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In 2003, coach Greg Glassman wrote the article titled: “A Better Warm up” in the CrossFit Journal. This article drew conclusions on the potential benefits of practicing functional movement patterns as an alternative to traditional cardio warm ups in a steady state. The increased benefits of this warm up includes the following:

  • Raising the core temperature of the body and increasing the heart rate
  • Added stretching of the major joints
  • Developing functionality and capacity in some of the basic movements
  • Working the entire body
  • Preparing the systems of the body for the rigors of the workout

The Original CrossFit Warm up Includes:

  • The Sampson strength (opening the hip flexor in a lunge)
  • The Overhead Squat (done with a PVC or empty barbell)
  • Sit-ups (on an ab-mat)
  • Back extensions (On a GHD)
  • Pull ups (strict/kipping or banded)
  • Dips (on a dip bar or rings)

You may re-call some old CrossFit tee shirts that say “our warm up is your workout” and to many people who are new to functional training the statement might be true, but this is not meant to be the case. This warm up is instructed to be done “Challenging, but not unduly taxing” By picking appropriate scales for the movements that fit this criteria, both in assisting the movements or lowering the reps, anyone should be able to do this without an issue. Originally this warm up was prescribed for 3 sets through of 10 reps each movement with parameters that it should take no longer than 15 minutes under low-moderate intensity, the same heart rate you might jog on a treadmill with.

The beauty in this warm up is its simplicity and effectiveness. It works hip with leg functions, trunk with hip functions, as well as flexion and extension of the joints. By practicing the very basics daily athletes can expect to improve positions and efficiency of the foundations. One of the more impressive benefits is the neurological “greasing of the groove” in the motor pathways. This is also a great way to silently build capacity with intensity or muscular damage you might encounter from the workout, an added bonus.

As athletes build capacity it may be appropriate to add some volume or increase the difficulty of some of the movements. Below is a graded progression for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level athletes:

Beginner: 

Done for 3 rounds (as capacity increases, raise all reps to 10, no scales)

  • Samson stretch 1 minute
  • 10 PVC overhead squat
  • 10 ab-mat sit-ups
  • 10 back extensions
  • 5 pull ups (with or without bands)
  • 5 Dips (with or without bands)

Intermediate 

(Done for 3 rounds)

  • Sampson stretch
  • 15 pvc overhead squat
  • 15 sit ups
  • 15 back extensions
  • 15 pull ups
  • 15 ring dips

Advanced 

(Done for 3 rounds)

  • Sampson Stretch
  • 15 PVC overhead squat
  • 15 GHD sit ups
  • 15 Barbell good morinings
  • 3 rope climbs
  • 10 handstand push ups
  • 5 muscle ups

All of this is very individual and ply-able. Balance the capacity of the athlete with a somewhat challenging volume and movement difficulty that allows them to get something out of the warm up without going nuts. From a macro perspective, if athletes are moving better, progressing in skill, and slowly adding capacity to the warm ups, you are headed in the right direction. This is a garnish to your program, an added value in an unlikely place that can accelerate athletes’ progress to their goals, and beyond.  

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The jump rope is a great tool for aerobic conditioning. It allows for a potent, sustained cardiovascular effort that will provide a challenge in any workout. Using the jump rope also requires and develops many neurological skills such as coordination, accuracy, agility, and balance. That is why fighters love using the jump rope as a tool to practice being coordinated under fatigue. In CrossFit the common use for a jump rope is the “double under” (two revolutions of the rope per jump). This movement takes a slightly higher jump than the single under, and adds increased coordination between the upper and lower body.

The jump rope can be taken anywhere. It is essential equipment for the fit traveler to use for “hotel wods”. Combine this exercise with dumbbells, Push-ups, or burpees for a quick burner after the plane ride. Here are some tips for developing the double under…

Double Under Tips

  • When starting skipping rope hold the hands at 10 and 2 o’clock at the waist height with the hands slightly in front of the hip. Revolve the rope from the wrists not the shoulders.
  • Practice single unders until you are smooth and efficient, then try throwing some doubles. Just jump a little higher and whip the wrists twice. Keep the jump smooth and soft on the ground. You can begin with 2 singles into 1 double to acquire the skill.
  • When picking a rope make sure to start with a length that allows the handles to reach just beneath the armpits with one foot holding the rope to the floor.

Double Under Workouts for the Road

Workout #1

Annie”                                                               

50-40-30-20-10

  • Double Unders
  • Sit-Ups

(Do 50 DU, then 50 sit-ups, 40 and 40 etc.)

Workout #2

10 Minute AMRAP

  • 30 Double Unders
  • 15 Push Ups

Workout #3   

5 rounds for time of:

  • 21 Dumbbell Thrusters #45
  • 50 Double Unders

Workout #4

5 rounds of:

  • 20 Alternating DB Snatches #70
  • 30 Double Unders
  • 15 Burpees

Workout #5

15 Minute AMRAP

  • Run 800 Meters
  • 50 Dumbbell Swings #50
  • 100 Double Unders

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