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How to get Faster at CrossFit Workouts – Useful Skills every Athlete Should Use

Learn how to speed up your WOD times.

When it comes to getting faster at CrossFit Workouts, obviously fitness (in all its forms) is the most important factor.

The fitter you are, the quicker you will be able to complete the workout. But, if you want to be intelligent about the way you compete and give yourself every possible advantage in workouts and competition, read on…

How to get Faster at CrossFit Workouts

There are many other areas that you can optimise within CrossFit that will help you.

This article will provide you with tips and tricks that you can add into your workouts in order to speed up everything else about every new WOD you face, improve your times and make you a more competitive athlete.

Plan your Transitions and Organise your Equipment Set Up Properly

These are small tips that can make a huge difference.

Prior to starting the workout, think about how to plan your transitions in the most optimal way.

How can you limit the amount of unnecessary movement, how can you shave valuable milliseconds off your overall time? Place the objects, weights, machines etc in ways that make transitions easy and quick.

Think about the best place to place your chalk, waterbottle etc. You don’t want to have to walk 5 metres off to the side every time you need to chalk up or take a drink.

Think about which direction you will face when you lift or go to work on the pull up bar. Can you move directly into the first rep without spinning round awkwardly for example?

If the workout involves pistols, walk directly to where you will do them and step straight into the first rep. Stepping into a pistol makes it easier so you will save energy on the first rep. 

Faster at CrossFit Workouts – Tips for specific pieces of equipment

Place your jump rope already set out on the floor so that you can step into the right position, pick it up and go straight away.

Before the workout begins, place the pedals of the assault bike in the right place so that you can step directly onto the pedal as you get onto the bike. You can use the stepping motion to get the pedal turning and save a little energy once you are seated and ready to go (as the flywheel will already be turning).

Write down your Strategy

I have watched Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr, Thuri Helgadottir and Annie Thorisdottir all do this during CrossFit Regionals and the CrossFit Games. They simply take a pen and write down their strategy on their own skin.

Whether this was the split times they wanted to hit, or numbers they would lift during a CrossFit Total event, each athlete only had to look at their arm or hand to know whether they needed to speed up or slow down during a workout, or by how much to adjust the weight on the bar for their next lift.

So how is this useful?

This technique removes any mental energy from in workout calculations.

You don’t need to think about how much weight you need to add to the bar. You don’t need to worry whether your pace is wrong, too fast or too slow. You can use that extra focus to concentrate on the next rep you need to complete instead.

It forces you to stick to your plan.

It reduces the influence of other athlete’s performances on your own during a workout. It reminds you constantly to concentrate on your own pace, unimpacted by those around you.

Try it. Ask your coach to help you pace the next workout then write down what times you need to hit each round and see what happens.

Rest more Effectively and Deliberately

It seems like an oxymoron to say you need to rest better to get faster at CrossFit workouts, but check out this great advice from Misfit Athletics.

“Each and every workout, we play this game without giving it much thought. We complete a set of one movement and just stroll to the next. In the midst of a workout, we typically use this moment between two movements as a rest period or a chance to take a couple extra deep breaths.

Faster at CrossFit WorkoutsSource: Bjarni Sigurðsson

Most of us just assume that’s the only place to gather yourself and find the will to press on. But is that always the right thing to do? What other ways can we approach this little gap of time and space between workstations, and where can we benefit?

Understanding that CrossFit is typically a race against the clock during a testing phase or competition gives us the idea that rushing everything will lead to the best result. That’s not always the case.

We know that our power output diminishes over time, and will not replenish without “rest”. In the simplest terms, we have maximal power available for a few seconds, moderate power available for around 60 seconds, and once tanks are empty our “steady-slow” motor is just getting up to speed.

If we have a mixed modality workout (weightlifting, and/or gymnastics, and/or monostructural work), it can be assumed that we need a mix of strength, skill, and endurance to some degree.

It’s also fair to assume that we’ll be drawing energy from all available sources once we are a couple minutes in.

At a certain point, rest will be required, there is no way around it. One way to use our transition from movement to movement is as a deliberate rest station.

This doesn’t mean we take a set number of minutes off from work necessarily, it means we use the time of travel from one station to the next with the purpose of focusing on our breathing in hopes of adding more fuel to the tank.

The deliberate rest has two major purposes: First, it can allow us to slow our heart rate closer to something more sustainable. Second, it gives us a brief moment of self-assessment.

The self-assessment allows the more experienced among us to make fast decisions on how to attack our next set or round based on how we feel (Ex: Did we come out too hot? Are our shoulders fried? Should we break up the next movement earlier than previously planned?).

Deliberate rest can help us recharge and refocus mid-WOD to improve upon a line we have taken that may not be optimal for our results.”

The final two tips will help you to get faster and progress over longer periods of time. They are from Sara Sigmundsdottir and Craig Richey.

Work on Strict Movements, Even When You Could Use Kipping Movements

This tip is from Sara Sigmundsdottir. When a WOD calls for AMRAP or a move that can be done using kipping, you use the strict form instead.

For example, if the WOD calls for AMRAP pull-ups for time, most people would use kipping pull-ups because it is easier to bang out a ton of kipping pull-ups but the same amount of strict pull-ups is much harder.

Sara says strict form movements build strength, control and power and cannot be faked. If you want to get better at CrossFit, try using the strict form of moves, even if the WOD does not require the strict form.

3 Underused Exercises that Significantly Improve Performance for CrossFit Athletes

Incorporate these Three Exercises into Your Routines

This next tip comes from TeamRICHEY, who says these three exercises will help improve your CrossFit performance and that you should add them to your workout because they are not often done during WODs, but can support other CrossFit movements.

One arm dumbbell Row

The one arm dumbbell row involved horizontal pulling movement which compliments and contrasts to push-ups and overhead movements.

This movement builds upper back strength that can reduce risk of injury from all the shoulder to overhead moves in CrossFit.

Front Rack One Legged Bulgarian Split Squat


It builds strength and flexibility in the hip flexors, an area many athletes are tight, especially those of us who sit at a desk all day.

This squat also massively works stabilizing muscles, especially hip and knee stability, because it is done using just one leg at a time, unlike traditional squats done on two legs.

One arm overhead Kettlebell press

This move, unlike a barbell overhead press, forces you to really activate your core and use your shoulder muscles.

You cannot compensate with the other arm or use the bar for stabilisation. This move forces you to focus on your lifting form.

If you do not have time to do these exercises at your local box, maybe you should consider setting up a small CrossFit gym in your house.

So there you have it, try adding these tips and tricks into your WODs and optimise your efficiency and intelligence as a competitive athlete.

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