How to Create a Makeshift CrossFit Games in Your Own Backyard

How to Create a Makeshift CrossFit Games in Your Own Backyard
Presented by Spartan Training®

You don’t need to shell out dollars for the most expensive equipment or gym membership to train like an elite CrossFitter. All you need is some open space, some eager friends, and a few things around your house to hold your own CrossFit Games.

Related: Move Fast, Lift Heavy, and Race Better With Christian Harris

“With a little creativity, you can collect enough gear to have a Games-like competition in your backyard,” Carl Chu, NASM-CPT, a CrossFit Level-2 trainer at Shoreline CrossFit in Branford, Conn., says.

Check out his suggestions to craft an awesome event this weekend.

Everything You Need to Create Your Own Backyard CrossFit Gym

an athlete competing in a makeshift CrossFit Games in a backyard CrossFit gym

1. Bodyweight and Plyometrics

Bodyweight moves are always challenging no matter how seasoned of an athlete you are, as anyone who’s had to grind out 30 burpees for missing the Spear Throw yet again knows. Fortunately, things like burpees, air squats, lunges, dips, and push-ups can be done anywhere.

“For pull-ups, you can use the ledge of a raised deck, or a sturdy tree branch,” Chu suggests. “And anything solid and stable you can jump onto — a chair, a flat rock, a tailgate — will mimic a box jump.”

Related: 12 of the Best Bodyweight Exercises for Functional Strength

Obviously, if you have a barbell and some bumper plates, incorporate those, since there is a barbell component in every CrossFit Games. But if you don’t own any actual iron, Chu suggests sandbags or bags of soil for moves such as cleans, deadlifts, and shoulder-to-overhead motions. A gallon milk jug filled partway with water or sand can also make a great dumbbell or kettlebell.

2. Odd Objects and Strongman

“The Games have been doing a lot of strongman stuff lately, so look for anything around your house or yard that is heavy that you can carry or potentially flip over,” Chu advises. “A picnic table that you don’t care about, car pieces, big tires, logs, buckets filled with sand — it all works.”

You can also make your own odd objects.

“At the 2017 Games, they had something they called the cheese curd, which was essentially a humongous wooden block with a handle,” Chu says.

Try filling a tarp with rocks, or rigging up an old flying saucer sled with a rope or garden hose to make your own sled pull.

3. Sprinting and Endurance

Triathlon components have become a staple in the Games, so living close to a body of water will expand your DIY Games potential.

“You can run from point A to point B, jump in a lake and swim, then hop on a bicycle and ride back to the start,” Chu says.

And if you have a boat, canoe, or paddleboard, you could even have a shore-to-shore or buoy-to-buoy paddling race.

Related: TRAINED FOR THE GAMES: How This Elite CrossFitter Evolves as an Athlete

In 2017, an obstacle course element was introduced to the year's Games, giving Spartan fanatics a potential advantage. To mimic an obstacle-based element, scope out the course potential in your yard and devise a mini-course your competitors must run through for time.  

“The actual obstacle course at the Games had things like cargo nets, hurdles, wall hops, monkey bars, log carries, and army crawls underneath a mesh of rope,” Chu says.

You can make yours just for fun, or you can go for straight up hard — the design is up to you. Feeling evil? Turn on the hose for a while to saturate the earth and create optimal mud-like conditions.

How to Host a Makeshift CrossFit Games in Your Backyard CrossFit Gym

an athlete competing in a makeshift CrossFit Games in a backyard CrossFit gym

After you've assembled your backyard CrossFit gym, take these WODs and run with them, or use them as a template to create your own challenges. But remember, if you still want to have friends when your Games are over, scale the weight and the movements to suit your competitive field.


6-Minute Death by Burpees

Do the maximum number of full burpees as possible in six minutes.


Santa’s Sled

3 rounds for time:

  • 800-meter run
  • 20-meter sled pull
  • 20-meter sled push

After they run, competitors will first pull the sled 20 meters hand-over-hand toward them to cross a line, and then push it back to the start. Complete three rounds as fast as possible for time.


Woody’s 12-minute AMRAP

  • 200-meter log carry
  • 20 overhead log squats
  • 10 burpees over log

Competitors can carry the log however they want — overhead, on one shoulder, in front of them, etc. — for 100 meters, down and back. Use the same log to do the overhead squats and burpees. Complete as many rounds as possible in 12 minutes.

Related: TRAINED FOR THE GAMES: This Elite CrossFitter Designs EPIC Programs


Obstacle Course

Complete once for time:

  • Sprint 50 yards
  • Jump over a series of trash cans
  • Climb up and down a 12-foot ladder
  • Do 30 seconds of dizzy bat (see below)
  • Carry a heavy bucket up a hill or stairs, then back down to the start
  • Army crawl under a series of pool noodle arches (or any other overhead boundary you can set for yourself)
  • Walk on a narrow plank over mud (or any other balance beam)
  • Run through a tire grid (or cones, if necessary)
  • Sprint to the finish

Dizzy bat: Place your forehead on top of a bat with the other end on the ground, then run in a circle around the bat.


Madison Triplet (an actual event featured in the 2017 CrossFit Games)

5 rounds for time:

  • Run 450 meters
  • 11 hay-bale (or sandbag) clean burpees