Everything you Need to Know About The Cindy Workout


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“Cindy”: Complete as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) in 20 minutes of: 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats. You must complete all reps of an exercise before moving on to the next. 

The Cindy Crossfit Workout is one of those workouts that seems very simple when you read it off the programming board but it leaves you unforgettably sore. It is a perfect benchmark workout because it requires very minimal equipment and offers great scaling options. This workout is designed specifically to work different muscle groups during each drill which allows your muscles to rest between rounds. 

Scaling Options: 

The standard way to complete this workout is unassisted which means strict pull-ups, pushups, and squats. Like with any Crossfit workout, there are infinite scaling options. If the Rx version would be something that you’re unable to do quite yet, choose a challenging scale that still allows you to reach a full range of motion. There are several options for scaling on each movement. 

Options for pull-ups include: banded pull-ups, jumping pull-ups and ring row. Then for push-ups the options are: push-up from the knee, inclined box push-up and bench push-up. Lastly, for squats, the options are: box squat and elevated medicine ball squat. An ideal beginner version of this workout would look like this: 5 ring rows, 10 incline box/bench push-ups and 15 air squats. 

If mobility and mechanics are not the limiting factor, but rather the stamina, it is a great option to scale the time before scaling the movements. This workout is designed to test fitness and endurance. For new CrossFit athletes, AMRAP 10 or AMRAP 15 versions of Cindy are a great way to complete the workout and get an idea of this benchmark workout. 

Tips and Strategies for Completing Cindy: 

#1- Speed and tempo

Primary tip for completing this workout is to find a good speed and tempo. An easy mistake to make when attacking a workout is to start off quickly when you have the most energy. However, this leads to a quick burnout and you will struggle to conjure up the energy to finish the workout. If it is your first time doing this workout it is advisable to just use the first five minutes to feel out Cindy. If you have done this workout before and know how many rounds you completed, you actually have an idea of how to pace yourself. 

#2- Transitions

While this workout only includes three simple body weight movements, the transitions between each round can really add onto your overall time. Ensure that you have a plan before starting the workout of how you will transition between each movement. For some, this may mean counting to three or five in between each different movement to write in some concrete time for rest. 

#3- Breaking up the repetitions

Maybe you see this workout and get excited because you know you can crush pushups and squats all day but pull-ups are not a part of your strong suit. Go into this workout with a plan on how to attack the pull-up part. If you know that you are really only able to do a maximum of three pull-ups before having to let go of the bar, do exactly that. Complete your three pull-ups and then get back up on the bar to do your last two. 

The same approach goes for both push-ups and squats. While this is a test of endurance, don’t hesitate to break up the repetition count as long as you are not resting for too long in between. It is usually best to go with counting schemes that add up easily so you don’t catch yourself miscounting and doing too many or too little repetitions. 

#4- Don’t Overlook the Warm Up

This workout will get your heart rate up high and quickly so don’t bother doing too much cardio in the warm-up. Focus mostly on just prepping your body for the movements that you’re about to do. Warming up your shoulders may include: scap pull-ups, scap push-ups, working with PVC pipe or any other shoulder drill. Completing a set of Y’s, T’s and W’s with either bands or very light weights will get you plenty warmed up for both pushups and pullups. 

What’s a Good CrossFit Cindy Workout Score? 

Evaluating the scoring for this workout can be based on your CrossFit experience level. A great score as a beginner is between 11 and 12 rounds; for an intermediate 13-17 rounds; for an advanced athlete the average is 19-22 rounds; and for an elite competitor a solid score is 24+ rounds. 

What’s Cindy’s CrossFit record?

The unofficial CrossFit record for Cindy is reported to be 38 rounds by Chris Spealer in the 2009 CrossFit Games. Other than this record, individual gyms keep track of their leader’s board records. 

Try out Cindy

From this you can get a grasp of how three simple workout movements, when combined, can lead to a long and grueling workout of just 20 minutes. If you have never completed this workout before, get in the gym or go somewhere with the equipment to complete it. See how many rounds you can truly complete in just those 20 minutes allotted. If you are returning to this workout and hoping to improve your score, bear in mind the tips and strategies shared. Pace for a more endurance based workout is paramount. And as always, the beauty of CrossFit are the scaling options. Review what is available for scaling options and choose one that is suitable for your abilities yet will still challenge you! 

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About Julien

Hey! Thanks for being here. I’ve been active pretty much my whole life and I discovered Crossfit about 5 years ago. I want to help you improve your Crossfit performances by giving tips on specific movements, workouts and equipment. You have a question? Get in touch!

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