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    47 Heart Pumping Crossfit Cardio Workouts to Stay Full Fit, Anywhere

    One of the best benefits of Crossfit training is that it trains a healthy and tough mind and body, full spectrum. That strength, speed, mobility may perfectly fit your fitness goals but we can’t forget aerobic metabolic conditioning that trains for a strong, healthy, resilient heart. These 41 Crossfit cardio workouts will build a strong resilient body that recovers quickly and can go the distance.

    Read on for the 41 best Crossfit cardio workouts and more information on why Crossfit is awesome cardio training.

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    Table of Contents

    My 41+ Favorite Crossfit Cardio Workouts

    High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is cardio training

    What exactly is “cardio training” and what kinds of workouts qualify?

    The average Crossfit WOD delivered daily on the main website or at your average Crossfit gym is an intense workout that definitely qualify as a cardio workout because the activity keeps your heart rate elelevated for the entire training period, and long enough to stimulate cardiovascular improvements.

    However, what specific workouts will be “cardio training” for your dependable on your fitness level, and how to get your heart pumping

    Let’s look at what makes a good cardio workout and why most Crossfit workouts are good cardio workouts

    The criteria for a cardio workout

    According to the CDC a general test of whether aerobic exercise is sufficient as moderate intensity aerobic activity and vigorous aerobic activity is whether you can talk or sing while working out.

    If you can talk during the workout, but are too out of breath to sing, that is moderate intensity aerobic activity and includes walking briskly, light cycling (under 10mph), and water aerobics. With this kind of exercise you need minimum 150 minutes of thus, moderate intensity activity per week to stay healthy.

    However, all of these workouts, listed below, qualify as vigorous aerobic activity.

    By the same measure, during vigrouous aerobic activity you won’t be able to speak, feeling out of breath after a few words. With vigorous aerobic activity, 75 minutes per week is what you should target to stay fit and healthy. (Source: US CDC)

    More technically, moderate intensity aerobic activity is any activity wherein your target heart rate is between 64% and 76% of your max heart rate.

    Vigorous intensity aerobic activity is any activity wherein your heart rate is 77% and 93% of your heart rate maximum.

    You can calculate your max heart rate by subtracting your age from 220

    For example…

    I am 38 years old, so my max heart rate is 182

    220 – 38 = 182 beats per minute is my heart rate max.

    As such, my “vigorous intensity aerobic training” by heart rate is:

    Low: 77% × 182 = 140

    High/max: 93% x 182 = 169

    For “moderate intensity aerobic activity, my lower heart rate limit is:

    64% x 182 = 116 beats per minute

    With these measurements I can check my pulse at any point during any workout and see if I am training in the “aerobic trainjng zone” based on heart rate.

    Why Crossfit, HIIT, strength focused interval training makes excellent cardio

    High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) like Crossfit is beautiful because it trains for strength while keeping your heart rate up above that point at 64% of your max heart rate and usually above that 77%.

    The bottom line: these workouts below are some of the best Crossfit workouts for cardio, but any workout that keeps you out of breath will do. If in doubt, check your pulse, and get moving faster

    Steady state cardio vs. Crossfit, the differences, and what it means for you

    By these measures of the “talking and singing test” and the more accurate test of percentage of max heart rate, we can see that HIIT challenges the heart and aerobic system just as much as “steady state” exercises such as running, cycling, rowing, and hitting the treadmill.

    But HIIT training for cardiovascular health has a hidden benefit over steady state cardio – it builds and maintains more muse while also burning more calories in the same amount of time.

    HIIT training burns more calories and preserves more muscle mass than steady state cardio.

    While steady state exercises are simpler, require a single piece of equipment or minimal equipment, and are often easier to do, HIIT training and many Crossfit exercises and workouts, that include resistance from calisthenics, functional movements, weights and varying plyometric or explosive movements, serves the additional benefits of of training strength, and thus building or preserving muscle. Additionally, the resistance aspect of most HIIT training triggers a positive, muscle preserving and developing hormone cocktail from inside the body**.

    Additionally, the beneficial muscle damage that occurs during HIIT training causes your metabolism to increase and run at a higher rate for 24 to 48 hours, thus burning burning more calories in the following 24 to 48 hours while you recover.

    With steady state cardio, due to limited (beneficial) muscle damage and hypertrophy later, the calories burned and metabolism increase stops once the workout ends and your heart returns to normal. Additionally, you’ll have to maintain a faster pace running, cycling, and rowing, to get the same high heart rate thrusters would deliver, or workout for a long time comparatively to burn the same amount calories as with HIIT

    So the best benefit of HIIT with resistance exercises and calisthenics over cardio is you will preserve and develop more muscle and strength while burning more calories from a comparable period of steady state cardio.

