Three people doing aerial squats.

Everytime you put together to carry out a CrossFit WOD (exercise of the day), the sport is a component bodily and half psychological. Generally, you put together your self to deal with heavy weights for quite a few repetitions that appear unattainable. Different instances, you may see the WOD on the board and say to your self, is that each one?

The CrossFit exercises you underestimate from the beginning are sometimes probably the most harmful of all. With solely three body weight workout routines to talk of, the CrossFit Cindy exercise is one such exercise. It is simple to overestimate your abilities by underestimating the problem this 20-minute WOD will pose.

Credit score: fizkes/Shutterstock

For those who enter not understanding what to anticipate, Cindy is certain to current sudden challenges. She reads on to arrange you to move this WOD as successfully as potential, no matter your expertise degree.

Editor’s observe: The content material on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, however shouldn’t be taken as medical recommendation. When beginning a brand new train routine and/or food regimen, it is at all times a good suggestion to seek the advice of a trusted doctor. We’re not a medical useful resource. The opinions and articles on this website should not supposed for use within the prognosis, prevention and/or therapy of any well being drawback. They aren’t an alternative choice to consulting a certified medical skilled.

What’s the Cindy Exercise?

The CrossFit WOD Cindy might look straightforward, nevertheless it’s no joke. She made her debut on the CrossFit web site in early 2005, two years after the unique Angie, Barbara, Chelsea, Diane, Elizabeth and Fran reference exercises have been posted.

Cindy contains three body weight workout routines: pull-ups, push-ups and air squats. It is an AMRAP exercise, which implies you may do as many rounds as potential inside the time restrict on this case, 20 minutes.

There was some analysis performed on the influence of this exercise on the physique and it has been discovered that doing it Cindy requires a excessive degree of cardiovascular health. (1) Research contributors skilled in CrossFit mentioned Cindy felt harder to carry out (a better fee of perceived effort) than exercises targeted on double unders and energy cleans. (1)

So when you had any doubts about Cindy’s degree of toughness, analysis suggests it’s best to suppose once more.

The exercise

Here is what Cindy written on the chalkboard will appear to be in your native CrossFit field:

20-minute AMRAP:

You may scale every motion as wanted to be sure you can undergo the total 20 minutes.

What are Cindy’s good instances?

Like all WODs, you actually must tempo your self to efficiently get by Cindy. The quicker you go initially, the longer your relaxation durations could also be later within the exercise. Listed here are some benchmarks to intention for relying in your ability degree.

  • Elite: 24+ rounds
  • Advance: from 19 to 23 rounds
  • Intermediate: 13 to 18 rounds
  • Newbie: <10 to 12 rounds

After all, inside every degree of expertise, athletes have completely different strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps you are a usually intermediate lifter, however pull-ups are your archenemy. Or possibly you are an intermediate lifter however an professional in body weight actions. Consider your efficiency towards your capacity with this exercise and intention to enhance accordingly.

Methods for coaching Cindy

To the uninitiated, CrossFit exercises may appear to be lots of chaos. Go, go, go with no thought behind. And whereas the go, go, go half is generally true, seasoned CrossFitters know that technique is the secret.

Have a recreation plan

Even seemingly easy CrossFit WODs require nicely thought out plans. Break your units the place and whenever you want them. Strive as a lot as potential to devise this technique upfront.

Base your plan in your present degree of cardiovascular health and your capacity to carry out these explicit workout routines. If you are able to do as much as two pull-ups at a time, for instance, strive dividing your pull-up units into single units. You may additionally resolve to change the motion (doing leaping pull-ups) or use an alternate train solely (reversed rows).

Three people doing pull ups.
Credit score: Terrain Picture/Shutterstock

No matter your recreation plan, comprehend it nicely sufficient to have an concept of ​​what your objectives are even when fatigue units in.

Plan your transitions

You could have deliberate to go uninterrupted all through all your pull-up units. However even one of the best plans can pale within the face of an intense WOD.

Have a backup plan in thoughts in case issues go flawed halfway by your exercise. This exercise is extraordinarily onerous on the higher physique, so in case your pushups begin to fail halfway by, know what your alternate plan is. Will you be performing the motion out of your knees or on a wall?

If you are going to change to wall pushups throughout your exercise, do it proper after the pullups. That manner, you will not be wasting your seconds switching from one motion to a different. Attempt to make every part as easy as potential for your self whereas additionally respecting your talents.

Simply because it might at present be quicker to leap from push-ups to begin air squats does not imply you’ll maintain it. As a substitute, maybe plan to modify from push-ups to standing from the beginning of your exercise. Planning for the transition will prevent time and vitality, even whenever you change your unique recreation plan.

