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A CrossFit Startup Guide: Part 1 by Todd Widman - CrossFit Journal

In Basics, CrossFit, Exercises

January 13, 2009

PDF Article

New to CrossFit and not sure where to begin? If so, then welcome. This series will address the primary concerns and focal points for a starting CrossFit athlete, orienting your use of resources throughout the entire universe.

In this first part of A CrossFit Startup Guide, Todd Widman introduces some tools to focus your entry into CrossFit workouts and fitness in general. Gone are the promises of easy and comfortable results. The best CrossFitters educate themselves both about movement and fitness broadly, as well as about their own individual strengths and weaknesses.

Of course, the best way to begin CrossFit is with a great trainer who uses his or her vast experience to guide you through the various phases of your fitness quest. This series is not intended to equal that. It cannot. Instead, we recognize that not everyone has access to such a trainer, and this will help those folks get the most out of the vast resources available on

The place to start is the squat. A good air squat creates a great foundation for all functional movement. Several of the best resources on the site are referenced and explained, along with a couple benchmark questions to determine your readiness for regular CrossFit workouts, even scaled.

This article is less about how to do the movements and more about how to use the website to educate yourself and develop your fitness.

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15 Comments on “A CrossFit Startup Guide: Part 1”


wrote …

Todd this is really, really good stuff. As a new affiliate owner and CrossFitter for a couple years, I have consistently been asked or even struggled at times to answer every topic you covered in this (and more) in my daily interactions with clients, family, friends, and co-workers. This is a great read and resource that will more than help the CF community. Looking forward to reading your future articles!


wrote …

This article was right on. Keep them coming.


wrote …

Excellent! This is EXACTLY what I was looking for to get others up to speed. Can't wait for the rest.


Aaron Harris wrote …

Great article Todd. I could have used this article when I started this life changing journey of CrossFit on 8 Nov 08 "Jason" was the WOD and I thought I was the hero...Well for the next week my legs didnt think so. Awesome job now I can point all my friends who are just starting out to this one article!


wrote …

Super intro to what I am sure will be a great resource. My tiny little "crusade" to safely introduce newcomers on the Main Page of will be infinitely easier now that one of the pros is developing this series (I am very candidly a rank amateur in comparison when we are talking about Todd and the other senior trainers).

Great start, Todd. Thanks.



wrote …

*sigh* I wish I was the type who understood things the first time they read them or hear them, however I'm not. I've heard a lot about Crossfit and it's benefits and would love to start participating but I am still VERY confused on where to start. Can anybody point me in the right direction? Thanks.


wrote …

Todd! Great article. Thanks for putting all those useful links in one place.
For all the beginners out there I would add one thing:
Keep a journal.

When starting CrossFit it is easy to be overwhelmed by all the information. Also, at least for me coming into it with no athletic experience, it may seem that there are sooo many opportunities for improvement. Keep a journal and compare your workouts against yourself. It's amazing to see how quickly we improve when its put on paper, because it certainly doesn't feel like it at then end of a WOD.

Can't wait to see what the other articles in the series hold!
Keep 'em coming


wrote …

How about adding this to the "Start Here" page along with the "What is Fitness" and other articles for beginners?


wrote …

Awesome article Todd. This will be really helpful to me as a coach introducing new people to CrossFit.

Looking forward to the next one...


wrote …

Nice article! Please share more.. I'm especially interested in the "not able to join a CrossFit gym" situation!


wrote …

While I have been able to download and open a number of PDF's I get a series of errors when I try this file (for reference Startup Part 2 downloads and opens without a problem) anyone else having a similar issue or suggestions?

Otherwise - a great resource and inspiration!


wrote …

Please ignore the comment above - tried to download again this morning and everything worked fine .... PICNIC.


wrote …

New to crossfit where to start, what workouts to do or try???


wrote …

Great article :)


wrote …

Just started cross fit 90 days ago. How many calories should I be eating?
6,2" male 233 lbs 59 yrs old

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