For the uninitiated, Crossfit is a strength and conditioning programme that involves constantly varied, functional movements – lifting, climbing, rowing, sprinting, and more – done at high intensity. To pump up the burn, you also use equipment such as barbells, gymnastic rings, kettlebells and medicine balls.
Sounds intimidating? Don’t let it put you off, because not only are the exercises scalable (meaning you can make them as easy or as difficult as you like), they can also be done anywhere. Beginners don’t have to tackle heavy weights straightaway as the priority during the initial phase is to get the move and posture right.
What’s more, Crossfit offers all-rounded fitness – no matter what type of sport you do. It is unlike other types of training that tend to focus on just one aspect of physical conditioning, explains Milla Booth, fitness and training manager at Reebok Asia Pacific. “For instance, a triathlete may have lots of stamina but lack strength and flexibility, while a weightlifter may be the opposite.”
Crossfit ensures that you improve in all areas of fitness by allowing your muscles to adapt to new movements, adds Juria Maree, head coach at Reebok Crossfit Enduro. Get started with these eight classic Crossfit moves which she demonstrates here.
THE SQUAT SERIES
1. AIR SQUAT
Stand upright with feet shoulder-width apart. Push hips back before lowering into deep squat (butt lower than thighs), placing body weight on heels. Spread knees, pointing them outwards to corners of room. Raise arms overhead. Stand.
Tip: Do the “car door push” Pushing hips and butt back before lowering into a squat helps to reduce pressure on your lower back.
2. FRONT SQUAT
Stand with feet more than shoulder-width apart. Lift bar or broomstick to chest level, keeping elbows parallel to the ground. Rest bar on fingers [shown].
Push hips back, then lower into deep squat. Spread knees, pointing them outwards to corners of room [shown]. Stand and lower bar.
Tip: Use a loose grip Rest bar on your fingertips if you can. This lets you offload the weight from wrists to body.
3. OVERHEAD SQUAT
Hold end of bar in close grip. Lift overhead in one straight line [shown].
Push hips back, then lower into deep squat. Spread knees apart, pointing them outwards to corners of room [shown]. Stand and lower bar.
Tip: Keep shoulders active Pretend you’re squeezing a ball between your shoulder blades by pressing them together throughout the move.
THE PRESS SERIES
4. SHOULDER PRESS
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold bar with hands placed wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold it at shoulder level [shown].
Extend arms and lift bar overhead [shown].
Tip: Do the “chicken neck” To bring the bar overhead safely, tuck in chin and head quickly as you do so. This reduces your risk of incurring shoulder injuries.
THE LIFT SERIES
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold bar with hands placed wider than shoulder-width apart [shown].
Push hips back and lower into deep squat. As you do so, slowly lower bar until it reaches mid-shin [shown]. Keep bar in contact with body at all times. To return to standing position, do the same steps in reverse.
6. SUMO DEADLIFT HIGH PULL-UPS
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold centre of bar with hands shoulder-width apart. Push hips back and lower into deep squat. As you do so, slowly lower bar until it reaches mid-shin [shown].
Keep bar close to body at all times. Jump and shrug shoulders with straight arms to lift bar to chest level. Bring elbows to ear level, pointed towards ceiling [shown]. Slowly lower bar and return to starting position.
Tip: Do the jump-and-shrug This quick action transfers power from hips to trapezius. By lifting bar by a few centimetres, bringing it just underneath the chin becomes easier.
THE PUSH-UP SERIES
Place hands and knees on floor. Keeping head, neck, back, and butt aligned [shown], lower into push-up [shown]. Return to starting position.
Stand upright with feet hip-width apart, arms beside body. Lower into squat and place hands on floor. Kick legs back quickly and come into high plank position [shown].
Lower into a push-up [shown].
Hop back to squat, bringing feet just behind hands [shown].
As you hop to straighten up, clap hands together [shown].
Tip: Form a straight line To prevent injury, head, neck, back and butt should be aligned when in push-up or plank position.
This article first appeared in Shape