Barbara WOD: Instructions, Tips and Strategy

The Barbara WOD is an original CrossFit Girl WOD. In this WOD, athletes are required to perform 5 rounds for time of the following exercises:

  • 5 Rounds For Time
  • 20 Pull ups
  • 30 Pushups
  • 40 Sit-Ups
  • 50 Air Squats
  • 3 minutes Rest

How to Do Barbara WOD

Barbara WOD is a CrossFit benchmark WOD that you can use to assess your progress over time.

Considering it has four bodyweight movements: push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and sit-ups, this WOD is pretty straightforward to perform.

Nevertheless, the number of rounds and reps make it a severe endurance test.

When you do this workout, you should do it with high intensity. The intensity level is apparent considering that there is a 3-minute rest period at the end of each round.

Elite athletes should be able to finish this workout in a time cap of 20 minutes or less.

You need to complete the 5 rounds as quickly as possible.

After 50 air squat movements, you need to take a 3-minute rest—time each of your rounds for pacing and reference purposes.

Your score is calculated using the total time it takes to complete 5 rounds, including the 3 minutes of rest.

Remember not to include the last 3-minute rest period after the 5th round in your overall score.

What Is a good time for the Barbara WOD?

  • Beginners should expect to finish Barbara WOD in about 50 minutes
  • Intermediate athletes should expect to finish this workout in 40 to 49 minutes
  • Advanced athletes should expect to finish this workout in 30 to 39 minutes
  • Elite athletes can expect to finish this workout in less than 29 minutes.

Strategy and Tips

When conducting the Barbara WOD, ensure that you go as unbroken and as fast as possible.

If required, you can break the reps into sets but use a cascading or descending rep scheme, so the number of reps you do decreases as you go through the sets.

For instance, you can use 12, 8, 6, and 4 for your Push-up sets.

What to Expect

When most people see the rest period in Barbara WOD, they erroneously believe that this workout is easier than others. That isn’t the case as Barbara WOD is a lot harder, as you are supposed to go uncomfortably fast during the movement part of the workout.

Your lungs, legs, and arms should burn intensely every time you get into the 3 minute rest period. That 3 minute rest period will seemingly fly by, causing you to question if you are correctly doing the workout or not.

Options for Scaling

Barbara WOD is supposed to be done relatively unbroken and fast.

This workout is a proper interval-style workout with an inbuilt rest period. This design enables you to go hard during the movement period and rest during the 3-minute period.

To maintain the integrity of this workout, each person can scale the skill level or volume of this workout to speed through the movement part.

Here are the options for beginners and intermediate athletes:


5 rounds for time:

  • 15 bench or incline push-ups
  • 10 ring rows
  • 25 air squats
  • 20 anchored sit-ups
  • 3-minute rest


5 Rounds for Time:

  • 40 air squats
  • 30 sit-ups
  • 20 push-ups
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 3 minutes Rest

For more on scaling CrossFit workouts like the Barbara WOD, have a look at this video:

Tim Rollins, Editor

About boxletes was created by a team of CrossFit athletes and fitness enthusiasts who love to share information about the best CrossFit boxes, workout gear and equipment, and fitness and nutrition tips.

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