The CrossFit Total. The Sandbag Ladder. The Other Total. These are CrossFit workouts that have an obvious challenge — lift as much weight as you can. But if you’re a CrossFitter, you know that this sport is about much more than how many plates you can slide onto a barbell.
Enter the CrossFit benchmark workout Angie. This WOD (workout of the day) has been challenging athletes since its debut on the CrossFit stage in 2005. The nearly 20-year-old workout is deceptively simple. It’s just four exercises, performed 100 times each. Four hundred reps total.
And the real shocker? It’s all bodyweight-only action. The only thing you need to complete four hundred reps total of pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, and air squats is your own body (and a pull-up bar). Here’s everything you need to know about the CrossFit Angie workout.
- What is the Angie Workout?
- What Are Good AngieTimes?
- Strategies for the Angie Workout
- How to Scale Angie for Beginners
- How to Scale Angie for Intermediates
- How to Scale Angie for Advanced Athletes
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The CrossFit WOD Angie is a high-volume chipper consisting of 100 reps each of pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, and air squats. You’ll complete a total of 400 reps, and you’ll do it by chipping away — hence the name chipper — at each exercise before moving on to the next.
Each of these exercises is meant to be performed in order. So, do all your pull-ups before your push-ups; all your push-ups before your sit-ups; and all your sit-ups before your air squats. You can split up each 100 reps however you want to. Just make sure you’re completing all 100 reps per exercise before moving on to the next.
- 100 Pull-Ups
- 100 Push-Ups
- 100 Sit-Ups
- 100 Air Squats
Angie is a benchmark workout. This means that you’re meant to return to it from time to time to check in with yourself about your progress. Each time you do Angie, write down your time and any modifications you made to the workout. This will help you clearly see your progress from one trial to the next.
In 2009, CrossFit legend Annie Thorisdottir took on Angie at CrossFit Copenhagen. The two-time CrossFit Games champion made quick work of all 400 reps, completing the workout in 15:40. For context, Thorisdottir was crowned the Fittest Woman on Earth® in 2011 — and then again in 2012.
Thorisdottir’s time is an example of elite timing gone right. But there are different gradations of what constitutes a good time. When you stop your clock, just make sure you’re also jotting down any modifications you make to the movements so you can measure your progress accurately.
- Elite: between 15 and 17 minutes
- Advanced: between 17 and 20 minutes
- Intermediate: between 20 and 25 minutes
- Beginner: over 25 minutes
If you’re taking over 30 minutes to get through your 400 reps, consider scaling the movements. This can mean anything from lowering the rep count on each exercise to modifying one or more of the movements themselves.
Never go into a CrossFit WOD without a plan. Even the best-laid plans need adjustments now and then. But having a sense of what you want to do — and how to do it — sets you up for an easier recovery and a faster time.
Modify the Movements
Maybe you can perform a few sets of solid kipping pull-ups and picture-perfect push-ups. But have a modification plan in place for after the fatigue sets in.
Maybe that means performing push-ups at an incline after you hit rep 50 or doing jumping pull-ups after your first four sets. Going in with a plan will help soften the blow to your ego if you need to modify anything mid-workout.
Break Down Your Sets
You’re not going to get very far along in Angie if you don’t break up your sets. Trying to go unbroken here is a recipe for disaster. Sure, it’s “only” four exercises. And yes, it’s “only” bodyweight work. But don’t mistake simple for easy.
One hundred pull-ups — especially followed by three hundred reps of other moves — will humble even the fittest of athletes. Plan to split each movement into smaller sets. If you can easily bang out 10 pull-ups at a time, plan to cut your reps into sets of five to seven. Just because you can do 10 at a time doesn’t mean you should.
If a 10-rep set is at the top end of what you can do before a break, go smaller. If you bring yourself to failure early on, you’ll regret it. On the other hand, if you know you can rep out 20 or more kipping pull-ups at a time, then yes, consider sets of 10.
The same logic applies to each exercise here. Take what you know you can do, and do less than that with each set. That will make your attempts much more manageable. And the more manageable your sets are, the faster you’ll recover and complete your workout.
Speed Up at the End
Angie may be a classic, but that doesn’t mean it’s typical. In fact, this benchmark workout is way different than so many of its CrossFit cousins. That’s because generally speaking, Angie gets easier as you get farther along in the workout.
Typically, the more fatigue accumulates, the harder your workout gets. And make no mistake — Angie will be tough the whole way through. But the overall trend is that it gets easier.
Once you’re done with your pull-ups, you’ll move to the relatively easier push-ups. After taxing your upper body to the extreme, you’ll get a big shoulder break — you’ll even get to lie down! — with sit-ups. And then, with a fresh lower body, you’ll bang out your air squats.
