This 15-Minute CrossFit Workout for Beginners Works Every Major Muscle Group

Beginner CrossFit exercises include lunges and squats with dumbbells.
Image Credit: Israel Sebastian/Moment/GettyImages

If you've ever peered through the garage doors of a CrossFit box but were too intimidated to set foot inside, CrossFit coach Ty Rendlich-Texidor, ATC, CL1, founder of ĒVO Training Collective, has a message for you.


"You can do this," she says.


Since its founding in 2000, CrossFit has gained visibility (and an arguably cult-like following) thanks in part to the CrossFit Games, a televised competition featuring elite athletes walking on their hands, deadlifting three times their body weight and scurrying up ropes using just their arms.

But Rendlich-Texidor promises that what you see on TV isn't representative of the typical hour-long workout, which combines elements of HIIT, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics and endurance training.

"There are 98-year-olds that do CrossFit," she says, emphasizing that every movement and workout can be scaled and modified according to each individual's abilities and level of fitness. "That's one of the things I try to get across. You're not doing 'Susie's CrossFit,' you're doing ‌your‌ CrossFit. Do the stuff that you want to do — that you ‌can‌ do — in the way you want to do it," Rendlich-Texidor says.


Another misconception is that you need a warehouse full of barbells, kettlebells, weight plates, sleds and sandbags to do a CrossFit WOD (workout of the day). In fact, many CrossFit workouts— like the one below — can be done at home with minimal equipment.

Programmed by Rendlich-Texidor, this 15-minute workout is appropriate for athletes of all levels, including beginners. The first section, a 5-minute tempo goblet squat EMOM (every minute on the minute), is intended to build strength while reinforcing proper squat form and mechanics.


The following 8-minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) includes four foundational lifts that, when performed together, work every major muscle group while elevating your heart rate.

A 15-Minute CrossFit Workout

To do this workout, you'll need a set of medium-weight dumbbells and a timer (your phone's clock app will work). During the first 5-minute EMOM, stick to the tempo and focus on your form. For the 8-minute WOD, pick up your pace but prioritize proper form and high-quality reps over speed.



Part 1: 5-Minute Tempo Goblet Squat EMOM

Set your timer for 5 minutes. At the start of each minute, perform five tempo goblet squats. When you've completed your five reps, rest for the remainder of the minute. Then start again at the next minute. Repeat this sequence until the 5 minutes are up.

Activity CrossFit
Region Full Body
  1. Hold a dumbbell against your chest with both hands. Place your palms under the weight at one end rather than holding the handle.
  2. Stand with feet hip-to-shoulder-width apart. Experiment to find the stance that’s most comfortable for you.
  3. Keeping your chest up and core engaged, take 1 second to sit your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat. Your knees should track over your toes.
  4. Aim to squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor (or as close to parallel as you can comfortably go).
  5. Hold the squat for 5 seconds.
  6. Keeping the weight in your heels, take 1 second to straighten your knees and drive through your hips to return to the starting position.

After the 5 minutes are up, rest for 2 minutes before going into part 2 of the workout below.

Part 2: 8-Minute Full-Body Dumbbell AMRAP

Perform the following exercises for the number of reps indicated. Complete as many rounds and reps as you can in 8 minutes.


1. Dumbbell Front Squat

Reps 8
Region Full Body
  1. Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart and hold the dumbbells up high on your shoulders in a racked position with your elbows slightly ahead of your shoulders.
  2. Keeping your chest up and core engaged, sit your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat. Your knees should track over your toes.
  3. Aim to squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor (or as close to parallel as you can comfortably go).
  4. Keeping the weight in your heels, straighten your knees and drive through your hips to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 8 reps.

2. Dumbbell Power Clean

Reps 8
Region Full Body
  1. Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Keeping your back flat, hinge at your hips, bend your knees and, with straight arms, lower the dumbbells to about an inch above the floor.
  3. Thrust your hips forward and drive your feet into the floor. As you return to standing, use your momentum to draw the dumbbells up to your shoulders.
  4. Immediately move into the next rep. Don't allow your upper or lower back to round out as you come back down toward the floor.
  5. Repeat for 8 reps.

