CrossFit is an excellent way for beginners to get strong, build muscle, and get in incredible shape. This complete guide will walk you through everything you need to know to start CrossFit and see great results.
In this article, you’ll learn the basics of CrossFit, how to find the right CrossFit gym, essential gear to get started, foundational CrossFit exercises and workouts, and tips to stay motivated as a CrossFit beginner. Whether you’re new to working out or an experienced athlete, CrossFit can help you reach your fitness goals.
What is CrossFit and Is It Right for Beginners?
CrossFit is a strength and conditioning fitness program that combines functional movements performed at high intensity. The workouts constantly vary to shock the body and are designed to improve overall fitness.
CrossFit isn’t for fitness fanatics only. With scalable workouts and an encouraging community, CrossFit gyms welcome beginners. Nearly every CrossFit gym offers beginner classes, personal training, and modifications to help new members learn proper form on foundational CrossFit movements.
While challenging, CrossFit’s community focus and measurable progress help beginners stay motivated. If you want to get strong, gain muscle, increase endurance, and get in the best shape of your life, CrossFit is great for beginners.
How to Choose the Right CrossFit Gym
When getting started in CrossFit, choosing the right gym is crucial. Here are some tips for picking a beginner-friendly CrossFit gym:
- Research CrossFit boxes in your city
- Search online directories like CrossFit.com
- Search Google Maps and Yelp for “CrossFit [Your City]”
- Ask friends for personal recommendations
- Visit the CrossFit gyms for trial classes
- Most boxes offer 1 free intro class or a free week trial
- Attend classes at multiple locations
- Get a feel for the coaching, community, and workouts
- Visit the gym during class. Get a sense of the workouts, coaching, and community. Make sure beginners are welcomed.
- Ask about beginner options. Good CrossFit gyms will have an on-ramp or elements course to teach you movements safely.
- Look for experienced coaches. Coaches should have years of CrossFit experience and carry certifications.
- Check the cleanliness. The gym should be cleaned regularly and equipment should be sanitized.
- Talk to members. Ask members if they enjoy the workouts and feel welcomed as a community.
- Evaluate cost. CrossFit usually ranges from $150-200 monthly. Make sure the price fits your budget.
Essential Gear for Getting Started
As a beginner, you don’t need much gear to start CrossFit besides comfortable workout clothes and good shoes. Here are a few essentials:
- CrossFit shoes. Shoes made for CrossFit have a stiff sole for lifting and lateral support for side-to-side movements.
- Workout clothes. Opt for breathable shirts, shorts, and pants that allow free movement.
- Hand grips. Grips help protect your hands during pull-ups, muscle-ups, and gymnastics movements.
- Knee sleeves. Knee sleeves compress and support knees during squats and lunges.
- Wrist wraps. Wrist wraps stabilize wrists during pressing and lifting movements overhead.
Foundational CrossFit Movements and Exercises
CrossFit workouts use functional movements performed at high intensity. As a beginner, you’ll want to master these foundational CrossFit exercises and movements:
- Squats: Goblet squats, front squats, back squats. Builds lower body and core strength.
- Presses: Strict press, push press, shoulder press. Develops shoulder strength.
- Deadlifts: Traditional and sumo deadlifts. Major back and hip strengthener.
- Pull-ups: Strict pull-ups, kipping pull-ups. Develops back and grip strength.
- Rowing: Rowing machine. Full-body cardio and endurance.
- Box jumps: Jumping onto a box. Increases power and explosiveness.
- Burpees: Full body exercise combining a squat, plank, and jump.
- Wall balls: Squatting and throwing a medicine ball against a wall. Builds coordination.
What to Expect in a Beginner CrossFit Workout
CrossFit workouts, often called WODs (workout of the day), constantly vary but follow a similar structure. Here’s what you can expect as a beginner:
- Dynamic warm-up: Gets your heart rate up and preps muscles for the workout.
