CrossFit Terms – Deciphering the Whiteboard
We’ve all been there: you anxiously wait until the clock strikes the magic hour of 8 pm and the WOD for the next day is posted. You refresh Wodify hoping to see things you can actually do when low and behold there’s all this gibberish.. TGU x2 @ 65% AMRAP 10 .. uh.. what? No fears.. we’ve put together a list of terms and their definitions to help you out.
A little hint: to search this list use CTRL or CMD + F on your keyboard to find what you need!
Ab Mat – A soft leather cushion placed in the small of your back as you work through those sit ups. Give it a wipe after, they can get a little sweaty! (Guide)
Affiliate – Officially attached to the CrossFit organization. An affiliated gym is recognized by CrossFit to have passed their six stage application process. Affiliation is only given to those who have become CrossFit certified trainers.
Air Squat / AS – A squat with just your body weight for resistance. Throw your hand’s forwards to use your upper body as the perfect counterweight as you squat. Make sure that hip crease passes below the knee! (Guide)
Airdyne / Assault Bike – An essential piece of equipment that’s effective for beginners right through to high performing athletes. The Airdyne / Assault bike uses air for resistance and can be used for interval training as well as recovery.
As Many Rounds As Possible / AMRAP – Your WOD is going to have a fixed time and you’ll have to complete as many rounds of the prescribed movements in that time. Keep track of your rounds, it’s easy to lose count!
As Fast As Possible / AFAP – Get the rounds and reps done as fast as you can. “For Time” may well be used in place of AFAP. Occasionally used as “As Far As Possible” in some programming.
Ass To Grass / ATG – Breaking parallel and full depth are two different things. Ass to grass denotes getting your behind as close to the deck as possible. Why? It helps with getting comfortable when trying to get “out of the hole” and the increased depth demands more work from your legs. Achieving this depth must not come at a cost of form, pay close attention to your movement and if “butt wink” is observed, seek some advice from your coach. (Source)
Athlete – That will be you. The guy or girl that turns up session after session in search of continued progression. (Motivation)
Atlas Stones – A strongman movement that has made appearances in CrossFit competitions. The movement involves a heavy concrete “atlas” (a big ball of concrete) being lifted from the floor and passed over the shoulders. (Article) (Guide)
Back Squat / BS – A squat performed with the barbell placed across your shoulders behind your neck. Keeping a neutral spine, you should descend and ascend in a straight line, bending at the knees. Full range of motion is expected to count the rep. The hip crease must fall below the knee. (Guide)
Bar Facing Burpee / BFB – A burpee that is completed facing the bar finishing the rep with a two-footed jump over the bar to the other side. Standards can be found here.
Bar Muscle Up / BMU – A muscle up that is completed using the bar. See “muscle up” for a video guide.
Bear Complex – The bear complex consists of 1 power clean, 1 front squat, 1 push press, 1 back squat & 1 push press. All completed without letting go of the bar.
Body Weight / BW – Used as a way of measuring your progress should weight loss/gain be a personal goal. Body weight workouts are also very popular where your body weight is the only resistance needed across different movements.
Box Jump / BJ – Box jumps are an athletic movement working on explosive power. Reps will consist of different heights; 12 inches, 18 inches, 20 inches, 24 inches and 30 inches. A rep will begin with a two-footed stance with no momentum from a run-up. Athletes may also “Build” a box out of weight plates to a height they are comfortable using. True Core CrossFit also has several “soft” boxes. (Guide)
Box Jump Over / BJO – Much the same as the box jump but the repetition is counted once you have passed over the box to the opposite side to where you started. Full hip extension at the top of the movement is not necessary here.
Bro Reps – CrossFit movements have strict standards to ensure consistency across the board. A “bro rep” is a repetition that is counted but does not meet the guidelines. Josh Bridges performance in 16.4 caused Bro rep outrage!
Bumper Plates – Created using thick, hard rubber which allows a loaded bar to be dropped from a height without the risk of damaging the plates. You’ll find that most boxes use black plates and competitions will have colors to allow for easier identification. Be careful with your fingers, these bite!
