The best CrossFit endurance workout won’t just improve your cardiovascular fitness. It will also keep your system from getting overtaxed.
Sure, technically you could be training endurance with any modality in CrossFit. But if you try using strength training to increase your heart and lung strength, you’ll wind up doing so many reps that you’ll pay for it tomorrow.
Some parameters to include in a CF Cardio WOD include:
Time length of at least 15 minutes
Time length maximum of 35 to 40 minutes
Aerobic exercises like running, rowing, biking and swimming.
Movements that you’re unlikely to reach muscular failure from-KB swings, box jumps/step ups, double unders, etc.
Basically, steady and consistent is the key.
10 Best CrossFit Cardio Workouts for Endurance
From unique twists on classic CrossFit workouts and Hero WODS, to a few home-brewed cardio challenges for the endurance athlete in your life, these 10 workouts will help you develop your cardiovascular fitness.
Some of them you can perform right at home without a CrossFit gym. Good luck!
1. Step up “Kelly”
5 rounds for time:
30 box step ups (24/20)
30 wall ball shots
How to perform: Setup your box next to the wall you’ll be performing wallball shots on to save time. Use the run as a ‘recovery’ to get your legs back for step ups.
If you’re super advanced, you can just do Kelly (RX = box jumps). But for most people, 150 box jumps is enough to fry their legs and flow them down.
2. “Griff” Challenge WOD
400m run (backwards)
400m run (backwards)
Perform 15 burpees after each run (60 total).
How to perform: A killer (and somewhat awkward)CrossFit workout made more difficult with burpees. Each time you complete a chunk (whether 800m or 400m backwards), perform 15 burpees before you run again. Start with a run, end with burpees. Good luck! (P.S. Whitten is another great endurance Hero WOD.)
3. Row/KB Swings/Double Unders
15 kettlebell swings (53/35lbs)
30 double unders
How to perform: Three classic CrossFit WOD endurance movements. Move through each exercise swiftly but without letting your heart rate skyrocket before minute 12-otherwise you’ll crap out in the later rounds. This is a good active recovery WOD when performed at 80-percent intensity.
4. Death by Burpees
Perform 1 burpee on minute 1, 2 burpees on minute 2, etc…
Go until you can’t perform any more burpees in a minute. Your score is the last full minute round you make it through.
How to perform: Be patient in the early rounds. Yes, doing 2 burpees and then waiting 50 seconds is boring. Just enjoy it, because things will start getting interesting around minute 8 or 9.
5. Race-The-Clock Run + Box Jumps
Set a 15-minute time cap to complete:
50 box jumps
40 box jumps
30 box jumps
How to perform: You’re up against a time cap, but slow and steady wins this CrossFit WOD. Don’t fry your legs on the box jumps in the early round. Breathe through each repetition to keep your heart rate low. If you stay consistent you’ll get in under the cap.
6. Triple Jackie
3 rounds for time:
50 thrusters (empty bar)
*If you can’t do more than 10 kipping pull-ups in a set, sub ring rows.
How to perform: Normally a sprint workout, this puts a whole different spin on “Jackie.” Obviously don’t bang through it like you would a one-round WOD. If you’re crushed starting the second round row, SLOW DOWN. You’re in for a world of pain in round three if you don’t.
7. Assault Bike Cindy
5 Assault bike calories
15 air squats
How to perform: Endurance athletes will love this spin on Cindy. The key to this WOD is quick transitions. Set up right next to the bike and ideally swing your leg over the bike coming up from squat number 15. Pump through the 5 calories (the bike rewards you for intensity). Saving even 2 to 3 seconds in transitions per round add up quickly.
8. Ultimate Cardio WOD
Every 2.5 minutes for 30 minutes:
150m shuttle run
15/10 Assault bike calories
How to perform: Short cardio bursts that never really feel “easy” from start to finish. If the Assault bike isn’t your jam, scale the reps down to 10/7. You should be getting at least 35 to 40 seconds of rest at the end of each round.
9. Core + Cardio
3 rounds for time:
30 Toes to bar
How to perform: This one’s about core muscular endurance as much as about cardiovascular endurance. Aim for sets of 7 to 10 reps on the toes to bar and stay consistent.
10. Double Under Challenge
Complete 1,000 double unders for time.
Choose a cardio movement (run, row or bike). Every time you make 2 double under errors, perform either*:
25 assault bike calories
(*Only choose one!)
How to perform: Count a trip, stumble or anything that stops the rope as an “error.” The key to this one is to be as efficient as possible with your double unders. In truth, giving yourself 10 to 15 seconds between sets and not screwing up as much will save you much more time than a 400m run or 500m row will. So be patient and move through with perfect form.