Think of these three workouts as the Slash of your fitness routine: hard, fast, and aggressive. Recommended by two top CrossFit coaches, Lauren Fleri of Reebok CrossFit 5th Avenue and Javier Gamboa of CrossFit Union Square, these quick conditioning workouts utilize full-body exercises to jack up your heart rate and inspire buckets of sweat. Translation: They’re way more fun than plodding on the elliptical for 30 minutes — and may be more effective, too. Each workout features exercises and concepts commonly featured in CrossFit gyms (functional full-body exercises, creative intervals, and high intensity).
Fleri and Gamboa selected workouts with minimal equipment (or none at all!) so that you can do them even if you don’t have a CrossFit membership. Perform these workouts at the end of a strength session, or on their own if you’re pressed for time.
1. One More Minute
After a strength-training session, perform this workout developed by Gamboa for some quick cardiovascular conditioning. It’ll only take you five to 10 minutes, but will jack up your heart rate into the red zone, so you burn calories even after you’re done.
Set a timer to chime every minute.
Minute 1 = 1 burpee
Minute 2 = 2 burpees
Minute 3 = 3 burpees
Continue adding one burpee each round until you cannot complete the number prescribed within that minute.
How to perform the exercise:
Burpee: Begin standing with your feet together. Reach down until your hands are almost touching the ground. Simultaneously place your hands on the ground as you kick your feet out behind you; land at the bottom of a pushup with your chest hovering over the floor. “It’s a controlled fall,” Gamboa says. Snap your hips up to jump your feet forward, so they’re close to your hands. Jump up as high as you can, lifting your arms overhead.
Make it easier: Perform a squat-thrust instead. It’s similar to a burpee, except when you come down to the ground, stay at the top of the pushup position (no controlled fall) and then thrust your feet out. Also, eliminate the jump at the end.
Gamboa recommends a classic CrossFit benchmark workout, known as Cindy, as a way to track your progress over time. Write down how you do, and retest yourself every few months to see how your fitness has improved.
= 1 round
Complete as many rounds as you can in 20 minutes. Rest as needed.
How to perform the exercises:
Pullups: Hold a pullup bar with an overhand grip (palms out), your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Pull your chest to the bar, making sure your chin clears the bar. In a controlled motion, lower yourself to the starting position.
Make it easier: Try band-assisted pullups, or do lat pulldowns using a gym’s lat pulldown machine.
Other options: Perform kipping or butterfly pullups. (They’re faster to complete if you’re going for time, but it takes some practice to learn how to do them.)
Pushups: Start on all fours with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Lower your chest down until your nipples almost touch the floor; maintain a straight line from your head to your toes. Press back up to the starting position.
Make it easier: Perform pushups on your knees.
Squats: Begin with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart, your toes either facing straight forward or slightly turned out. Bend at your knees and hips to lower your body down until the crease of your hips is below the top of your knee (or as low as you can go). Stand up, and squeeze your butt at the top of the movement.
Make it easier: Don’t go down as far.
3. Full-Body Countdown
This workout developed by Flieri will play mind games with you — in a good way. It involves three exercises that you do in a circuit, but the number of reps in each round decreases as you go. It makes the plan mentally more bearable as you near the finish, Fleri explains.
Perform each exercise as a circuit, one after the other. For your first circuit, do 10 reps of each move, then 9, then 8, then 7, and so on. Take breaks as you need them. Your goal is to finish the workout as quickly as possible.
How to perform the exercises:
Dumbbell thrusters: Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart. Hold a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders, palms facing each other. Lower down into a squat (see above). Stand up explosively, simultaneously pressing the dumbbells straight overhead. (It’s OK to use the momentum from your legs to help press the dumbbells up.) Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
Burpees: See above.
V-ups: Lie face up on the ground with your hands straight above your head, palms up. Squeeze your abs to lift your feet and shoulder blades off the floor; touch your hands to your toes. Lower down to the starting position, keeping your feet and hands hovering above the ground.
Make it easier: Perform the same movement, but bend your knees to your chest.
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