Burpee Box Jump Over / BBJO – A repetition starts with a box facing burpee then, as you stand you upwards, you explode onto the box in front of you and then jump down the other side. 1 rep down. Box heights may vary. Full hip extension at the top of the box is not often required for this movement.
Burpees – A gymnastic movement that frequently appears in CrossFit programming and the main ingredient in some horrific WODs. Starting from a standing position, you’ll bend down, placing your hands beneath your chest as you extend your legs backwards into a plank. From here you perform a push up before bringing your legs back towards your hands. Place your feet and then finish the rep in the upright position with a small jump and your hands together above your head. These get pretty ugly as the reps go on. (Guide)
Butterfly Pull-ups – The butterfly is a movement that uses the downward momentum of a pull up to aid in efficiency and speed. It’s the fasted method to cycle through the reps but tricky to master! (Guide)
Buy In – A workout with a “buy in” will have exercises that are completed prior to the workout itself but will be included in your time/score.
C2 / Erg – The Concept 2 Rowing Machine. This rowing machine is most popular throughout CrossFit boxes. Some of my darkest CrossFit moments have been spent aboard a C2 rower. Try a max effort 500 m, let me know how it goes. Shudders.
Calluses – CrossFit workouts are very intense on your hands. Over time your skin will build up hard spots around your palms. I use this callus removal tool + moisturizer when needed. Your hands will get used to the movements over time.
Cash Out – A workout with a “cash out” will have exercises that are completed after the workout itself but will be included in your time/score.
Chalk – If you see big white clouds, you’ve used too much. The addition of chalk when necessary will provide extra grip for all movements.
Chest To Bar / CTB / C2B – One of the variations of pull-up used in CrossFit workouts. A chest to bar requires greater power and strength given the increased range of motion required for your chest to touch the bar and count the rep. These reps can be carried out in a strict, kipping or butterfly movement. (Guide)
Chin Up / CU – Hold onto the bar with a supinated grip (palms facing your body). From a full extended position, you’ll pull with everything you’ve got until your chin passes above the bar. 1 down, 49 to go. (Guide)
Chipper – This title is given to a particular type of WOD with lots of repetitions across varying movements. You start at the buzzer and chip away at the reps until you finish.
Clean – An Olympic weightlifting movement that requires speed, power and coordination to move the equipment from the ground to the front rack position. A key movement that develops your strength and explosive power and when combined with good flexibility, agility and balance, showcases an impressive feat of strength. (Guide)
Clean & Jerk – Predominantly performed with a barbell, this movement is a composite of two weightlifting movements, the clean and the jerk – pushing the barbell overhead while also dropping underneath of the bar. The movement is finished when the athlete stands straight up in full locked out position. With good form and proper technique, this movement is an effective element to any fitness program. (Guide)
Cluster – A barbell movement that involves a squat clean into a thruster. Each repetition starts from the ground. (Guide)
Coach – Your go-to guy or gal when you hit a session. Full of wisdom, experience and advice for all things CrossFit.
Complex – A strength circuit consisting of a set of two or more barbell movements completed without letting go of the barbell.
CrossFit Box – A second home for many. This is where you will find the CrossFit community. The name stems from the tradition that “Boxes” are found in industrial units.
CrossFit Games – An annual, worldwide competition that any CrossFitter can enter. Where will you place? 324,000 people registered in 2016.
CrossFit Journal – An internal publication priced at $25 a year for unlimited access. Here you can find information on inspirational stories, CrossFit news, workouts, movements and more.
CrossFit Total – The sum of your heaviest lifts in the squat, shoulder press and deadlift. You get three attempts at each lift. This is one of the heavier benchmark WODs. (Article)
Dave Castro – an ex Navy SEAL and the mastermind of The CrossFit Games.
Deadlift / DL – One of three powerlifting exercises that CrossFit makes essential in its programming. You, the athlete will take a loaded barbell from the ground to the hips in a one smooth, red faced, vein popping movement. (Guide)
DNF – Did not finish. This happens, everyone has off days, right? I make note of every workout I DNF and make sure I go back at it in a few weeks.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness / DOMS – As the name suggests, muscle soreness that gets you a couple of days later after those energetic squats. Stairs may be a struggle but you’ll live. Have a good stretch if you have time. I would recommend ROMWOD.
