SamBriggs / Josh Bridges
Source: CrossFit Inc

11 Painful CrossFit Workouts and How to Destroy Them!

Pick your next WOD, think about your tactics then crush it!

These are some workouts that I have done and survived, from my favorite coaches in Iceland, Horku-Gísli, Eythór and Danni

12 exercises from hell

  • 1 Snatch 40/25kg
  • 2 Burpees
  • 3 Hang Clean 40/25 kg
  • 4 Box Jumps
  • 5 Front Squat 40/25 kg
  • 6 Toes to Bar
  • 7 Push Press 40/25 kg
  • 8 Over Head Lunges 20/10
  • 9 Back Squat 40/25 kg
  • 10 Wall Balls 30/20 lbs
  • 11 Floor Press 40/25 kg
  • 12 Burpee Box Jump 50cm

In the first round you only do one snatch, then round two you do 2 burpees then one snatch, only in the 12th round you do all the exercises.

So in the beginning it´s very easy, but as soon as you start doing the push press or around that part of the workout it starts to get hard. I thought I would die with the wall balls. Normally  I use the 14 lbs ball, so 20 lbs is unbelievably heavy. I could not do more then one at a time, through the ball as high as I could, then let it crash on the ground, no way I was trying to catch it or even trying to make it hit me in the face.

It took me 45 minutes or so to complete, but I was alone, and  I am that kind of person that need the support and the competition of others, so when I am alone I give myself all the time I need. Also I don´t know how to work the timer in the gym so the time can´t be certain.

I get so competitive during a workout, it´s not always good, but when I have no one to compete with, and no one even knows what I am doing, then I take so many breaks and don´t push myself at all, the only goal I have is to finish the workout, even though it would take me two hours.

I´ve done this set up a couple of times and really recommend trying, it is so satisfying seeing the progress, when you start doing the burpee box jump, you have a lot left still, but in your mind you have already finished, cause you´ve done it all so many times.

The workout circuit that gets longer every time

There are many ways to work with this form. For example

  • Pull-Up
  • Burpee
  • Toes to Bar
  • Push Ups
  • Push Press
  • Sit Up

You start with doing one pull-up, then run over to the other side, do one burpee, run back do one toe to bar and so forth, after you finish this round then you do two of each, then three and see how far you can get in 30 minutes.

But it´s important not to start to fast, because it is so easy to begin with, and in the second have use the run in-between as the rest. I was starting to walk it in the end. Got up to 14 reps. And starting to break up the exercises, could not do some of it unbroken.

My palms got so ripped up after all the bar hanging

It is so easy to get confused in this wod cause you have to think so much, think about how many reps you have to do, and think what exercise is the next one, it is alright to forget that the toes to bar where next and go straight to the push press, if you then do the toes to bar after the next run to pay your debt.

The 3 minute emom

You have 3 minutes to complete it all and then start again.

  • 200 m run
  • 5 burpees
  • 7 push press
  • 9 box jumps

Usually I had a whole minute to rest, or around 50 seconds, but it gets so hard in the end cause it´s 10 rounds. In the end 30 minutes wod. In the first rounds you try to sprint the 200 meters, but the middle ones it seems like this workout is never ending, but the last two or three make you believe in life after workout, which is a hard thing to do sometimes.

I like workouts that include short bits of running in the summer time when its warm to break up the workout, because you can go outside. Every time that there is a choice between running and rowing, I always chose run, that gets you both fresh air and lets you see the meters you have to go, not just the number on a machine.

I think I´ve never done box jumps so fast. If I can get a longer break by working faster, then I really push myself. That also burns more fat, by doing really high intensity work and then break for a short time in between.

The fun side to Cindy

Everybody who does CrossFit knows the girls. Some we like others we really truly hate (like Karen or Kelly). Cindy and Chelsea are really similar, both have

  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 air squats

Cindy is an amrap, while Chealsea in an emom

This workout is neither.

First you work up to a 75% clean and jerk. Then do on clean and jerk, after that one round of Cindy. Then do two reps of clean and jerk and one round of Cindy.

Finally you end your wod with 10 clean and jerks and of course one round of Cindy.

