“Don’t ever program a warm up that you wouldn’t do yourself.”

I don’t remember where I heard that first, but it really stuck with me when I first starting coaching CrossFit in 2019 (and, by proxy, writing warm ups for classes).

That’s when I realized I needed to do some experimentation on myself to develop my own style of warming up.

It’s tempting to skip warm ups — especially if we’re left to our own devices at home. But warm ups are essential for priming the body and mind for the workout ahead. Whenever I start out shaky in a training session, I can pretty much always attribute it to a poor warm up.

After years of absorbing ideas from other coaches and testing warm ups on myself, I now have a vault of warm-up pieces that I use in my own training and have used for my CrossFit classes. I gravitate towards warm ups that are simple, circuit-based, and on the clock.

I’ve compiled them below, organized by full body, upper body, and lower body. A few notes:

  • This is not an exhaustive list of every warm up I’ve ever used. These are just my go-tos.
  • I usually combine 2-4 of these warm-up pieces to create a full warm-up for myself, depending on what I’ll be doing that day.
  • This list does not include movement-specific warm ups. (For example, before snatching, I would grease the wheel with an empty barbell complex after a general warm up.)


3 rounds w/ a light kettlebell:
8 deadlifts
8 right arm Russian swings
8 left arm Russian swings
8 goblet squats

3 rounds:
7 overhead squats w/ a PVC pipe or broomstick
7 burpees

Min 1: 7 plank up-downs, max air squats w/ remaining time
Min 2: 7 push-ups, max single unders w/ remaining time

3 rounds:*
10 box step-ups
10 hurdle hop to box jump
5 burpees for max height (explode out of the burpee and jump for max height)
*This one is my favorite for getting explosive before Olympic lifting.

10 minutes @ warm-up pace:
10 air squats
10 spiderman stretch (alternating legs)
10 push-up to down dog
30 jumping jacks

Tabata for 3 rounds (20 sec work, 10 sec rest)
0:20 Box step-ups // 0:10 rest
0:20 Inchworms with a push-up // 0:10 rest
0:20 Box jumps w/ step down // 0:10 rest
0:20 Plank shoulder taps // 0:10 rest

3 rounds w/ a pair of light/medium dumbbells:
6 strict presses
6 deadlifts
6 power cleans
6 walking lunges

Tabata for 5 minutes (20 sec work, 10 sec rest)
0:20 sec row // 0:10 rest
0:20 sec med ball toe-taps // 0:10 rest
0:20 sec row // 0:10 rest
0:20 sec med ball front squats // 0:10 rest
0:20 sec row // 0:10 rest
0:20 sec med ball cleans // 0:10 rest
0:20 sec row // 0:10 rest
0:20 sec med ball snatches // 0:10 rest
0:20 sec row // 0:10 rest
0:20 sec med ball Russian twists // 0:10 rest


Band pull-aparts (with a small band)*
15 overhead pull-aparts
15 front pull-aparts
15 back pull-aparts
10 pass-throughs
*This video demos all of the pull-apart styles.

Trap-3 raises*
8 reps/arm x 2
*Use a very light dumbbell… I use 5#.

Prone Is, Ts, Ys, and ILYs (face-down on a bench OR in a bent-over position)*
2 rounds:
8 Is, 8 Ts, 8 Ys, and 8 ILYs
*Demo video here. This one sounds easy, but it’s surprisingly difficult unweighted.

Ring rows
*This is great to do before gymnastics-specific work.

3 sets of 10*
Ring rows
*15-20 second handstand hold after each set


Monster walks* (with small band)
25 ft forward walk
25 ft backward walk
25 ft lateral walks (R)
25 ft lateral walks (L)
*Rest 10-15 seconds between each length… because this one BURNS.

Assault bike*
2:00 easy
Then, 3 rounds:
0:30 sprint
0:30 easy/recover
*I do this one if I really want to jack my heart rate up — especially before lifting, because I find that I’m a better lifter when I’m already hot and sweaty. 

1 round:
50 ft Samson lunges
50 ft over the fence/under the fence (25 ft/side)
50 ft toy soldier kicks
50 ft spiderman lunges
10 squats w/ thoracic rotation

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