It is understandable that walking into a CrossFit gym full of muscular fitness fantastic may intimidate you. The mere thought of tossing around huge weights which in CrossFit is part of your lifestyle may send shrills down your spine. However, this should not be it because, with the right tips, you don’t have to start with the bigger weights, you can start small and still make it. The first step for rookie weightlifters is to set up a session with their coaches or better still find a workout program that will help them learn proper training. Do not walk into the CrossFit gym without a plan because this won’t get you anywhere. Secondly, you should master the technique of picking the right weight so that your workout can be moderate and always on the uptrend. The following are tips on how you should go about this. Test Your Strength You may have properly warmed up with mobility exercises and foam rolling; the next step should be deciding between dumbbells and barbells. Whichever you pick entirely depends on the lifts you are doing. In your workouts, try to include both pieces of equipment. However, if you have had incidents of shoulder injuries, the general recommendation is to use dumbbells more for your chest and shoulders. For deadlifts or squats, CrossFit exercises use a barbell. During your workouts in the CrossFit gym, you should alternate between the heavier and lighter set of dumbbells. The heavier weights will enable you to build muscle mass while the lighter ones will help in stabilizing the muscle supporting tendons and joints. To help you to figure out the right size of dumbbells, you can do the dumbbell test. For this test, men should start with a set of 2 weights measuring anything between 10 and 20 pounds. For women, they can still go for the 2 sets of weights but measure 5 to 10 pounds. Doing it is simple, stand with a weight in both of your hands, palms forward. Your elbows and shoulders should be pinned up against the wall and gradually curl weights up until the dumbbells are shoulder level without moving your upper arms. After that, lower to the beginning position. Target between 14 and 22 reps while maintaining good form. This test fatigues the muscles, and you will get to a point where the biceps are really straining. If your muscles fail before the 14 reps, try again, but this time with a weight about 5 pounds lighter. If you find yourself doing the 22 reps easily, add another set of 5 pounds and see how it goes. Master Your Moves The secret to safely and efficiently building muscle is always a proper and a solid form. When you find yourself getting out of form in your CrossFit workouts, make the necessary adjustments which could be either stopping or dropping weight. The four fundamental movements that will help you in lifting include: Squat Glute bridge chest press Dumbbell triceps extension Single arm dumbbell row As you continue working out, you will gradually feel that some of the weights which seemed heavier at the beginning, will start becoming lighter as you build muscle and master your lifts. Go for progressive overload instead of abrupt addition of weights.  
Rope climbing requires you to use your entire body and helps in testing your strength. In addition to developing your upper body, this CrossFit exercise also helps in enhancing the coordination and agility of skills. Regarding complexity, rope climbing is much simpler, but it is extremely beneficial for physical development. For thousands of years, rope climbing has been an exercise undertaken by people in the military as well as combat training persons. It is recommended that you first be in decent shape before practicing this workout. Being a compound exercise targeting muscle groups such as arms, back, shoulders, and the abs, you need to build up sizeable strength for you to support this exercise. There are so many benefits that you can reap from performing this exercise. Below are some of the common ones. Intramuscular Coordination To execute a strong rope climb, your body must be functioning effectively. Through a rope climb, you can train a large number of muscle groups and allow them to communicate with one another. This is important for your general body wellness and the effectiveness of the exercise. Stronger Grip While it is expected that rope climbing will help you in gaining strength, your grip will benefit too. CrossFit athletes who have integrated rope climbing into their WOD have witnessed massive gains in grip strength as well as their forearms. Core Strength If you have ever wanted to work out your core muscles, rope climbing is the exercise to go for. As you keep your body in front of the legs and climb, your core will strengthen, and this will certainly be beneficial to your body. Mental Strength In addition to the obvious benefits in strengthening body muscles, doing rope climbing also stimulates and utilizes your mental strength. As you know, success in CrossFit training requires a good mental attitude and rope climbing can help you develop that. Muscular Endurance As long as you perform it correctly, rope climbing can be an awesome conditioning exercise. It enables you to develop endurance as well as giving you the ability to master your weight. Because of this reason, wrestlers and martial artists have made rope climbing their staple workout. Boosts Stamina If you can establish a timing circuit where you climb up, do your workouts and then climb down multiple times within a certain duration, you can build up your stamina. Your muscles will be conditioned to perform difficult tasks for a long period easily. Anyone doing CrossFit would know that stamina lengthens your training circuit. To add to the above benefits, rope climbing enhances the strength of your pull and grip. This is important if you want to develop a stronger back because the pooling strength comes from muscles in the back. Even though you may assist yourself with your legs, the greatest weight is still carried by the upper body muscles. Just like other pulling exercises in the CrossFit gym, rope climbing will build your upper body strength.
