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Burn and Firm: CrossFit Circuit Workout

Burn calories and fat in just 20 minutes with this CrossFit sample circuit workout.

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Jason Todd
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How This Workout Works

Whether you're curious about CrossFit or have already been bitten by this drenched-in-sweat sculptfest, its body-transforming allure couldn't be more off the hook. "In 20 minutes you incinerate major calories and fat, plus you boost every facet of fitness, such as strength, balance, endurance, and speed," says Megan May, the head trainer for Reebok CrossFit 5th Ave in New York City. "You'll really notice the change you're working so hard for -- and fast." Start here with this six-move sampler from May, using a set of five- to eight-pound dumbbells and a sturdy chair. Do as many rounds as possible -- that's AMRAP to you newbies -- of the full circuit in 20 minutes.

Watch the workout video

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Dumbbell Swing

Targets shoulders, back, abs, butt, and hamstrings

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding a single dumbbell with both hands in front of thighs.
  • Slightly bend knees as you hinge forward from hips until back is nearly parallel to floor and swing dumbbell behind you between legs.
  • Quickly drive through heels and push hips forward to straighten legs, swinging dumbbell overhead in an upward arc, arms straight. Repeat immediately.
  • Do 20 reps.

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Elevator

Targets shoulders, hips, butt, and legs

  • Stand facing chair, a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Place right foot on seat and bring dumbbells by shoulders, palms facing each other.
  • Stand up on seat on right leg, lifting bent left knee as you press dumbbells overhead.
  • Lower left foot to floor, then lunge back with right leg. Jump up, switching legs in midair to land in lunge with right leg forward. Repeat, placing left foot on seat. Do 10 reps, alternating sides.
  • MAKE IT EASIER: Leave arms by sides throughout.

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Turkish Get-Up

Targets triceps, abs, obliques, butt, and hamstrings

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Power Deck Squat

Targets abs, butt, and legs

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding ends of a single dumbbell with both hands directly in front of chest, elbows bent by sides.
  • Keeping dumbbell close to chest throughout, lower into a deep squat. Then sit on floor and, maintaining a tuck position with chin toward chest, roll onto middle of back and then upper back (don't roll onto neck).
  • Using momentum, roll forward to return to squat, and then jump up.
  • Do 6 reps.
  • MAKE IT EASIER: Instead of jumping up, return to standing.
  • MAKE IT HARDER: Press dumbbell overhead before you jump up from squat position.

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Inchworm to Grasshopper

Targets shoulders, back, chest, arms, and abs

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, then hinge forward at hips, back flat, and place palms on floor.
  • Walk hands forward into full plank position.
  • Bring left leg diagonally beneath body toward right hip. Return to plank; switch legs, repeat.
  • Alternate sides once more, then walk hands back to meet feet to return to start. Do 10 reps.
  • MAKE IT EASIER: Bend knees slightly on the walk-out.

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Handstand Push-Up

Targets shoulders, triceps, and abs

  • Kneel on all fours on floor with your back to a chair. Place balls of feet atop seat and, keeping arms extended, straighten legs so that hips rise in an inverted-V pike position.
  • Slowly bend elbows to lower head near floor.
  • Push through palms to extend arms fully.
  • Do 5 reps.
  • MAKE IT EASIER: Rest knees and shins on chair or do the move with feet on floor.
  • MAKE IT EASIER: Bend knees slightly on the walk-out.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2013.

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