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Crossfit For The Unfit

By Edited Dec 23, 2015 0 1

Crossfit is one of the fastest growing strength and conditioning system available. It is used by military, police and fire departments world wide. For an average person the crossfit movies and achievements could be very inspiring, but for unfit persons it is sometimes impossible to even complete av WOD (Workout Of the Day).

So, how does the unfit start doing

Things You Will Need

Getting started

If you are motivated to start a new strength and conditional system I would really recommend crossfit.

It is really fun and the variations are endless. There exists a lot of affiliates out there, if you have some locally you might look at that one first. For me, living far away from any
crossfit-gym, I do the exercises in my regular gym.

So start by finding an affiliate that fits you, or start with main-site

Step 1

How often should you train?

The official program uses 3 days on, one day off. Meaning you train 3 days in a row, rest one day and go at it again. If this doesn't fit you, adjust it to what works for you. For me, doing it Monday, Wednesday, Friday is enough. Resting the weekend and go at it again the following week. I've started adding extra WOD:s when I feel I can manage it. Don't overdo it if you are unfit!


Many people starting doing Crossfit never scale the exercises or change them according to their experience. Some of them get hurt badly and have to stop. Many of the exercises are olympic lifts which are very complicated. There exist a lot of videos on crossfit.com or YouTube describing how these should be performed. Gather as much information as you can. Unless you are confident how they should be performed scale them down and/or raise the number of repetitions.


For a regular person it is often very hard to complete a WOD without scaling the exercises. A regular WOD should be completed in a pretty short period of time. If you can't complete it you have to scale it. For example, a WOD that would take you 40 minutes to complete should be scaled down. Even during the WOD(less repetitions or less weight), if you find it too hard, scale it! A regular WOD should be completed within 10-20 minutes, exceptions exist, and if you are fit you might complete them a lot faster than that.

Step 2

Example of WOD:s

"The Seven" (You need to scale this wod or skip it totally)

Seven rounds for time of:
7 Handstand push-ups
135 pound Thruster, 7 reps
7 Knees to elbows
245 pound Deadlift, 7 reps
7 Burpees
7 Kettlebell swings, 2 pood
7 Pull-ups

Shoulder Press 5-5-5-5-5 reps (No need to scale this one, do it with very light weight)
Your supposed to do 5 sets and 5 repetions each round. This WOD is not timed, most are.

"Fran" (Scale it! Lower weight on thrusters and do jumping pullups)

Three rounds, 21-15- and 9 reps, for time of:
95 pound Thruster

This WOD you lower the number of repetitions each round, first round is 21, next 15 and last round 9 repetitions.


Handstand push-ups -> Regular pushups or legs resting above ground
Push-ups -> Push-ups on knees
Pull-ups -> Jumping pull-ups or ring pull-ups with legs on floor. (Crossfit uses kipping pullups)
Rowing -> Sumo Deadlift High Pull
It's often possible to find substitutions if you google it. So don't be afraid do change the WOD to fit your condition.

Today's WOD is too hard!

I usually keep a number of WOD:s saved for a "better day". If you don't work out as often as WOD:s are posted, you will have a selection to choose from for your training day. Pick and choose from these and discard the ones that are too hard (or impossible) to complete. As you get fitter you may start completing more and more WOD:s.

I also keep a number of affiliates bookmarked, if I can't find a suitable WOD at one site I'll check out the next.
As long as you are not afraid to try, Crossfit is a great way to exercise and more fun than any other form of exercise I've tried so far. Each WOD is often very short which makes it less time consuming than alternatives. You push as hard as you can for a shorter time period.

Scale down all WOD:s as much as you need. As long as you complete them you will make progress!

Tips & Warnings

For more background information please visit crossfit.com


Sep 26, 2011 12:16pm
Great advice. The most important part is to start where you are comfortable. Remember: if you work hard to make progress each day you'll eventually get through the whole workout. As the author says, scaling is totally acceptable. You can even do the workouts at home with the right gear:

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