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7 Exercises to Make You Better at CrossFit

Enhance your CrossFit performance with functional bodybuilding.

Check out 7 exercises that will make you better at CrossFit. And don’t worry, this is not just another WOD for you to do over and over again, but rather movements that you don’t normally do during CrossFit workouts that will transfer skills when you do them.

Few methodologies have captured the collective enthusiasm and dedication of athletes like CrossFit. What began as a revolutionary approach to high-intensity workouts has blossomed into a competitive sport, pushing participants to the limits of their strength and endurance. The CrossFit methodology, rooted in constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity, has cultivated a community of fitness enthusiasts seeking the ultimate challenge.

Over the past two decades, CrossFit has evolved, and with it, the understanding of how to excel in this demanding sport. The prevailing advice has often been straightforward: to get better at CrossFit, just do more CrossFit. However, as athletes have continued to push the boundaries of performance, a nuanced approach has emerged. The intersection of functional bodybuilding and CrossFit has become a focal point for those seeking to optimize their training, emphasizing targeted exercises to enhance specific skills crucial to the sport.

Related: 3 Great WODs for Beginner CrossFit Athletes

master athlete competes in crossfit age group quarterfinals

In this article, we embark on a journey through the intricacies of CrossFit and functional bodybuilding, exploring the symbiotic relationship between the two. As the CrossFit methodology celebrates over two decades of existence and the competitive sport approaches its 15th year, the landscape of training is evolving. It’s not just about doing more; it’s about doing purposefully, understanding the unique demands of the sport, and strategically incorporating movements that go beyond the conventional.

CrossFit, a fusion of strength and conditioning, is a sport unlike any other. Unlike traditional sports where strength and conditioning are supplementary elements, CrossFit is the sport of strength and conditioning itself. This distinctive characteristic has led many to believe that the key to improvement lies solely in a relentless repetition of CrossFit workouts. However, as athletes reach new heights, breaking barriers and setting new records, it becomes evident that there is more to the puzzle.

The question arises: How does one get better at CrossFit in a manner that goes beyond the routine prescription of doing more? The answer lies in the recognition that CrossFit, both as a methodology and a sport, demands a multifaceted approach to training. It is not just about mastering the workouts of the day; it’s about understanding the specific skills required for success in the sport and honing those skills with precision. Marcus Filly believes there are 7 exercises that are not typical of CrossFit WODs, but by doing them, you will get better at CrossFit nonetheless.

Marcus Filly is the creator, founder, and CEO of Functional Bodybuilding. He is a six-time CrossFit Games athlete (2016, 12th fittest) with decades of experience coaching and designing individual and group training programs.

In the following sections, we will delve into the world of functional bodybuilding, a methodology that dissects the intricacies of human physical endeavours. By breaking down movements, contraction types, and training concepts, functional bodybuilding offers a lens through which we can view CrossFit not just as a series of workouts but as a symphony of athletic endeavours. As we explore 7 key movements within the functional bodybuilding repertoire, the goal is clear: to enhance positions, provide the necessary strength, and ultimately improve efficiency in the dynamic arena of CrossFit.

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Unique Upper Body Kettlebell MovesSource: Ivan Samkov / Pexels

7 Exercises to Make You Better at CrossFit

Traditionally, improvement in CrossFit meant doing more of it, but a shift toward targeted and purposeful training is recognized for substantial performance enhancement. Below are 7 exercises Filly believes will upgrade your CrossFit performance next time you try a WOD.

  1. Dumbbell or Kettlebell Prone Row:

To improve chest-to-bar pull-ups, an essential CrossFit movement, the dumbbell or kettlebell prone row is invaluable. This horizontal pull exercise focuses on scapular retraction and strengthens the muscles necessary for efficient chest-to-bar pull-ups. By mimicking the movement pattern and direction of force production, this exercise enhances your capacity within this challenging CrossFit skill.

  1. Cyclist Front Squat:

CrossFit heavily incorporates Olympic weightlifting, requiring proficiency in movements like cleans and snatches. The cyclist front squat emphasizes an upright torso squatting manoeuvre, reinforcing the vertical squat position crucial for successful cleans and snatches. By training in an extreme range with high elbows and knees over toes, this movement enhances your capabilities in the specific squatting style prevalent in CrossFit competitions.

  1. Philly Press:

The Philly press addresses scapular endurance and shoulder range of motion, vital for movements such as handstand push-ups, push press, push jerk, and front rack positions. By combining an isometric kettlebell rack hold with a single-arm dumbbell Arnold press, this exercise offers a potent method to build strength and stability in the shoulders, improving overall efficiency in CrossFit movements.

  1. Rower or Slide Board Pike Up:

This core flexion movement targets toe-to-bar flexibility, closed-chain handstand stability, and strength. With applications in movements like toes-to-bar, handstand push-ups, and burpees, the rower or slide board pike up simultaneously develops strength and flexibility essential for various CrossFit exercises. Emphasizing proper overhead positions for handstands, this movement enhances overall performance.

  1. Banded Deficit Romanian Deadlift:

Hinging exercises, such as deadlifts and kettlebell swings, are prevalent in CrossFit but often criticized for high-repetition demands. The banded deficit Romanian deadlift extends the range of motion, strengthening athletes at vulnerable end ranges and promoting mid-range strength. The use of a band prevents overloading in the lengthened position, allowing for increased training volume without compromising recovery.

  1. Pause Parallette Push-Up:

Addressing the need for shoulder extension training, the pause parallette push-up focuses on building strength and resilience in the lengthened position of the pec and shoulders. This movement targets mid-range and end-range strength, preparing athletes for high-speed kipping dips and burpees while minimizing the risk of injury.

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  1. Side Plank Power Raise:

To combat internal rotation and enhance scapular retraction strength, the side plank power raise provides isometric core training combined with rotator cuff-specific exercises. This drill contributes to lateral stability, addressing imbalances that could lead to back injuries. By strengthening the rhomboid muscles, it supports better chest-to-bar pull-ups and upper-body gymnastics in CrossFit.

weight vest crossfit workouts

CrossFit, with functional bodybuilding, transforms training. Seven movements showcase evolving methodologies, surpassing simplistic “do more CrossFit.” Functional bodybuilding guides with targeted exercises and skills.

Navigating movements like dumbbell/kettlebell prone row, cyclist front squat, and Philly press emphasizes understanding CrossFit’s demands. Challenging success through repetition, a shift to intentional, comprehensive training emerges. CrossFit, with essential strength and conditioning, demands a nuanced strategy for each movement.

Functional bodybuilding provides tools for position enhancement, necessary strength, and CrossFit efficiency. Resilience is key in the high-intensity CrossFit environment.

Not to dissuade from CrossFit but to empower athletes with understanding and strategic mindset. CrossFit, a blend of physicality and fortitude, is a beautiful expression. The marriage of CrossFit and functional bodybuilding, with purposeful movements, extends the challenging arena journey.

Embark on a CrossFit journey intentionally, recognizing proper training transforms it into a fulfilling expression of strength. As fitness evolves, the fusion of CrossFit and functional bodybuilding guides athletes to a harmonious pursuit of excellence.

Watch the video below to see how to perform each exercise correctly and beat your personal record on your next CrossFit WOD.

Read More: 10 Crossfit WODs Under 10 Minutes Each

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