So in total you get 10 rounds of Cindy and 55 clean and jerks, and it will take about 30 minutes and of course your will to live. But it is so much more fun than a 20 minutes of only Cindys (Cindies?)

So this is a pretty long wod as all of the above. So you have to pace yourself. Not go all out in the first rounds when you are still fresh, but keep a steady pace that will make you last for at least 30 minutes.

I had to walk to the pullup bar every time and used that time well, to breath and shake the muscles and make them ready for the next exercise.

The chasing workout

This is my all time worst type of workout. Hate it will my heart. But it really pushes you to go as fast as you can. Because it is a chasing game. If you are slow, then you slow everyone down, so you have to go as fast as you can to keep your lane going.

This works for teams of 3-4, or how many as you like, but then you have to have more exercises on the track. Let´s make up a workout with three people in the track.

  • 200 m row
  • 10 Box Jumps
  • 20 Dead Bugs
  • 20 Overhead Walking Lunges
  • 15 Kettlebell Swing
  • 10 Reverse Burpees
  • 10 Wall Balls

This is not meant to be heavy, but more fast and cardio like. Usually the rounds are established in the beginning. Like the idea is that every member has to finish 5 rounds, or it´s make like an amrap, where you just keep it up for 25-30 minutes.

The first person starts rowing and the next one cannot start until the first one starts box jumping, and the third cannot start rowing until the second one has finished it. It is not allowed to skip ahead of a person, unless they are dying an tell you that they won´t keep up.

So the idea is that you don´t let your teammates down, you try do let the track run smoothly, no one should have to wait for their turn to swing or jump or whatever.

Also if someone on the team realizes that they are dragging people down they can scale the exercise by doing either fewer reps or letting people go in front.

But also if someone on the team is faster than everyone else they can make the weights heavier or do more reps since they would otherwise have to wait.

I really don´t like this chase exercise cause my friends always make me go in first and then I really go all out to let them not get a break, make it a kind of an competition, how much of a gap can I make for me, and can I get my rest if I go fast enough so I get next to the last person, cause I like working fast for a little time and then reward myself with a small break, but in this chase you might not get any break if your teammates don´t let you.

Fight Gone Bad

This is a wod that I´ve done a couple of times and I sincerely hate from the bottom of my heart.

It does not take a long time to finish, it is only 15 minutes of work. But you have to do as many reps as you possibly can. And each rep counts. In the end of your 15 minute that rep count is your grade. The next time you have to do better, have more reps.

Basically the fight gone bad is like this

One minute for every exercise, three rounds

  • Wall balls 14/20 lbs
  • Sumo deadlift high pull 34/25 kg
  • Box jump 50 cm
  • Push press 34/25 kg
  • Row, count the calories.
  • Rest.

This makes me so stressed, will I do more reps now than the last time, will all of the other people get more than me?

So I always burn myself with trying too hard and literally die in the end.

Some guys have it figured out, they just decide a number beforehand, like 25-30 reps for wall balls, and after that they just stop and rest until the next minute. And go on like this, they don´t get as exhausted as me, and often even get higher number, because the exhausted me can´t go on.

Other method is just doing as much as you can, but only for 50 seconds, so they´ll always get 10 sec rest in between.

Everyone has their favorite movements and least favorite. It does not help fgb, in my case, that it has wall balls, that kill me every time, might have something to do with my height. The sumo dead lift high pull is not an exercise that we used to do often with a barbell but with a kettlebell. So this was a struggle for me, but my goal was to do 5 at a time, drop the bar and try to pick it up as soon as I could and do 5 more. Never more than 5 so I wouldn´t kill myself in the second exercise.

Box jump is something that scare me if I have to go fast or too high, so that one minute I just try to keep a steady but rather fast pace, while keeping in mind to hit the right place on top and step down on alternating legs.

The push press is my favorite movement of fgb. My shoulders and upper part is my stronger part. So I try to go all out and to at least 10 at a time, then a little rest cause the body has started to get tired after all that has been going on. This is the one I always get higher number in the next rounds.

As I´ve previously said, rowing is not my favorite, so I usually go too hard in there and almost give up after 40 seconds. Then try to keep some pace, which is not a good one for the next 20 seconds.

