CrossFit is booming these days, but you don’t have to have to be a constant presence at the box to reap the fitness benefits. Walking lunges, deadlifts, and other favorite moves can be used in any workout routine — not just CrossFit. These 10 exercises force you to combine strength work, cardio, and endurance. We guarantee you’ll get a good workout.
1. Box jumps
Muscle & Fitness says it best: Box jumps aren’t just for the CrossFit crowd. “The biggest benefit of the box jump is that it improves the reaction of the fast-twitch muscle fibers throughout the body,” the article explains. “This exercise requires your leg and core muscles to contract very quickly so you can generate maximum force with each leap.” Basically, this is a great addition to any lower body workout regimen.
The story recommends using a plyometric box, which stands 12 to 36 inches tall. To achieve the jump, start with feet planted about should-width apart, and go down into a demi-squat to prepare your leg muscles for the jump. Swing your arms to help propel our body up onto the box.
2. Walking lunge
Although they concentrate on two sets of muscles — the hip extensors and the knee extensors — walking lunges work all the muscles in your lower body. The movement of the lunge is similar to squats, except that lunges use a wider range of motion.
Stationary and walking lunges are both great exercises, but the walking lunge does come with its own set of benefits. Walking lunges are a functional exercise and ensure you tone both legs equally. Walking lunges also help better your balance, strengthen your core, and increase hip flexibility. If you feel like they are too easy, try holding dumbbells overhead while performing this move.
The deadlift is a quintessential weight lifting exercise and an important part of CrossFit. Functionally, it’s picking something up off the ground and putting it back down. Deadlifts develop the muscles and the movements that are involved in many forms of physical labor.
When performed correctly, Lean It UP explains, they build your upper and lower body. The deadlift works more muscles than any other exercise, including the squat; it engages all of the major muscle groups. It’s even an effective exercise to develop your core strength, training the central muscles of your body. Muscles that make up the core are found in your upper and lower back, hips, buttocks, and abs. Just remember to warm up thoroughly before lifting heavier weights.
4. Ball slams
Don’t be fooled by the coy name of this CrossFit staple. Ball slams are a full-body workout that target everything from your triceps down to your calves. It is also a great exercise for someone who doesn’t have time for a lengthy workout. “The medicine ball slam is done for developing power, strength, and speed,” StyleCraze explains. Plus, this exercise works every part of your body.
Start with a good base by planting your feet shoulder-width apart and our knees slightly bent. Lift your medicine ball over your head. Contract your abdominal muscles as you throw the ball down onto the ground. Keep those muscles engaged as you regain the ball to go back to your starting position.
Side note: There are different sizes of medicine balls that you can use for this exercise. They are both a beneficial and inexpensive purchase, although you should be familiar with what size you need before buying one.
CrossFit may have been king of burpees, but the exercise can now be found in HIIT workouts, boot camps, and the training programs of professional athletes. They’re the move we love to hate, but will do regardless — because they work. Adding them to a HIIT routine is especially smart because researchers from the International Journal of Obesity found that HIIT is one of the most effective ways to burn fat.
Instead of hitting one target area, burpees help you to improve the overall strength of your body. The move uses the upper body throughout the push-up element and hits the core and lower body during the up/down movement and jump. That means with every rep, you’ll work your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs.
6. Row machine
Rowing may be more famous for its appearance in House of Card’s, but it’s also a staple for cross fitters looking to get a mean cardio workout. It’s no coincidence that you’ll find rowing machines in every CrossFit box. There are several reasons CrossFit has chosen the rowing machine over other cardio options.
Rowing is a full-body workout. It uses almost every major muscle group in your body. Rowing hits the quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs, obliques, lower back, and shoulders. And Harper’s Bazaar says it’s a more efficient full-body workout than most other cardio exercises, which primarily use the lower body.
7. Kettlebell passes
8. Bodyweight squats
You already know squats are great for toning your backside. What you might not know is that they are a great workout tool for pretty much any exercise plan because they raise your core body temperature and count as cardiovascular activity despite being a low-impact exercise. And bodyweight squats don’t require a gym membership or fancy equipment, making them the perfect touch of CrossFit for your everyday workout routine.
The bodyweight squat is pretty self-explanatory. Just make sure you have your feet placed just ever-so-slightly wider than shoulder-width apart so you have the best base. You can use your arms to swing outward and stabilize yourself, or place them behind your head as demonstrated by Bodybuilding.com.
9. Mountain climbers
Ever notice that mountain climbers are integrated into just about every fitness plan out there? That’s because this CrossFit favorite is a full-body exercise that tackles any and all problem areas. Want to work on your waist? Looking to change up your lower body workout? Need to switch up your cardio regimen? Mountain climbers can do all of the above.
The key to making this exercise the most effective is to keep a constant rhythm. Having a proper base is also good for getting the most work for your muscles. Check out this demo to get an idea of proper form.
Laura Bauer also contributed to this story