The Angie Crossfit WOD: Timed calisthenic madness

The author of Lunch Break Fitness doing push ups in his minimalist garage gym.

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If you’ve been around Lunchbreak Fitness for a while, you’ve realized that we’re big fans of basic circuit training with calisthenics. Crossfit’s Angie WOD fits perfectly into this most basic exercise form.

The Crossfit Angie WOD is a full-body workout that consists of 100 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and 100 squats. The goal is to complete all reps as quickly as possible. Start with pull-ups, then move on to push-ups, sit-ups, and finish with squats. Take breaks as needed, but strive to complete each exercise in as few sets as possible.

This WOD is a true test of physical and mental endurance, requiring no more equipment than a simple pull up bar.

How to do the Angie Wod

First, you will complete 100 pull ups, in as few sets as possible. For pull ups, I would recommend staying far from failure if possible. I often begin with a few sets of 10-12, then step down as I begin to feel fatigued.

I find that resting 20-30 seconds between sets keeps the pace fairly well. Feel free to cut out some of the pull ups if you need to scale the workout down.

Second, do 100 push ups, in as few sets as possible. Most of us will have an easier time knocking out 20-25 push ups per set with 30-ish seconds rest between sets. Since this is your last upper body exercise for the day, I find it’s OK to swing for the fences on this one.

Your last set or two of push ups can be done very close to failure with little consequence.

Third, complete 100 sit ups, in as few sets as possible. For many of you, that may mean a single set of 100. For us mere mortals, breaking them up into 50 / 25 / 25 may be more appropriate. Rest 20-ish seconds as needed.

Lastly, complete 100 air squats, in as few sets as possible. Most of us (myself included), will attempt a “century set” here (a 100-rep set). This is deceptively tough! The good part is that the session is almost over – it’s a sprint across the finish line with squats.

Benefits of the Angie WOD

The author of Lunch Break Fitness doing pull ups in his minimalist garage gym.
The author’s most recent attempt at an Angie PR.

Though Angie may look similar, on paper, to other Crossfit “girl” WODs like Cindy or Chelsea, it really is a different beast. You will specifically develop a lot of fatigue by attempting 100 reps of each exercise in a row with no breaks.

Angie will build muscular endurance better than other WODs

Since you’re hammering a single exercise before moving on to the next, Angie will build muscular endurance and mental grit differently. I find that the muscular challenge in Angie is more intense than the cardiovascular challenge of Cindy, for instance.

As an aside, this makes Angie a great training session for someone attempting to complete the Murph Challenge in a “straight set” fashion.

Angie will build muscle

If muscle-building is your goal, you know that performing sets close to failure is the name of the game.

Angie has more in common with rest-pause training than it does with circuit training. Because of this, the accumulated fatigue you’ll feel during the Angie WOD is insane, especially in the upper body.

Strategy for a good score on Angie

A man doing burpees on a gym floor.

As this is a classic Crossfit benchmark WOD, here are a few tips I’ve found that help when going for a PR on Angie:

  1. Warm up well in advance. You don’t want to be warming up during the first few sets of Angie – it will only slow you down.
  2. Deliberately break up the reps into manageable chunks. Experienced lifters know that hitting muscular failure can be a death sentence in a workout like Angie. Stop each set well prior to failure.
  3. It’s not a sprint – don’t put 100% effort into the first few minutes. Rather, attempt to give about 80% effort for the duration of the session.
  4. Be willing to change your plan mid-stream. If you’re gassing out halfway through the pushups, break the reps down even further than you had planned.

The pull ups and push ups are, of course, harder to complete in large chunks than the squats and sit ups. Specifically, these exercises should be kept far from failure. Once you finish them, it’s game on! From this point forward, it’s a high rep grind across the finish line!

How to scale Angie

While there are a number of ways to scale Angie down, it’s probably best to come up with your own plan in advance.

To scale down, you can decrease the number of reps, modify the exercises to make them easier (e.g. jumping pull-ups instead of strict pull-ups), or take more breaks. It’s important to remember that the goal is to challenge yourself, but not at the cost of compromising the rest of your workouts for the week (or your joints, for that matter).

Scaling the WOD appropriately will help you get the most out of it and reach your fitness goals:

  • Decrease the number of total reps, especially on the push ups and pull ups. A good goal would be to shoot for 60 of each upper body exercise.
  • Choose a variation of the exercises that is more accessible to you. For instance, pull ups can easily be subbed out for ring rows, banded pull ups, or jumping pull ups.

Variations of the Angie WOD

The author of Lunch Break Fitness completing a set of air squats in his minimalist garage gym.
The author completing a set of air squats during his most recent Angie attempt. I was pretty gassed by this point!

While I’m not sure that any “official” variations of Angie exist, it doesn’t take much imagination to come up with a few. My personal favorite modification would be to approach the session circuit-style:

Rather than going straight at the reps (as prescribed), simply do a work set of pull ups, followed by a work set of push ups, a work set of squats, a work set of sit ups, and so on. This will allow for a quicker workout but will likely add to the cardiovascular demands of the session.

So, how did your Angie workout go?

Get ready to push the limits and test your strength with the Angie Crossfit workout. This intense benchmark workout will challenge every muscle in your body and provide a novel metabolic challenge as well. With a combination of pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, and squats, Angie is a true test of physical and mental endurance.

So, grab your gym shoes, fill up your water bottle, and get ready to conquer the Angie WOD!