After one round I use almost the whole resting minute lying on the floor trying to catch my breath.

2 min on-off

10 rounds

2 minutes on/ 2 minutes off

Start every round with 200 m row then max of the following exercises

  • Wall Balls
  • Box Jumps
  • Sit Ups
  • Double Unders
  • Burpees
  • Wall Balls
  • Box Jump Over
  • Sit Ups
  • Double Unders
  • Burpee Box Jump

This one did not sound fun for me. Then we started in pairs, so one working for the two minutes and then the other one. I am really not a fan of the rowing machine, but half of the class was off while their partner was working so they were cheering us on and that made me row so fast and then go straight to the exercise. Cheering gets so further when your feeling down about rowing. So it turned out to be a workout to remember cause it was so fun with the group cheering you on, an then you cheering them on.

This is actually my worst nightmare, but definitely better when the box is not made of sharp wood.

And I really wanted to use as much time as I could off the rower, and 2 minutes go by so fast when you are resting, but when you are doing the wall balls, the time seems to stand still, and make you squeeze out at least 5 more, then check the clock again, and of course only 8 seconds gone by, not 25 as you wanted.

As I´ve said earlier, I don´t like high intensity for a long time so 2-3 minutes all out is perfect for me. I could´ve done 5 more rounds, because you are always fresh after 2 minutes off, to work like a maniac for other 2 minutes.

Who doesn´t love a good chipper

Buy in and buy out 800 m run

  • 50 bench press
  • 200 m farmers walk
  • 50 back extension with a pvc pipe
  • 200 m sprint
  • 50 knees to chest
  • 200 m overhead walk / run
  • 50 dips
  • 200 m sprint
  • 50 kettlebell one arm bent over row 25/25 each arm
  • 200 m overhead walk /run
  • 50 lemon squeezes
  • 200 m sprint
  • 50 kettlebell swing
  • 200 m farmers walk
  • 50 hip thrusters

This one is great cause it breaks it up, one exercise and then go out for 200 m, and this chipper is not that strict, it is allowed to do in any order you feel like, but always go out for 200 m in between.

Also you chose the weight, if you go for heavier it takes a bit longer. Some of these exercises are done really quick while other take all the time in the world, I could see some of the fastest guys come in after their last 200 m and do a whole set of 50 and go back out while still be struggling with the dips or knees to chest.

Because it is allowed to brake up the order, I got confused with what was left. Kept reading the board to see what I had done and what was left and trying to see what was good to pair and what would be bad to pair.

All the farmers walks and overhead walks took all the willpower that I had in me to finish. It never looked like a long distance, and it isn´t, but I had to put the weights down couple of times, but rushed them back up if I could see the others getting closer.

500kg/1103lbs frame carry

A post shared by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (@thorbjornsson) on

My problem is that I tend to forget looking at the clock and not jot down my time to remember. The only time I do is when it is a benchmark workout, but still I forget it sometimes. It is not good, if you write down your time in every workout and what weights you can lift, put in the PR´s at least. Then it is so much easier to see the progress, still I forget it while I´m in the gym and working hard none of that comes to mind. I tend to remember it later when I´m not close to the gym or my notebook I bought only for these information.

The amraps session

Work for 5 minutes at a time then pause for 80 seconds

  • 1 round: 200 m row and 10 sit ups
  • 2 round: 20 walking lunges and 10 bicep curls
  • 3 round: 10 ball slams, 10 ball toe touches and 10 ball jump over
  • 4 round: 10 goblet squats and 20 mountain climbers
  • 5 round: 10 bent over row, 10 push press and 10 hip crunches

These amraps really work up a sweat if you want, but if you feel lazy you can take it slow and heavy.

The point is to get in as many rounds as you can in these mere 5 minutes. I usually start in round 2 or 3 and end my workout with the row, that is if I get a say, which is of course not always. I feel like I have more ambition for the rowing when it is only 200 m at a time and then brake it up by getting of the machine and doing 10 sit ups, and I must admit that sometimes I cheat by doing 15 or even 20 sit ups so I get less rowing time.