Take advantage of this unique workout structure and plan to go faster toward the end of your workout. If you’ve been breaking your pull-ups and push-ups into slow, small chunks, the backend of this WOD is where you’ll really turn up the heat and go for speed.
As a beginner, Angie might seem at once accessible and extremely forbidding. It’s accessible because it doesn’t require any weights and only needs one piece of equipment — a pull-up bar. You’ll only be performing bodyweight movements, and there are only four of them.
That said, beginners also might find Angie daunting. Pull-ups might be bodyweight only, but they’re incredibly challenging. Even experienced strength athletes may struggle to perform one pull-up, let alone 100.
Push-ups may also be a struggle for CrossFit beginners. If you struggle with completing a set of 10 push-ups, 100 may well seem unfathomable. But don’t worry. There are ways to scale Angie for beginners that can absolutely work for you.
Doing Angie as written (Rx) translates into 400 reps total — 100 reps of each movement. But if you’re just starting out, try out Quarter Angie. You’ll perform 25 reps per exercise for a grand total of 100 reps.
This might not look like a lot at first, but think about it — 25 pull-ups is a hefty number, especially if you’re new here. Even 25 push-ups can be a challenge. It might be relatively easier to tackle 25 sit-ups and 25 air squats, so the back end of your workout will still be more manageable than the front end.
Modify the Movements
Can’t do a single pull-up or push-up? Don’t count yourself out of Angie. Even if everyone else in your box is racing through seemingly effortless sets of kipping pull-ups, remember: your WOD doesn’t have to look like theirs for it to count.
Scaled movements are a huge part of CrossFit. There are countless ways to modify Angie to make this WOD work for you. Here are just some of the movement modifications you can substitute in for the four Angie exercises:
Pull-Up Alternatives and Modifications
Push-Up Alternatives and Modifications
Sit-Up Alternatives and Modifications
- Half Roll Down
Air Squat Alternatives and Modifications
You don’t only have to pick one alternative per movement, though. For example, you might start with a strong set of strict push-ups. At 30 reps, you may switch to full incline push-ups. Then at 60 reps, you might switch to performing push-ups from your knees. Whatever modifications you make, just keep strict record of them so you can compare your future performances accurately.
Even intermediates struggle with pull-ups. And no matter how much experience you have, one hundred push-ups — especially after all those pull-ups — will make you break a sweat. Use modifications if you need to, even at an intermediate level.
Whether you’re scaling the moves or not, you might find yourself unable to hit those 400 reps cleanly. If you’re still unable to tackle such a high volume in such a short period of time, it’s okay. You can still make Angie work for you.
If 400 reps as fast as possible isn’t going to cut it for you, cut the workout in half. Half Angie calls for 50 reps per exercise, clocking in at a total of 200 reps. Make no mistake — this is still an intense workout. Any time you’re moving through a set number of reps for time, you’re going to be pushing yourself hard.
The difference here will be that you’ll get to the summit a lot quicker than you will with double the rep scheme. But don’t come out of the gate too hot — you don’t need to go unbroken just because you’re doing fewer total reps. You’ll still need to pace yourself to make sure you have enough gas in the tank to finish the job.
Don’t confuse experience level with never needing modifications. Even advanced athletes can avail themselves of the modifications and suggestions above. Being “advanced” doesn’t mean you never need modifications.
Even the strongest, fittest, most experienced athletes need modifications for one reason or another — an athlete might be pregnant, for example. Many of the fittest competitors on the planet participate in the Adaptive Divisions at the CrossFit Games, making use of the many scaled options available to athletes at all levels.
That said, advanced athletes may also search for ways take Angie as written and bring it to a whole different level. In this case, there’s a clear option for progressive overload — although it’s a brutal one.
Wear a Weighted Vest
With body weight alone, performing 400 reps — as fast as possible — is intense. Doing this while wearing a weighted vest elevates the stakes all around.
You might choose to wear your weighted vest for only certain exercises or for only a certain number of reps per exercise. For example, maybe you wear a weighted vest for your first 20 pull-ups and take it off for the rest. Or, you might save the added load entirely for your air squats.
No matter when you’re using the vest in your workout, only load it gradually. If you’ve never done a weighted pull-up or push-up, Angie is probably not the time to learn. Make sure your technique for weighted movements is locked in.
Use a very light vest to begin — five pounds, for example. Work your way up to a heavier vest, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience with this tool. Remember that Angie is tough as it is. Make it more intense if you’d like, but respect the WOD.
400 Reps — Go
The CrossFit Angie workout isn’t about loaded barbells or strongman-style movements. Instead, it’s just you, your body weight, 400 reps, and a clock. Master your pull-up, push-up, sit-up, and air squat technique, and deploy modifications when and where you need them.
Whatever your time is, write it down and use it to track your progress. This benchmark workout will test you tremendously — rise to the challenge and get counting.
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