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The Best Introduction on How to Make Your Own CrossFit-Style Workouts

These are the different kinds of workouts CrossFit athletes use to train.

Learn how to make your own CrossFit-style workouts with this useful introduction. There are many types of CrossFit workouts, all of which prioritise something different to achieve the desired results.

You might test how much work you can do in a specific amount of time, how much time it takes you to complete a specific amount of work, or how long you can hold on to intensity.

Unlike conventional gym training, CrossFit workouts are usually based on intensity. You won’t do a set number of reps and rest up until you’re ready for your next set; instead, you’ll test your work capacity across multiple disciplines and time domains.

Ben Dziwulski, founder of the popular training program WODPrep, breaks down the components of a CrossFit workout. For simplicity’s sake, he only uses three movements. When you make your own CrossFit-style workouts, there is a wide variety of exercises you can choose from and there are certain principles you should follow to achieve the greatest results.

These are the potential components of a CrossFit workout. The list isn’t comprehensive but should give you a good idea as to where to start if you want to program your own workouts.

How to make your own CrossFit-style workouts?

Different kinds of CrossFit workouts


AMRAP stands for As Many Reps/Rounds As Possible in a given amount of time.

“The purpose of this workout is to get as much work done in a designated time period,” explains Ben.

Example workout:


  • 10 push-ups
  • 20 sit-ups
  • 30 air squats

This simply mean you’ll complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes of the prescribed exercises in the order written.

AMRAPs usually require some pacing and a good strategy, so the intensity stays high throughout the time prescribed. You should feel like you gave it your all at the end of the workout.

For Time

For Time workouts are also high intensity workouts, but their priority is to finish the prescribed work as fast as possible.

“Rather than seeing how much work we can squeeze in into a specific amount of time, you’re actually having a specific amount of work and you have to take as long as you need to complete it,” explains Ben.

Example workout:

5 Rounds For Time:

  • 10 push-ups
  • 20 sit-ups
  • 30 air squats

This workout could take you an indefinite amount of time to complete (unless it had a time cap). “The purpose of a “For Time” workout is to see how quickly can you get a set amount of work done,” says Ben.


EMOM stands for Every Minute On the Minute and these are incredibly versatile workouts.

“That means that every single time you turn over to a new minute you’re supposed to restart the workout,” explains Ben. You can do multiple exercises within one minute or separate the work.

Example workout:

EMOM 15:

  • 5 push-ups
  • 5 sit-ups
  • 5 air squats

To complete this workout, you’ll need to finish all prescribed exercises within one minute and restart the next minute for a total of 15 rounds. You are allowed, and often encouraged, to rest if you finish the prescribed exercises before the end of each minute.

Generally, leaving around 15 seconds of rest is most effective.

Example workout 2:

EMOM 15:

  • Minute 1: 15 push-ups
  • Minute 2: 20 sit-ups
  • Minute 3: 25 air squats

This EMOM workout involves multiple rounds and will have you switching between stations as the minutes go by.

To complete it you’ll start with 15 push-ups on minute number 1, when the second minute rolls around, you’ll complete 20 sit-ups, then perform 25 air squats as minute 3 begins. Repeat the work from the beginning at the stat of minute 4.

“Very simple, but [this EMOM] is a great way to get a little bit more volume in each movement and not waste too much time within the rounds transitioning from movement to movement,” says Ben.

Death By

This type of workout establishes how long you can hold onto an EMOM. You don’t necessarily have to stick to one movement in this workout, it could include more.

Example workout:

Death By:

  • Push-ups

To complete this workout, start with 1 push-up on minute number 1. Minute number two you’ll perform 2 push ups, then increase to 3 push-ups on minute number 3 and so on, until you can’t perform the work inside the minute anymore.

“This is a great way to increase the intensity of an EMOM by forcing yourself to see how long you can mentally and physically hold on to high intensity,” explains Ben.


A chipper workout usually involves a high rep-scheme and is usually for time.

“For a chipper […] I would have a large set of reps that I need to work through before moving on to the next movement, and the next movement, and so on and so forth,” says Ben.

Example workout:

Chipper for time:

  • 300 squats
  • 200 sit-ups
  • 100 push-ups

To perform this workout you have to finish all 300 squats before you move on to the 200 sit-ups and so on.

“These workouts require lots of strategy because you want to make sure you’re not making your sets too big, but ultimately it’s all about ‘can you keep moving?’” says Ben.

If you design a chipper workout, make sure you don’t put too many reps of a high-level movement in.


Interval workouts involve a set amount of work coupled with a set amount of rest. They are similar to EMOM workouts with the exception that rest time is specific.

Example workout:

5 Rounds For Time:

  • 10 push-ups
  • 20 sit-ups
  • 30 air squats

Rest 1:1

To complete this workout you’ll perform the exercises in the prescribed order and then rest for the exact time it took you to complete the round.

“This is a great way to balance your work and your rest,” explains Ben. Rest doesn’t have to be 1:1, but can be double as long as the working time, or half as long, or whatever you want to make it.

Interval workouts can be great for learning how to pace.

For Load

For Load workouts don’t involve any time component and are usually programmed with the intention of training strength.

Example workout:

For Load 3 – 3 – 3 – 3:

  • Front Squat

This simply means there’s four sets of three rounds where you have to perform front squats, with the aim to build up to the biggest amount of weight.

Sometimes the weight in each set might be the same (for example 4 sets of 3 reps at 85% of your 1-rep-max front squat) or you could increase the weight with each set (for example, build up to a 3-rep-max over four sets).

“Ultimately when we’re measuring for load, we’re measuring to see how much weight we can either accumulate in the entire workout or what is the heaviest weight that we can build to with the WOD,” says Ben.

effective bodyweight workouts include handstand push ups, learn how to make your own CrossFit-style workoutsSource: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

Different kinds of workouts

Regardless of the way exercises are arranged, you can refer to workouts based on their components.


A singlet means you only have one movement in the workout.


AMRAP in 7 mintes:

  • Burpees

This workout simply involves performing as many repetitions of burpees as possible in 7 minutes.


A couplet workout is one that involves only two movements.


21-15-9 Reps For Time:

  • Thrusters (95/65 lb)
  • Pull-Ups

To complete this workout you’ll need to perform 21 thrusters followed by 21 pull-ups, then 15 thrusters and 15 pull-ups, and finish with 9 thrusters and 9 pull-ups.


A triplet is a workout composed of three exercises.



  • 6 Squat Cleans (55/30 kg)
  • 12 Pull-Ups
  • 24 Double Unders

Complete as many rounds as possible of the work in the prescribed order in 10 minutes.

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