How to Do CrossFit Workouts at Home

Posted on 25. Mar, 2012 by in Workouts

I started doing Cross­Fit a year and a half ago and never want to go back to train­ing in a nor­mal gym again.

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This past Decem­ber, I got cer­ti­fied to be a Level 1 Cross­Fit trainer.

Cur­rently, I coach at 2 dif­fer­ent Cross­Fit gyms.

In the near future, I plan to open up my own Cross­Fit gym.

Yea, I guess you could say I’m drink­ing the Cross­Fit Kool-Aid.

Truth­fully though, I could care less if you call it Cross­Fit, meta­bolic con­di­tion­ing, boot camp, high inten­sity inter­val train­ing (HIIT), Black Box, or the “300” work­out.  The bot­tom line is these are all work­outs that (when done prop­erly) pro­vide unbe­liev­able results in a short period of time.

And results are what I care about.

So when my room­mate asked me to design work­outs for him, I thought a CrossFit-style work­out (or two) would be a great thing to add to his weekly routine.

This post is the step-by-step process that I used to cre­ate those work­outs for him.  I hope you find it use­ful for cre­at­ing your own high inten­sity work­outs at home.

 

Step 1: List All The Equip­ment and Exer­cises You Have Access To.

Let’s start with the most obvi­ous and fun­da­men­tal piece of equipment….your body­weight.  Exer­cises like push ups, air squats, burpees, sit ups, lunges, planks, sprints, and longer runs are all incred­i­bly sim­ple and effec­tive.  You can even add more com­plex move­ments like push up vari­a­tions, one-legged squats, or Ab vari­a­tions like russ­ian twists.

Next, look at other equip­ment that you may have around the house.  My per­sonal favorite, and the only real piece of work­out equip­ment that I own, is a ket­tle­bell.  The ver­sa­til­ity of a ket­tle­bell allows me to do ket­tle­bell swings, cleans, snatches, presses, sumo dead­lift high pulls, turk­ish get ups, gob­let squats, and much more.  I also have a jump rope which allows me to add sin­gle jumps and dou­ble unders into the mix.  (If you are look­ing to out­fit your home gym, these are the two things I rec­om­mend buy­ing first.)

I know a lot of peo­ple usu­ally have an old set of dumb­bells lying around that can be used for presses, thrusters, rows, or for adding weight to tra­di­tional body weight move­ments like squats and lunges.

Even with­out a gym mem­ber­ship you should have no prob­lem doing exer­cises like pull ups and dips.  If you don’t have access to a pull up bar or dip sta­tion, then you just aren’t try­ing hard enough.  A play­ground, tree branch, or con­crete ledge (like i use in the pic­ture below) can be used in place of a tra­di­tional pull up bar and a set of chairs can be used for dips.  Don’t be afraid to think out­side the box when you don’t have access to a gym full of equipment.

crossfit pull ups

The ledge in my condo’s stair­well makes for a per­fect place for pull ups.

Just keep in mind that Cross­Fit (and all good train­ing) should be built around func­tional move­ments so you want to avoid things like crunches, bicep curls, or calf raises.  Stick to com­pound exer­cises that place a higher demand on your entire body.

 

Step 2: Get Cre­ative and List Even More Exercises.

You thought doing pull ups in a stair­well or chair dips was creative?

Not even close.  Now it’s time to really think out­side the box.

A nearby bench or wall can be used for box jumps and step ups.

A hill or bridge can be used for incline sprints.

Buck­ets can be filled with water for farm­ers’ walks.

Water jugs can be used in place of dumbbells.

A wall can be used for hand­stand push ups or wall climbs.

Sand bags can be used for cleans or taken along on runs.

Noth­ing is off-limits.

The “equip­ment” that you use will most likely be things that you would find in a Home Depot rather than a Sports Authority.

If there is an object in your house that’s heavy and awk­ward, chances are you could add it to your work­outs.  Just stay away from expen­sive elec­tron­ics.  (There’s not an app for that….yet, at least.)

 

Step 3: Fill the Bingo Hopper.

It is time to take the lists of exer­cises that you cre­ated in Steps 1 and 2 and load them into the bingo hopper.

What is the bingo hopper?

