We’re going to set out a number of tips for you to be able to do CrossFit training in a conventional gym, with the obvious limitations
CrossFit isn’t a fashionCrossFit is a sport (or the sum of various disciplines) that when it first came about many believed would be just a passing trend.
But nothing could be further from the reality, CrossFit has laid the foundations for what we could call the training method to improve performance, and it is more than likely that it will last along with another of the “big ones”, weight lifting.
In my opinion, combining both concepts is the best way to achieve this.
- To achieve a safe and efficient technique,
- To increase your physical condition,especially on a cardiovascular level,
- To be stronger, and, of course,
- To improve your body composition.
Respect the rules
Even if our intention is to do so, if the owner or the rules of the training centre don’t allow it, our limitations will increase with respect to being able to do a CrossFit workout in the gym.
This point is obvious. If the gym does not have specific CrossFit equipment, we can only perform a smaller number of exercises or movements.
In general, gyms are structured by different zones: machines, cardio, stretching, “functional training” … This last area will be the most suitable for CrossFit training.
Obviously, we have to make sure that the floor allows us to drop a loaded bar from a certain height on it, or failing that, we can ask if adding a mat is allowed.
What equipment in a conventional gym can I use for CrossFit?
One of the most common “tools” that we can find in the gym and that can be used perfectly to perform a CrossFit workout:
Although not all bars will work. For strength training and to do exercises such as the squat, dead lift, press… they’ll be fine, but if we want to do loads or snatches, things change a bit.
However, if we are going to do dead lifts, it’s advisable to use discs with regulation diameter
Unless they are Olympic bars, we will not be able to perform these power moves correctly. Straight or rigid bars, do not have bearings at the ends, and if we use high weights, we will not be able to perform the exercise correctly.
They are our alternative for Olympic movements when we can’t use the bars. Generally, the best kind to use are hexagonal dumbbells. Here’s a video of the 4 times CrossFit Games champion, Rich Froning:
Kettlebells are a relatively old but essential piece of equipment that seem to be having a resurgence of late.
In my opinion, they are the “great forgotten” or undervalued, as they provide us with a different set of stimuli than those we are used to
An essential tool if we want to do the gymnastic parts of CrossFit
Bars are tools that allow us to perform patterns of pulling movements: pull-ups, chin-ups, front lever, muscle up…
One of the most controversial exercises is surely the “Butterfly Pull Up”, i.e. the pull-ups you see in the CrossFit boxes. In these, the premise of all normal pull-ups are fulfilled: elbow extended in the initial position + chin over the bar.
The nuance comes in the execution form. While a conventional pull-up is done in a strict way, in CrossFit you need to try and add inertia to increase the number of them inside a wod.
Explanation: a strict pull-up generates fatigue at a local level and will make us have to stop the exercise. On the other hand, with the “Butterfly”, although they also generate fatigue, they do it at metabolic level (let’s say that it would be like “doing cardio”).
In this way, we can complete the repetitions scheduled in the training without having to stop due to not being able to continue “pulling” repetitions. It’s “max power output” work.
One of the most complete exercises that can be performed at all levels (strength, coordination, precision, resistance, mobility…) are those allowed by the rings. Basically, you would only need one set of these placed at a certain height.
They allow us to do high intensity sessions while minimising joint impact
em>Another (of my favourites) is the airdyne-type bike, which has little to do with an exercise bike or an indoor bike
It is a classic and also seems to be back in fashion. One of the exercises we can do with it are the famous “Wall Ball Shots”.
These are the tools we’ll use to train doing plyometry. This quality is essential in CrossFit.
Jump ropes, combat ropes, Bulgarian bags… are part of the “standard” that most centres usually incorporate into their functional area.
Other accessories that are frequently used in CrossFit are less likely to be seen in a gym, such as the drag sled, yoke or slam balls.
Which CrossFit exercises and movements can we do in a gym?
Something that is common between weight lifting and CrossFit is “shifting kilos”
However, the latter tends to focus on strength routines, as it’s this quality that’s sought to be improved.
As we saw before, unless we have special bars, I don’t recommend doing these exercises. Instead, it’s possible that using dumbbells or kettlebells to perform the exercises.
I’ll leave links to some of the best exercises below:
Body Weight exercises
In this article you have at your disposal the main exercises that can be done simply with our own body weight: squats, lunges, jumps, press-ups, dips, pull-ups…
The burpees are the most hated of this type of exercise…
We would mainly opt for rings: pull-ups, dips, press-ups…
Another exercise would be hand-stand press-ups (HSPU), where as long as we have a wall that “can stain” we’re good to go!
Among the ones I like the most: Animal Walking (duck, crab, bear…). These simulate the movement of each animal and allows us to improve our joint mobility.
At a mid-zone level
Making use of the availability of dumbbells: Waiter Walks and the Farmer Walk (using “fatter” dumbbells 😉 ).
This part is the essence of CrossFit and the options to perform this type of exercise will depend on our material
We can simply include exercises with our own body weight, or add elements seen before and under the time window of the training strategy: EMOM, AMRAP, For Time, Tabata, Chipper.
You can also do the so-called Benchmark’s, which are standard training sessions proposed by CrossFit and with which we can check our score on a scale to find out the level we’re at (our “fitness” as they would say).
Examples of CrossFit training in a gym
Below I propose a series of example CrossFit routines that you can try in any gym.
- 5x pull-ups, 10x press-ups, 15x free squats
- Minutes Odds: 10x dead lift + 5x burpees over the bar
- Minutes Evens: 5x muscle up on the bar + 10x clean hang power with dumbbells
- 15x Box jumps
- 15x Kettlebar swings
- 15x Hand-release press-ups
- 6x KB Snatch (right hand)
- 6x KB Snatch (left hand)
- 9x Burpees
- 9x Ring Dips
Complete 21 18 15 12 9 6
- Thrusters with dumbbells
Complete 5 rounds
- 20kcals of Rowing
- 15x Clean and Jerk with dumbbells
- 10x HSPU
1) Assault Bike
2) Slam Ball with medicine ball
- 50x Free Squat
- 40x KB swings
- 30x mountain climbers
- 20x Pull-ups
- 10x Burpee to target
- 20x Ring press-ups
- 30x Back lunges
- 40x Sit-ups
- 50x Thrusters with disc
- Starting CrossFit Training
- The Best Supplements for CrossFit
- Criticism of CrossFit
- CrossFit and Fitness