Exploring the 21-15-9 CrossFit Workout: Deadlifts and Box Jumps

CrossFit workouts are renowned for their intensity and variety. One such workout is the 21-15-9 CrossFit workout: deadlifts and box jumps combining deadlifts and box jumps. This article dives into the details, ensuring you can safely perform and benefit from it.

Understanding the 21-15-9 Workout

Firstly, let’s break down the 21-15-9 workout structure. Essentially, it involves performing 21 reps of deadlifts, followed by 21 box jumps. Next, you complete 15 reps of each, and finally, 9 reps. This descending rep scheme allows for a fast-paced, intense workout.

Setting Up for Deadlifts

Before diving into deadlifts, proper setup is crucial. Choose a barbell with the appropriate weight for your strength level. Ensure the barbell is centered on the ground, and prepare to position yourself.

Deadlift Technique: The Setup

Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes pointing straight or slightly outward. Your shins should be about an inch away from the bar. Bend at your hips and knees, grasping the bar with an overhand or mixed grip.

Deadlift Technique: The Lift

Engage your lats, keeping your chest up and back straight. Press through your heels to lift the barbell. Extend your hips and knees simultaneously, maintaining a neutral spine. Finish by standing tall, shoulders back, and hips fully extended.

Deadlift Technique: Lowering the Bar

Safely lower the bar by hinging at your hips first, followed by your knees. Keep the bar close to your body throughout and return to the starting position. Repeat for the required number of reps.

Check on how to do the perfect and proper deadlift on this video via The Deadlift – YouTube

Choosing a Box for Box Jumps

Next, select a sturdy box for box jumps. Choose a height that challenges you while ensuring safe, successful jumps. Common heights include 20, 24, and 30 inches.

Box Jump Technique: The Setup

Stand facing the box, feet shoulder-width apart. Slightly bend your knees and hips, readying yourself for the jump. Focus on the box’s edge, and prepare to explode upward.

Box Jump Technique: The Jump

Swiftly jump upward, using your arms for momentum. Swing them forward and up, propelling your body. Aim to land softly on the box, with feet flat and knees slightly bent.

Box Jump Technique: The Finish

Stand up straight on the box, fully extending your hips and knees. Step or jump down, ready for the next rep. Repeat for the required number of reps.

If you are unsure on your form when doing box jumps check a video at The Box Jump – YouTube

Crossfit workout box jumps

Scaling the 21-15-9 Workout

Not everyone can jump into the 21-15-9 workout at full intensity. Scaling options ensure accessibility for all fitness levels. Modify the weight, box height, or rep scheme to meet your needs.

Scaling Deadlifts

For beginners, start with lighter weights, focusing on proper form. As strength and technique improve, gradually increase the weight. Advanced athletes can use heavier weights for an extra challenge.

Scaling Box Jumps

Box height can also be scaled. Beginners should start with a lower box, prioritizing safe landings. Progressively increase height as confidence and ability improve.

Scaling Reps

If the 21-15-9 rep scheme is too challenging, try adjusting it. Consider a 15-12-9 or 12-9-6 scheme for a shorter workout. Alternatively, increase reps for a more demanding session.

Warm-Up and Mobility

Adequate warm-up and mobility work are essential before any CrossFit workout. Include dynamic stretches and exercises targeting the muscles used in deadlifts and box jumps.

Lower Body Warm-Up

Begin with movements like air squats, leg swings, and lunges. These exercises warm up the hips, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps each to get the blood flowing.

Upper Body Warm-Up

Incorporate shoulder rolls, arm circles, and band pull-aparts. These movements help activate the upper back and shoulder muscles, important for deadlift stabilization. Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps each.

Mobility Work

Focus on hip, ankle, and thoracic spine mobility. Exercises like hip circles, ankle pumps, and cat-cow stretches enhance your range of motion. Complete 1-2 sets of 10-15 reps each.

Cooldown and Recovery

Post-workout, cooldown and recovery are vital. Stretch the major muscle groups, and consider foam rolling or other recovery techniques. This promotes flexibility, reduces soreness, and aids in overall muscle health.


Perform static stretches for the hamstrings, quads, glutes, and lower back. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds, repeating 2-3 times per muscle group.

Foam Rolling

Utilize a foam roller on your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. This self-myofascial release technique helps alleviate muscle tension and soreness. Spend 1-2 minutes on each area.

Final Thoughts

The 21-15-9 CrossFit workout, featuring deadlifts and box jumps, is an intense, fast-paced workout suitable for various fitness levels. With proper technique, scaling, and preparation, you can safely and effectively reap its benefits. Always prioritize form and safety and remember to listen to your body.

You can also find a lot of exercises for Cross Fitness while on your fitness journey right here at Aussie Fitness Centre.

CrossFit motivation workout