5 Critical CrossFit Movements to Master

March 05, 2015 9 Comments


It doesn't matter what the WOD is, there tends to be at least one thing that trips us up, and makes us struggle.

It could be anything really; exercising the proper kipping technique, avoiding the godawful whiplash from a double under gone wrong, or even hitting the wall ball target and avoiding another blasted "No Rep" being screamed across the box from Coach.

Such are the joys of CrossFitting, right?

Well, when we're all fighting to hold the top scores on the whiteboard, these little obstacles can feel like a lot more of a hassle than they ought to. But, are they really the movements that are going to make the most difference?

There are so many different functional movements that we use repeatedly in CrossFit that we would benefit from mastering far more than the ones mentioned above. So what are they? Let's break it down.

5 Critical CrossFit Movements to Master

#1: Squat

Think back to your last WOD. Chances are very high that at least one of the movements required some variation of the squat form. Wall balls and thrusters, for instance. 

The squat itself is one of the overall measures of strengths for athletes and working on your squat form should be considered a high priority. 

By nailing your squat you not only improve your lower body mobility, but strengthen your legs and core.

#2: Press

It's time to get comfortable with weight over your head because the press movements are essential for building core strength and improving your balance.

Movements like the push or strict press help us build the muscles required for locking out our shoulders and maintaining a firm foundation when the bar is overhead. As it turns out, most of us can get far more weight above our heads than we think, but the fear and/or discomfort of it trip us up.

#3: Thrusters

If you can name one person who legitimately enjoys thrusters then we'd be wowed. 

Combining a front squat with an overhead press, thrusters are the ultimate mutli-joint exercise. By using heavier weights and fewer reps, this one move can drastically improve your overall body strength.

Looking for more of a cardio hit? Lower the weight, up the reps and work on timed intervals for a sure-fire sweat sesh that will get your blood pumping. 

#4: Pull Ups

Playing on the monkey bars as a child, pull ups (and even muscle ups) were a breeze. As we aged, this movement was atrophied and regaining it seems to be a helluva lot harder. 

Pull ups are a compound exercise, which is important because they target several muscle groups, while simultaneously triggering your natural growth hormone to release. No other movement can help you improve overall upper body strength like the pull up.

#5: Burpees

You know how they say deadlifts are the ultimate full body exercise? Well, think of burpees as the premium (and more interactive) version of deadlifts.

Requiring the use of your entire body, burpees do more than strengthen your muscles; they improve your cardio endurance. Master their technique and you will enjoy better strength, mobility and endurance. 

Tell us; which of these movements do you struggle most with?

 





9 Responses

Team WOD Nation
Team WOD Nation

May 11, 2015

Jonni – will be sure to come out with a post on those sometime in the near future!

Meredith – have you tried using a resistance band to help your pull up progressions? We find using a combination of assisted pull ups, negatives and banded pull ups really do the trick!

Merideth Million
Merideth Million

April 08, 2015

Pullups for sure, frustrates me like no other!

Jonni Dron
Jonni Dron

April 05, 2015

Burpees and thrusters are still pretty rough. Would love some tips on how to make them more efficient.

Elizabeth Leonard
Elizabeth Leonard

April 05, 2015

Paul, the scaled version of burpees (although not done in CrossFit) is leaving out the push up part if that’s any good for u. You just jumb in to ur hands and jump up in the air and back

Cruz jaramillo
Cruz jaramillo

April 05, 2015

press. So afraid to drop the weight on my head.
Sabrina
Sabrina

March 18, 2015

Hey Paul,

Brian MacKenzie had some great strategies for bettering your burpee in his book “Power Speed Endurance”. Would be worth checking out!

Will Blackwell
Will Blackwell

March 06, 2015

All of them. Lol

Gayla Schiff
Gayla Schiff

March 06, 2015

getting faster at… the overhead squat. wall balls. and just walking on my hands, and pistol squats.

Paul Grimes
Paul Grimes

March 06, 2015

Burpees are the hardest for me. I am 72 years old. It is one movement that can’t be scaled. I can do most all of the lifts,box jumps, etc. How can I improve?

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