Best Starter CrossFit WODs For Seniors

It's a common misconception in the fitness community that only certain people can do CrossFit.

Many perceive CrossFit as "too hard," and therefore think it's only suitable for a small demographic.

That couldn't be further than the truth. Actually, CrossFit can be made accessible to anyone, including seniors.

In fact, there are many benefits of doing CrossFit for seniors.

Sure, you might not be swinging from pull-up bars or deadlift 450lbs. But you can still follow the exact same guidelines of the sport that make everyone else fit. You can absolutely still get results.

And, you can do it in a manner that's safe and effective.

Here's what you should know about CrossFit for seniors, and how to get started today.

For more workout ideas, check out section.

Why CrossFit?

Regardless of your age, CrossFit can be an effective fitness program that can help transform your health and life.

Actually, CrossFit.com's definition says that it can be used to achieve any fitness goal. 

Unlike other fitness methods, CrossFit emphasizes functional, full-body exercises that strengthen multiple muscles and joints at a time.

They also emphasize progressive overload of both weights and movements. This means you assess where you're at on day one and slowly use heavier weights, deeper range of motions, and more complicated exercises—and only when you can safely do them.

It's also a great fitness method to keep your mind stimulated, as the workouts change daily and the variety helps keep you motivated.

Read Also: Best exercise equipment for seniors to stay fit at home

Even if you aren't "young" anymore by societal standards—or if you don't want to compete in a sport—there are still many benefits you can reap from doing CrossFit as a senior.

crossfit for seniors

The Benefits of CrossFit for Seniors

Because CrossFit trains so many different types of fitness, the benefits of using this workout method for seniors are plentiful.

Here are some of the things seniors can gain from doing CrossFit:

  • Increased muscle mass (very important for elderly people, as it helps prevent injuries from falls)

  • Improved muscular strength and endurance

  • Improved bone density

  • Improved mobility in the shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles

  • Weight loss (can help reduce or reverse the risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes or heart disease)

  • Improved balance and coordination (decreases risk of falling and injuring yourself)

  • Movements are functional, meaning they help promote performance in everyday activities like walking, sitting, or doing yard work.

And contrary to popular belief, anyone—even seniors—can do CrossFit. 

Read Also: 10 Best resistance band exercises for seniors

Perhaps the greatest benefit of this form of functional fitness is that it can be scaled to meet the needs of anyone, regardless of their current circumstances or fitness level.

For example, you'll see in the next section how most of the WODs for seniors we recommend revolve around bodyweight exercises instead of heavy loaded barbell movements.

5 CrossFit WODs For Seniors

All of these WODs are challenging, but perfectly suitable for any senior that's just getting into CrossFit. There are modifications listed below each workout to make adjustments if you need to!

1. Run/Air Squat Conditioning WOD

4 Rounds For Time:

400m run (or a different form of low-intensity cardio, like rowing)

20 air squats

Why it's good for seniors: This workout helps get your heart rate up and expands the lungs. The squats improve hip, knee, and ankle mobility and strengthen the lower body and core.

Modification: If you can't do full air squats, try squatting to a box, chair, or couch. 

2. 15-Minute Bodyweight AMRAP

AMRAP (As many rounds as possible) 15:

10 Push-ups

15 Sit-Ups

10 Ring rows

15 Walking Lunge steps

Why it's good for seniors: This is a total-body resistance workout that'll strengthen muscles all over your body.

Modification: All of these bodyweight exercises can be modified. Reduce the range of motion or use push-up bars, use planks instead of sit-ups if they're uncomfortable, stand more vertically if you can't do ring rows, and reduce ROM with walking lunges.

Related Read: CrossFit WOD Library for various workouts of the day

3. Kettlebell Swings/Jump Rope/Box Stepovers

3 Rounds for Time:

15 Kettlebell swings (53/35 or lighter)

10 Box Stepovers (24/20in)

75 Jump ropes (sub jumps if you can't do these)

Why it's good for seniors: Kettlebell swings help you generate power from your hips. Box steps strengthen the knees and help you practice balance and coordination. Jump ropes train footwork and agility without being too high-impact of a cardio exercise.

Modification: Scale as described in the WOD above. Use a kettlebell that you can swing with proper form: upright body, butt back, core engaged.

4. Row/MB Slams/Goblet Squats

5 Rounds For Time:

250m Row

15 Medicine ball slams (10/5lbs)

15 Goblet Squats (35/26lbs)

Why it's good for seniors: Another classic MetCon style workout, this is a great way to strengthen fast twitch muscle fibers in your upper body (these fibers disappear naturally  as you age) and to increase bone density and strength in the lower body [*].

Modification: Subtract a round or two if this is your first time. All the movements/weights should be doable.

5. Burpees

For time:

50 Burpees

Why it's good for seniors: Burpees are the perfect exercise to show you're not too old to get fit. They hit every major muscle group, jack up the heart rate, and require major coordination and balance!

Modification: Instead of jumping at the top or to go back into the plank, simply step. That takes out all the high-impact portions of this exercise!

Getting Started with CrossFit for Seniors

Okay, so you're not 22 anymore. Even though you can absolutely do CrossFit, it's probably going to look a little different for you if you're a senior.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Just start!- Trust us when we say that so many people wait years to start CrossFit because they don't think they're fit or "ready" yet. The truth is that doing CrossFit, at whatever level you're at right now, is what gets you ready for CrossFit. Nothing else!
  • Join a box/look for a coach- You can absolutely do CrossFit in a home gym or at a recreation center and get results. But it's probably safest to start under the supervision of a trained coach at a gym with a good reputation. Look online for a CrossFit gym near you and try a drop-in class.

Read Also: How much is CrossFit a month? Costs and Gym prices

  • Don't forget to warm up- Warm ups help decrease the risk of injury and loosen up tight muscles. If you're taking a new class and think you need a little longer warmup than everyone else, show up a few minutes early to stretch or do some light cardio.

Also, be sure to check with your doctor before starting CrossFit or any type of functional fitness routine. The information in this article should be taken as guidelines, not as a substitute for medical advice!

We hope this CrossFit for seniors guide inspires you to give CrossFit a try. Like so many others, we're sure you're going to have your life changed by it!

Ben Kissam

Ben Kissam

I help college athletes maximize their 4-year sports window and succeed after graduation.

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