The Nancy CrossFit Workout Guide: How To For Each Skill Level

If you are at all into fitness, then you have probably heard of CrossFitCrossFit is well known for coming up with spicy workouts that crush your soul and test your fitness. These workouts are commonly referred to as a WOD or “workout of the day.”

The purpose of these workouts is to set benchmarks for yourself so that you can test your fitness over time and track your progress.

WODs are made up of a combination of weighted strength movements, bodyweight movements, power and speed work, and cardio components. They tend to include things like wall balls or burpees and are great for metabolic conditioning. 

While some of the workouts are pretty straightforward, such as the Nancy CrossFit workout that we will discuss in this article, others are a bit more out of the box and have creative and challenging movements like handstand push-ups. 

With our overview of The Nancy and a guide for scaling it to your fitness level, you will knock this CrossFit workout out of the park. 

We will cover the following: 

  • What Is the Nancy CrossFit Workout?
  • How to Do the Nancy CrossFit Workout
  • How Long Does It Take to Do the Nancy?
  • How to Scale the Nancy WOD for Each Fitness Level
  • Tips for Doing the Nancy Workout

Let’s jump in!

A CrossFit gym.

What Is the Nancy CrossFit Workout?

The Nancy CrossFit WOD was one of the very first WODs that was created specifically for females. You do not need to be able to lift heavy or do any complex movements for this workout. 

The Nancy CrossFit WOD was first released in June of 2005 and has become a staple workout for females of all ability levels in CrossFit gyms worldwide.

It focuses on speed and endurance and, again, does not use any heavy weights. This makes it possible to be done quickly and safely, even if you are a beginner athlete. 

The Nancy is fairly easy to do because it consists of only two components and requires very little equipment or expertise. 

All you need to complete the Nancy is a bar weighing 65 lbs if you are a female, 95 lbs if you are a male, and space or a treadmill to run 400 meters. 

An overhead squat.

How to Do the Nancy CrossFit Workout

This workout is very simple, which is why it is such a great workout for runners and people in general who are new to CrossFit and may feel intimidated about jumping into a WOD due to the fear that the movements will be too complex or the weight will be too heavy.

Let’s discuss what you must do to complete the Nancy CrossFit workout. 

The Nancy CrossFit workout is meant to consist of 5 rounds. During those rounds, you will first complete a 400-meter run. You will then go straight into completing 15 overhead squats using a barbell loaded with 95/65 lbs. Rinse and repeat.

Here is the exact format of the Nancy:

Five rounds for time of:

  • 400-meter run
  • 15 overhead squats

Males: 95 lbs Females: 65 lbs

Before you begin the workout, you will want to measure out a 400-meter running route. Some people may use a treadmill, but the ideal way is by running an actual 400-meter route. 

You will want to make sure that your barbell is loaded and ready so that you can quickly begin your overhead squats after your 400-meter run. 

You then begin by having a running clock started and take off on your run.

You must complete the workout starting with the run, going into the overhead squats, and repeating that sequence five times. Your score is the time on the clock after completing your 15th overhead squat in the final round.

A person picking up a barbell.

How to Scale the Nancy WOD for Each Skill Level

While the Nancy is a fairly simple CrossFit workout, jumping into it for the first time without making any modifications may still not be the safest option. Luckily, this workout can easily be scaled to fit your current skill and fitness abilities. 

You can actually scale the workout in a couple of different ways. You can either lower the weight and complete the full workout or do fewer rounds. Doing fewer reps or a shorter run is also a possibility. 

Some people may need to do both. By lowering the weight but completing the entire workout, you are still able to get the cardio and endurance benefits.

However, if you have the strength but are lacking the endurance, then a good option is to start doing the workout by performing fewer rounds, to begin with. 

The purpose of this workout is to be light and be done fast. You want to make sure the weight you use allows you to do your overhead squats unbroken and still be able to run fast afterward.

A barbell.

Let’s break the Nancy CrossFit workout down into three fitness levels:

The Nancy for Beginners

3 rounds for time of:

  • 400-meter run
  • 10 overhead squats

Males: 35 lbs Females: 22 lbs

The Nancy for Intermediates

5 rounds for time of:

  • 400-meter run
  • 15 overhead squats

Males: 65 lbs Females: 45 lbs

The Nancy for Advanced Athletes:

Doing the Nancy at an advanced level is completing the full written standard workout and doing it as fast as possible. 

5 rounds for time of:

  • 400-meter run
  • 15 overhead squats

Males: 95 lbs Females: 65 lbs

An overhead squat.

How Long Does It Take to Do the Nancy?

How long it takes to do the Nancy Crossfit workout depends on your fitness and strength abilities.

If you have attempted the workout several times and are very strong and fast, you should be able to complete the Nancy in under 10 minutes.

This would be the time an advanced athlete would likely get, while some of the elite athletes can complete it in less than 9 minutes. 

For more intermediate athletes, completion time will likely be between 12 and 16 minutes when doing the full workout, not a scaled version. 

Beginner athletes completing the full Nancy CrossFit workout should expect to take anywhere from 17 minutes to over 30 minutes. Some very new athletes may need to take breaks during their squats or walk part of their runs, resulting in slower times. 

People running outside.

Tips for Doing the Nancy Workout

There are a few different ways to make doing the Nancy workout as smooth and fast as possible. Planning ahead and staying in control will help you successfully complete this workout and improve over time. 

#1: Plan Ahead

This may seem outlandish since the workout is so straightforward. However, ensuring that your workout space is set up to allow for the fastest results possible can help you level up in this workout. 

When mapping out your run, ensure you are using a route that allows you to avoid other people and equipment.

You may have to do this at a gym not specifically designed for CrossFit, which is totally okay, but you want to ensure that the gym can accommodate a successful attempt. 

You should check and see if it is possible to have a squat rack set up right near a door. Running a loop around a fairly empty parking lot or out and back on a sidewalk will work fine as long as the area is not busy. Otherwise, you risk running into people or getting run into. 

Make sure you will not have to go down any stairs, as this will add to your time. Ideally, you would also be able to leave the door open. You want to avoid as many obstacles as possible. 

Doing the Nancy at an actual CrossFit box that is designed for these types of things or within a home gym with a good outdoor running space would be ideal. 

Two people running outside.

#2: Stay in Control

The Nancy is lightweight and fast, so your effort should be too. The reps and rounds will add up.

Make sure that you focus on your breathing and keeping your heart rate where you can maintain it. Going out too hot could derail you right out the gate by over-revving your engine and causing you to panic or hit a wall early on. 

Since your overhead squats will occur after your run, focus on inhaling as you squat down and letting out a big exhale as you stand back up. Doing this should help you steady and possibly lower your heart rate so that you can be more recovered for your run. 

Takeaways

Trying CrossFit WODs is a great way to test your fitness level, even if you are not a Crossfitter, and workouts like the Nancy allow you to ease in and test the waters.

Crossfitters typically set goals to work their way up to completing the more challenging WODs, and once they have moved on to attempting them, their next goal is to cut down the amount of time it takes them to do it. 

When doing a WOD, it is not just about completing it. The more advance a Crossfitter becomes, the more focus is put on time to completion with these benchmark workouts. 

If you want to see what stepping into the CrossFit world is like, here are 9 Essential CrossFit exercises to Get You Started.

A deadlift.
Photo of author
I am a UESCA-certified running coach, psychology PhD student, and competitive obstacle racer and trail runner. Once 100 pounds overweight I found fitness and fell in love with an active and competitive lifestyle. My passion for inspiring others and fitness come together seamlessly in the world of writing where I get to share the thing that changed my life. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, my dogs, as well as baking and cooking.

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