8 CrossFit® Trainers Share Their Favorite No-Equipment WODs

Vacations generally present a number of fitness obstacles, and the summer ones are no exception. Road-trips, Father’s Day festivities, Fourth of July adventures, and Labor Day BBQ’s can put a damper on even the best-laid plans to hit the gym. Sneaking away from Dads new girlfriend who is eager to please or grandma who is itching to hear about your new job, latest hobby, and relationship status can feel impossible. Between these awkward convos there’s not always enough time to hit up the local gym for a weekend-long guest pass, train for an hour, and then drive back.

But that doesn’t mean you have to skip the sweat session completely. When it comes to fitness, you don’t need a fancy gym membership fancy equipment, hours to dedicate to a sweat-sesh, or even any equipment to work on your conditioning.

“CrossFit workouts are scalable so exercisers of all fitness levels, technical abilities, and strength, can benefit from them,” says Liz Adams, head coach at ICE NYC Tribeca and three-time regional CrossFit Games athlete. And there are plenty of WODs (“workout of the day”) that require just your body weight and zero equipment. The cardinal rule of these workouts (whether you’re at a box or on your own): Technique first, consistency second, and intensity last, she says.

While the true functional fitness experience comes complete with blasted music, swole-mates, and a community to cheer you on can only really happen in a box, it’s possible to get in on the sweat-action from just about anywhere in as little as 10 to 20 minutes. Whether you’re looking to avoid the gym price tag or your calendar is littered with Summer obligations, these eight workouts are quirky, dirty, can be done with no equipment, and don’t cost a dime.

WOD #1: Riley

For Time:

1.5 mile run
150 burpees
1.5 mile run

What You Do: Set a timer, and perform the above sequence one time. Bryce Carlton, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer at Bowery CrossFit NYC, recommends scaling the workout to 1 mile run, 75 burpees, 1 mile run for athletes who either don’t have the time, or who are still working on their cardiovascular endurance.

Why It Works: “Most people hate burpees and understandably so… they are mentally and physically very challenging,” says Carlton. Between running 3 miles and performing 150 burpees you are working your entire body and cardiovascular system. This WOD will teach you how to literally push yourself through times of distress.


WOD #2: Ghost

6 Rounds for Time:

1 min bench dips/ 1 minute dips
1 min bench jumps/ 1 minute broad jumps
1 min burpees
1 min rest

What you do: Set a timer for 24 minutes or watch the clock. You have one minute for tricep dips, one minute for broach jumps, one minute for burpees, and then one minute for rest. If you have a bench, ledge, or rock, repeat the dips and jumps using that. If not, substitute the bench dips for bench-less dips and the bench-jumps for broad jumps. Repeat this sequence until the 24 minutes are up. You’ll cycle through all 3 exercises and 1 minute rest four times each.  

Why it works: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer at CrossFit Bowery, Lindsey Cormack Ph.D’s go-to equipment free WOD is Ghost or a variation of Ghost because this WOD is way harder than it looks at first glance, with each round totaling 4-minutes, this little ditty seems like a no-brainer. But this six-round, 24-minute WOD is all go all the time. “With a little bit of variation in body focus, a small space, and a little bench (or ledge or even a decently flat rock somewhere) it’s possible to feel really worked. This WOD proves that”.


WOD #3:

10 Rounds, For Time

10 push-ups
10 squats
10 V-ups
30 second handstand hold

What you do: Set a timer and perform the above sequence 10 times. The 30-second handstand hold can be done in one of two ways. Either hold a handstand against a wall, tree, or sturdy structure for 30 seconds before moving back to the 10 push-ups. If there is absolutely no wall or structure around to assist with the handstand hold, accumulate 30 seconds of a wall-less handstand hold. For example, if you go into a handstand and can hold it for 5-seconds, you have 25-seconds of hand-stand hold left to accumulate.

Why it works: This WOD is grueling because it requires both mental strength (don’t give up!) and cardio strength, says CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Nicolas Dromard, Coach at ICE NYC and co-owner of Drovarfit. This workout challenges your body with two pushing movements, and your lower body with squats. You can expect your heart rate to climb steadily throughout the 10 rounds.

