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The Best Chest Workouts for CrossFit Athletes

Build a better, stronger and more powerful chest in a CrossFit context.

CrossFit is a multi functional sport that uses compounded exercises. As your chest is a large muscle group, it is an part of those compounded exercises. It is important for many upper body exercises such as push ups, dips and almost every overhead movement such as presses and even chin ups.

Therefore a well trained chest will brings you advantages. But the more muscles you build, the slower you may get. And not only slow but immobile. A huge chest will hinder you to pull yourself high enough for a muscle up. Leave this for the Bodybuilders, that is indeed impressive but totally useless for the sport of CrossFit.

We do not train for volume or a harmoniously looking body (well, not primary). We need power, we need speed, we need strength. What we want to achieve are strong and conditioned pectorals and here is how to achieve that:


Why: The bench press is a powerlifting movement to increase upper body brute transverse (horizontal) pressing strength. It’s an accessible movement because it’s easy to learn (not highly complex) and requires minimal and affordable equipment. In the bench press, you primarily build the musculature in your chest, but you also increase strength in your shoulders and triceps. And as you build up your bench press your overhead press (strict press, push press, and jerk) numbers go up.

chest workoutsSource: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

Set-Up: Start with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. Begin the movement with your arms extended and the barbell over your chest. Shoulders are in contact with the bench.

Execution: Brace your core and tighten your glutes. Bring the bar down to your chest with control. The bar touches the bottom of your chest. Your elbows reach toward your hips as you lower the bar. Keep your forearms vertical. To complete the movement, press to full arm extension.

Points of Performance: To get a “good rep,” ensure the following:
– You start and finish with full arm extension
– You touch the barbell to your chest

Pro-Tip: Your feet are the foundation of the bench press. Push your whole foot flat on the floor during the movement to create tension in the lower body. The more tension you can create, the more effective your bench press will be.


As Many Repetitions as Possible in 5 Rounds of:
Max Bench Press (bodyweight)
Max Pull-Ups
Perform As Many Repetitions as Possible (AMRAP), unbroken, of Bench Press. Rest as needed before completing as many Pull-Ups as possible, unbroken. Continue in this manner for 5 rounds.

Score is the total cumulative number of repetitions of Bench Press and Pull-Ups across all 5 rounds of the workout.

Good Scores for “Lynne” (source)
– Beginner: <100 reps

– Intermediate: 125-225 reps

– Advanced: 250-350 reps

– Elite: 400+ reps 2


Multiply weight on the bar by how many reps you did of each movement. You should have one total at the end.


AMRAP in 28 minutes
9 Overhead Squats (115/75 lb)
1 Legless Rope Climb (15 ft rope, from seated position)
12 Bench Presses (115/75 lb)
This is a longer Hero WOD that presents challenging movements and a huge demand on the shoulders. Reduce the loading and pick a challenging modification for the rope climb.

Intermediate Option
Complete as many rounds as possible in 28 minutes of:
9 overhead squats
1 legless rope climb
12 bench presses

Men: 95-lb. OHS and bench, 15-ft. rope
Women: 65-lb. OHS and bench, 15-ft. rope

Beginner Option
Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
9 overhead squats
1 rope climb, lying to standing
12 bench presses

Men: 45-lb. OHS and bench
Women: 35-lb. OHS and bench

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