Cindy CrossFit Workout Tips

Check out the Cindy CrossFit Workout Tips

AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) in 20 minutes as you can of:

5 Pull-ups

10 Push-ups

15 Air Squats (no weight)

This workout is considered a baseline workout and one of the original CrossFit “girl” workouts.

Around the gym this can be referred to as “the Cindy workout” or “Cindy WOD”. Cindy is also a great benchmark workout to do on a regular basis to check your progress. If you find your score for Cindy isn’t improving like you want, that can indicate holes in your training you need to fill.

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Check out these tips to improve your Cindy PR scores or if you’re new to the workout.

Tip #1

Warm up with air squats, Australian pull-ups and incline push-ups. Then perform a a round of Cindy with pull-ups, push-ups and air squats at 50% effort.

Even if you’re proficient with the Cindy workout, slowing down and going back to basics will help you make sure your form is correct and push through any plateaus. Need help with your pull-ups? Check out this article.

Check out this article for some awesome tips on improving your pull-ups: Marine Who Set Pull-Up World Record Gives His Top 7 Tips on How to Crush Them.
Question: Do you have a good list of all of the CrossFit bodyweight workouts?

Answer: Check out this book Cross Training WOD Bible: 555 Workouts from Beginner to Ballistic.

This is a great book to throw in your backpack for that long weekend road trip or when you will be without gear.

Tip #2

Do your push-ups and squats near the pull-up bar. Don’t run across the gym to do exercises. The closer you are to your gear, the easier it is to make sure you keep your time low and your PRs up.

Question: What is a good way to keep the callouses on my hand from ripping on a high rep CrossFit workout?

Answer: Check out the WODFitters Hand Gripsfor CrossFit WODs for high rep pull-up workouts. I have tried these before and they worked fine.

Tip #3

If you have never done Cindy before and just starting CrossFit, do this:

Perform 5 rounds of Cindy and try to stay within 5 minutes (1 minute per round). When this gets easier, add another round and still try to keep it within 5 minutes. When you’re proficient at that, add another round and keep it within 5 minutes.

If you go over 5 minutes, stay at that number of rounds until you’re within that time. Progress to performing 10 rounds of Cindy and try to stay near the 10 rounds in 10 minutes mark.

Another way you can improve your Cindy scores is to try other workouts like Angie (or half Angie) and Chelsea to workout in a similar manner.

Question: Do you offer more training and workouts you’ve created?

Answer: Yes; check out the SEALgrinderPT Membership. It has tons of articles, info and daily workouts. You can also access past workouts.

Tip #4

If you are having trouble with pull-ups then perform as jumping pull-ups or with a band.

When doing jumping pull-ups, do not let your body just drop down as that can injure your arms and shoulders. Lower yourself as slowly as you can. If this is too hard, opt for a band.

If you choose to use a band, find one that supports your weight, but makes the lowering challenging. Too much support and you won’t progress. Too little support and you can get injured.

Check out WODFitters Hand Grips for Pull Ups @

Do not use the weight-assist pull-up machines at the gym. They do not help in creating the right form or gains. If you’re struggling with your pull-ups in general, check out this article.

Tip #5

Perform 1 set of 10 push-ups unbroken and rest 1 minute. Repeat. Work on this drill to improve your sets of 10 unbroken push-ups.

If you can’t do 10 unbroken push-ups, start with 5 and do 10 sets. When this is easy, progress to 10. Always try for the higher number first.

If you’re struggling with your push-ups, try these tips. Another way to improve your core and push-ups is to practice plank holds (in top push-up position, not on your elbows) daily.

Do not let your lower back sag when performing plank holds or push-ups. If your lower back is sagging, find ways to improve your core strength. Check out these movements for ways to work your core.

Tip #6

Repeat same drill for pull-ups. Again, if you’re struggling with your pull-ups or you can’t seem to break a PR, go back to basics. This is something pro athletes do from time to time as it helps them make sure their form is correct. It’s easy over time to forget this. Incorrect form can sometimes be why you can’t break a current PR.

