9 CrossFit Circuits and WODs Seriously Strong Trainers Swear By
How this CrossFit circuit works: Do 5 circuits for time.
15 barbell overhead squats (95 pounds)
The trainer: Grant Foreman, a San Diego, CA-based trainer
Why he loves it: “Some of the toughest CrossFit WODs are simple couplets (two movements) of a loaded and unloaded movement. ‘Nancy’ is a perfect blend of a loaded movement and running, but this CrossFit benchmark workout adds a bit of complexity with the overhead squats. Even though the weight is somewhat light for a regular CrossFit athlete, it becomes daunting as the rounds progress. If it’s your first time trying this WOD, I highly recommend scaling the weight down, or even just using a PVC stick.” (Related: 15 Health and Fitness Benefits of CrossFit)
How this CrossFit circuit works: Do 21 reps of each exercise, then 15 reps of each, then 9 reps of each.
Barbell deadlift (155 pounds for women)
The trainer: Sarah Pearlstein, CrossFit level 1 trainer
Why she loves it: “As a former gymnast, I love handstand pushups! They are one of my favorite movements both to teach and to practice. I like the balance of upper- with lower-body strength in this workout, and the core strength involved in both movements provides a challenging full body experience. And of course, the 21-15-9 rep scheme is a classic CrossFit crusher.”
How this CrossFit circuit works: Do 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps for time of each exercise.
Barbell deadlift (1.5 times your bodyweight)
Barbell bench press (1-time bodyweight)
Barbell clean (3/4 of your bodyweight)
The trainer: Casey Kirch, certified CrossFit football and Level 1 trainer and owner of Earn It Lifestyle & Fitness
Why he loves it: "I like this WOD because a variety of my favorite lifts are included, and the decrease in reps each round is a format I particularly enjoy. The workout is motivating and allows me to push to finish harder than I started.” (Related: Badass Female CrossFit Athletes You Should Follow On Instagram)
How this CrossFit circuit works: Do as many circuits as possible in 20 minutes.
15 bodyweight squats
The trainer: Sabrena Jo, senior exercise scientist for the American Council on Exercise (ACE)
Why she loves it: “I’m a frequent traveler and I love ‘Cindy’ because it is a bodyweight routine that can be done just about anywhere, as long as there is a pull-up bar (e.g., hotel gym, playground, park, etc.). This WOD challenges your whole body and layers in a metabolic challenge, resulting in 20 minutes of vigorous activity." (Related: How to Get the Most Benefits Out of Your AMRAP Workouts)
How it works: Do each exercise in order.
20 barbell deadlifts (185 pounds for women)
20 kettlebell swings (24 kilograms for women)
20 barbell overhead squats (75 pounds for women)
20 chest-to-bar pull-ups
20 box jumps (20 inch for women)
20 dumbbell squat cleans (30 pounds for women)
The trainer: Adam Babin, USA weightlifting level 1 sports performance, CrossFit level trainer, and founder of Power Keg Athletics.
Why he loves it: “The ‘Lumberjack 20’ is my favorite CrossFit workout because it incorporates three key components in a great session: heavy barbell work, bodyweight gymnastics, and running. The repeating 20-rep scheme is fantastic, as it’s short enough to make you push yourself to complete each set unbroken and yet just long enough that if you do, you will lose that time in the 400-meter run. The runs offer the chance to recover in the first half, then allows you to turn it up in the second 200 meters to help make up time you may have lost during the last movement.” (Related: The CrossFit Equipment You Need for a Badass Home Gym)
How this CrossFit circuit works: Do 9 reps of each exercise, then 7 reps of each, then 5 reps of each.
The trainer: Matt Scanlon, owner of CrossFit Memorial Hill in Kansas City, MO
Why he loves it: “I love ‘Amanda’ because it combines all the high-skill elements of gymnastics and weightlifting into one package—strength, coordination, motor control, speed, and agility. As a coach, I particularly love teaching the complex Olympic lifts and gymnastics movements to my athletes because I am able to give them a new set of goals around those movements that they likely have never experienced. The majority of my athletes come to me with a lifetime of fitness goals being all about the scale and how their jeans fit. All of a sudden, you introduce something like a muscle-up into their fitness repertoire, and their goals become movement- and skill-focused—it’s like a lightbulb turns on. Their fitness focus immediately shifts from fixing their body's deficiencies to finding its abilities.”
How it works: Do the exercise for time.
30 barbell clean and jerks (95 pounds for women)
The coach: Christa Schinelli, certified personal trainer and level 1 CrossFit trainer
Why she loves it: “The workout seems simple, but the weight is heavy so it can really knock you down quick. What I like about it is the explosiveness and power required to get the reps done. I also like the fact that the WOD doesn't take very long—essentially it's a sprint, which is just my style.”
How this CrossFit circuit works: Do 5 circuits.
20 kettlebell swings (24 kilograms)
The trainer: Ashley Linder, CEO of CrossFit Proteus in Coronado, CA
Why she loves it: “I dig any type of WOD that makes you question your sanity and causes you to tap into an inner level of perseverance. A WOD with sprints always gets me excited, and any workout with burpees is definitely ideal.” (Related: The No-Equipment Bodyweight WOD You Can Do Anywhere)
20-Minute CrossFit Circuit
How this CrossFit circuit works: Using a set of 5- to 8-pound dumbbells and a sturdy chair, do as many rounds as possible of the full circuit in 20 minutes.
Power Deck Squat
Inchworm to Grasshopper
The trainer: Megan May, a CrossFit instructor at Reebok CrossFit Miami Beach
Why she loves it: "In 20 minutes you incinerate major calories and fat, plus you boost every facet of fitness, such as strength, balance, endurance, and speed. You'll really notice the change you're working so hard for—and fast." (Related: The Beginner-Friendly CrossFit Workout You Can Do At Home)