Get familiar with Crossfit

Common References

CrossFit is a diverse regimen. As such, the items below do not include all related terminology
but should give you a general base from which to start.

  • Fundamentals
    10 General Physical Skills of Fitness

    CrossFit workouts are designed to improve this list of skills, believed to encompass the full spectrum of fitness: cardiovascular endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, accuracy, agility, and balance. Too bad “appetite” didn’t make the cut.


    An affiliate is a gym, or “box,” that’s officially affiliated with the CrossFit brand (and thus given CrossFit Headquarters’ blessing to spread the brand’s gospel). In order to become an affiliate, gyms must have CrossFit-certified trainers on staff.

    Ass to Grass

    Get low! Also called “Ass to Ankles,” or ATG for short, this term denotes a full-depth squat. (Wondering if that last rep was deep enough means it probably wasn’t.)


    A box is a barebones gym to some, but heaven to a CrossFitter. While many CrossFitters train on their own from home or non-CrossFit gyms, “boxes” have all the equipment necessary for the range of WODs (more on those below) without the bells, whistles, and bicep curl bars of a “chrome-and-tone” gym.

    CrossFit Games

    The sport of fitness has arrived (or so claims Reebok, the official sponsor of the CrossFit Games). Each summer the CrossFit Games test participants with a barrage of physical challenges and workouts, ranging from swimming and running to pull-ups and handstand walks (sorry, Kobayashi, hot-dog eating has yet to make an appearance). Participants accrue points over the events, and the male and female winners are crowned World’s Fittest Man & Woman. Sectional and Regional qualifiers narrow the field before the annual Games Weekend.

    CrossFit HQ

     Owned and operated by founder Greg Glassman, the first CrossFit gym is located in Santa Cruz, CA. The location is a sort of Mecca for the compulsively fit, and the location still serves as the brain of CrossFit methodology and CrossFit.com’s daily workout.

    CrossFit Journal

     The Journal is CrossFit’s internal publication featuring information on workouts, movements, inspirational stories, and news. Updated daily, the online publication charges readers $25 a year for unlimited access to research, articles, videos, and more.

    CrossFit Open

     A sort of virtual CrossFit Games, the Open allows competitors to register online and compete on their own or at local CrossFit boxes.

    For Time

     Think you’re fast? See how you stack up with the rest of the CrossFit world by measuring the time it takes to complete a prescribed workout. Though not all CrossFit workouts have a timed component, the protocol is famous for pushing athletes to race against each other and the clock.


     Think you’re elite? Better bring a calculator. The score denotes the total number of reps completed during a given workout.

  • Workouts


    “As Many Reps/Rounds as Possible” given a specific time period. Often lasting 10, 20, or 30 minutes AMRAP workouts challenge athletes to complete as many rounds of a series of movements in the allotted time. Just be careful not to lose count…


    Workouts involving little to no equipment.


    A series of exercises, usually high reps, complete one round for time.


    Two-element workouts.

    Each Round For Time

    Each round is for time.

    EMOM: Alternate Movements

    Alternate between movements in an EMOM.

    EMOM: Multiple Movements

    Every Minute On the Minute, work until completion or failure.


    Run, bike, swim, or rowing workouts in various formats such as time trials, sprints, and/or intervals.

    For Time

    No rounds, just two or more movements all for time.


    CFHQ’s original benchmark WODs.


    Elite-level WODs used during the regular season and playoffs of the NPGL, aka. the “GRID”. Most of these WODs are done as a team, specific rules can be found on the NPGL website.


    Workouts named in honor of fallen Mil/LEO personnel.


    High-intensity interval training, also called high-intensity intermittent exercise or sprint interval training, is a form of interval training, a cardiovascular exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods, until too exhausted to continue.


    Mixed-modal workouts, four or more exercises performed for multiple rounds, infinite combinations.


    Workouts involving one or more kettlebell movements, such as a swing, snatch, and/or press.


    Scaled WOD programming for youths consistent with the CF Kids curriculum.


    One or more movements, increasing workload over time, usually under a time cap.


    Abbreviated term for metabolic conditioning. It refers to conditioning exercises intended to increase the storage and delivery of energy for any activity.