WOD #4:  

Complete For Time

5 Mile Run
*Every mile perform 25 Burpees

What you do: Start your timer and begin a 5 mile run. At the end of each mile, perform 25 burpees as quickly as possible. Record your time.

Why it works: “By the time you reach a mile of running, your body falls into a good pace of movement and breathing. But the burpees throw that all into a tailspin and get more and more challenging by the mile,” says CJ Maldonado, Foundations Coach at ICE NYC. The intention of the workout can be changed based on what your goal is.

You can either concentrate on keeping the burpees as quick as possible and using the run to store up the energy for the next set or burpees, or you can pace out the first mile and try to match every other mile after that, explains Maldonado. “This WOD is as mental as it is physical. Five miles is a lot of time to question why you are doing this, and you WILL question it. Try to keep the mind clear and focus on the moment,” suggests Maldonado.


WOD #5:

5 Rounds, For Time

10 burpees
20 squats
30 sit-ups
400-meter run (or 500-meter row)

What you do: Start your timer and cycle through the burpees, squats, sit-ups, and runs four times, as quickly as possible. If you cannot run but have a rowing machine available to you, substitute the 400-meter run with a 500-meter row. Record your time.

Why it works: This WOD is super scalable: burpees can be modified by not dropping your torso all the way to the floor, air squats can be adjusted to sitting and standing back up from a chair, bench, or rock and sit ups can be scaled to crunches, says Nikki Berger, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and coach at CrossFit Union Square NYC. You can even cut the reps in half, or perform three rounds instead of five, she adds, emphasizing that athletes of all fitness levels can make this WOD work for them.

WOD #6:

4 Rounds, For Time

400 meter run or lap around block
25 push-ups

What you do: Start your timer and cycle through the run and push ups four times, as quickly as possible. Record your time.

Why it works: This workout is so simple but it combines both endurance and upper-body strength. “When I do this workout,” says Deanna Gibaldi, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer at ICE NYC, CrossFit Queens, CrossFit Greenpoint, as well as a member of the CrossFit Queens Team at the 2017 CrossFit Games, “I focus on making sure my push-ups are PERFECT: no hips or quads touching the floor, only my chest, hands, and toes. This ensures that the workout is as upper-body focused as it is intended to be.”

Gibaldi reminds athletes who are still working on their push-up form to either do push-ups from their knees, on a box (or other raised surface), or against the wall.

WOD #7: Brenton

5 Rounds For Time

100 foot Bear Crawl
100 foot Standing Broad-Jumps
*Do three burpees after every five broad-jumps.

What you do: Start your timer and cycle through the 100 foot bear crawl and 100 foot standing broad-jumps five times, as quickly as possible. The trick is that every 5 broad-jumps, drop and do 3 burpees. Record your time.

Why it works: This full-body workout is perfect for an outdoor sweat session. “It’s simple-enough, but surprisingly brutal… especially if you don’t typically do bear crawls,” says Izzy Levy, CrossFit Level 2 Trainer and owner of ICE NYC.

WOD #8:

For Time:

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of:

Air squats

What you do: Set a timer and move through the 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 sequence but doing 10 burpees, 10 push-ups, 10 air squats, and then repeating the sequence this time doing 9 reps of each movement. You will continue doing one-less rep of each of the three movements until your last air squat. Check the time.

Why it works: Using just bodyweight movements and a fun rep sequence, this WOD will slowly get your heart rate going. Coach, Pilates Instructor, and Co-owner of Drovarfit, Desiree Deva, recommends really focusing on form.

“For burpees, remember: Begin standing, drop into a squat, thrust your feet back, drop your chest to all the way to the floor, then  jump or step back into squat and return standing. For push-ups place your hands directly under your shoulders facing forward, keep your legs and straight directly in back on the balls of your feet, and lower chest to the floor and then push up with straight arms. Finally, for air squats, remember to keep your torso straight and feet hip-width apart. Your butt then goes back as you drop into a squat. Keep your weight in your heels, press your knees out as you stand back up, and break parallel.”

Featured image: @kelskiel on Instagram