Don’t sweat it: Learn CrossFit step by step

Don’t sweat it: Learn CrossFit step by step

by Jonathan Ruiz

Now that you’ve chosen the right CrossFit gym, called a box in the CrossFit community, you probably don’t want to jump right into it.

If you’re a beginner, or even if you’ve been working out but are new to CrossFit, I recommend taking an On-Ramp course offered by most CrossFit gyms. This is usually a three-day introduction of CrossFit spread out over a week that breaks down everything you need to know for a safe, effective workout

CrossFit incorporates some technical movements that you’ll need coaching on to properly lift the weight on the barbell. For instance, you’ll need repetitive practice to properly execute the Olympic lifts, such as the snatch, clean and jerk and deadlift. Once you accomplish proper form, you’ll be surprised how much weight you can lift and how often you will set personal records (PR).

Another On-Ramp highlight will teach you how to do gymnastic and body-weight movements, such as toes-to-bar, kipping pull-ups, rope climbs and everybody’s favorite — the burpee which is just moving your body from a standing position down to a plank, then put your chest to the deck and back to standing position.

Don’t be discouraged if you can’t do a certain movement at first. Most of these movements offer easier modifications, which will build up your strength and skill to the advanced level.

For instance, you need to build your strength on a few strict pull-ups before advancing to muscle-ups. Or, you need to master a handstand against the wall before trying a handstand walk. I always recommend practicing your weaknesses to overcome discouragement. Before you know it, you’ll be accomplishing advanced movements properly!

Lastly, the On-Ramp course will teach you the CrossFit lingo — acronyms, abbreviations and names for movements and workouts. For example, WOD means workout of the day. Standard WODs are named after females, such as the Amanda, which is three rounds of nine, seven and five reps of muscle-ups and 135-pound squat snatch for the best time.

When it’s a male name, it’s typically considered a hero WOD to honor men who’ve died in the line of service. For example, the Murph was a favorite workout of Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy, who was killed in Afghanistan. Murph is a timed WOD: 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and 1-mile run all with a 20-pound vest for men and 14-pound vest for women.

When you’re not doing the hero workouts your coaches at your box will create its own routines, mixing up CrossFit movements. Either way, you’ll get a good, intense workout every time.

I know the lingo can be overwhelming while the coach rattles off jargon that leaves you puzzled. Don’t worry, you’ll learn their language soon enough. Remember, it’s all about repetition. The more you attend class, the more familiar you’ll become with the lingo and movements.