    This type of training involves a very high work rate while using exercises that burn more calories during your workout and maximize calories burned after your workout (or, as that period is often called, the “afterburn”).

    Rounds for Time

    Certain number of Rounds For Time (RFT).


    Indoor rowing WODs using C2 ergometer; time trials, intervals, and caloric expenditure.


    Single element workouts where the focus is on one movement or exercise.

    Strength Bias

    Short-duration heavy weightlifting, usually a couplet or triplet, designed to be completed in under 10 minutes.


    Heavy metcons that involve the use of the classic strongman implements.


    Swimming workouts in pool or open water, alone or in combination with bodyweight and/or weightlifting exercises.


    Single or multiple exercises in the 8x[20:10] interval format.

    Time cap

    With a running clock the athlete performs a short series of movements (chipper, ladder, metcon, etc.) after which the time remaining under the cap is dedicated to a max reps effort.


    Three-element workouts.


    One or more powerlifting or olympic weightlfting movements (or variations thereof) for percentage work or max effort.

  • Movements

    Air Squat

    With arms extended forward, move from the standing position to hips below the knees, and back to standing.

    Back Extensions

    Using a GHD, you move from an L-shaped position with the head directly below the pelvis to an extended horizontal position.

    Back Squat

    Perform a squat while supporting a barbell on your upper back. Starting from a fully erect position, lower yourself, and the barbell, to a position where the crease in your hips rests lower than the height of your knees, and stand back up. Safe/efficient technique requires all of your weight to stay in your heels, wide knees, a hip drive out of the bottom, and a tight core. Variations include low-bar back squat and high-bar back squat.

    Bench Press

    The bench press is an upper body strength training exercise that consists of pressing a weight upwards from a supine position. A barbell is generally used to hold the weight, but a pair of dumbbells can also be used.

    Box Jumps

    From standing on the floor jump and land with both feet on top of the box. Typical heights 12,18,24,30.

    Box Squat

    A squat in which at the bottom of the motion the squatter will sit down on a bench or other type of support then rise again.


    Beginning in a standing position, drop to the floor with the feet extending backward, contact the floor with your chest and the tuck legs into a squat and fully stand with a small jump at the end.

    Chest to Bar Pull-Ups

    Instead of the normal standard of just the chin over the bar, you must make physical contact of the bar with your chest. 

    Clean and Jerk

    The clean and jerk is a composite of two weightlifting movements, most often performed with a barbell: the clean and the jerk.  The clean is performed first, lifting the weight from the ground to the athlete’s shoulders in one continuous movement. From the top of the clean, in the standing position, the jerk is performed second. Athletes must show control of the weight in an overhead, fully standing position before dropping the barbell. The clean & jerk allows for a tremendous amount of weight to be lifted. As a result, the squat clean and split jerk variations are most often used.


    Most often performed using a barbell with bumper plates, but can be performed using anything (ie. atlas stone, medicine ball, dumbbells).  Move involves reaching down and pick up the object. The starting position is wherever the object is, and the finished position is a fully upright stance with arms extended at your sides, holding the object. 


    Dips are a compound, body-weight exercise. You do Dips by first raising yourself on two dip bars with straight arms. Lower your body until your shoulders are below your elbows. Push yourself up until your arms are straight again. Dips work your chest, shoulders, back and arm muscles.

    Double Unders

    Jump rope variation in which the jump ropes makes two revolutions per jump.

    Farmers Carry/Walk

    Stand with feet hip-width apart between two kettlebells. Hinge at the hips and knees with a flat back to bend down and grab the handles.  Brace core and extend hips and knees to stand, with arms long and weights by sides. Draw shoulders down and back and stand tall to start.  Walk forward, taking small steps and moving weights as little as possible. 

    Front Squat

    A weight (usually a barbell) is held in front of the body across the clavicles and deltoids in either a clean grip, as is used in weightlifting, or with the arms crossed and hands placed on top of the barbell.

    Handstand Push-ups

    Beginning in a handstand bend arms until the head touches the ground then push yourself back to the fully extended handstand position.

