CrossFit for Bodybuilders: 5 WODs Every Lifter Needs to Try
In certain bodybuilding circles, there are some words you simply don’t use. And CrossFit is one of them—right? Actually, a large and growing number of bodybuilders are more exhausted with beefing with CrossFit than they are with CrossFit itself. And honestly, it’s very hard not to respect what athletes like Mat Fraser and Tia-Clair Toomey are capable of.
And let’s face it: While there are plenty of things that happen in a box that no bodybuilder is up for, there are a number of WODs (Workout of the Day) that are that special bad kind of fun that every diehard lifter can dig in and enjoy.
Ready to bury the hatchet? Do it by giving these five popular WODs a try. They all bridge the divide between aesthetics and functionality, and honestly, may actually help with your gains.
Lynne: Bench Press and Pull-ups
Is this a CrossFit workout for bodybuilders, or a bodybuilding workout for CrossFitters? You actually might have heard of a routine like this one in the bodybuilding universe. Arnold Schwarzenegger had a tendency to superset chest and back a lot in his favorite golden-age muscle-building workouts, and these two exercises were his favorites.
This workout isn’t meant to be a sprint. If you need a few breaths and to sip on some BCAAs between rounds, go for it!
How to use it: Lynne is perfect as a kickoff to an intense chest and back session. Or you can keep it in your arsenal of quick, muscle-building workouts when you’re low on time.
Going for big reps on bench? Press heavier, more safely, by wrapping your wrists.
Grace: Clean and Jerks
I know what you’re thinking: “Clean and jerks? For a bodybuilder?” Rest assured, the “jerk” part of this workout has always been generously defined. Clean and presses or push-presses are just fine.
Heck, when Bodybuilding.com athlete Laurence Ballenger did Grace as part of the Brute Showdown competition, he basically did upright rows and push-presses. So, do what you can, as long as it’s safe.
How to use it: Grace is a classic “end in a heap on the floor” workout. It can be your cardio or conditioning workout, or a one-stop shoulder workout in a pinch. Hitting it with the recommended weights? Consider taking a stim-free pre-workout to help you manage fatigue through all that lactate.
Running Sandwich: Sprints and Body Weight
Running on a treadmill for long periods of time is brutally boring, even if you’re listening to an amazing podcast. Instead, give yourself this full-body cardio challenge—you can still listen to the podcast over the sound of your heavy breathing and swearing!
You’ll start with a hard quarter-mile or 400-meter run, either outside or in the gym, then perform the four exercises in the order listed. Cap it off with an additional run at the end—hence the “sandwich.” Record your time and try to beat it in the future. Seriously push it for that quarter mile!
How to use it: Do this WOD in place of cardio, as a full-body workout, or as a killer finisher after hitting upper body.
Squat and Sprint WOD
This workout isn’t as famous as the others on this list, maybe because those who have performed it don’t remember it particularly fondly. Put another way, revisiting your most recent meal is a distinct possibility, so have a bucket handy.
The workout is simplicity itself: 10 rounds of squats in a descending rep scheme, each alternated with a 100-meter sprint. Use the recommended weight as a guideline, but don’t be afraid to go lighter! Once you rack the weight, either sprint out of the garage, hop on the closest treadmill, or hit the length of a basketball court down and back.
How to Use It: This is a special occasion, “let’s enjoy the good type of pain” type of workout to do with a friend. You can warn them beforehand, or just surprise them.
Testing your limits on a squat WOD? A nylon lifting belt can give you extra support while remaining flexible and comfortable to get in and out of.
10 for 10 WOD: Swings, Box Jumps, Dips
This workout combines explosive leg work with upper-body strength exercises, making it a great full-body workout to do anytime. All it takes is 10 minutes, but you’ll be gasping for air—and burning calories—for a while longer.
Choose a kettlebell that you know you can swing for 15-20 reps, and opt for a plyo box or bench between 12-20 inches high. Too low is better than too high! If you don’t have rings, use parallel bars or a bench.
How to Use It: This is a perfect quick HIIT sesh or a full-body workout in a pinch. If you like the AMRAP format, substitute any three non-competing strength-building exercises. Just make sure you hit at least two different muscle groups so you can push hard without having to take a rest.
Your home gym needs a kettlebell—or more specifically, two: one heavy one to swing, and a lighter one to press and row.