3. Dumbbell Push Press

Reps 8
Region Full Body
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the dumbbells at your shoulders in a racked position with your elbows slightly ahead of your shoulders.
  2. Keeping your torso upright, bend your knees slightly and quickly return to standing, using the momentum to straighten your arms and push the dumbbells directly overhead.
  3. Lower the dumbbells back to your shoulders with control and immediately begin the next rep.
  4. Repeat for 8 reps.

4. Alternating Dumbbell Reverse Lunge

Reps 8
Region Core and Lower Body
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms at your sides.
  2. Take a big step backward with your left foot. Bend your right knee about 90 degrees as you lower your left knee toward the ground.
  3. Lightly tap your back knee to the ground on each rep while not allowing your upper back to round out. Make sure your right knee is in line with your right toes.
  4. Pushing through your right foot, bring your left foot forward to return to standing.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.
  6. Continue alternating for 8 reps.

Benefits of CrossFit

Like most fitness programs, CrossFit may help you improve your heart health, overall strength and body composition. But it also offers a few unique benefits.


1. Variety

CrossFit uses a "constantly varied" approach to training. From one workout to the next, you can expect to train different muscle groups, switch up your movements and use a wide variety of equipment. The goal, Rendlich-Texidor explains, is to become a well-rounded athlete.

"Instead of just being a distance runner but not lifting very heavy, or lifting heavy but not establishing any running, or never doing pull-ups or high-intensity exercise, you want to be kind of good at a whole lot of different domains," she says.


2. Built-In Motivation

"The environment within a CrossFit gym is unlike anywhere else," Rendlich-Texidor says. Most CrossFit coaches emphasize camaraderie and community-building as much as they do constant improvement. So even if your intrinsic motivation is running low, you can expect a boost from your fellow athletes.


"There's a sense of everybody in there just striving to make themselves better," Rendlich-Texidor says.

3. Measurable Progress

Even if you don't belong to a gym or are doing most of your workouts on your own, you can still tap into that culture of self-improvement by tracking your workouts. Most CrossFit programming revisits benchmark workouts, allowing you to see if you've gained new skills or gotten faster or stronger. But the key is to record the details of each workout.

"Log the weight you lift, log how you felt, how long it took you, and then keep up with your training and go back and do the same workout in a month, in three months, in six months. See how much better you got. That right there is motivating enough," Rendlich-Texidor says.

4. Anti-Boredom

"For me, CrossFit eliminates the boredom that sometimes comes with repetitive training," Rendlich-Texidor says.

One day, you may be working on heavy deadlifts, and the next workout is mostly body-weight and gymnastic movements. So, if you're in an exercise rut or have a short attention span, CrossFit may keep your head in the game.

5. Functional Training

CrossFit helps develop full-body strength, proprioception (body awareness), endurance, coordination, power and speed — all of which come in handy in everyday life outside the gym.

"It really prepares you to do a broad range of things," Rendlich-Texidor says. "So if your kid has a 5K at school, you can be like, 'Sure, I can do that with you.' Or if someone wants you to go on a difficult hike or you need to help somebody move, you're prepared to do that. I just love the way CrossFit training allows you to feel confident and comfortable."

6. Accessibility

Every exercise in a CrossFit workout can be modified according to an individual's ability and fitness level. For example, if you're not yet able to do pull-ups, you can opt for an assisted variation using a box or resistance band, or you can substitute an entirely different movement that targets the same muscle groups.

The same goes for weight. Most workouts include a recommended weight or weight range, but athletes are always welcome to go lighter (or heavier).

And even though CrossFit workouts use various types of equipment, many workouts can be done using just your body weight. So, if you don't have access to a facility, the space or budget for equipment, or time to commute back and forth to a gym, you can still participate in CrossFit.



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