    Hang Power Snatch

    Perform a “power snatch” from the hang position (the top of a deadlift). 

    Hang Squat Clean

    Stand with barbell with overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder width. Feet point forward hip’s width apart or slightly wider. Bend knees and hips so barbell touches mid-thigh; shoulders over bar with back arched. Arms are straight with elbows pointed along bar. Chest is spread and wrists are slightly flexed.
    Begin by jumping upward extending body. Shrug shoulders and pull barbell upward with arms, allowing elbows to flex out to sides, keeping bar close to body. Aggressively pull body under bar, rotating elbows around bar. Catch bar on shoulders while moving into squat position. Hitting bottom of squat, stand up immediately. Reset by bending knees slightly and lower barbell to mid-thigh position.

    Jump Rope

    Performed by swinging the jump rope overhead and then skipping over it with both feet together

    Knees to Elbows

    Hanging from the pull-up bar raise the knees until they make contact with the elbows and then fully extend and repeat.


    Take a large step forward, bending the front knee until the back knee makes contact with the ground then back up and alternate.


    Hanging from gymnastic bar, perform a pull-up to a ring dip then fully extend to locked out position.

    Overhead Lunges

    See “walking lunge”. Perform a lunge while holding a weighted object over your head. Bumper plates, dumbbells, and barbells are most commonly used. Keep your elbows fully extended for optimum efficiency.

    Overhead Squat

    A barbell is held overhead in a wide-arm snatch grip; however, it is also possible to use a closer grip if balance allows.

    Power Snatch

    Lift a barbell from the ground to an overhead, locked out position in one continuous movement. Typically a wider grip is used (when compared to a “clean”) in order to compensate for shoulder inflexibility as well as to reduce the distance the weight must be lifted. Athletes must show control of the weight in an overhead, fully standing position before dropping the barbell. Safe/efficient technique requires the hips to fully extend, with the arms locked out, upon jumping/shrugging, and the athlete to pull themselves under the bar as quickly as possible. A “power” snatch refers to the height of the receiving position. Anything above full depth (hip crease below the knees) is considered a power snatch.


    A pull-up is an upper-body compound pulling exercise. Although it can be performed with any grip, in recent years some have used the term to refer more specifically to a pull-up performed with a palms-forward position. Starting from a hanging position with arms straight pull up until the chin is over the bar or the chest touches the bar then lower ones self back tot he starting position and repeat.

    Push Jerk

    Begin with a barbell in the front “rack” position (see “front squat”). Dip your body downwards slightly by flexing the hip, knee and ankle joints, making sure to keep the torso as upright as possible. Jump upwards out of the dip position by violently extending the said joints, and press the barbell upwards. Upon completion of full joint extension, and while the weight is moving upwards, push yourself under the bar and receive it in a partial squat. The foot should move from a position under the hips to a shoulder-width position. Elbows should be fully extended upon receiving the bar. Complete the jerk by standing up out of the partial squat position with barbell supported overhead and returning the feet to hip position. Athlete must show complete control of the bar at the top before lowering it.

    Push Press

    With a barbell in the front rack position, dip down, by flexing the knees and ankles, then violently extend both while propelling the barbell from your shoulders to an overhead position. The dip should be short and quick, keeping the weight in the heels and the torso as upright as possible.


    Starting in the plank position arms fully locked out lower ones self to the floor and as your chest touches the floor push yourself back to a fully extended position.

    Ring Dips

    Starting with your body supported on the rings straight vertical arms, lower your body until the shoulders drops below the elbow then push yourself back to starting position.

    Ring Pull-Ups

    A proper ring pull-up begins from a dead hang and resembles a combination of a pull-up and a chin-up. You start with your palms facing away from your face and finish with the palms pointing towards you. This is possible only because the rings allow your joints to rotate during the movement.

    Ring Push-Ups

    Ring push-ups are a slight variation on the traditional bodyweight push-up, introducing gymnastics rings to the exercise to add an element of instability.

    Adjust the height of the rings appropriate for your fitness level (the lower the rings the more difficult the exercise). Grip the rings, keep your body straight and your legs fully extended behind you. Slowly lower yourself down towards the floor. Pause at the bottom of the exercise then push yourself back up to the starting position. Do not lock out your elbows to maintain tension throughout the muscles during the exercise.

