People are crazy about CrossFit. That can be a good thing, and that can be a bad thing.
For those who love CrossFit, the training philosophy provides an endless wealth of motivation, and these people often get in better shape than they would have ever believed they could.
For those not in the CrossFit loop, it can all seem intimidating. There is a whole jargon you have to learn, and there is a unique enthusiasm that you just cannot tap into unless you actually do CrossFit.
This post is for that second group, those who might be interested in CrossFit but have no idea how to first cut through the strange terminology, references and inside jokes. Below are 23 CrossFit resources, explained plainly without all the true-believer hype.
Our hope is that, if you think CrossFit is for you and you feel motivated, you could get started doing it today.
The Breaking Muscle site extends well beyond CrossFit, but it’s a great place to start. Breaking Muscle has a whole network of coaches, strength training professionals and conditioning experts who share invaluable knowledge. The link above will take you to the CrossFit section of the site’s knowledge base.
Starting Strength’s articles archive
Starting Strength is run by one of the premier experts in weightlifting, Mark Rippetoe, who has been a fitness professional since 1978. The link above takes you to a huge set of articles, many written by Rippetoe and many more written by other strength coaches. This page, plus the Breaking Muscle link above, will give you one of the best foundational understandings of muscle building available anywhere.
OK, now on to CrossFit specifically. This is the informational portal for the originators of the CrossFit training philosophy, and it is dense with 14 years of tips, insights and knowledge. Don’t get overwhelmed, though. CrossFit Journal has a very useful page for those who are just getting started, which you can find here.
Anyone who listens to the Joe Rogan podcast knows Onnit. The Onnit Academy is a massive informational resource that teaches you how to train better, how to eat better and how your body works under optimum conditions. Again, not a CrossFit-specific resource, but an important one nonetheless.
The CrossFit Invictus blog
Invictus is a CrossFit gym in San Diego, and they post useful, actionable information on their blog daily. Some examples just from recent weeks:
- • How Fish Oil Can Help You Lose Fat
- • An illustrated how-to post on dumbbell bench presses
- • A post on the importance of making changes in increments
Carrots ‘n’ Cake Workouts
Tina at Carrots ‘n’ Cake is a new mom, a writer at Health.com, and a CrossFit devotee. Two or three times per month, she shares a new workout she has developed, which in recent months has been focused on shedding baby weight and even incorporated her baby’s stroller. This is an awesome resource for new moms and, really, anybody doing CrossFit.
Take a moment to embrace the irony of someone naming their CrossFit gym after one of the fattest animals in the sea (they’re gym is located on Manatee Ave. in Bradenton, Florida; that’s where the name comes from). CrossFit Manatee’s blog regularly features insights and motivations to push readers to keep up their fitness routines.
Words With Lisbeth
Lisbeth Darsh is a fitness advocate and an English professor. Needless to say, she is a good writer. In fact, it’s probably better that she speaks for herself. From the inspiring and motivating September post “Saying Yes, Saying No”:
Yes is always the easier answer. There is so much to say “yes” to in life, in love, in this world. It’s simple—some might say indulgent or even criminal—to get lost in the wilderness of yes. The world runs on yes. Social media runs on yes, and like.
There’s always another team you can join,another committee you can serve on, another competition you can enter. Another, another, another. And so grows the list of distractions in life.
And that leads me to my “no.” No to distractions, to false gold, to bright and shiny objects that lead my eye, but not my heart, not my soul. There are many, oh so many bright and shiny objects. We would grow old if I were to list them all. So, instead, I will simply see with my true eye, and find my way home.
WODs (Workouts of the Day)
“WOD” is a word you will see everywhere in the CrossFit universe, but it simply refers to the Workout of the Day. There are a number of good blogs that post their own WODs consistently, and some are tailored to specific audiences. Here are five such blogs that we can recommend.
The Outlaw Way
The Outlaw Way is a specific CrossFit training method that, according to the site, more than 50,000 athletes follow. These are their WODs, tailored for those who have the pain threshold to handle the demands of Olympic weightlifting.
Forever CrossFit is a gym in the Boston area whose blog is consistent with publishing daily workouts, but it also brings a sense of humor and personality to the table. As a bonus, the gym occasionally spotlights members who have made big gains. So, that means useful workouts, inspiration and humor are all on the menu.
CrossFit Mom is designed specifically for pregnant women, new mothers and even women who are thinking about becoming pregnant in the near future. There are workouts tailored for each, including specific workouts for each trimester of pregnancy.
This site focuses on physical activity as something both fun and valuable for children and teenagers. Workouts can be anything from handstands for younger children to regimented exercises for adolescents and high schoolers. The goal isn’t to get into beast mode shape; it’s to create lifelong healthy habits, and also promote sharper minds through exercise.
This site isn’t about doing burpees or kettlebell swings. It’s about keeping you in the right mindset day after day so you feel like doing those burpees and kettlebell swings. You know how most athletes will say sports are 90% mental? This site is designed to work out the part of your body, your brain, that powers that 90%.
A Beginner’s Guide to CrossFit [Nerd Fitness]
The Nerd Fitness blog always does an amazing job of explaining diets, training philosophies and physiological processes in everyday language. The same goes for this post, which explains CrossFit in a hype-free, easy-to-understand manner.
22 Kettlebell Exercises [Greatist]
If you do get into CrossFit, rest assured you’ll see a lot of kettlebell workouts. This article from Greatist lists 22 of them, and anyone who is trying to do CrossFit at home will absolutely benefit from seeing how to do each of these exercises properly.
50 Ways to Get Better at CrossFit [A Gym Life]
If you are just getting into CrossFit, bookmark this one for a few months down the line. Then, come back to it, and discover a few ways to optimize your workouts. A few months later, come back to it again, and you will find useful tips that might not have been relevant the first time around.
13 Tips for Choosing a CrossFit Gym [My Athletic Life]
Given the social dynamic of CrossFit, you’re going to get much, much more out of training this way if you actually go to a gym and train with others. Here are 13 expert tips to help you make the right decision on that front.
Barbell Shrugged digs deep into CrossFit by discussing techniques, reaching out to experts and offering the hosts’ own commentary. Put this one in your headphones or your car on your commute or while running errands, and you will digest a ton of useful information.
That WOD pun is just too good to pass up. On the Wodcast Podcast, hosts Armen Hammer, Eddie Ifft and Scott McGee bring a natural chemistry with them when they interview coaches, trainers and other professionals in CrossFit. The same chemistry shines through when the three hosts are just sitting around talking, as well. Equal parts info and entertainment.
Jason Khalipa at NorCal CrossFit
NorCal CrossFit gym owner Jason Khalipa has a very useful YouTube page in which he demonstrates various exercises, and also he sometimes reaches out to people training in his gym to spotlight their gains.
The tutorials are quite useful. Here is one example, about scaling the handstand pushup:
CrossFitConnect does a great job of walking people step-by-step through complex exercises. There are 15 or so such videos on their YouTube page, so bookmark these for later references.
Here is their tutorial for performing a clean and jerk:
CrossFit4Times’s Common Clean & Jerk Mistakes
Cross-reference the moves you learned in the above video with this one, which demonstrates four common mistakes people make when trying to perform a clean and jerk:
Rdella Training’s The 7 Most Important Kettlebell Exercises
Back to the kettlebells. RdellaTraining.com, another useful resource in its own right, has a useful video that demonstrates seven kettlebell exercise you can do this today if you have a kettlebell (make that six exercises if you’re feeling iffy about trying No. 4, the Turkish Get Up).