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CrossFit Exercise Series TWO – Upper Body

This is series TWO of the crossfit exercise articles. Series ONE was on legs and abs and this article will cover upper body work. All except the last crossfit exercise use body weight only but you can add weight if you find them too easy. The last one involves a climbing rope.


Start with your body above a bar with your arms straight vertical. Bend your arms; lower your body until your shoulders drop below your elbow. Straighten your arms back to vertical. The same process can be done using gymnastics rings.


This is the first half of the muscle up exercise. Start from a hanging position with your arms straight. Pull up until your chin is over the bar. Variations:

Strict – no swinging allowed

Kipping – momentum used to help you finish the movement

Weighted – extra weight hung from a belt around your waist

Chest to bar – the ending point is the chest at the bar

Jumping – legs are used to help get up

Assisted – an elastic band or weight machine helps complete the movement


Another TOUGH crossfit exercise which is common to Bar Brothers: Hanging from a bar, pull up and over the bar so your arms are straight and your hands are below your hips. The same process can be done using gymnastics rings.


From a plank position with your arms straight, lower your body until the chest contacts the ground. Keep your body straight and push back up to the plank position. Variations are plentiful:

Diamond – forefingers and thumbs form a diamond shape below your chest

Weighted – a plate placed on shoulder blades or a weighted vest worn

Incline – hands are on a higher object like a bench, gymnastics rings, etc.

BOCU ball – feet on the ball and hands on the floor

Different heights – alternate one hand on a medicine ball, the other on the floor. Roll the ball back and forth from hand to hand for each push up

Hindu – face down bridge, chest to floor and continue through until hips are at floor level and head is up high

Spider – One hand further forward than the head, the other further back. Walk feet forward and change which hand is forward for next push up.

Handstand push-up

For crossfit exercise, this one is TOUGH: go into a handstand with your heels resting against a wall for balance. Bend your arms until your head touches the ground, and then push back up to a handstand. Avoid arching your back.

Rope climb

From the ground, climb a rope without using your feet for support and touch a point at a given height. Variations: include feet and L-sit while climbing