Muscle-ups refer to a full body CrossFit workout which involves performing a pull-up either on a pull-up bar or rings and then followed by a dip. Compared to dips and pull-ups, there are lots of benefits attached to doing muscle ups, some of which include enhancing upper body strength and power. However, to reap these benefits, you should know how muscle ups are done the proper way. Step 1 – Getting Mobile Sitting behind a desk all day long limits your range of motion which is crucial when pulling your chest to the bar and when pushing your way out of the dip. The lack of shoulder mobility makes muscle ups a very difficult CrossFit workout which to some extent increases the risk of joint and ligament injuries. The fix to this is to add some wall slides into your schedule. To do this, lean your butt, upper back, and head against a wall and then place your hands and arms up against the wall as if you are doing a high five. Your elbows must be bent at an angle of 90 degrees, and your upper arms should be positioned at shoulder height. Step 2 – Pulling Like a Professional Before you do a muscle up, ensure that you can comfortably do at least five strict pull-ups as you bring your chest closer to the bar with every rep. To execute this, get hold of the bar in an overhand grip and hang at arm’s length with your legs pointing slightly in front of you as if to form a wide C. After that, press your thighs together and then brace your abs. During the whole of this time, your body should remain as rigid as it possibly can. As you pull yourself up, ensure you focus on gradually bringing your belly button up. This helps in boosting core stability as well as engaging your lats. Step 3 – Demolishing the Dip Before doing the dip, ensure you can comfortably do at least five triceps dips CrossFit exercises. In executing the dip, go as low as your shoulders can allow and when they begin tipping forward or rounding, stop and then press yourself back up. When you pause at this point, you will maximize the amount of your upper body workout without the risk of injuring your connective tissues or joints. Step 4 - Priming the Pattern While the dip and pullup are tough enough, the most challenging segment of the movement is when transitioning from one to the other. You will need a lot of timing and coordination hence the need to rehearse first. You can start by practicing on a low bar and allowing the flow to support a major part of your body weight. When you finally do the transition the right way, you can proceed to increase the height of your bar until it gets to a point where you have to jump to reach it. This improves your muscle memory.
Exercises can be divided mainly into two categories: compound and isolation. While isolation CrossFit exercises involve the movement around a single joint, compound exercises involve movement around more joints than just one. Also, isolation exercises regarding target aim at a small number of muscles while compound exercises target at a large number of muscles. The thruster is one of the most effective compound exercises which allow you to perform a high volume of workout within a short time. Compared to other movements, the thruster has the greatest carry over into physical and sports performance. What is a Thruster? In simplicity, a thruster refers to a combination of two compound weight training exercises: overhead press and the front squat. For this reason, the thruster can also be referred to as complexes. When performing the thruster, CrossFit athletes use kettlebells, dumbbells, medicine balls, barbells, and many more. Well, any heavy object can be used in this exercise. The performance methodology involves standing with your feet at a distance apart equivalent to shoulder width. Your chosen weight should be in front of your shoulder, and your elbows should be positioned below your hands. Then, lift your chest, push back your hips, and gradually bend your knees. After that, you have to slowly squat down until the thighs are parallel to the floor. Then, drive up explosively and maintain the momentum of the bar by extending your arms and pushing the weight overhead at arm's length. Lower the bar back to your shoulders as you bend your arms and then squat down before doing a repeat. The Anatomy of the Thruster Adding the thruster to your CrossFit workout of the day will benefit your major muscles including the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps.  The part of the thruster that works out your legs muscles is squatting. Your legs generate some force which is transmitted to your upper body through the lower back and abdominal muscles. The powerful push that drives the weight overhead originates from the triceps and upper back. The Benefits Thrusters are usually done using a variety of repetition and set schemes which target different elements of your fitness. High rep, light-weight sets dramatically elevate your heart rate and enhance your cardiovascular fitness because they are metabolically demanding. On the other hand, low-rep, heavyweight sets develop muscular power and strength. When you perform thrusters using an unstable object such as a sandbag or water-filled barrel, your core strength will be significantly improved. If you want to enhance your balance, try using dumbbells as your weights in the thruster. It is not advisable to include thrusters in a beginner CrossFit training programme. This is because of the high-risk nature of this exercise characterized by the heavyweight lifting and complex, coordinated movements. Argued in another way, thrusters place a potentially injurious and significant load on the lumbar spine which requires perfect technique else the lower back can become rounded.