Double Unders / DU – With a jump rope a DU consists of the rope passing through two rotations to every one jump. A great measure of conditioning and composure. Let the speed of the rope come from your wrists, not your shoulders to help reduce fatigue. (Guide)
Every Minute on the Minute / EMOM – A programming method where you will perform an exercise/set/reps every 60 seconds. You should typically work for 45 of the seconds and rest for 15 of the seconds.
Fire-Breather – A term given to those athletes at the top of their game that rinse through workouts like it’s a warm up. A term given only to those that put the hours in, day and night to perform unholy acts of physical prowess.
Foam Roller – Doesn’t it sound lovely and soft? Sit on one of these after a few squats, you’ll tell me otherwise. A tool that’ll find every sensitive spot as you elegantly roll around on the floor. The technical term is Myofascial release achieved using your new found friend, the foam roller. (Guide)
Front Squat / FS – A squat performed with the barbell resting across the front of your shoulders. The key to a comfortable front squat is having your elbows in line with your shoulder muscles to alleviate stress on your wrists. Good flexibility through your hips and ankles is also essential. (Guide)
Full Locked Out Position – The standard for a finished movement, typically knees, hips and back are in a straight line. If it is an overhead movement then arms are also straight.
Games Competitor – The creme de la crème of CrossFit athletes. 40 men and women each year earn this title as they head to the games to compete for the title of “Fittest On Earth”.
General Physical Preparedness / GPP – The basic CrossFit methodology generally defined as preparing an athlete for any and all physical requirements they might face in and out of the gym. It’s being prepared for heavy deadlifts as well as not being the first to get eaten during a zombie apocalypse.
GHD Sit-Ups – An extreme sit up using the glute ham developer. The movement involves you reaching for the ground behind you/overhead and then exploding through the movement to touch your toes. Abs like slabs in no time. (Guide)
Gloves – For athletes in competition, professionals who require smooth hands and those that dislike tears, blisters and rips, gloves for CrossFit are necessary. AthleteVibe.com compiled a post about the best CrossFit gloves, take a look!
Goblet Squats – A squat that involves holding a weight close to your chest at chest height. Kettlebells are frequently used for goblet squats in CrossFit programming. (Guide)
Greg Glassman – The evil professor. Owner and creator of all things CrossFit. He created programming that prepared his athletes for the “unknown & unknowable”.
Ground To Over Head / GTOH / G2OH – A repetition consists of getting a weight from the floor to overhead in any manner you wish. Some movements to achieve this could be a power snatch, power clean and push jerk or the clean & jerk whatever you feel comfortable with.
Gymnastics – Described as a set of exercises that display your ability in physical agility and coordination. CrossFit uses many gymnastic movements; an example would be the muscle up. Many of the elite (Fire-breathers) have gymnastic backgrounds which lay great foundations for CrossFit.
Hand Release – A push-up variation where you must release your hands from the ground as your chest and hips touch. You then place your hands back down and complete the rep. To see the push-up standard check out the guide referenced here. (Guide) (Article)
Handstand Push-Up / HSPU – A test of your body’s ability to press your own body weight as resistance. Find a comfortable position for your hands, a rep starts with full extension, lowering your body until your head reaches a platform in line with your hands and finishes as you press out for one rep. (Guide)
Hero WOD’s – CrossFit Hero workouts are the toughest workouts done in memory of fallen heroes.
HIIT – High-intensity interval training. A training technique where your work time is short but in “intense” intervals. Try rowing for 30 seconds max effort followed by 30 seconds rest (on the C2 this is a “Custom workout”).
Hollow Rocks – A tough gymnastic movement that is easier said than done. With your hands and feet in the air, you have to move through a rocking motion whilst keeping your arms and legs in position. (Guide)
Hook Grip – The hook grip is a method of gripping the barbell. You will grip your thumb between the bar and your fingers. It takes some time to learn and be prepared for sore thumbs (it gets easier) but once that bar is locked in, it can only go where you want it to! (Article)
IIFYM – If it fits your macros. This is a popular dieting method where you can eat a “flexible” range of foods as long as your intake is within your prescribed macro-nutrient numbers for a given time period. (FAQ)
Kettlebell / KB – A rather large and very dense object. You’ll be swinging this around to either shoulder height (Russian swing) or above the head (American swing). If you are rattling through many reps with pumped forearms, chalk up as things can get tricky as you fatigue. CrossFit Invictus has written a great post about kettlebell swings you can find here.