- Skill/strength work: Focuses on safely perfecting key skills like pull-ups, squats, or Olympic lifts.
- Metabolic conditioning (metcon): High-intensity workout like AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) combining full body exercises like rowing, wall balls, and burpees.
- Cooldown/mobility: Ends the workout and stretches sore muscles.
Coaches will scale workouts by reducing weight and reps to match your fitness level as a beginner. Don’t worry about keeping up with advanced athletes – focus on learning proper form.
Top Tips for Beginner CrossFit Success
Here are some top tips to help you see great results as a beginner CrossFitter:
- Master movements first. Practice basic squats, shoulder presses, and pull-ups until you have proper form.
- Scale workouts appropriately. Better to go lighter and work on form than get injured using too much weight.
- Listen to your body. Know the difference between soreness and pain. Speak up if an injury occurs.
- Recovery is key. Get plenty of sleep, eat protein, and drink water to help your body recover.
- Be patient. It takes time to develop strength and endurance. Trust the process.
Q: What is CrossFit?
A: CrossFit is a high-intensity fitness training program that combines elements of weightlifting, cardio, and bodyweight exercises. It is designed to improve overall strength, endurance, and flexibility.
Q: Is CrossFit suitable for beginners?
A: Yes, CrossFit can be a great fitness program for beginners. It is scalable, meaning that workouts can be modified to fit the individual’s ability and fitness level. CrossFit coaches are trained to help beginners safely progress and learn proper form.
Q: Can I do CrossFit at home?
A: Yes, you can do CrossFit at home. While many CrossFit workouts require equipment like barbells and pull-up bars, there are plenty of bodyweight exercises that can be done at home. Additionally, there are CrossFit workout programs specifically designed for those who prefer to work out at home.
Q: Is CrossFit good for weight loss?
A: Yes, CrossFit can be an effective tool for weight loss. The combination of high-intensity workouts and functional movements helps to increase calorie burn and build lean muscle. However, diet and nutrition also play a crucial role in weight loss.
Q: What is a squat in CrossFit?
A: In CrossFit, a squat is a functional movement where you lower your hips from a standing position until your hips are below your knees, and then stand back up. It is a fundamental movement used in many CrossFit workouts to build lower body strength.
Q: What is a barbell in CrossFit?
A: In CrossFit, a barbell is a long metal bar with weights attached to both ends. It is used for various weightlifting exercises, such as deadlifts, squats, and bench presses. Barbell exercises are an integral part of CrossFit training.
Q: What is a CrossFit class like?
A: A CrossFit class typically starts with a warm-up, followed by a skill or strength session, and ends with a high-intensity workout of the day (WOD). The workouts are constantly varied, meaning each class is different to keep the body challenged and prevent boredom.
Q: How can I do a pull-up in CrossFit?
A: To do a pull-up in CrossFit, grasp a pull-up bar with an overhand grip, keep your body straight, engage your core, and pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. It is a challenging bodyweight exercise that targets the muscles of the upper body and back.
Q: Can CrossFit help me build muscle?
A: Yes, CrossFit is an effective training program for building muscle. The combination of heavy compound lifts, bodyweight movements, and high-intensity workouts stimulates muscle growth and development. Consistency and proper nutrition are key for muscle building.
Q: How do I get started in CrossFit?
A: To get started in CrossFit, find a local CrossFit box (the term used for a CrossFit gym) and sign up for an introductory class or beginner’s program. You’ll want to make sure you have proper instruction to learn the movements and techniques correctly.
Ready to Get Started with Your CrossFit Fitness Journey?
Beginning CrossFit is a major lifestyle change, but with the right gym, smart preparation, and consistent work, you’ll be amazed by the results. Improved endurance, muscle gain, fat loss, and an empowering community await you in the world of CrossFit. Use this guide to feel confident and prepared for your first CrossFit workout as a beginner. Click here to schedule your intro and get started at CrossFit TEF today!