What is a Muscle-Up? The Muscle-up is an advanced calisthenics strength training exercise that requires immense upper body strength. It represents your capacity to lift your bodyweight using just your arms and hands. In terms of performance, muscle ups resemble pull-ups in that there is a bar which is located high above the head. When doing pull-ups, you usually hold the bar with your arms and then pull yourself up to the chin level or above. However, when it comes to the Muscle Up CrossFit workout, you first pull yourself up to the waist, groin, or up until your hands can no longer extend forward. As you pull yourself up, you leave your legs dangling. Muscle Ups Benefits Up to this point, you may be wondering why muscle-ups are an essential addition to your workout? Some of the reasons behind this include: Increased Grip Strength If you want to lift heavier weights and increase your rep range, you will need to improve your grip strength. A strong grip is crucial for muscle-ups and other CrossFit exercises such as rope climbs, deadlifts, toes to bar, pull-ups, and farmer's carry. Chalking up a pair of hand grips will help to an extent but performing movements such as pull-ups, arm hangs, chin-ups, and inverted rows on a regular basis will tremendously improve your overall grip strength.  Building Arm Strength In the first instance, the muscle-up is a perfect exercise for every muscle located in your arms. When you perform muscle-ups, you are not just targeting the biceps or triceps separately; you are indeed creating a balance between the growth of both muscles. The result is that your muscle growth will be symmetrical, and the growth will happen complete with strength. Core Body Burn When performing muscle-ups, the arms do the bulk of the work while the rest of the upper body contributes to the goal. When doing each rep, you will find that your upper body clenches and specifically your core muscles. The benefit this provides is similar to that provided by planking. In the end, your belly fat will be melted away, and abs will emerge. If there are a few inches left in the middle, muscle-ups should enable you to develop your core muscles and speed up fat removal around your belly area. Glute Muscles This is another set of muscles that can benefit immensely from muscle-ups. During this CrossFit exercise, your butt muscles clench as you move upwards. This provides a healthy burn. Although it doesn’t compare with crunches whose effects are more significant, it contributes to a much muscular and leaner posterior. This will give you a much better physique. Back Muscles The beneficiaries of muscle ups are not just the front muscles. The back muscles, particularly along the shoulders, tend to be worked out a lot during this move. CrossFitters using muscle ups develop a much wider span of shoulders which may cause the V-shape when combined with a core workout. If you are used to muscle-ups, you can include variations so that your results are boosted. Legs tend to be largely unused during muscle-ups. Through variations, leg muscles can be incorporated as well leading to a whole-body exercise. One thing that you should note is that this exercise is not one that you will automatically pick up and do it well on the first try. You should start small with the bar as low as possible so that you can start building your upper body strength. If you are adding it to your CrossFit training routine, remember to go fast since muscle ups for beginners require a burst of energy.