Kettlebell Swings / KBS – Two variations. The American kettlebell swing will have you take the kettlebell from your standing position to directly overhead with the bottom of the KB facing the ceiling. Russian kettlebell swings are slightly less taxing with the repetition finishing as the KB passes shoulder height. (Guide)
Kinesio Tape – A popular method of rehabilitative taping used among CrossFitters. The taping promotes the body’s natural healing process whilst giving stability and support to the affected muscles and joints. This tape comes recommended from personal use. (Taping Guide)
Kipping – The use of your body’s motion to aid in completing a repetition. A common point of conversation between CrossFitter’s versus everyone else. Efficient and effective kipping requires coordination and timing; when mixed with your strength and power you’ll unlock rep ranges you thought were a distant dream. (Guide)
Lifters – Weight Lifting Shoes. They offer stability with a drop from heel to toe. The platform of the shoe allows you to squat deeper with an increased range of motion of the ankle which is highly beneficial when squatting, jerking and snatching. If they don’t make you lift heavier, at least you look good in heels eh lads?
Lunge – Placing one foot in front of the next ensuring that the trailing knee makes contact with the ground to count the rep. There are many variations of lunges including front rack, dumbbell and overhead. Overhead lunges were the choice of lunge in the CrossFit Open workout 16.1. (Guide)
Macro’s – Short for macro-nutrients. There are three major macro-nutrients required in a humans diet for optimal health: proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Max Effort / ME – Give whatever it is, everything that you have got. Everything. If this is cardio based this is where you will find a real battle between your mind and your body. Max effort can also be used for strength based movements. Don’t sacrifice that perfect form though!
Medicine Ball – The piece of equipment you use for wall balls. For men it’s typically prescribed as 20lbs and women 14lbs. (Wall Ball Standards)
Metcon – Metabolic conditioning. This is the structured pattern of work & rest periods to provoke the desired reaction from your body. Here we are looking to maximize the efficiency of a particular energy system.
Mobility – Your mobility will affect your ability to carry out many of the CrossFit fundamental movements efficiently. Consistent stretching and range of motion work are necessary to increase your body’s mobility. Kelly Starrett has a mobility guide for the majority of your body; check out his YouTube channel.
Muscle Up – A gymnastic movement where you will move through a pull up to a dip in one smooth movement. Here technique prevails as the movement once mastered will allow for fluid reps. Try and get your hips as close to the bar in the upwards movement before exploding through to the bottom of the dip. (Guide)
No Rep – A repetition that does not meet the CrossFit standards. Example are squatting where the hip crease does not pass below the knee or a pull up where your chin does not pass the bar from which you hang. Respect your judge, their say is final.
Open Gym – A part of most boxes programming where time is allocated for you to use the facility to work on anything you wish. This is a great time to attack weaknesses in your CrossFit performances.
Overhead Squat / OHS – Because squatting isn’t hard enough… We add a barbell overhead to make things that much harder. The overhead squat is a measure of strength and flexibility.
Paleo – A popular nutrition program donned by many CrossFitter’s around the world. In short, it’s eating like our ancestors did. Think caveman. If he/she didn’t eat it, then neither can you. Check out this guide over at Nerd Fitness, it covers everything you’ll need to know. Do you need to eat like this to be good at CrossFit? Nope!
Parallettes – A tool that can be used to dial in some great strength training using just your body-weight. You can use them for push ups, dips and more advanced movements. If you don’t know what they look like, check them out here.
Personal Best/PB & Personal Record/PR – Completely personal to you. This is your BEST weight lifted, quickest time or the most number of reps you could achieve. Personal bests are set to be broken; keep note of yours to unlock that feel good moment in months to come when you beat it!