    Best Crossfit Workouts Structures for Cardio

    In the workouts below, you’ll notice intentional useful patterns in the workouts. This makes Crossfit workouts easy to replicate, adapt, and make on your own.

    The 41 workouts I’ve listed below will keep you busy – but this list of Crossfit workout template structures will help you get familiar with Crossfit in general.

    • AMRAPs (As many reps as possible): Performimg as many rounds of esch exercise in a circuit as possible within a given period of time

    • EMOMs (Every minute on the minute): Perform a set exercise and number of reps performed at the start of every minute. Whatever time is left in the minute (if any) is time to rest and recover

    • For Time: Perform a set number of reps and sets of specific exercises as quickly as possible

    • Chipper WODs: Performing a large number of reps of 1 to 4 exercises as fast as possible by “chipping” away at the reps. Number of reps per set can change throughout the workout and are up to you (Click here for 50 endurance testing Chipper WODs)

    • All Hero WOD options: Some of the old workouts and favorites in Crossfit, all named for heros that died in service. Each wod is extremely rough. These workouts alone will deliver great results in strength and cardio health. (Click here for the 10 tough hero WODs and 125 more)

    • Ladders: 1 to 3 exercises performed in sets increasing by 1 rep per set, increasing to a peak number, then decreasing – i.e., 1,2,3…9,10,9…3,2,1

    Death by “[insert seemingly easy exercise]”: Pick a single exercise (for example, burpees) performing every minute on the minute. Start with 1 rep the first minute and increase by 1 each additional minute until you can no longer complete the set number of reps within the minute

    • Tabata: perform a single exercise for 8 rounds of 20 seconds full intensity work and 10 seconds rest.

    In addition to these workout templates, you can always find a great workout on the workout of the day page. As long as the workout is heart pumping with less focus on strength training and more focus on nterval training, it’s a good option.

    (Jump to the workouts – or – Jump back to the Table for Contents)

    What is Cardio Training? And what qualifies as cardio training?

    Cardio training, also known as cardiovascular exercise or endurance training, is a type of physical activity that raises the heart rate and increases the flow of oxygen to the body’s tissues. The goal of cardio training is to improve the function of the heart and lungs, and to increase the body’s ability to use oxygen. This type of training typically involves activities such as running, cycling, swimming, and rowing, but can also include other exercises such as jumping rope, stair climbing, and cross-country skiing. Cardio training can be done at different intensities, with different goals such as weight loss, endurance or overall fitness. It can be done in short bursts, such as High Intensity Interval Training(HIIT) or in longer duration such as steady state cardio.

    Metcon workouts are Crossfit’s version of a cardio workout, and carries even more benefits

    “Metcon” is short for “metabolic conditioning,” and it refers to a type of workout in CrossFit that combines strength and cardio exercises in a high-intensity, fast-paced format. The goal of a metcon is to improve the body’s ability to perform work over an extended period of time by increasing endurance and stamina. These workouts are designed to push the body to its limits and improve cardiovascular fitness, while also strengthening the muscles. Metcon typically involves a mix of compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and presses, as well as bodyweight exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, and burpees. They often include running, rowing, or cycling. The format of metcon is typically for time or for a certain number of rounds, and these workouts typically take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to complete.

    Our 41 Favorite Crossfit Cardio Workouts

    The Top 5 Crossfit Workouts for a Heart Busting Cardio Session

    1. DT – 5 rounds of: 12 deadlifts, 9 hang power cleans, 6 push jerks — (Prescribed barbell weight is 155lbs for men, 105lbs for women)

    2. Murph – For time: 1 mile Run, 100 Pull-ups, 200 Push-ups, 300 Air squats, 1 mile Run (done with a weighted vest if possible

    3. Fight Gone Bad – Three rounds of: 1-minute Wall balls (20lbs/14lbs), 1-minute Sumo deadlift high-pulls (75lbs/55lbs), 1-minute Box jumps (20 inches), 1-minute Push-press (75lbs/55lbs), 1-minute Row (calories)

    4. Fran – For time: 21-15-9 reps of: Thrusters (95lbs/65lbs), Pull-ups

    5. Tabata This – Perform 5 full Tabatas of rows, air squats, pull ups, push ups, and sit-ups with 1 minute of rest between each Tabata for a total 24 minute workout

    (Back to the top)