It’s a model Cross­Fit uses for cre­at­ing work­outs with as much vari­ety and inten­sity as pos­si­ble.  Just as your tra­di­tional bingo hop­per selects bingo num­bers at ran­dom, you should select and com­bine exer­cises at ran­dom when design­ing your workouts.

It is this vari­ety that Cross­Fit says will pro­vide your body with a unique and pow­er­ful stim­u­lus at every work­out.  A stim­u­lus that forces your body to adapt and get stronger con­sis­tently over long peri­ods of time.

Cross­Fit is built around the prepa­ra­tion for the unknown and unknow­able and the bingo hop­per is the per­fect rep­re­sen­ta­tion of this view­point.  Now that the hop­per is loaded and ready to go, let’s see how this equates to actual workouts.

 

Step 4: Cre­ate Bench­mark Workouts.

There’s no rea­son to rein­vent the wheel if you don’t have to, so I would start by brows­ing the list of Cross­Fit bench­mark work­outs, and see­ing which ones you can do with the equip­ment you already have.  Bench­mark Girls like “Angie” and “Cindy” come to mind right away, since they require lit­tle more than your own body weight to perform.

From there, you can take other bench­mark work­outs and alter them to include the exer­cises that you can exe­cute at home.  Here are a few examples:

 

“Fran”

Pick two high-power exer­cises and per­form 21 reps of each, 15 reps of each, and 9 reps of each as fast as you pos­si­bly can.  Record total time.

Exam­ple: 21–15-9 dumb­bell thrusters and chair dips

 

“Fight Gone Bad”

Per­form 5 exer­cises for 1 minute each.  That’s 1 round.  Com­plete 3–5 rounds with a minute rest between each round.  Count total reps.

Exam­ple: 1 minute each of sumo dead­lift high pulls, ket­tle­bell cleans, dumb­bell push presses, gob­let squats, sit ups.  Rest 1 minute then repeat 2 more times.  

 

“The Chip­per”

Pick 5–10 exer­cises and do 50–100 reps of each exer­cise.  Com­plete all reps of one exer­cise before mov­ing on to the next exercise.

Exam­ple: 50 lunges, 50 dou­ble unders, 50 ket­tle­bell swings, 50 one-legged squats, 50 push ups, 50 box jumps, 50 hang­ing knees-to-elbows.

 

“Helen”

Do 2–3 exer­cises for 10–25 reps each and sep­a­rate each round with a 400 meter run.  Record total time.

Exam­ple: 3 rounds for time of 21 jump­ing air squats, 12 hand­stand push ups, 400 meter run.

 

“Karen”

Per­form 150–200 reps of the same exer­cise as fast as you can.

Exam­ple: 150 burpees for Time

 

Tabata Inter­vals

Pick an exer­cise and do 4–8 straight rounds of 20 sec­onds of work and 10 sec­onds of rest.  Do this for 4–5 exer­cises with no addi­tional rest in between.  Record total reps.

Exam­ple: Tabata Abs.  6 sets each of sit ups, russ­ian twists, knee tucks, and leg raises. 

 

Step 5: Vary your Work­outs, Record your Results, and Test Bench­mark Work­outs on a Reg­u­lar Basis. 

Just as the bingo hop­per model sug­gests, rarely should you repeat the same work­out within a few weeks or even months of each other.  Con­tinue to cre­ate and exe­cute new work­outs, and use the bench­mark work­outs that you cre­ated in Step 4 to test your progress a few times a month.

The secret sauce of Cross­Fit is mea­sur­ing the vari­ables of a work­out so you can com­pete with your­self in every train­ing ses­sion.  Record every work­out that you do, along with the weight that you used and the time it took you to fin­ish.  This evidence-based approach to fit­ness will show you how you are improv­ing over time so you won’t have to rely on faulty mea­sur­ing tools like a scale or your mem­ory to tell you if you are becom­ing more fit.

 

I would rec­om­mend adding 2–3 days of CrossFit/metabolic con­di­tion­ing to the 2–3 days of com­pound strength train­ing that you are (hope­fully) already doing.  This should give you the fastest results in the least amount of time.

And we like results.

