women

The cult of CrossFit has taken the global fitness scene by storm: today, there are 187 CrossFit affiliated gyms in the UK and 4,500 worldwide.

And it’s no wonder, when you consider how well the regime works and the benefits it brings. CrossFit fuses Olympic weightlifting with power-lifting, calisthenics (simple movements, generally without using equipment), gymnastics, sprints and Plyometrics exercises focusing on fast, powerful movements. The workouts are varied and intense a CrossFit ‘WOD’ (workout of the day) pushes you to the limit and gets you fitter and firmer than ever. And you can expect to burn 300-400 calories in a 60-minute session.

And you don’t have to train at a CrossFit gym to experience the benefits. We asked leading CrossFit personal trainer Brian Sharp to create three CrossFit-inspired workouts especially for you.

‘CrossFit is a functional training program used by the US Navy and Marines; it’s also fun and effective,’ he says. ‘Combined, these workouts will prepare you for real-world tasks by boosting your strength, power, stamina and co-ordination, as well as your balance, agility and flexibility.’

The Workouts

Do these three micro workouts each week on separate days. Scribble down the time or rep results to track your progress and improvements. When an exercise starts to feel easy, upgrade to the tougher variation by following our progression tip.

Equipment

A stopwatch, an 8kg kettlebell (or heavier) and a skipping rope.

WOD #1

Race The Clock

This is a task priority WOD, which means you have an exact number of reps and rounds to do. Your goal is to race the clock and complete the exercises as fast as you can with good form. Ready, steady… Go!

Target: Five rounds

1.    Kettlebell Swing

1. Kettlebell Swing

Progression: Increase the kettlebell’s range of motion, if you can do it without compromising technique.

Reps: 10

Benefits: Builds stamina, strength and power in the hamstrings, glutes and lower back, while working shoulders and forearms.

·         Place the kettlebell on the floor. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes turned out slightly.

·         Bend your knees, push your hips back and grab the top of the kettlebell with both hands. Keep your back straight

·         Swing the kettle bell back between your legs and stand up quickly, by snapping your hips forward and squeezing your glutes Swing the kettle bell in an arc to chest height, as you stand (a) (progress to swinging it higher).

·         Let the kettle bell fall back through your legs (b) (don’t put it down) and repeat.

2.    Kettle bell Rotations

 

Rotate the kettle bell at a faster pace, or opt for a heavier weight.

Rotate the kettle bell at a faster pace, or opt for a heavier weight.

Progression: Rotate the kettle bell at a faster pace, or opt for a heavier weight.     

Reps: 20

Benefits: Highly effective waist whittling exercise that works your abs in a sideways movement and targets your lower back.

·         Sit with your knees bent and a kettlebell on the floor to your right.

·         Pick up the kettlebell using the sides of the handle, so your palms are facing together, lean back 45˚and lift your feet off the floor (a).

·         Rotate the kettlebell to the left and lower the weight to touch the floor (b). That’s one rep. Immediately repeat to the right.

3.    Butterfly Sit-Up

Progression: To increase your power, speed up or hold a weight against your chest as your sit up.

To increase your power, speed up or hold a weight against your chest as your sit up.

To increase your power, speed up or hold a weight against your chest as your sit up.

Top Tip: Too tough? Do a regular sit-up, rather than compromise good technique!

Reps: 30

Benefits: This sit-up variation is an intense abdominal exercise that relies on strong core muscles -plus a little hip action.

·         Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together. Your heels are tucked up towards your bottom and your knees are apart.

·         Lie back and stretch your hands above your head until your fingers touch the floor (a).

·         Sit up until you can touch your shoelaces (b). Don’t throw your hands forward to help you! Lie back and repeat.

WOD #2

Pick Up The Pace

You have 12 minutes to perform AMRAP (as many rounds -or reps -as possible). Your goal is to pick up the pace and clock a personal best number of rounds in the set time.

Time: 12 minutes

1.    Skipping

Learn how to do a ‘double under’ – swinging the rope twice per jump

Learn how to do a ‘double under’ – swinging the rope twice per jump

Progression: Learn how to do a ‘double under’ swinging the rope twice per jump

Reps: 100 SKIPS

Benefit: This simple aerobic exercise brings many benefits -including improved co-ordination, agility and balance.

·         Stand tall with your body in front of the rope and a handle in each hand

·         Using a large arm movement, swing the rope forward and over your head. As the rope moves towards your feet, jump and let it hit the floor.

·         After the first jump, try to drive the rope around with small wrist movements rather than large arm movements.

2.    Push-Up

Progression: Push-up pros can put their feet on a box or bench and do an elevated push-up.

Push-up pros can put their feet on a box or bench and do an elevated push-up.

Push-up pros can put their feet on a box or bench and do an elevated push-up.

Top Tip: If you’re a push-up novice, do this exercise standing and pushing against a wall

Reps: as many as possible

Benefits: This bodyweight exercise strengthens muscles in your chest, arms and shoulders, as well as working the core, back, hip flexors and quads.

·         Lie face-down on the floor, hands under shoulders, fingers pointing forward, palms down and arms slightly wider than shoulder-width apart (a).

·         Engage your core and push your chest off the floor until you’re in a plank position (b).

·         Bend your elbows to lower your body back down, until your chest is nearly touching it. Pause and repeat.

WOD #3

Reduce The Recovery

This is another task-priority WOD, with an exact number of reps and rounds to do. To make it extra hard, and complete the exercises in super-quick time, reduce the amount of time you spend resting between each round.

Target: three rounds

1.    Sumo Deadlift High Pull

Progression: Keeping good form, lift the weight faster or pick a heavier kettle bell.

Keeping good form, lift the weight faster or pick a heavier kettle bell.

Keeping good form, lift the weight faster or pick a heavier kettle bell.

Reps: 15

Benefit: This fantastic exercise targets the upper and lower body, building both strength and stamina.

·         Start with the kettle bell on the floor and your feet in a wide ‘sumo’ stance with toes pointing out.

·         Keeping your back extended and eyes looking ahead, bend your knees and grip the kettle bell with both hands (a).

·         Quickly stand up, shrug your shoulders and begin pulling the kettlebell upwards with your elbows leading the way. Pause with the weight under your chin and elbows high (b).

·         Lower the kettle bell to waist level, maintaining the shrug with straight arms (c). That’s one rep. Repeat.

2.    Over The Bar Burpee

Progression: Jump quickly into the prone position from standing, but be careful not to head butt the floor!

Reps: 10

Benefit: This is a full-body exercise that bolsters strength, power, balance and aerobic fitness.

·         Put a weight on the floor and stand to the right side of it with your feet roughly shoulder width apart (a). Squat down and put your hands on the floor in front of you.

·         Kick your feet back and hold a plank position(b). Lower yourself until your chest and thighs are close to the floor (c).

·         Push your feet back in towards your hands (d) and leap immediately up (e) and over (f) the weight. That’s one rep. Repeat and jump back over the weight.

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