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How To Make a CrossFit Workout

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

Building your own CrossFit workout requires thought and purpose behind it. Check out this full guide on how to make a CrossFit workout that you'll love!

When creating a CrossFit workout for yourself you need to take a few factors into consideration:

  • What is the purpose of the workout?

  • What muscles are you working?

  • What energy systems are you calling on?

  • What equipment do you have?

  • What are the limitations you may have?

When you look at how to make a CrossFit workout work for you, all these considerations come into play. It's best that you take time to plan out your workout in advance to avoid those lengthy discussions at the whiteboard with your pals.

What is the purpose of the CrossFit workout?

When you step into the CrossFit box, you go in there for a purpose, mainly to get fit. But actually what does that mean with every workout?

Some workouts will work the different elements of fitness: they are Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy.

You want to ensure that you have a balance of these elements within your workouts throughout the week for well balanced fitness.

Once you decide that with this CrossFit workout you want to work on strength and power you can create your Crossfit Workout with bias to those elements. This is where you can really specialise your training methods. For example if you wanted to build on strength and power then you look at the sports/training methodologies that are the best in strength and power like powerlifting. Taking the best training methods from other sports which specialise in these areas is the best way to grow in those areas.

The same could be said for Speed: take training methodoligies from sprinters, for Balance and Coordination take methodologies from gymnasts etc.

Once you have your methodologies for specific workouts you can hone your craft when you create your workout.

However, if you want to work multiple areas in one workout, this is where you can look at CrossFit specific programming like Comptrain, JST, or even CrossFit mainsite for methodologies. These can be as simple as rep schemes, time domains or even the structure of the workout (interval, chipper, AMRAP or amount of reps (21-15-9)).

What muscles do you want to train in your CrossFit Workout?

With muscle or movement specific workouts, it is easier to create your CrossFit Workout. If you wanted to improve the strength of your back squat, then take your training methodology (for example powerlifting) and apply it to your back squat. This could be 5x5 increasing weights with 3 mins per set for example, or even a steady increase to heavy singles with 3 mins in between each set.

However when we look at multiple muscle activation in your CrossFit workout then that's where we have a look at the movements involved.

We need to consider the effort or the fatigue each movement has on the muscle or group of muscles within that movement and how the workout will call on different muscles.

If you wanted to have an different muscle activations then its best to have a range of movements that use different muscles.

We can then also look at the energy systems we need to activate within the workout to look at the movements within the CrossFit Workout.

What energy systems will we train in the CrossFit Workout?

Again depending on which of the 10 elements of fitness you want to work, you want to cater the length of time in the workout and also the intensity of the work you program.

For example if you wanted to work on either endurance or stamina you want to plan for longer time domains and on the other hand if you want to work on power and speed you want typically shorter time domains.

Endurance or stamina CrossFit workouts will tend to work the oxitative energy system and will require a workout longer than 15 minutes to train. Whereas a workout that works on short term power i.e. the Alatic System will require movements in the 2-4 second time domain (so typical strength workouts (up to say 5-8 reps with ample rest between sets will be spot on). Then finally the speed workouts will typically remain in the 1 - 10 minute time domains, calling on the Glycolytic system.

You need to work all of these throughout your training block so ensure you have good balance with them.

What equipment do you have for your CrossFit Workout?

An easy one to think about but when creating a CrossFit Workout, equipment is probably your biggest limitation.

Access to the equipment is also really important. Many CrossFit boxes have big open spaces for you to move equipment to your area so you can access bars, rowers, assault bikes, a rack and other equipment all in one place.

However if you workout in a commercial gym, you may not be able to move alot of that equipment to a space that you need. In addition to that the gym you are at may not have the type of equipment you need to, so something to bear in mind.

What other limitations are there for creating your own CrossFit Workout?

This is where we can look at movement limitations with maybe injuries, capabilities and disabilities. All need to be taken into consideration when looking at movement selection, rep schemes and equipment required.

In addition to these, it's useful to look at external factors that might impact you creating your CrossFit workout. For example, weather, timings, environment, other teammates doing the workout with you and many more.

I hope this full guide on how to create a CrossFit workout for you has proved useful and happy wodding!

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