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15 Responses to “How to Do CrossFit Workouts at Home”

  1. Tury

    27. Jan, 2014

    I don’t exer­cise cause I’ve had two knee surg­eries on my right knee. The doc­tor shaved of some of car­ti­lage on my knee. I really want to get fit and be healthy. What do you sug­gest for me due to this sit­u­a­tion. Please help I want to start asap. Thank you.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Kendra P

    14. Aug, 2013

    wow I must say you have given me a new burst of moti­va­tion that I can do this at home. We were trav­el­ing an hour to go to a cross­fit gym and we loved the gym, but instead of it being an hour com­mit­ment it was a four hour com­mit­ment, and with young chil­dren thats tough.

    Reply to this comment
  3. azie

    22. Jun, 2013

    I’d like to ask, how many work­outs or moves do I need to fit into each ses­sion? I’m always con­fused about how long they should be. Great job btw x)

    Reply to this comment
    • Tony Frezza

      14. Jul, 2013

      If you are doing it 4–5 times a week you could get away with 2–3 move­ments per work­out and hit every body part mul­ti­ple times over in a week. Shoot for 15–20 min for each work­out. Remem­ber, not every work­out has to leave you dead on the floor.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Martha Mickelson

    08. May, 2013

    Do you have any­more exam­ples of bench­mark workouts?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tony Frezza

      14. Jul, 2013

      You can visit our site CrossFitPalmBeach.com to see all the work­outs we’ve ever done at our box. Please feel free to steal any of them and let us know how they went for you.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Samir Mehta

    16. Mar, 2013

    Out­stand­ing and suc­cinct arti­cle! Thank you.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Robin D

    09. Oct, 2012

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.  Long story sort I’m obese and have pho­bia about being in rooms full of peo­ple. I also have young kids and not much extra funds.  Gyms are out in my world.

    I’ve seen this style exer­cise really work for peo­ple and I’ve been try­ing to find the exer­cises to do at home, but it seemed like some big secret.  Thank you again for break­ing it down and show­ing that it can be done at home or the park. By myself or with a friend I drag into being a buddy.  May your gym have success!

    Reply to this comment
    • Tony Frezza

      11. Oct, 2012

      Thank you so much Robin. We wish you noth­ing but the best and maybe one day you will have a Super­hu­man page on our site ded­i­cated to you :).                                       
      I know what you mean about the big secret thing…the secret is out!! haha

      Reply to this comment
  7. Charles Green

    20. Sep, 2012

    So it doesn’t really mat­ter what work­outs are done each day more or less? I guess I’m still just a lil con­fused as to how many dif­fer­ent exer­cises we do daily?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tony Frezza

      24. Sep, 2012

      Hey Charles, you just want to do enough to where you are seri­ously chal­leng­ing your body but keep­ing it inter­est­ing and dif­fer­ent every­day. Some­times that’s four dif­fer­ent exer­cises in a day, or you can just do one exer­cise a bunch of times, like 150 burpees. I also find it helps me to make sure I do some­thing I “hate” every week. If I “hate” a work­out, its most likely because I need to improve it. Don’t do push-ups every day because you are good at them. Focus on what you’re not good at. Noth­ing will help you grow stronger phys­i­cally and mentally.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Kyledligon

    17. Jun, 2012

    There’s a new web­site, http://www.WODatHome.com (WPS) that gives you a work-out pro­gram to fol­low with the lim­i­ta­tions of a home gym in mind.  They lay out exactly what to do each day and give equip­ment sub­sti­tu­tions and stuff. 

    Reply to this comment
  9. Clyde Price

    11. Jun, 2012

    Came across this and wanted to say that these were some good ideas. The hard part about it is self moti­va­tion.  Thats my prob­lem. Tried to find some cross­fit gyms to go to and they are way to pricey.  So I have to go all out for myself. Thanks for the ideas. 

    Reply to this comment
    • Tony Frezza

      24. Sep, 2012

      Hey Clyde, I have a cou­ple “tricks” to rem­edy my self moti­va­tion. Some­times I keep a jour­nal to hold myself account­able to make sure I’m writ­ing in my work­outs every­day. It’s funny how a piece of paper can keep you on track. Also, make it eas­ier to work­out. Decide what your work­out will be the night before and get all equip­ment in place (if u have any). Charge that ipod and lay out your gym clothes, put the pro­tein pow­der in the shaker bot­tle ready for water in the morn­ing. Any­thing that will grease the gears to get you going!

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