Level Up Your Workout Intensity With These CrossFit Tricks
Your workout is our warm-up! This is the common refrain you will hear from CrossFit gym-goers – and it’s true in many ways. Since its introduction almost 20 years ago in a small gym in Santa Cruz, California, the workout program has gained in popularity by leaps and bounds for good reasons: It’s the best cardio workout you will ever enjoy and it actually works!
Of course, not everybody is a good candidate for the CrossFit program mainly because of its high-impact, high-intensity nature. But when you’re a relatively healthy individual with an existing workout program, you can amp it up with the following CrossFit techniques. Be sure to start slowly, however, especially when you’re new to the regimen to get the best results.
Shift to the Timed Set
For most fitness enthusiasts, the term “set” means performing a specific movement based on a specific number of repetitions (i.e., reps). You may, for example, perform 10 reps per set of a bench press. You’re likely holding yourself back with such an approach although it also has its merits.
Why? Even when you can perform one or two more reps, you will stop at 10 reps because that’s what you set your mind on.
But with the CrossFit timed set, you will perform the reps based on a specific time, such as 1 minute with 45 seconds of rest in between sets. You are then more likely to push yourself harder and further than you ever did before. You will start when the timer begins and stop only when it dings – and you find the physical strength and mental will to survive the timed set in between.
Plus, the timed set also allows for progressive work-to-rest ratios. Your capacity for peerless conditioning increases as your rest period in relation to your performance period decreases. In time, your body can survive with 30 seconds of rest for every 2 minutes of intense workout.
Use the Timed Circuit
Weightlifters consider a workout as a series of exercises broken down into sets of specific exercises with rest periods in between. For example, your workout can consist of four sets of bench presses with 60 seconds of rest periods between each set. You can then move on to the next movement.
This has its merits, too, and its place in the CrossFit training style. But when you want to increase your workout intensity, your best bet is to use time-based circuits. You have two goals in mind: Finish the exercises you have set for yourself and increase your time-based performance.
In the CrossFit program, there are workouts known as workout of the day (WOD) – and some of the best WOD are actually timed circuits. These include the Murph and Filthy 50 WODs, which involve the participants working harder and further to improve their previous personal record.
Aside from the physical aspect of timed circuits, these also have mental aspects that contribute to their popularity. The most effective workouts, after all, involve mental willpower and CrossFit demand it arguably more than any other workout program. You will find timed circuits as fun yet challenging with your accomplishments worthy to be bragged about.
Get as Many Rounds As Possible
This is known as AMRAP – as many rounds as possible – in CrossFit parlance and it truly increases the intensity level of your workout. Here, the timer on your set becomes even longer, such as from 5 minutes to 10 minutes, even 12 minutes on the clock. You’re again pushing your body to its limits while staying safe, a foremost priority in any workout program.
You have to perform a set amount of work and do so again and again. You will find the first two rounds or so easy as pie but by the last rounds, you will be counting the seconds until you’re finished. Your sense of accomplishment for having survived the grueling workout will be worth it.
For example, you can perform as many rounds as possible for 10 minutes each on a rowing machine and a squat clean using a kettlebell.
Use the Mixed Modality Circuit
While CrossFit may sound specialized, it isn’t – it’s actually a generalized workout with constantly varying exercises. The hybrid training improves muscle growth, strength and endurance, as well as overall fitness levels. You will be engaged in a wide range of exercise disciplines – CrossFit is about cross-training for fitness, as its name implies – including conditioning work, bodyweight exercises, and Olympic weightlifting.
Most of the suggestions here can be done in any type of gym but for the mixed modality circuit, you should do the exercises in a CrossFit-dedicated gym. You will then have access to the specialized CrossFit equipment and knockoff rooms.
When you adopt two or more of these suggestions, you will realize why CrossFir enthusiasts have the nerve to say that, indeed, their warm-ups are already the entirety of your workouts.