF Games are pretty big, Yeah they were bodybuilding for years before switching over. Also Olympic lifts are NOT CF specific! OL's have been around for ever.
      1. ryane87's Avatar
        ryane87 -
        Originally Posted by Othello1276 View Post
        It's so funny to see how much hate there is for Crossfit by so many self professed experts. If you ask any legitimate S&C coach worth his salt, he'll tell you that these lifts have their place. Crossfit didn't create them. They just utilize them. How kettlebell swings are a worthless movement is beyond me. I guess if you just want to get big and not be able to actually do anything with your size then these movements aren't for you. Talk to Andy Bolton about KB swings.
        Some of the moves are good. It's the fact that 30 plus reps of overhead snatch ARE NOT GOOD FOR YOUR BODY! They are meant to be a 3-6 rep explosive movement. How much explosion do you think you have on your 10th? 20th? 30th? What you will get is a demolished back. Have fun.
      1. PalmFist's Avatar
        PalmFist -
        Originally Posted by Celorza View Post
        The overhead squat is not a "crossfit" move...it helps build up your snatch and to teach you balance. SMH on whoever thinks anything related and of relevance to the Olympic lifts was crafted specifically for this "cross fit" stuff...(trying to be less insulting of the term :D)
        Thanks brother for straightening that one out for those that don't know better
      1. PalmFist's Avatar
        PalmFist -
        Originally Posted by cloyd View Post
        Before commenting, don't be ignorant. These moves have so many benefits and can allow for you to truly pack on muscle and strength. So, before making comments about how bad these are, 1) quit taking selfies in the mirror as your profile pic, 2) try some of these moves in your workouts and I guarantee you'll get stronger and put on size. Look at guys who compete in crossfit games, they are way bigger than most.
        You must be new here...
        Dumb indeed. Trust me the gentlemen you speak of did not get "big" performing "crossfit" exercises. They did so the old school way, then transitioned.

        Please just stop with your venomous and uninformed comments

        Btw crossfit is just a hodgepodge of traditional exercises mixed together. Period...
      1. sugardaddy69's Avatar
        sugardaddy69 -
        wow, some very ignorant and some very educated comments.

        I am no cross fitter, but kb swings and overhead squats are just amazing, thrusters not so much unless you can use a viper or log, because the wrists placement with the bb variation is just taxing as hell.
      1. Othello1276's Avatar
        Othello1276 -
        Originally Posted by ryane87 View Post

        Some of the moves are good. It's the fact that 30 plus reps of overhead snatch ARE NOT GOOD FOR YOUR BODY! They are meant to be a 3-6 rep explosive movement. How much explosion do you think you have on your 10th? 20th? 30th? What you will get is a demolished back. Have fun.
        Yeah, I definitely agree with you on how these OL's should be utilized because they are damn taxing on the body. But I do think if they are performed properly, high reps have their place. The thing is with Crossfit, is that I don't think that it's sustainable in the long term. Bodybuilding, you can do pretty much forever, in some form or another.
      1. ryane87's Avatar
        ryane87 -
        Originally Posted by Othello1276 View Post
        Yeah, I definitely agree with you on how these OL's should be utilized because they are damn taxing on the body. But I do think if they are performed properly, high reps have their place. The thing is with Crossfit, is that I don't think that it's sustainable in the long term. Bodybuilding, you can do pretty much forever, in some form or another.
        I agree that high rep movements have their place. I just think with an explosive movement like Overhead Snatch, it is utilized totally wrong. You are also right about the sustainability. Imagine being in your 50's trying that crap. haha Hell, I have no qualms with the Overhead Squat, I have utilized them before. Good whole body lift that teaches you more coordination because it is self-correcting. You either can do it or you can't. haha
      1. Othello1276's Avatar
        Othello1276 -
        Originally Posted by ryane87 View Post

        I agree that high rep movements have their place. I just think with an explosive movement like Overhead Snatch, it is utilized totally wrong. You are also right about the sustainability. Imagine being in your 50's trying that crap. haha Hell, I have no qualms with the Overhead Squat, I have utilized them before. Good whole body lift that teaches you more coordination because it is self-correcting. You either can do it or you can't. haha
        I guess I just don't understand all the hate coming from people. I bet if the article was "Moves you should do" there wouldn't half the comments. I agree that Crossfit has its negatives, like it being pretty cultish and boastful, but it does have its positive aspects. More people are working out these days which is good especially in a country leading the world in obesity. Does it need to be monitored better so hacks aren't teaching people to hurt themselves? Hell yeah! Should it be dismissed as a legitimate workout system? No.

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