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HERd Management: FarmFit with CrossFit: A total body workout you can do on the farm

Morgan Kliebenstein for Progressive Dairy Published on 11 December 2020

“What the heck is CrossFit?” you may find yourself asking. The official definition of CrossFit is “constantly varied, functional movements performed at a high intensity.” OK, so what does that exactly mean?

Essentially, it’s a bunch of different movements mimicking everyday, functional tasks (squatting, bending, lifting, carrying, etc.). A big plus is that many of these movements require little to no equipment. I began doing CrossFit about three years ago. It changed my life, period. Every day, no matter what I’m doing, whether it’s carrying a new calf up a set of stairs into the warming room or taking a bucket of feed down to my show heifers because the Ranger wasn’t available – I’m much safer, stronger and effective at the work I’m doing because CrossFit taught me how to functionally move.



If you’ve ever been curious about trying it, hopefully this quick little “at-farm” workout will give you a taste of what I’m talking about. Let’s get to it.

Equipment needed:

  • Calf buckets or 5-gallon buckets filled with whatever contents you are comfortable with lifting/carrying

  • Smaller item weighing anywhere from 10 to 25 pounds (This could be a big wrench you stole from the shop, milk jug or hitch pin. Get creative.)

  • Solid surface to step up on – ranging in height from 10 to 24 inches (This could be a curb, cement retaining wall, railroad ties or steps. In my case, I used my old show box.)

  • Feed bag weight of your choice

Part 1: Leg/booty burner

Four sets total, performed as fast as possible

  • 50-foot walking lunges

Be sure your knee touches the ground (or comes close) with every step. Drive with your forward leg as much as you can. Keep your torso upright and fight the urge to hunch forward.


  • 12 side lunges (six per side)

Take a big step to one side, lower until the knee on your leading leg is bent at around 90 degrees, keeping the trailing leg straight, then push back up.

  • 16 step-ups

Place one foot on top of the box, with one foot on the ground. Your weight should be shifted into the heel of your foot that is on the box (or another surface to step up). Driving through that front heel, extend your leg completely straight before bringing the opposite foot onto the box.

  • 20 air squats

Inhale, then bend the knees and lower the butt as if you’re going to sit on a chair. Keep the back straight and look forward throughout the set. Squat as low as your hip mobility allows. Exhale as you slowly rise to return to starting position and repeat. Fight the urge to let your knees dive in toward each other on the way up. To make these more advanced, hold a weighted item in between both hands in front of your chest.

  • 15 calf bucket deadlifts

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding buckets in front of hips, palms facing thighs. Hinge forward at your hips, slightly bending the knees, lowering the buckets to the ground without allowing your back to round. Brace core and lift back to the starting position.

Part 2: Upper body/core crusher

Five rounds performed, taking a one-minute rest after each round


  • 14 calf or 5-gallon bucket curls (seven per side)

Hold buckets at sides with palms facing out. Keeping elbows tight to your sides, raise both buckets to a 45-degree angle, lower in a controlled motion.

  • 100-foot single-arm farmer carry (50 feet per side)

Walk 50 feet while holding just one bucket in one hand. Fight to keep your core tight and stay upright with your shoulders forced back as much as possible. Repeat on other side.

  • 8 lateral arm raises with hitch pin or milk jugs

Hold your milk jugs/hitch pin at your side, with your palms facing in. Keep your back straight, brace your core, and then slowly lift the weights out to the side until your arms are parallel with the floor, with the elbow slightly bent. Then lower them back down again slowly.

  • 200-foot feed bag shoulder/bear-hug carry

Keep your core tight the whole time, and your shoulders and back in an upright position. Switch shoulders after 100 feet if doing shoulder carry.

Part 3: Cardio finisher

Set timer for 15 minutes, complete as many rounds as possible:

  • 40 jumping jacks
  • 20 speed skaters

Start with your legs slightly wider than shoulder distance apart and arms at the sides. Bring one leg behind at a slight angle into a reverse lunge. The front knee will come to a 90-degree angle. Swing the arms in front of that bent knee and leap the back leg forward to switch sides in a skating motion. Arms alternate as you switch sides like a speed skater.

  • 10 jumping lunges

Go down into the lunge position like in Part 1. Instead of advancing forward, use a quick explosive movement to jump up and switch your feet to their new positions. You are lunging in place, but jumping to transition.

  • 5 tuck jumps

Vertically jump and simultaneously raise your knees to your chest as you rise into the air. Channel your inner cheerleader.


Give this a shot two to three times a week, push yourself, have fun, and be sure to stretch afterward. end mark

Morgan Kliebenstein
  • Morgan Kliebenstein

  • Dairy Producer
  • Darlington, Wisconsin
  • Email Morgan Kliebenstein