Training is often scattergun, meaning that lots of disciplines intersect (or cross) and the body and mind often have to switch between systems and styles very quickly. Things are often done against the clock, adding a frenetic element to each workout. Finally, exercises used are generally full-body, compound movements, tailor-made to make the muscles burn and the heart rate shoot sky high.
WODs form a large part of both the culture behind CrossFit, and the high energy output so often associated with each training session and the style of functional fitness so enjoyed by CrossFit gym members.
But what exactly is a WOD, and what makes them so great?
WOD: Workout of the day
WOD stands for ‘workout of the day.’ Pronounced ‘wad’, WODs form the centerpiece of any CrossFit training routine- it will be the main focus in any best CrossFit gym you can find around the world.
Obviously, the workouts are daily: this means they change day by day, with a shift in focus, rhythm, style, equipment and so on. The structure of the whole workout will be different, as will the end goal you’re chasing.
For instance, one day might have you running through round after round of burpees and wall balls, whilst the next might see you deadlifting or cleaning EMOM (every minute on the minute), whilst the third may have you giant setting plyometric push-ups with pull-ups and medicine ball slams.
No two days need be the same - indeed, they should actively be different.
WODs also use scoring systems to help you reach progressive overload, to ensure intensity during training as you’re inspired to push yourself harder, and to play into the competitive element in which many CrossFitters like to involve themselves. You can compare your score with your fellow CrossFitters in your box, and with your own score from previous, similar or identical sessions.
For example, some WODs will ask you to complete as many sets as possible (AMRAP) in a given time. How many you get will be your score. Others might ask you to complete a set workload as quickly as possible, or under progressively heavier weights - here, the time taken or the weight used would be scored, respectively. WODs will generally emphasise functional fitness.
This way, you can make sure that you’re always improving, always reaching for progression, and always performing at your best.
A sample WOD
Let’s look at one of CrossFit’s own sample WODs to give you an idea of what a typical session can involve, and how it can be structured. It’s broken into three parts and should take less than an hour to complete, depending on your own speed and the rest periods you take between parts.
This WOD will begin with a warm up, which is quite common. This will prepare you for the main event, warming up your muscles warm, increasing blood flow and heart rate, and preparing you for the explosive actions to come.
Complete 3 rounds, taking an easy pace to begin with, putting more effort in gradually with each round. Complete the following CrossFit workout, with a short rest at the end before beginning each new round:
- 100m Run
- 20 Cossack Squats
- 10 Windmills (L&R)
Then complete 3 rounds of the following, the same as the first part:
- 12/12 Single arm DB Overhead Squat (light weight)
- 200m run
- 8/8 Single arm DB Overhead Squat (workout weight)
The WOD itself
Do the following for four rounds, with maximum effort going into every movement. Rest for 60-90 seconds between each round:
- 400m Run
- 15/15 Single arm DB Overhead Squat*
* 15 sets on each arm = 30 reps total
After the main event, we want to look at accessory work, as we would with any other gym session. This is where we hit ancillary muscle groups and systems.
Each exercise will be relevant to the above exercises and will work similar muscle groups in similar ways to the WOD. Perform the following for 3 rounds, with minimal rest between rounds:
- 20 Pass Throughs
- 20 Barbell Upright Row
- 20 Single leg Banded hamstring curl (L&R)
CrossFit Dubai workouts are tough, tailor-made to work functional fitness and help you to build explosivity, strength, and cardiovascular endurance.