How to Warm-Up For CrossFit: A Guide According to Greg Glassman

Updated: Feb 13

Greg Glassman, former, disgraced, founder of CrossFit and creator of the CrossFit Journal released his guide to A Better Warm-up back in 2006 where he described the faults of a traditional warm-up that commercial gyms around the world promote, giving us the guide on how to warm-up for CrossFit.



A warm up is so essential before any CrossFit workout, not only to activate and mobilise muscles but also to raise your pulse to ensure you are properly set up to tackle your workout with maximum performance.


CrossFit has such a wide variety of movements that warming up those specific muscles and increase your heart rate will help you prepare for your workout.

This blog takes the highlights out of his article (http://journal.crossfit.com/2003/04/a-better-warmup-by-greg-glassm.tpl ) perfect for functional fitness athletes around the world.

What does a good CrossFit Warm-Up need to do?


Warming up in your CrossFit box is not only a good opportunity to catch up with your pals, natter about what you're up to later or where you're going to eat after the workout, but it is supposed to prepare your body and mind for the workout ahead.


CrossFit boxes around the globe have created innovative and engaging ways to warm up when running classes. For example, paired exercises where you wrestle for control of a medicine ball or the classic children's game of stuck-in-the-mud.



Glassman states that a warm up needs to do 6 things. A warm-up needs to:

  1. Elevate body temperature

  2. Elevate cardiorespiratory rate

  3. Incorporate stretching

  4. Develop critical functions/movements

  5. Work the whole body

  6. Prepare the body for rigorous athletic movement

Glassman argues that a traditional warm-up of 20 minutes riding a stationary bike only does two of these six essential benefits; elevating body temperature and elevating cardiorespiratory rate.


You're warm up in the CrossFit class should do all of these things, and if you have a good CrossFit, coach they will.


CrossFit Warm Up Ideas


Some CrossFit gyms will use warm ups also to create a more relaxed feel to the gym and help socialisation too. Playing warm up games cannot only do the six essential warm up objectives but also help athletes have a bit of fun too.

Glassman outlines that an effective CrossFit warm-up can help increase reps for pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups and other calisthenic movements by practicing them consistently with the warm-up.


Some coaches and CrossFit HQ also like to use SLIPS to warm up. Learn what SLIPS means in CrossFit and how to perform it here.

The CrossFit Journal article suggests 6 different exercises to be performed with relative intensity to the athlete performing them. Glassman suggests that the six movements could be performed in three rounds of 15 reps which requires similar exertion levels that that of a 15 minute stationary bike ride but is more effective.

CrossFit Warm Up Exercises


The six exercises for a better CrossFit warm-up outlined by Glassman are:

  1. Samson Stretch

  2. Overhead Squat

  3. Sit-up

  4. Back Extension

  5. Pull-up

  6. Dip

When performed at the correct intensities or scaled to do so, these warm up exercises can achieve all of the 6 criteria that Glassman sets out for the perfect warm up for CrossFit.


This warm up combines all of the 6 elements to warm-up but also it does so in a way that warms up all of the different main muscle groups in the body. With the versatility of CrossFit workouts, this workout can help warm up what you need.


Many other Crossfit boxes have their own way of warming up athletes for workouts. For example at my local box, our warm up is usually a 400m run and some mobility exercises. These tend to be muscle or workout specific combined with a pulse raising activity.


Why should you warm up for CrossFit


CrossFit has been slated for the amount of injuries athletes get whilst performing it however it has been consistently shown as less dangerous than other sports. Nevertheless warming up for CrossFit workouts is absolutely essential for preventing injury, warming up your body and preparing yourself for the workout ahead.


Not only that but warming up will optimise performance. Guarunteed.


When you warm-up for CrossFit you need to do the generic 6 things on Glassman's list but also take into account any personal exercises that you need to do. If you have a niggling injury or are recovering from a previous workout, you may need to take extra time to warm up those particular areas to prevent further injury or pain.


This is a great example of how to warm up for CrossFit workouts, share your favourite workout in the comments section below.


Don't forget after your CrossFit workout, you need to cool down too! Check out our guide on how to recover from CrossFit workouts.