    Rope Climb

    Starting from the ground, you slowly climb the rope and touch a point typically 15″ and lower yourself back down in a safe & controlled manner.


    Using an indoor rower, with your butt on the seat, your feet in the straps, and your hands grasping the handle, pull your arms and extend your knees until your legs are fully locked out and the handle is touching your chest. The knees should extend before the arms begin to bend for optimum power. Return the handle to the starting position by extended the arms beyond the knees, then finally bending the knees. Cover a designated distance or perform for a specific amount of time.


    Move your body at a pace faster than standard walking speed. It can be as slow as a trot/jog, or as fast as a sprint. Cover a designated distance or perform for a specific amount of time.

    Shoulder Press

    With a barbell held at shoulder height, from a fully standing position, press the weight overhead using only the arms and shoulders. Hip or knee extension is not allowed. Safe/efficient technique require the elbows to start just in front of the barbell and a hollow body position throughout the press. Also known as the “military press” and the “press”.


    With the assistance of an Ab-Mat placed under the lower back move from sitting to shoulders on the ground and back to a sitting position.


    One of the olympic lifts. Lift a barbell from the ground to an overhead, locked out position in one continuous movement. Typically a wider grip is used (when compared to a “clean”) in order to compensate for shoulder inflexibility as well as to reduce the distance the weight must be lifted. Athletes must show control of the weight in an overhead, fully standing position before dropping the barbell. Safe/efficient technique requires the hips to fully extend, with the arms locked out, upon jumping/shrugging, and the athlete to pull themselves under the bar as quickly as possible. The heavier the weight, the lower the receiving position must be. At very demanding weights, a full “overhead squat” receiving position must be used.

    Split Jerk
    See “push jerk”. Receive the barbell in a split stance. During the descent under the bar, move one foot forward and one foot backwards. The knee of the front leg should be bent with the back foot on its toes. The split stance allows the athlete to get under the bar deeper than a normal stance and helps with balancing issues.

    Movement starts with you feet shoulder width apart. Keep your head in a neutral position looking straight ahead. Pull your hips back and down, as if you were about to sit in a low chair. Keep your weight on your heels. Keep your lower back tight to maintain your lumbar curve. Keep your chest up and shoulders back. Push your knees out so they track directly over your feet. Your hips should drop below the top of your knees at the bottom. Drive up off your heels. Rise to full extension

    Squat Clean

    The squat clean combines the power clean and the front squat into one exercise. The power clean is followed by a front squat to complete one repetition.

    Sumo Deadlift

    Similar to conventional deadlift with the difference between the two lies in the setup of the lifter’s feet and hands. Foot placement is about twice shoulder length, lining up the shins with the rings on the barbell. Toes are pointed outwards forty-five degrees, keeping the shin vertical and knees behind the bar. The hips are raised to position the thighs slightly above parallel to the floor. The lumbar spine maintains a neutral position with slight extension and the torso kept as upright as possible. Both hands grip the bar shoulder width apart with the shoulders positioned just in front of the bar. Using alternate grip or hook grip is recommended for heavier loads.

    Sumo Deadlift High Pull

    A SDHP involves lifting a bar (or kettlebell…or dumbbell…) from your shin to right beneath your chin. This is done by gripping the bar in the middle with both hands and doing a full hip extension as you pull, keeping your elbows high and pointed out. Like a traditional deadlift, your back should stay flat and tight throughout the lift.

    Sumo Squat

    The barbell is rested on the shoulders in the usual squat position. The legs should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart and the feet should be pointed outwards. when squatting, you should feel a stretch on the adductor longues and adductor magnus muscles which are found on the inner thigh.


    This movement simply combines a front squat with a push press. The movement begins from a standing position with the bar racked on your shoulders. You will perform a front squat, ensuring that you reach full depth (the crease of your hip is below the top of your knee). As you stand from the squat, you will push the bar overhead, ending with the bar balanced over your heels.

