The 5 Exercises That Noah Ohlsen, Elite CrossFit Athlete, Couldn’t Live Without

·4-min read

CrossFit is synonymous with ambiguity — every day, every workout and every competition is different in 'The Sport of Fitness'. On any given day, CrossFit athletes can expect to go from high-skill gymnastic movements to tried-and-tested weightlifting staples and from high-octane sprint couplets and triplets to obstacle course races and endurance swims.

No two workouts are the same and, as such, the CrossFit athletes at the elite echelons of the sport have to be proficient in almost every discipline of modern fitness. It's something that Noah Ohlsen, the second fittest man in the world for 2019, knows all too well.

At 30-years-old, Ohlsen is an eight-time CrossFit Games veteran staring down the barrel of his ninth season of professional training and, with almost a decade in the sport, has proven himself time and time again. As he explains below, building a solid base of movements can lead to big results on the competition floor. However, what if he was only permitted to choose five of them to train with them from now until eternity? Below, as part of our ongoing '5 Moves' series, Ohlsen walks MH through his quintet of go-to exercises to stay at peak fitness.


How: Raise your dumbbells up to your shoulders and squat down, keeping your back straight and your chest up, until your thighs are beyond parallel to the ground. Stand back up explosively and, in one motion, press both of the dumbbells overhead to full lockout. Now, reverse the movement and repeat. Quickly.

Why: "I’d start with picking the ONE movement that I think is the most all-encompassing, the thruster," says Ohlsen. "A thruster combines a front squat with a press. Versatile and full-body, it also requires that you have the mobility in many areas to get into the proper positions."


How: Drop into a plank position, with your core tight and hands stacked below your shoulders, bend your elbows to bring your chest to the floor (B). Keep your elbows close to your body as you push back up explosively.

Why: "Next, because I started with a more aesthetic drive in fitness, I can’t ignore the classics, press-ups and sit-ups," says Ohlsen. "Both movements that can be done anywhere and with no equipment but leave those targeted muscle groups pumped."


How: Lie down on the floor with your knees bent and, if possible, hook your feet under something that will prevent them from moving. Place your hands behind your head and tense your core as you lift your torso up so your upper body forms a V shape with your thighs. Lower under control back to the start position.

MH Tip: Sit-ups too easy? Make the exercise harder by holding a weight plate across your chest.


How: Keep a consistent pace, lifting your knees high and driving ahead with your arms.

Why: "Another movement that can be done anywhere, doesn’t require any equipment and is crucial to developing a top-notch aerobic capacity is running," Ohlsen explains. "Also probably the most functional movement of all, running can be used in any sport, to get from place to place, and to run from bad guys!"

Bar Muscle-Ups


  1. Create an 'active' hang under the bar by squeezing down your lats and shoulders. From here, generate the kip swing by tensing your glutes and abs, while thinking about opening and closing your shoulders. Your legs should move in front (the hollow position) and behind you (the arched position), but your torso should stay centred.

  2. From the hollow body position, pull down on the bar using your back and shoulders, and keep your arms straight. Lift your hips to reach your hands, then drive your head forward over the bar. Whipping your head is crucial if you want to generate enough momentum to carry you over the bar. Get in the swing of it.

  3. From the bottom of a dip position, call on the strength you built in the final progression move to press your body upward. Keep your core tensed and your legs in front.

Why: "Speaking of running from bad guys, a bar muscle up is another one of my favourite exercises that has pretty practical application. Being able to pull yourself up and over a surface like a fence or out of a pool," says Ohlsen. "It’s a high-skill movement that not everyone can pick up right away, but once you get nailed down, makes you feel like you’re flying through the air."

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