Going back to basics and slowing down also “resets” your muscles to start working differently.

Tip #7

For air squats, work to tug your butt down quickly then spring up quickly. You can really speed up your air squats as many athletes slow down here.

Check out this awesome Cindy video from SGPT Coach Tom Coffey.

Question: I just ripped a callus on my hands doing pull ups – what is the best way to repair my hands?

Answer: We like the W.O.D. Welder Hand Care Kit as it is great way to get your hands repaired so you can get back to your workouts quickly.

You can use the pumice stone to lightly trim off the excess hard skin that can tear during a hard workout.

Bonus Tip #1

Between times you do Cindy, vary your training routine to add in different ways to work the muscle groups required for Cindy. Even if you can do strict pull-ups, factor in Australian pull-ups at lower and lower angles. Ring rows and ring pull-ups are also good.

Bonus Tip #2

Try different push-up methods—angle (rest your hands on the edge of a bench), reverse, wider arm stance, narrower arm stance, etc..

Varying your push-up (and pull-up) routines will make it easier for you to perform classic (strict) pull-ups more easily. Variations also help you strengthen your core, which is a huge part of performing push-ups and pull-ups. It’s not all arm and upper back strength.

Check out these tips to improve your plank hold time and core strength.

Bonus Tip #3

Work sprinting and HIIT workouts into your training routines. It may seem opposite, but high intensity workouts can often be exactly what you need to break through training plateaus, especially if you’re trying to break a specific time PR.

Also make sure you’re working in plyometrics—movements where you’re “exploding” your effort. Burpees, star jumps, wall balls, box jumps are all examples of plyometric movements.

Bonus Tip #4

Perform Tabata routines (7 rounds of 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds rest). This a way you can perform HIIT workouts.

Tabata routines help you perform the maximum output you can do in a short amount of time. There are lots of ways you can do Tabata workouts—push-ups, pull-ups, kettlebell swings, battle ropes, sprinting.

For each round you want to beat the previous round’s tally. So if on Tabata round #1 you do 15 kettlebell swings, you want to hit 16+ for round two.

Bonus Tip #5

Make sure you’re taking full recovery days and working in active rest days. Recovery days are when you do not do any work at all. Recovery days are when you do work, but you do it at a much lower intensity—walks, yoga, easy swimming. Your body needs time to recover and a lack of recovery can be why you’re not breaking current PRs. Not allowing for recovery and active rest days can also lead to injury and over-training.

Question: Where can I learn more about CrossFit?

Answer: Check out the CF main website here.

Tips from CrossFit Athlete Chris Yanger

“The few things that helped me get through Cindy and hit a new PR were….

Visualization—I told myself the day I got my week of workouts that no matter what when I get Cindy – I will knock this one out of the park

I was tired of feeling as if I did not have enough so I prepared my mind for the battle that was going to take place during the week. When I was part of the Unbeatable Mind academy I read a quote that really stuck. “You must first win in your mind before you can win on the battlefield.”

Confidence—I believed in myself and the training that you have been providing me. I was telling myself before hand that QUITTING WAS NOT AN OPTION! 🙂

Determination—When I began Cindy I was jamming out sets hard and fast, as I hit round 12 my mind started to flail. At that point before I would transition I would repeat to myself- Push em’ out. That mantra hit home and I keep cranking sets out. At round 16 my mind started to trick me and make me believe that I could slack with only 4 min left and I would be happy with 17 rounds. I stopped for a breath and told myself I wouldn’t settle for 17 I wanted that 18. My muscles ached my mind was trying to play tricks on me but I repeated Push em’ out to myself all the way to end.

Breath control—After round 12 I was feeling like I was in some trouble because I was sucking wind hard and was hurting. As I jumped into round 13 I began to really focus on my breathing, slowing my breathing down and calming the “monkey mind” and really adding to the focus of the present.

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