Breathe between (and through) units

This a part of the technique is each easy and really troublesome, do not maintain your breath at any level. It may appear simpler proper now to carry your breath as you do these push-ups. However it’ll come again to chew you when you do not breathe on a regular basis.

To soak up extra oxygen, your physique will drive you to take extra breaks between reps or units. Keep away from this by coaching your self to breathe as steadily as potential on a regular basis.

Between units, attempt to keep away from gasping for breath. As a substitute, take longer, slower breaths by your nostril if potential. This respiration sample can assist calm your physique and your respiration a lot quicker than chaotic gasps for air. For those who’re uncontrollably out of breath, take into account slowing down and even stopping your exercise.

Resize Cindy for Inexperienced persons

Even if you cannot do a pull-up but, do not write Cindy off. You may nonetheless make it a high-intensity cardio-centric extravaganza.

Use alternate motion

Not having the ability to do a transfer does not imply you’ll be able to’t do a WOD. Simply because you’ll be able to’t do the Rx model (as written) does not imply you’ll be able to’t do it in any respect. Select as an alternative to change your actions and even use options. Listed here are some methods to show it on.

Traction options

Push-up options

  • Knee pushups
  • Inclined push-ups
  • Push-up on the wall

Options to the air squat

Half Cindy

If the full-blown Rx model of Cindy appears like rather a lot to you, you are not flawed, these three strikes are deceptively troublesome. That is very true when you’re pushing your self for a full 20 minutes.

As a substitute, take into account performing a Half Cindy. Preserve the identical rep scheme (5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 air squats), however carry out the exercise for less than 10 minutes. It will provide an immense problem to newcomers, however will mean you can keep a way more manageable quantity.

Intermediate athletes might have been within the CrossFit recreation for greater than 6-12 months, or they could have transitioned from being very skilled athletes in different sports activities. No matter your background, listed here are some potential choices for modifying Cindy for the in-betweens.

Modify the actions

Intermediate degree athletes should require motion modifications. Your push-ups and aerial squats is likely to be flawless, however your pull-ups is likely to be extraordinarily tough. Even when you’re not a newbie, do not be ashamed to lean into the varied movement modifications obtainable to you.

Cindy in three quarters

You began doing Half Cindy, however you may hold going. As soon as you’ve got squashed the 10-minute model, you may not be prepared for the total 20 minutes fairly but. In that case, strive a three-quarter size Cindy. You can be doing the identical actions and repetition sample, however this time for quarter-hour.

dimension Cindy for superior athletes

Even if you’re at a complicated degree, you should still want to change some actions. Perhaps you are getting back from a shoulder harm, for instance, and must do rows as an alternative of pull-ups for now.

However when you’ve performed Cindy a couple of instances already and are up for an excellent greater problem, strive these variations of Cindy for dimension.

Laborious Cindy

Do not get us flawed, Cindy alone is tough sufficient. However in 2022, CrossFit launched a WOD referred to as Laborious Cindy, which goals to make the unique benchmark (you guessed it) even more durable.

As prescribed, the Laborious Cindy exercise appears like this:

20-minute AMRAP:

  • 5 weighted pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups with ft on a field
  • 15 squats holding a plate

Girls: 25 lb vest, 24 in field, 35 lb plate

Males: 35 lb vest, 30 inch field, 45 lb plate

Athletes of any gender can scale the precise weights and field peak as wanted.

Cindy stuffed with grace

What do you get whenever you add a Body weight Solely WOD to a Weightlifting WOD? The combo often called Cindy Stuffed with Grace. You will mix Grace’s clear & jerk with Cindy’s body weight strikes to place a dastardly twist on this three-cycle tempo exercise.

Here is how Cindy Stuffed with Grace’s exercise goes:

Three cycles per time:

Girls: 95-pound barbell

Males: 135-pound barbell

* Every spherical right here consists of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 air squats. So, one full cycle of Cindy Stuffed with Grace will whole 15 pull-ups, 30 push-ups, and 45 air squats (plus cleans & jerks). You’ll do all of this 3 times.

For the Grace-style element, lifters of any gender can scale the weights as wanted.

Study extra about CrossFit coaching

Congratulations, you now know every part there may be to learn about Cindy’s CrossFit exercise and how you can finest method the clock. However when you’re searching for much more CrossFit WODs to problem your self with, take a look at these:


  1. Mat-Muoz JL, Lougedo JH, Barba M, Cauelo-Mrquez AM, Guodemar-Prez J, Garca-Fernndez P, Lozano-Estevan MDC, Alonso-Melero R, Snchez-Calabuig MA, Ruz-Lpez M, de Jess F, Garnacho Castao MV. Cardiometabolic and muscle fatigue responses to completely different CrossFit exercises. J Sport Sci Med. 2018 Nov 20;17(4):668-679.

Featured Picture: fizkes/Shutterstock