Chest to bar pull-ups is one of the common CrossFit movements athletes should familiarize themselves with. To do them, you need some strength in place as well as technique. If you have been struggling to do chest to bar pull-ups or you want to add them to your CrossFit workout routine, here are some tips to help you improve. Explore Different Options Previously, these pull-ups have been paired with thrusters. Whether you are training for the competition or just for your personal fitness, it is good to try out different options on the chest to bar pull-ups. There are two main options worth trying, the first being palm facing towards and the other palm facing away. The first option is called regular pull-ups while the second is chin ups. Both of these options are legitimate and highly recommended in CrossFit training. Other options you may explore include kipping, butterfly, and strict. In between these options, you should know when to drop off the bar so that your energy is not wasted in failed reps. Developing Your Kipping/ Butterfly Technique Compared to the kipping chest to bar pull-ups, butterfly chest to bar pull-ups are much quicker and efficient. Try as much as you can to keep tight through your legs and torso. If you want to do butterfly chest to bar pull-ups in a more efficient way, try remaining tight throughout your torso instead of doing big circles or cycling backward. Get Enough Strength If for some reason you cannot successfully do chest to bar pull-ups CrossFit exercises, you may need to start with eccentric pull-ups. Begin practicing eccentric pull-ups on a box and gradually lower yourself to the bottom. After that, pull up back to the starting position and stick to about 5 sets. This will help you get sufficient strength to execute chest to bar pull-ups with much ease. Toes Up or Pointed If you are working out from a purist point of view, you may prefer to keep your toes pointed. However, from a physio viewpoint, people require different strategies. For instance, if your back strength is better than your abdominal strength, toes up will give you better results because it will tension your anterior muscles. On the other hand, pointed toes activate your posterior muscles which are important for CrossFitters who have stronger abs and relatively weaker back muscles. The bottom line is to find out what exactly works for you and stick with that. All through your chest to bar CrossFit training program, ensure you engage your coach to enable you to identify and rectify areas of weaknesses. Most coaches won’t have a problem to tell you what to concentrate on and the additional exercises to undertake following your workouts. For beginners, one on one coaching sessions is invaluable because they help you realize what you are doing wrong and do it right.
It is commonplace to see gym goers using weighted balls to CrossFit exercises. These balls are versatile and often used to target certain fitness aspects such as explosive power, strength, and conditioning. Exercise balls come in 3 categories which include medicine balls, slam balls, and wall balls. For a person who regularly uses them in the CrossFit gym, telling them apart is a no-brainer. However, for a newbie, it can be quite a challenge differentiating them. If you have been wondering how each ball is suitable for your unique workout situation, read along. Wall Balls As the name suggests, wall balls are used in exercises which is some way incorporates walls. These balls have been designed in such a manner as to absorb the impact of the collision with a rigid surface. Wall balls are often larger and made of vinyl with a padded outer layer thereby making them visible and convenient to catch while exercising. Some of the activities that incorporate a wall ball include wall squats, wall throws, and wall sit-ups. The ball is often thrown at a wall, bounces back into the hands of the person exercising, and then thrown back repeatedly. The main reason why wall balls are used is to enhance the experience and effects of the particular workout. Regarding weight, the ball ranges from 2 to 50 pounds and regarding size, it varies from anything to the size of a beach ball. Wall balls can also be used to improve the result of CrossFit exercises using bodyweight by only holding the ball. If you want to increase the difficulty level of core exercises such as lunges, sit-ups, and squats, use these balls. Slam Balls Of all the balls mentioned, slam balls are considered the heaviest and the most durable. The outer layer of these balls is made of tough rubber, thereby enabling them to withstand constant throwing on all manner of ground surfaces. Being solid balls, slam balls have little if any rebound, therefore, making them efficient for workouts. The most popular workout which utilizes a slam ball is the ball slam. Here, the person exercising throws the ball to the ground while simultaneously doing a squat and after that picking it up and repeating the cycle. The reason why slam balls are included in CrossFit exercises is for the improvement of the cardiovascular fitness and the overall strength of the athlete. In numerous exercises such as lunges and squats, slam balls can also be used as free weights. However, when used in throwing exercises, they are most effective. Which is Better of the Two? Having seen what the slam ball and wall ball are designed to do and their unique features, the question remains, which is preferable to the other? When looking for a ball that is heavy-duty and which can withstand hard throws and different surfaces, then the slam ball carries the day. They are durable and best suited for activities involving ball throwing on hard surfaces. However, when it comes to workouts that require partner work or rebounding, the wall ball is the best. When enrolling in CrossFit training, the wall ball is often preferred because most of the exercises here are throwing exercises.