10 Best CrossFit Workouts for Weight Loss

Crossfit kettlebell man 1280

A level-with-you fact: If you do CrossFit, you will almost certainly drop fat. “High-intensity interval training, common to CrossFit, is very effective for weight loss,” says Adam Sturm, CrossFit coach and owner of CrossFit Outbreak in Brooklyn, NY. “There is a prolonged calorie burn/metabolic effect after the workout is finished.” These 10 WODs, chosen by Sturm and Dan McCarthy, owner and coach at Brooklyn’s Crow Hill CrossFit, have that HIIT factor in spades to really pack a weight-loss punch (in conjunction with a healthy diet and sleep schedule, of course).

1. “Helen”

One of the many WODs named after ladies, Helen features a combo of cardio and strength (hint: this will be a theme). It’s done for time, with the idea that you’ll beat your previous record in subsequent sessions. “The combination of running and kettlebell swings really revs up metabolism,” McCarthy says. The pullups add some multi-joint strength work to build calorie-burning muscle.

Three rounds for time:    
400m run
21 kettlebell swings at 53 pounds
12 pullups (band-supported if needed)

2. “Eva”

Consider Eva to be Helen’s bigger, meaner sister. “This workout hits both the cardio and strength system—the run is pure cardio, the swings and pull-ups are a cardio-strength hybrid—leading to massive calorie burn,” Sturm says. 

Five rounds for time:
800m run
30 kettlebell swings at 70 pounds, if you can, er, swing it
30 pullups (band-supported if needed)

3. “Grace”

CrossFit has an affinity for WODs that sound oh-so-simple… until you realize what’s being demanded. Grace uses just one exercise, the clean and jerk, to that effect. “Heavy lifting is great for weight loss,” says McCarthy. “Here’s a fun workout that combines lifting with speed!” Be sure you can do the move with proper form before going full throttle, then get your stopwatch ready and your bar loaded.

For time: 
30 clean and jerks at 135 pounds

4. “Fight Gone Bad”

In this one, the goal is to earn your own high score by keeping track of total reps of five exercises done as hard as possible for one minute each. “It’s an excellent weight-loss workout because the one-minute max-effort rounds allow athletes to work at their highest capacity, regardless of ability,” says Sturm. For the first four exercises, you’ll count and add up your reps, then add the calorie count on the rowing machine to your score.

Three rounds, one-minute per exercise, with one-minute rest between rounds:
Wall balls at 20 pounds with 10-foot target 
Sumo deadlift high-pull at 75 pounds
20-inch box jumps 
Push-press at 75 pounds 
Rowing machine 

5. “Newport Crippler”

This  WOD actually gets easier(ish) the more pounds you drop. “It’s a great benchmark as you’re losing weight, as the squats get lighter as you do,” McCarthy says. And there’s nothing like a brisk run after a heavy leg workout to make you feel light on your feet, right?

For time:
30 back squats loaded with your body weight equivalent
1-mile run

6. 7 Minutes of Burpees

Yup, that’s it! Oy, that’s it. “Absolutely hellish, there is no movement that taxes the body like burpees,” says Sturm. “A beginner may only get 25 reps in 7 minutes while an elite athlete may get near or over 100 reps, but both athletes would walk (or crawl) away from this one with a serious metabolic boost.”

In 7 minutes:
Do as many burpees as possible

7. “Fran”

“Fran is a fast sprint workout that will keep fat burning for hours after your workout,” McCarthy says. With a diminishing rep count, Fran should get easier as you go…except that you’ll be pretty blown out from the previous round. 

21/15/9 reps for time:    
Thrusters at 95 pounds

8. “Karen”

Perhaps more aptly called, “balls to the wall,” Karen is just that: 150 wall balls done for time. “It’s a strength-based task that drives the heart rate sky-high because of the sheer volume of work,” Sturm says. “You’ll get a bonus burn as your body struggles to adapt to new muscle growth for 48-72 hours post-WOD.”

For time:
150 wall balls at 20 pounds with 10-foot target (stopping before complete failure)

Target times:
Level 1: 8:00-10:00
Level 2: 5:00-8:00
Level 3: 4:00-5:00
Elite: < 4:00 

9. “Murph”

Yes, that’s a lot of reps. Yes, that’s a lot of running. Yes, that’s A LOT of calories burnt. “One of the longest and more grueling CrossFit workouts, you’ll probably end up going non-stop for an hour or more,” McCarthy says. You can break up the monster sets of pullups, pushups, and air squats with rest as needed—just remember that rest adds to your total time.

For time:    
1-mile run
100 pullups
200 pushups
300 air squats
1-mile run

10. “CF open 16.2”

Designed for the 2016 CrossFit Open competition, this WOD is no joke. You must complete each round within four minutes in order to earn more time to proceed to the next. “The combination of cardio (double unders) and heavy weight (squat cleans) works multiple metabolic systems and leads to increased calorie burn,” Sturm says. “This workout is a sprint, no matter if you’re a beginner who only makes it through the first 4-minute round or an elite athlete who makes it through all 20 minutes.”

Complete within 4 minutes:
25 toes-to-bars
50 double-unders
15 squat cleans at 135 pounds

If successful, add 4 minutes and complete:
25 toes-to-bars
50 double-unders
13 squat cleans at 185 pounds

If successful before 8 minutes, add 4 minutes and complete:
25 toes-to-bars
50 double-unders
11 squat cleans at 225 pounds

If successful before 12 minutes, add 4 minutes and complete:
25 toes-to-bars
50 double-unders 
9 squat cleans at 275 pounds

If successful before 16 minutes, add 4 minutes and complete:
25 toes-to-bars
50 double-unders
7 squat cleans at 315 pounds

Stop at 20 minutes.

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