Men's Journal calls it a "kick-ass workout" and "the hottest word-of-mouth fitness phenomenom on the Web" They also voted CrossFit among the top 10 out of the 50 Greatest Health & Fitness Websites. If you are an athlete or have ever dreamed of being an athlete, then this training blog is for you.

How often have you heard the promise that a specific new gym would get you "in the best shape of your life"? If you're anything like me, you're so good at deflecting these super totally awesome marketing claims by overzealous gyms, that "just saying NO" has become second nature to you.

If you wish someone with integrity (someone who didn't have a financial interest in the new "wonder" supplement or gut-busting gadget) would share honest and unbiased information about how to get the most out of the 20 minutes you spend at the gym, then you are in luck!

Warning: It won't be pretty...kettlebells will be flying.

  1. Kettlebell Swings - Hold a kettlebell (24 kg for real men and 16 kg for the ladies) with two hands, and drop into a squat, then explode upward through your heels until your hips lock in a standing position, the momentum driving the weight up over your head. Then drop into a squat and repeat. Video

  2. Squats - Keep your head up, back straight, arms outstretched, and heels down as you lower your butt to within a foot of the floor. You can place a medicine ball under your butt and touch it to make sure you don't cheat. Here's a pretty motivating video of some girls that can probably kick your butt. Video.

  3. The "Snatch" - Approach the kettlebell and with back straight, crouch low and grasp the massive ball of iron by the handle. Legs should be bent with the buttocks close to the heels.  Your chest should be puffed out and the shoulders slightly forward of the bar.

    Begin lifting. The hips, shoulders and bar should move at the same pace. Push from the toes and slowly transition the weight into the mid-foot as you lift. The angle of the torso relative to the ground should remain constant.

    Keep the kettlebell close to your legs as you lift - this ensures proper alignment of the body.

    This is the fun part. When the weight is at mid-thigh, accelerate the kettlebell upward by powerfully extending the knees and hips (and to some degree the ankles) until the body is fully erect. At the same time, shrug the shoulders. This part of the lift is known as the 'scoop' or 'second pull'.

    At the top of the kettlebell's height, pull your body underneath it, catching it with locked arms overhead while squatting. This part of the motion requires a developed sense of timing and coordination, and is the essence of the entire lift. It is a beautiful thing. Finally, stand up from the squat position. Video.

  4. Wall Ball Shots - Stand a foot and a half away from a wall with a 10-20 lb medicine ball under your chin. Squat, then explode up, throwing the ball about 10 feet up the wall. Catch under your chin, squat, and repeat. Video.

  5. Ring Dips - The classic "dip" movement performed on gymnastic rings. Simple enough. Doing dips on unstable rings requires way more effort then doing them on a pair of steady bars/boxes. Video.

  6. Thrusters - My personal favorite. These are like wall balls, except you use a bar, not a ball -- and don't let go! Hold the bar with hands about a foot apart, lower into a squat, then thrust upward. (95 lb men / 45 lb women). Video.

  7. Tire Flips - First you'll need to find a HUGE tractor tire. Then you get to squat down, grab the bottom of the tire and flip it over. For good measure, I personally enjoy jumping into and out of the tire before flipping it again. Video.

  8. Burpees - I was introduced to this silly named exercise when I began Muay Thai Kickboxing training. It is great for developing quickness, agility, and endurance. Starting from a standing position, squat down with your hands on the ground in front of you and fling your legs backward into the lowered push-up position. Jump back up to your feet, then leap into the air. (For good measure, touch something 8-12 inches above your highest standing reach to keep you honest). Video.

  9. Handstand Pushups (HSPU) - These should be performed on parralettes... with somebody spotting you. Lean over and grip the parralettes. Throw one leg into the air, and push off with the other leg. With both feet touching the wall (or balancing yourself upright without a wall), lock your arms until you're stable, then lower until your nose is 2 ins from the top edge of the bars. Then push up until locked again. Video.

  10. Box Jumps - Self explanatory. Not hard enough? Try it with a weighted vest. Here is a video with some really fun box jump variations. Video.

Check out our workout blog for a daily dose of pain that includes all of the workouts listed above. Yes, follow the W.O.D. (Workout of the Day) and you will become a fine tuned, well oiled machine.

P.S. - Ladies, you will not become huge and bulky from doing these workouts. It's a myth. Seriously, stop using that excuse to avoid getting off the easymode machines at the boring gym.


If you enjoyed this article, please visit Crossfit Coastal and check out our other articles, nutritional advice, olympic powerlifting videos, and free workout blog.

Author's Bio: 

Ezekiel Martinez is a certified personal trainer, a gym owner, web site designer, and former technical applications specialist for the United States Air Force.

He currently follows a fitness program called Crossfit. This program emphasizes functional fitness and incorporates olympic weightlifting and gymnastics into its training.