Walk into any CrossFit box and the second thing you’ll notice—after the symphony of crashing weights—is that no one seems to be able to afford a shirt. It’s not the high cost of box membership that’s keeping these athletes from covering up, but an overwhelming urge to show off their hard-earned, well-defined abs (and arms, and backs, and shoulders…).
So how does the CrossFit set get washboard abs and the confidence to bare it all? Rather than performing endless rounds of crunches, CrossFitters focus on total body training, burning fat and building muscle through heavy compound lifts and high intensity metabolic conditioning workouts. But exercise is only part of the equation for a love handle-free physique. To really see the results of your hard work and notice visible definition, you’ll need to dial in your nutrition and sleeping habits as well.
The 10 workouts below are intended to be used as metabolic conditioning “finishers” at the end of your lifting sessions. Start with a 5-10 minute warm-up followed by mobility work and working on your major lifts (squats, deadlifts, pressing). Then pick one of these WODs and hit it hard, going as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) with as little rest as possible.
WOD 1: Grip strength and core
Farmer carry* (50 feet)
Kettlebell swings (10)
Weighted sit-ups (15)
*For the farmer carry, use farmer handles if your gym has them. If not, grab two dumbbells or kettlebells of equal weight that are heavy enough to make this challenging. Focus on bracing your core and keeping your shoulders back.
WOD 2: Explosive force and core
Prowler / sled push (50 feet)
Box jumps (10)
Plank shoulder touches (20)
Load up the sled or prowler with enough weight to make it challenging but light enough that you can move fast! For the plank shoulder touches, try to keep a braced core and limit the movement in your hips as much as possible.
WOD 3: Legs and core
Wall balls (12)
Hollow rocks (15)
Focus on your brace in the deadlift, using a weight that is challenging but not one that will force you into a rounded-back position. To maximize the hollow rocks: elevate your shoulders off the floor and keep your arms straight with biceps next to your ears; at the same time, elevate your legs off the floor. Using only your core, rock slightly back and forth, not allowing arms or legs to touch the floor.
WOD 4: Chest, back, and core
Dumbbell snatches (8 per side)
If you can’t complete the full toes-to-bar movement, focus on drawing your knees up to your elbows.
WOD 5: Jump-rope cardio burner
Turkish get-up (5 per side)
Double-unders are hard to master, so don’t get frustrated if you can’t link them together right away. If you have them down, go for 50 unbroken. If it’s still a work in progress, try to get 20 total by doing two singles, followed by one double.
WOD 6: Arms and abs
Kettlebell clean & press (8 per side)
Weighted plank hold (30 seconds)
Perform the dips using either parallel bars or rings if available. Bench dips are a good substitute if you don’t have access to bars or rings. For the weighted plank hold, start with a 10lb plate on your back and work up to 25lb or more.
WOD 7: Legs and core
Dumbbell thrusters (10)
Med ball slams (10)
For the med ball slams, raise the ball over head and as you slam it to the floor, bend your knees and follow the ball down, ripping it back off the floor as soon as it lands.
WOD 8: Total body explosive training
Kettlebell sumo deadlift high pull (12)
Weighted sit-ups (10)
For the sumo deadlift high pull, take a wide stance, drive your feet into the floor and squeeze your glutes as you pull the bell off the floor and draw your elbows up high, raising the bell to chin height.
WOD 9: Total-body cardio circuit
Jumping lunges (20)
Russian twist with kettlebell (20)
*Manmakers: place two dumbbells on the floor in front of you, shoulder-width distance apart. Squat down, grip the dumbbells (keeping them on the floor) and step or hop your feet back into plank position. Perform a push-up, followed by a renegade row on each side. Step or hop feet back towards hands, perform a squat clean thruster. Repeat.
WOD 10: Legs and back
Racked alternating lunges* (20)
Goblet squats (10)
*To perform the racked alternating lunges, hold two kettlebells of equal weight at shoulder height, handles touching. Keep chest up and step back into a lunge. Repeat on the opposite side for 20 reps total.