Because it is never more then 10-20 reps it is always easy to finish that part and then next part is easy as well so it runs smoothly. You never fatigue yourself too much, just keep it up for little 5 minutes then get ready for the next round. It takes a bit time sometimes if you have to choose weights or find a empty spot or machine. Use the transition time as well as you can.

This is a kind of workout that is good to use as a recovery from a hard wod, just use light weights and think of it as active rest to do the next day. It is only 25 minutes of work.  It is high intensity interval training or hiit and good to do from time to time to burn some extra calories for Christmas, to fit in the dress as we say in Iceland.

The workout that killed me

It is short description but not a short workout

  • 30 man makers 20/12.5 dumbbells
  • 5 power cleans 60/40 every minute

So when the clocks rings you start doing 5 power cleans then start the man makers and when the minute sets in, do 5 more power cleans before continuing with the fun man-makers.

The power cleans take so much time, the first  two rounds I did them unbroken. Then started to drop the bar in between reps. I only managed to do around 5 man makers every minute, some minutes I didn´t even do one man maker, then straight to the cleans again.

If there is one total body exercise that I would recommend doing it’s ‘man makers’ ? They are so effective, get your heart rate up and get you fit ??? Here are two versions *video sped up*: 1️⃣Lighter weight version: Begin holding weights in the push-up position, do a renegade row, jump up,do a bicep curl then shoulder press and come back down to the push-up position. 2️⃣Heavier weight version: Begin holding weights in the push-up position, do a renegade row, jump up and swing the weights to your shoulders, then squat down and press and come back down to the beginning position. . Next time you do a full body workout try doing 3-4 sets of 10 man makers in-between other weightlifting sets or in-between interval sprints ???

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Later I learned that if I didn´t do any man maker, I could skip the clean the next minute, cause I should not to 10 cleans in a row. Also I must confess that twice I rested for a whole minute. The clock rang for the cleans and I stood up to clean but then just sat down for the whole minute. The two minutes were not in a row.

The time cap was 20 minutes, and I did not get that, but I still finished my man makers by minute 21. Probably owing about 10 cleans at least.

After this workout I could not stand or talk, just lay on the floor of the box for a couple of minutes.

I actually like both of these exercises but I must have been tired that day, but it totally wore me down.

With exercises that have a high number of reps, it is essential to plan ahead. Maybe the plan will fail cause your body is too tired that day, or perhaps your body is totally up for it and exceeds the original plan.

Each man maker takes a bit of time, so my goal was to do 5 in each power clean frame, but failed hard.

Ragnheidur Sara´s favorite (and mine)

The workout arrangement with the reps of 21-15-9 is always fun, never too long.

One of my favorite combination for this type of workout I did recently.

  • Bodyweight Deadlift
  • Box jumps
  • Handstand pushups

The box jumps are the rest. Handstand pushups are the fun part and the deadlift the heavy one. The time cap we got was 15 minutes.

Before we started I thought I wouldn´t be able to finish on time. But I finished with a big smile with at least 2 minutes to spare, as I´ve said, I often fail to look at the clock.

For some exercises 21 is a high number of reps. If the weight is heavy I go for fewer reps at a time and shorter brakes instead. For the first 21 I either use 11-10 or 8-7-6. Or even use the multiplication table and do 7-7-7, then 5-5-5 with the 15 or the better version 8-7 and end with 3-3-3 or 5-4.

But often I do the last round of 9 unbroken. Cause after you´ve already done 36 reps, 9 more aren´t that bad.

Even though I have theses numbers prepared in my head before I start, they don´t control how I break. That is just if the weight is too heavy to proceed. But I still think of the number in my head and use it to count, like I start with one box jump, then count up to 8, then the next jump I don’t say 9, but 7. So after I´ve counted the half way up, I start counting down.

Even though I am fond of the handstand push up, I do not excel at it, I keep falling down. I go in with my number plan but then fall down in the middle of my counting. So movements like that don’t fit very well in with exercises that you often have a no rep in, but can use as a guideline of how far you have come.

I really like the more complex movements as the handstand push ups and muscle ups, that are body weight but still harder than the usual air squat or sit ups.

12 Days of Christmas Workout from Josh Bridges