    6. Cindy – As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of: 5 Pull-ups, 10 Push-ups, 15 Air squats

    7. Helen – For time: 400m Run, 21 Kettlebell swings (1.5/1 pood), 12 Pull-ups

    8. Nancy – For time: 400m Run, 15 Overhead squats (95lbs/65lbs)

    9. Annie – For time: 50-40-30-20-10 reps of: Double-unders, Sit-ups

    10. Karen – For time: 150 Wall balls (20lbs/14lbs)

    11. Mary – As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of: 5 Handstand push-ups, 10 Pistols (5 per leg), 15 Pull-ups

    12. Diane – For time: 21-15-9 reps of: Deadlifts (225lbs/155lbs), Handstand push-ups

    13. Grace – For time: 30 Clean and jerks (135lbs/95lbs)

    14. Barbara – Five rounds, each for time, of: 20 Pull-ups, 30 Push-ups, 40 Sit-ups, 50 Squats. Rest exactly three minutes between each round.

    15. Kelly – For time: 400m Run, 30 Box jump overs (24/20 inches), 30 Wall balls (20lbs/14lbs)

    16. Elizabeth – For time: 21-15-9 reps of: Clean (135lbs/95lbs), Ring dips

    17. Randy – For time: 75 Power snatches (75lbs/55lbs)

    18. The Seven – 7 rounds for time of: 7 Handstand push-ups, 7 Thrusters (135lbs/95lbs), 7 Knees-to-elbows, 7 Deadlifts (245lbs/165lbs), 7 Burpees, 7 Kettlebell swings (2/1.5 pood), 7 Pull-ups

    19. The Chief – 5 rounds of: 3 minutes of AMRAP (as many reps as possible) of: 3 Power cleans (135lbs/95lbs), 6 Push-ups, 9 Air squats, followed by a 1-minute rest

    20. The Filthy Fifty – For time: 50 Box jump overs (24/20 inches), 50 Jumping pull-ups, 50 Kettlebell swings (1.5/1 pood), 50 Walking lunges, 50 Knees-to-elbows, 50 Push press (45lbs/35lbs), 50 Back extensions, 50 Wall balls (20lbs/14lbs), 50 Burpees, 50 Double-unders

    23. Mary – As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of: 5 Handstand push-ups, 10 Pistols (alternating legs), 15 Pull-ups

    24. Diane – For time: 21-15-9 reps of Deadlifts (225lbs/155lbs) and Handstand push-ups

    25. Nancy – For time: 5 rounds of: 400m Run, 15 Overhead squats (95lbs/65lbs)

    26. Amanda – For time: 9-7-5 reps of Muscle-ups, Snatches (135lbs/95lbs)

    27. Elizabeth – For time: 21-15-9 reps of Clean (135lbs/95lbs), Ring dips

    28. Barbara – 5 rounds for time of: 20 Pull-ups, 30 Push-ups, 40 Sit-ups, 50 Squats, with a 3-minute rest between rounds.

    29. Death by Burpees – Start with one burpee in the first minute, then two burpees in the second minute, and so on, continuing to add one burpee per minute until you can no longer complete the required number of burpees in that minute.

    30. The Chief – 5 rounds of: 3 minutes of AMRAP (as many reps as possible) of: 3 Power cleans (135/95lbs), 6 Push-ups, 9 Air squats.

    31. The Seven – 7 rounds for time of: 7 Handstand push-ups, 7 Thrusters (135/95lbs), 7 Knees-to-elbows, 7 Deadlifts (245/165lbs), 7 Burpees, 7 Kettlebell swings (2/1.5 pood), 7 Pull-ups.

    32. Randy – For time: 75 Power snatches (75/55lbs)

    33. Death by T2B – Death by Toes to bar, start with 1 rep in the first minute, then 2 reps in the second minute, and so on, continuing to add one rep per minute until you can no longer complete the required number of reps in that minute.

    34. Micheal – For time: 3 rounds of: 800m Run, 50 Back extensions, 50 Sit-ups

    35. Tabata Something Else – 8 rounds of: 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest for each of the following exercises: Pull-ups, Push-ups, Sit-ups, and Squats

    36. The Bear Complex – For 5 rounds, perform 7 unbroken reps of the following complex: Power clean, Front squat, Push press, Back squat, Push press (use a moderate weight)

    37. The Dirty Thirty – For time: 30 Box jumps (24/20 inches), 30 Jumping pull-ups, 30 Kettlebell swings (1.5/1 pood), 30 Lunges (15 per leg), 30 Knees-to-elbows, 30 Push press (45lbs/35lbs), 30 Back extensions, 30 Wall balls (20lbs/14lbs), 30 Burpees, 30 Double-unders

    (Back to the table of contents)

    Bodyweight workouts for cardio **

    37. Helen – For time: 3 rounds of: 400m Run, 21 Kettlebell swings (24kg/16kg), 12 Pull-ups

    (Back to the table of contents)

