A Crossfit warm-up is a series of exercises meant to increase heart rate and blood flow to the muscles, in preparation for a workout. It is typically performed as a circuit, with each exercise being done for a set number of reps or time, before moving on to the next one. Common Crossfit warm-up exercises include squats, lunges, push-ups, burpees, and jumping jacks.
Today you’ll learn how you should do a proper Crossfit warm-up, why you should do it, as well as many warm-up ideas.
Benefits of a Crossfit Warm Up
General Warm Up
The most important reason for a proper warm-up before any workout is that it prepares your muscles and joints for the movement to come. It also gets you in the correct mental state of mind to be more aware of what you’re doing (and possibly avoid injuries).
By doing some light stretching, Crossfitters can get the same benefits as the average person, plus some. Stretching increases flexibility by elongating muscles and tendons to increase range of motion. This is particularly important for Crossfitters because functional movements require many different ranges of motion that are not often found in typical gym work.
Increased Heart Rate
The next reason you should do a proper warm-up before any workout is that it increases your heart rate. We all know, when you increase your heart rate, you get more oxygenated blood to the muscles and this means better performance.
Shoulder Warm Up
Many Crossfitters experience shoulder problems, because of our sport specificity. There are several reasons for these injuries but one big reason is that we do not properly prepare our shoulders for all the different movements and lifts we will be doing in a WOD. Another reason is, we simply forget about them because we are so focused on what exercises we’re going to do next.
Lower Back Warm Up
Lifting weights puts some serious stress on our lower back. This is especially true for deadlifts and squats, which are staples of every good WOD. Proper warm-ups for the lower back will help you achieve better positions for those exercises.
I highly recommend you to read this article before starting any WOD: “How to avoid common Crossfit injuries” by crossfit games athlete, Jason Khalipa
Common Exercices Used in a CrossFit warm-up?
What are some common CrossFit WOD warm-up exercises? Here are some good, but not the only, exercises you should include in your CrossFit warm-up.
- Squat / Lunge x 15-20 reps
- Push up x 15-20 reps
- Sit ups or crunches x 15-20 reps
- Bodyweight squat x 15-20 reps
- Plank – Static hold for 30-60 seconds (focus on proper back and shoulder position)
- High Knees – 15-20 reps (alternating)
- Jumping Jacks – 15-20 reps
- Jump Rope x 1 minute
- Light Rower for 2 minutes
- Dynamic Stretching as needed (aim for 5 minutes of total stretching but make sure you focus on your problem areas like shoulders and lower back.
3 Common mistakes in a CrossFit Warm-up
1- Too many exercises
Too many reps can lead to poor performance in the WOD because you burn out too quickly. Not enough reps : Not doing enough reps will not properly prepare your body for the workout. Don’t do this! Not doing any warm-up : Skipping out on warming up can lead to injuries because you haven’t prepared your muscles and joints for the intense movements of a WOD.
The purpose of a Crossfit warm up is to increase blood flow, prevent injury, and reduce the chance of feeling fatigued during your workout, not necessarily to improve performance in itself. You shouldn’t need more than 10-15 minutes per day to warm up before every WOD. If you feel like you need more time to warm up, then you aren’t warming up properly.
2- Not focusing on what you’re going to do in your workout
Your focus should be on the movements and lifts that you will be doing in your WOD. What if the workout is a barbell complex with a clean, front squat, back squat, shoulder to overhead? Should you start your warm up with leg swings and lunges? Or should you do a quick squat and deadlift warm up?
Think about what movements you’re about to do, and perform the appropriate warm up for that.
3- Lifting weights that are too heavy
This is very common in Crossfitters who are trying to be the hero of their box by not only doing impressive numbers in the workout, but also in the warm up. Don’t make this mistake! Proper form is essential for avoiding injury and getting the most out of each lift.
Lift weights that are too heavy and you’ll be more likely to hurt your back or knees not because those lifts aren’t “functional”, but rather because they aren’t appropriate for a warm-up, especially when done with poor form.
The Simplest and Fastest CrossFit Warmups
Do 10 reps of 3-5 exercises for 3 rounds.
- Do the first bodyweight squat variation you can do well with great form.
- Perform a push up or other upper body push exercise next.