Pistols – One legged squats but with a cool name. A tricky movement to master but with practice you’ll get it! Good ankle mobility here is key to keeping your center of gravity over your heels. (Guide)
Pood – A Russian measurement of mass commonly used for kettlebells. 1 Pood is equal to approximately 16.38 kilograms.
Power Clean/PC & Power Snatch/PS – The power part refers to you being so damn strong that you throw the weight around and complete the rep without having to break parallel (hip crease below the knee). PC – moving the bar from the ground to front rack and PS – moving the bar from ground to overhead in one fluid movement.
Pukie The Clown – A CrossFit mascot that depicts a clown that has pushed the physical boundaries thus making themselves ill. This great article addresses Pukie and his mate Uncle Rhabdo, I suggest you have a read.
Push Press / PP – Start with the bar in the front rack position but with the elbows pointed slightly downward.A push press is a strict press but with a little help from your legs to get the bar moving. Your feet should be firmly planted on the ground whilst your arms and shoulders send the bar above your head to complete the rep. As your shoulders fatigue, you can utilize other muscle groups to work through the last couple of reps. Gains. (Guide) (Article) This lift is typically taken from the rack.
PVC Pipe – The PVC pipe is a near weightless object (similar dimensions to that of a barbell, so very relevant) that is perfect for drilling good technique before advancing onto a weighted barbell. It is also a great tool for stretching.
Rack – A rack can be used for taking a loaded barbell at desired positions higher than the floor. You may also be told to “rack your weights” which means you tidy up after yourself by placing your equipment back where it is safely stored.
Range Of Movement / ROM – This term relates to “a measurement of movement around a joint”. We are talking about flexion and extension. Unlocking the movement in your ankles can help with your squat positioning. Good shoulder mobility will make that jerk feel comfortable. This takes time and consistency but the benefits are endless. Check out Kelly Starrett on YouTube, he’s got methods for attacking any tight spots you may have.
Rep Max / RM – The maximum weight you could lift/press/squat over a given rep range. These should always be recorded either in Wodify or whatever tracking system you use.
Repetition / Rep – A single completed movement as prescribed by CrossFit standards. Shortened to rep across the board. Avoid bro reps at all costs.
Resistance Bands – Large rubber bands varying in width and depth. Great tools for stretching before workouts, assisting during workouts with moves such as the scaled pull up and also working on range of motion with resistance.
Rhabdomyolysis – A breakdown of muscle fiber which may occur through severe exertion. Some cases of this have been attributed to CrossFit programming although any form of intense exercise could cause this. (Article)
Rope Climbing – Normally hanging from the rafters where you’ll gracefully ascend. Climbing a rope is not as easy as some make it look. Check out Jason Khalipa on rope climbing techniques. He recommends shin skins for protection in ascending & descending the rope. Remember, what goes up, must come down.
Rounds For Time / RFT – A scoring structure for CrossFit workouts. RFT denotes completed rounds and reps of specified movements within a given time limit.
Rowling – A game played over 10 rounds using the rower where you must pull as close to 100 meters as possible. Every meter over or under 100 m is a 1 burpee penalty. Check out Josh, Rich and Dan going head to head to head.
Prescribed / RX – A term used for an athlete completing a workout as prescribed. Movements are carried out according to the CrossFit standards. If you scale any of the movements, complete reps with partial range of motion or complete reps using assistance; this is not RX but rather considered Scaled.
Scale / Scaled – The key to successful CrossFit programming (and what makes it increasingly popular) is that ALL workouts can be scaled in an effort to make the workout challenging to each athlete based on their own ability. You can scale up or down.
Score – This is what you exchange your blood, sweat and tears for. Your score may be a time, a weight or rounds and reps. Get it in Wodify and make sure you beat your score next time around.
Set – A set is a collection or number of repetitions for a given exercise. As an example, your strength programming requires a total of 20 repetitions. Not easy in one sitting. Break this down into 4 SETS of 5 repetitions with adequate rest in between to hit your 20 reps.
Shoulder To Overhead / STOH / S2OH – A repetition will consist of taking a weight from your shoulders to overhead in any way you wish. You can strict press, push press, push jerk, split jerk, squat jerk, whatever feels good for you.
