Whether you’re into CrossFit or not, you have to acknowledge that its benchmark WODs (Workout of the Day) are great measures of overall fitness. That’s why CrossFit trainers have their participants repeat them regularly to measure progress. If your time goes down or your “points” go up, you can be sure you’ve gotten stronger, faster, more durable, and probably leaner (as a positive side effect).
For some out-of-the-box hacks to help you improve your performance on three of the most popular CrossFit WODs—called “Angie,” “Fran,” and “Fight Gone Bad”—we got in the box with Rob Orlando, a Reebok-sponsored CrossFit competitor and the owner of Hybrid Athletics in Stamford, CT. For each WOD, we suggest first giving it a try on your own to establish a baseline, then implementing Orlando’s tips as you improve.
THE WORKOUT: ANGIE
Perform the following and record your time. Complete all the reps for one exercise before moving on to the next.
100 Bodyweight Squats
Angie tests the strength and endurance of the whole body on the four most basic exercises in fitness.
TIME TO SHOOT FOR
About 25 minutes
1) “The best way is to chop these large numbers into small segments,” says Orlando, “and avoid working to failure on any set.” While you may be able to nail 20 pullups in your first set, you’ll be smoked by your third, and your rep output will drop off.
Divide the total number of reps into many small sets and keep rest periods short. For instance, you can do 20 sets of five to begin with, taking just a few breaths between sets. You’ll stay fresh for longer, and, ultimately, be able to finish sooner.
2) You can save time and energy by performing kipping pullups, where you use your hips to power you up over the bar. Start by hanging from the bar and swinging with straight arms, holding your legs straight and together. Don’t bend at the hip, but swing back and forth at the shoulder joints. Brace your abs.
When you’ve mastered that, complete full kipping pullups by kicking your legs forward at the end of your forward swing so your body starts moving behind the bar. Pull yourself up using the momentum. At the top of the pullup, push yourself away from the bar to give you momentum to come back down and begin the next rep.