    Tire Flip

    Literally, this exercise’s goal is to flip a large tire — usually several hundred pounds.

    Toes to Bar

    A gymnastic movement which starts with hanging from the bar and involves kicking your legs up to touch the metal before bringing them back down again. The valid rep consists of moving from a full hang (extended arms and hips) to touching the bar with both of your feet inside the hands. 


    Jump rope variation in which the jump ropes makes three revolutions per jump.

    Turkish Get-up

    The Turkish Get-up is a fantastic exercise to build shoulder muscles, and all round strength and conditioning. 

    Assuming you are holding the weight in your right hand, your right knee should be flexed with your heel back near your buttocks, and your left leg should be slightly abducted (away from your body) with your leg straight. The first motion is a crunch to get up to your left elbow. The second motion involves simply shifting your weight from your left elbow to your left hand. Focus on keeping the right shoulder packed and tight to the body, and keeping your chest up and out. From the “on the hand” position, you’re going to actively drive through your right heel into a high bridge. From this position you sweep your left leg back to a point where your left knee is on the ground underneath your body. Then subtly rotate your left lower leg so it’s straight and in-line with your body, and straighten your torso so you’re up tall. Now stand-up to a point where your feet are next to each other. From this position, it’s time to work our way back down.

    Walking Lunges

    Walking lunges take the basic lunge and add a walk, stepping forward one leg at a time.

    Wall Ball

    A bit of a cross between the Squat and the Push Press, the wall ball utilizes a large medicine ball. 

    Start in a standing position, 16-24 inches away from the wall, holding the medicine ball at chin level as if you were going to front squat it, then front squat it. The upward motion of the front squat should consist of an explosive hip drive and ankle extension, which provides the momentum to continue the movement into a push press.

    The push press itself then becomes maximally explosive as you use that momentum to throw the medicine ball at the target. You should end this movement with your entire body fully extended, fingers pointing towards the target.

    Finally, you want to descend back into a front squat while simultaneously and seamlessly catching the ball and bringing it back into the front squat racked position. That’s one rep.

    Zercher Squat

    A barbell is held in the crooks of the arms, on the inside of the elbow. One method of performing this is to deadlift the barbell, hold it against the thighs, squat into the lower portion of the squat, and then hold the bar on the thighs as you position the crook of your arm under the bar and then stand up.

  • Equipment


    A contoured foam wedge placed behind the back during sit-ups, the abmat allows for a greater range of motion while providing some padding against the hard ground.

    Bumper Plates

    CrossFitters love to drop weights, and these rubberized barbell plates allow them to do just that. Watch out!

    C2 Rower

    Don’t expect to find any ellipticals in this dojo (er, gym). But do expect to find the C2, the rowing machine of choice for many CrossFit athletes.


    A weight consisting of a short bar with a metal ball or disk at each end that is lifted for muscular development and exercise.


    A medieval looking device that also resembles a Transformer, the Glute Ham Developer is used for a variety of movements including glute-ham raises, GHD sit-ups, and back extensions.

    Jump Rope/Speed Rope

    A rope that is twirled and jumped over in children’s games or in conditioning exercises.


    A weight consisting of a cast iron ball with a single handle for gripping the weight during exercise.

    Medicine Balls

    A heavy, usually large, ball used especially in conditioning and strengthening exercises.


    Portable parallel bars around eight inches high. For those who’ve mastered regular handstand pushups, try performing them on paralettes for an added challenge/ego bruiser.

    Plyo Box

    Platform 6″ to 42″ tall, used to perform plyometrics, also known as “jump training”.

    Pull-Up Bar

    A bar mounted overhead used to perform pull-ups.

    Resistance Bands

    A resistance band is an elastic band used for strength training. They are also commonly used in physical therapy, specifically by convalescents of muscular injuries, including cardiac rehab patients to allow slow rebuilding of strength.


    While they likely won’t be going for Olympic gold, CrossFitters regularly use gymnastic rings for a wide range of movements including dips, rows, muscle-ups, and just hangin’ around.

    Squat Rack

    A metal rack or cage consisting of support pillars with adjustable bars and hooks, using for supporting a barbell during heavy weightlifting exercises.