- Follow that with an upper body pull example like rows, pull ups, ring rows etc…
- If there is another bodyweight squat in your WOD then you can do that next.
- Now that your legs are warmed up, finish off the warmup with some core exercises.
What is a Dynamic CrossFit Warm-Ups?
Dynamic CrossFit Warm-ups are a combination of movements performed in succession that serve to enhance sport specific training, improve range of motion and increase core temperature. The goal is to ingrain coordination while promoting general physical preparedness (GPP) while also challenging the athlete’s mental game by preparing them for the unknown and unknowable.
Athletes at all levels and ages need to improve movement efficiency and general physical preparedness. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is through warm-up movements that promote free range of motion, core temperature elevation, mental toughness and dynamic stabilization.
When designing a Dynamic Crossfit Warm-Up focus should be placed on:
1) General Physical Preparedness (GPP)
2) Sport Specific Preparedness (SPP)
3) Mental Preparedness
To achieve these three goals, there are several things to consider: the intensity of work should be submaximal with reps in the 3-8 range; focus on fundamental movements that develop multi-planar movement patterns; inter-joint movements are prevalent to stimulate the metabolic pathways needed for intensity.
There are four primary components of a Dynamic Warm-Up:
movements that increase joint range of motion and prepare muscles, tendons, joints for movements they will be asked to perform during the workout.
- Hip Circles
- Hurdler Stretch
- Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
- Figure 4 Stretch
- Cossack Squats
- Lunge w/Twist
- Ankle Mobility Drill
- Iron Cross
- Scorpion Pose
- PVC Pipe Overhead Trunk Extension
2) AEROBIC CAPACITY
movement that increases heart rate and blood flow to prepare for the intensity of a workout.
movements that increase muscle contraction speed, strength and power in non-fatiguing rep ranges.
4) METABOLIC CONDITIONING
movement that increases the body’s ability to handle high intensity work for longer periods of time.
- Kettle Bell Swings
- Air Squats
- Push Ups
- Sit Ups
- Pull Ups
- Wall Balls
CrossFit Warm-Up Routines: Top 13 to Try Out
Cross-Fit Warm-up 1:
Run at a slow pace for 5 minutes, every minute on the minute perform 1 burpee.
Cross-Fit Warm-up 2:
- Light row or run 400 meters,
- dynamic stretch drills (5-10 reps each)
- 15 air squats, 5 burpess
Then 3 rounds of this circuit for time
- 10 squats
- 7 pushups
- 5 pull ups
Cross-Fit Warm up 3:
- Run 500 meters
Then 3 rounds of:
- 10 roll to stands
- 5 push-ups
- 20 step ups
Crossfit Warm up 4:
- Run 500 meters
Then 3 rounds of:
- 25 squats
- 20 push ups
- 15 situps
- 10 burpees
Crossfit Warm Up 5:
2 rounds of:
- Run 400 meters
- 12 kettlebell swings
- 9 goblet squats
Cross-Fit Warm-up 6:
- 5 squats
- 5 Glute ham raises
- 15 Knees to elbows
- 5 Jumping lunge
Cross-Fit Warm-up 7:
3 rounds of:
- 5 Pull-ups
- 5 Push-ups
- 10 AbMat sit-ups
- 10 Air squats
Cross-Fit Warm-up 8:
- 2 Minutes – jump rope
- 2 Minutes – kettlebell swings
Cross-Fit Warm-up 9:
- 8 pull-ups
- 8 Ring dips
- 7 GHD sit-ups
- 12 Tuck jumps
Cross-Fit Warm-up 10:
- 1200 Meters – row
Cross-Fit Warm-up 11:
- 20 Single-leg hip bridges (each side)
- 10 Seated good mornings
- 20 Glute ham raises
- 10 Pull-ups
Cross-Fit Warm-up 12:
- 100 Feet – high skips
- 50 Feet – crab walk
- 50 Feet – bear crawl
- 100 Feet – high skips
CrossFit: Warm-up 13:
- 500 Meter row
- 5 Minutes – empty bar snatch work
- 5 Minutes – empty bar clean and jerk work
CrossFit Warm-up 14:
- 30 Burpees
Cross-Fit Warm-up 15:
- 10 Back extensions
- 20 Bench sit-ups
- 10 Pendlay row