In Crossfit and the wider functional fitness space there are a number of different workout types, similar to last week's Chipper, a 21-15-9 is a very popular workout type. A 21-15-9 is essentially a RFT workout where the reps of each exercise decrease each round and in the scheme of 21-15-9, hence the name.

A general 21-15-9 is laid out like the following,


Deadlift (100kg/70kg)

Burpee over bar

Let's break it down, 


The numbers stated in the title are the rep scheme, the first round is 21 reps of each exercise, the second round is 15 reps of each exercise and the final round is 9 reps of each exercise

Deadlift, Burpee over bar

These are simply the movements and you work through them from top to bottom


These are the RX (Recommended) weights for male/female respectively


21-15-9 is a rep scheme that has been used for years in crossfit and it works so well because the decreasing number of reps each round means you can push harder each round as the reps are less, it is a similar concept as drop sets.

Go on then…

Now it's time to try them out, so you know what they are and why they are so common so now we will give you some tips and pointers to help you get through them alive.

Break the workout down before you start it

As with other workout types you have to think how the combination of movements will stress your body and then also how the decreasing rep scheme will affect you. 21-15-9 workouts are supposed to be fast and hard, you want to do as many of the movements unbroken as possible, most 21-15-9 workouts should be sub 5 minutes… if done right these will hurt and really test you.

Let's use today's workout for an example,

The Workout


Deadlift (100kg/70kg)

Burpee Over Bar


The first thing to think about is if/how you are going to break the rounds, is the weight going to be too heavy to do 21 unbroken? The deadlifts should be the only part to look at with the potential to have to break, with burpees you should look to go at a pace that you are able to sustain for the full round without needing to stop


Pacing these are both easy and hard… they are designed as a full gas effort so you just need to work hard and finish fast

Good luck and let us know how you get on!