5 CrossFit Moves That Deliver Jaw-Dropping Results
With a move called “Death By Burpees,” you know CrossFit is mega intense. But the program’s militaristic approach to fitness hasn’t kept it from building an almost fanatical devotion from its followers.
Women make up nearly 60 percent of all CrossFit participants. That’s probably because the regimen actually works: In one study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s exercise physiology programme, women who performed two different CrossFit workouts burned over 50 kilojoules per minute, and maintained an elevated heart rate throughout the entire workout. Translation: Those ladies were seeing serious results.
Whether you’re a CrossFit newbie or you know your way around a gym, these five moves are ones all women should be doing. “In my experience, these particular exercises have benefited women whether they’re beginner or experienced athletes,” says Colleen Delaney, the owner of Greenwich CrossFit. “They’ll rev up your metabolism, they have a prolonged kilojoule burn/metabolic effect after the workout is finished, and they’re full-body exercises working everything from your shoulders to your quads and in between.”
How to: Place the bar on your shoulders in the front-rack position (in front of your shoulders as opposed to behind them). Your hands should be just outside the shoulders with a loose fingertip grip, and feet just wider than shoulder-width, in a squat stance (a). Lower into a squat, pushing hips back and down, while driving your elbows up (b). Once you hit your squat depth, drive through your heels to return to stand. Once the hips open up, drive the barbell straight overhead and fully lock out the elbows (c). Lower the bar slowly and repeat. If you don’t have a barbell, use dumbbells. Do three sets of 12 reps.
Why you should do it: First of all, “this movement will spike your heart rate like no other,” says Delaney, which is great for firing up your metabolism. Not to mention, weight training as a whole has been proven to strengthen your bones—something that’s especially important for women, who are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis later in life than men.
How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, then bend your knees to lower your hands to the floor. Jump both feet back to move into a plank and lower your chest to the floor (a). Push back up into a plank. Jump your feet back up to your hands (b). Then as you stand up, jump into the air and clap your hands overhead (c). Repeat. Do as many reps as you can in 60 seconds. Do three sets.
Why you should do it: “This simple movement will test your strength and aerobic capacities,” says Delaney. In fact, 10 quick burpee repetitions speed up your metabolism as effectively as a 30-second sprint—and considering the fact that women naturally have a lower metabolism than men, that’s a plus.
How to: Stand about 12 inches away from a sturdy box. Get into an athletic stance with your knees slightly bent, feet shoulder-width apart and your weight on the balls of your feet (a). Slightly bend your knees and use your arms to quickly jump onto the center of the step (b). Then immediately step or jump back down to start (c), landing softly on the balls of your feet. Repeat. Do as many reps as you can in 20 seconds, working your way up to one minute. Do three sets.
Why you should do it: “Plyometrics build explosiveness and power, which will take your strengths to new levels,” says Delaney. They also help prevent injury by enhancing joint stability in the lower body—an area where studies show female athletes are more likely to face injuries than male athletes.
How to: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees, push your hips back, and grab the top of the kettlebell with both hands. Swing it back between your legs (a). As you stand up, snap your hips forward, squeeze your glutes, and swing the kettlebell to chest height, then above your head (b). Let it fall back through your legs, but don’t put it down. Repeat. Do three sets of 15 reps.
Why you should do it: “If you want to improve your posture, you better start swingin’!” says Delaney—and that’s especially important for women who wear high heels at work all day, which can actually alter the posture of your spine. “Kettlebell swings work your posterior chain, strengthening, the glutes, hamstrings, and core, so you stand up taller.”
Overhead Plated Lunge
How to: Grab a weighted plate and lift it overhead with elbows locked (a). Step your left leg forward, with your knee tracking over the toe, into a lunge (b). Drive through your heel to come back to a standing position, then repeat with the right leg. That’s one rep. Do three sets of eight reps.
Why you should do it: Women have approximately 52 percent of the upper body strength of men, so incorporating moves that fire up your biceps, upper back, and shoulders is important. “Plus, the overhead lunge improves your balance and core stability and builds strength in the quads and glutes, making it a total-body move,” says Delaney.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com