    Sprint Workouts **

    38. As Many Rounds As Possible in 20 minutes:

    • Sprint 30 seconds (50/60% max effort)
    • Recover 60 – 120 seconds
    • Sprint 30 seconds (70% max effort)
    • Recover 60 – 120 seconds
    • Sprint 30 seconds (80% max effort)

    39. Griff:

    • 800 meter Run
    • 400 meter Run (backwards)
    • 800 meter Run
    • 400 meter Run (backwards)

    Back to the table of contents

    Crossfit workouts with jump ropes **

    40. Living Room Session:

    20 Rounds for Time

    • 6 Push Ups
    • 12 Alternating Lunges
    • 18 Double Unders

    41. Pop Up

    For Time

    • 100 Double Unders
    • 21 Burpees
    • 75 Double Unders
    • 15 Burpees
    • 50 Double Unders
    • 9 Burpees

    Note: You can replace double unders with jump rope single unders

    Intense Endurance WODs

    42. The Long Haul – A team workout consisting of a 10k run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, and a 1-mile farmer’s carry (100/70lbs) in teams of 2 or 3.

    43. The Endurance Test – A partner workout consisting of a 2-mile run, 100 calories on the assault bike, 100 kettlebell swings (24/16kg), 100 dumbbell thrusters (50/35lbs), and 100 box jump overs (24/20″) in teams of 2.

    44. The Epic Challenge – A partner workout consisting of a 3-mile run, 150 calories on the rower, 150 wall balls (20/14lbs), 150 kettlebell snatches (24/16kg), and 150 burpee box jump overs (24/20″) in teams of 2.

    45. The Endurance Builder – A partner workout consisting of a 4-mile run, 200 calories on the ski erg, 200 double unders, 200 dumbbell ground to overhead (50/35lbs), and 200 toes-to-bar in teams of 2.

    46. The Ultra Challenge – A solo workout consisting of a 5-mile run, 250 calories on the assault bike, 250 kettlebell goblet squats (24/16kg), 250 burpee box jump overs (24/20″), and 250 chest-to-bar pull-ups in a time cap of 60 minutes.

    Crossfit Cardio Workout FAQs

    What do Crossfitters do for cardio?
    • Crossfit is inherently a high intensity activity that keeps your heart rate elevated for extended periods of time,, essentially making your average Crossfit workouts a great cardio workout. However, some Crossfit atheletes do specifically do “metcon” workouts or “metabolic conditioning” workouts. These workouts involve longer periods of lower intensity, steady state exercise – like the assault bike, rowing, skipping rope, or running – or mixing in lower intensity exercises at high reps that can be performed for an extended period before failure. These workouts train an efficient cardiovascular system that also delivers quick muscular recovery during rest periods and shorter recovery time in general.
    What is the best cardio in CrossFit?
    • In Crossfit, the best cardio training is actually Crossfit workouts designed with minimal rest periods that keep the heart elevated, above 64% of maximum heart bests per minute, through the entire workout. Good examples include Tabatas, chippers, EMOM workouts, and round for time workouts – but these all require the athlete to have the discipline to keep moving through the pain.
    Is CrossFit a cardio workout?
    • Yes, most Crossfit workouts are inherently HIIT workouts that keep the heart rate elevated in the moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic training zone thought he entire workout, thus making those Crossfit conditioning workouts cardio workouts as well.

    How do I increase my cardio for CrossFit?

    • You can increase your cardiovascular fitness for Crossfit by doing minimum 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic actvity in which your heart rate is elevated the entire time, for 20 to 30 minutes minimum. This will train your cardiovascular system to withstand the stress and work requirements of a typical Crossfit workout. However, the best workout to increase your performance in Crossfit is a Crossfit workout. Crossfit’s most elite athletes, whether in your gym or at the Crossfit games reached their level of strength and stamina by repeatedly doing these killer workouts that pushed their limits. Do the same, follow their footsteps, and just put in the work.

    What next? Get the right equipment to workout anywhere and find more great workouts

    Visit the No Gym Fitness page to see the latest workouts and gear for getting in a great workout – Crossfit, calisthenics, rucking, mobility, and more – at home or whereever you are.

    Then, check out our recommended excercise gear for home gym and exercise while traveling – to get in a good Crossfit workout anywhere.

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      About A Brother Abroad


      Carlos is a nomad, slow traveler, and writer dedicated to helping others live abroad and travel better by using his 7+ years of experience living abroad and background as a management consultant and financial advisor to help other nomad and expats plot better paths for an international lifestyle. Click here to learn more about Carlos's story.