My Favorite (and Least Favorite) CrossFit Movements

I’ve been writing about my CrossFit journey recently, and I just wanted to share a bit more about the specific movements that are common in CrossFit workouts. There are a few skill-based workouts like muscle-ups and pistol squats that frustrate me right now, but once I nail the movements I may like them. These are the movements I love to see in a workout, followed by the movements I dread.

My Favorite CrossFit Movements

My favorite movements are either those that I excel at, or that I just enjoy doing (even if I’m not great at them).

Rowing: Rowing is a pretty simple movement, but coming into CrossFit I had a few issues with my form. After a couple classes, I fixed my form and instantly loved any workout with rowing in it. I’m pretty strong in most cardio movements, like rowing, running, and biking.

Toes-To-Bar: Toes to bar sucked for awhile, when I just couldn’t seem to string reps together. After a coach at the gym gave me a cue to “shoot my legs down and back” I was able to maintain momentum for multiple reps. Now I can string together 10 kipping reps consistently, and I actually enjoy the movement.

Double Unders: Double under were another movement I struggled with for quite awhile. Whenever double under were prescribed in a workout, I would substitute single unders. Now I’m pretty comfortable with them and I enjoy doing them in workouts and on their own.

Clean and Jerk: I took a weightlifting class in high school and we learned how to clean and jerk. I remember the kid who demonstrated the movement did a perfect clean and split jerk. He caught the bar at the bottom of a deep squat and I was so impressed. Working on my clean and jerk this past year has been fun. I recently got a PR of 195 pounds — although I’m still working towards my goal of 225.

Deadlifts: Deadlifts are simple: pick up a loaded bar and set it down. I’ve been deadlifting for years, but I had hit a plateau. I was stuck at 300 pounds and couldn’t get past it. However this past year at CrossFit I was able to improve my one rep max to 350 pounds.

My Least Favorite CrossFit Movements

My least favorite movements are movements that I haven’t nailed yet, or that I find incredibly difficult.

Box Jump Overs: Box jump overs suck because they are hard (as if other CrossFit movements aren’t). If you make these burpee box jump overs, they are WAY worse. These just tend to be in the middle of workouts that are already hard, and then these proceed to keep my heart rate through the roof.

Snatch: I’m not terrible at the snatch, but I just need to work on this movement a lot more to really nail it. I just haven’t found consistency in the snatch positions yet. I can get the bar up through the first couple pulls, but struggle to catch the bar in a balanced, comfortable position. I don’t like metcons that include snatch, because of the technical nature of the movement (and the potential for injury).

Devil’s Press: Devil’s press is BRUTAL! It’s basically a burpee with dumbbells followed by a dumbbell snatch. Workouts with devil’s press are always hard. Even if it’s just 6-8 reps per round of devil’s press they consistently kick my ass.

Strict Press: Maybe I just struggle with pressing movements in general (bench press, shoulder press, etc.), but strict press is a tough one for me. I feel like over the past year I’ve made very little progress in improving my strength in the strict press. I can do 3-5 reps of 125 pounds for example, but as soon as I jump up in weight I struggle to even get the bar off of my shoulders. According to these strength standards, most of my lifts fall into the “Intermediate” category, but my strict press falls closer to the “novice”. One of my goals for this year will be to improve my strict press.

Pistol Squats: Last, but certainly not my least hated workout: pistols. I struggle with single leg movements like pistols, box step ups and lunges. My right leg is weaker than my left and these movements really punish me for that. This really just means I need to do more of these movements — and I’m going to work on these going forward. We did a workout with pistol squats last week and I did them with a box, so I didn’t have to sit all the way down. As I fatigued, I could hardly complete a single rep with my right leg.


Do you have any tips for me on improving my least favorite movements? Which movements are your favorite and least favorite? Let me know on Twitter.

Published by stewofkc

I write stuff in Kansas City.

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