Sled Push/Pull – The sled is used with push and pull movements, appearing in CrossFit programming (where space allows) and has featured in the CrossFit games. It demands all out power and strength to move a weighted sled across specified distances.
Snatch – An Olympic weightlifting movement. Taking the barbell from the ground to overhead in one, smooth, continuous, beautifully satisfying motion. Some other terms you may hear are squat snatch, power snatch, split snatch and muscle snatch. Each has their own benefits with the “squat snatch” being most commonly used in weight lifting competitions. (Guide) When you see “Snatch” on the board or in Wodify, it means it will be a squat snatch, requiring you to catch the bar in a full squat then stand the bar up. If you are unable to catch the bar in a squat, often times you will hear your coach say “ride the bar down.”
Split Jerk / SJ – The split jerk is a movement allowing you to take the bar from your shoulders to locked out overhead. The “split” refers to your leg positioning as you catch the jerk as you will have one leg forward of your body and the other trailing. (Guide)
Step-Ups – A step up used when an athlete is either to fatigued to jump or does not have the ability to complete a box jump. Step-ups are a great way of scaling box jumps. The jump up and step down method is increasingly popular as it reduces the possibility of injury.
Strict Press / SP – A compound lift that is upper body focused whilst your midline battles for stability. “Strict” denotes that no additional motion is given using leg power, your legs must not move to count the rep. (Guide)
Sumo Deadlift High Pull / SDHP – One of the 9 foundation movements of CrossFit. A movement that is known for developing overall strength & power. (Guide)
Superman – The superman is a core exercise where you lay face down on the floor and lift both your hands and feet clear of the floor. You then hold for a specified time.
Tabata – A blend of CrossFit and circuit training. Typically preformed for 4 minutes with alternating work rest periods of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. It’s short but intense making it popular with those conscious of time. Dr Tabata (the guy behind it all) carried out controlled testing of his training methods which gave a 28% increase in anaerobic fitness levels on those taking part. (Source)
The Girls – Another name given to the benchmark workouts. The girls consist of Angie, Barbara, Chelsea, Diane, Elizabeth, Fran, Grace, Helen, Isabel, Jackie, Karen, Linda, Mary & Nancy. Designed to measure your performance and improvement through repeating these workouts, irregularly within your programming. Make notes guys! Here’s a PDF released from CrossFit HQ with all the details.
Thruster – Consisting of a barbell loaded front squat that continues into an overhead press in one fluid movement. One of the most physically demanding movements I have ever encountered. Frequently combined with burpees 🙁 (Guide)
Timer – Mounted up on the wall for all to see, either counting up or down towards your finish time and that post workout feel good feeling. If you’re carrying out qualifiers, be sure to keep the timer in view!
Toes To Bar / TTB / T2B – A gymnastic movement that sees you hanging directly beneath the bar at full stretch, from here you will then touch the bar that you are hanging from with both toes at the same time between your hands. (Guide)
Toes To Ring / TTR – Similar to TTB but instead of a bar you use gymnastic rings. The added difficulty of the instability of the rings makes this movement that much harder to master.
Touch And Go / TNG – The equipment (barbell/KB/DB etc) touches the ground quickly and then takes off again for the next rep. If you are strong and feeling like a boss you will work through your reps without dropping the bar. Touch ‘n’ go will shave time off that all important score! Use wisely, burn out your forearms and that grip strength might disappear until after the session!
Turkish Get-Up / TGU – Taking a kettlebell from a laying position on the ground position and then moving through specific stages finishing with the kettlebell overhead. Add weight as you master the technique for a measure of core strength. (Guide)
Tire Flips – If you’re lucky enough, your box will have got hold of some huge industrial size tires! Flipping the tire is an all-out power and conditioning workout that’ll have your heart racing.
Unbroken / UB – Perform the entire rep count without pausing between reps, dropping the bar or letting go of the rings.
Wall Balls / WB – A test of strength, stamina and pure grit. A wall ball repetition is counted every time you propel a medicine ball to a target above you. The tough part; catching it on the way down and squatting with every rep. (Standards)
Wall Walks – The wall walk is an upper body strength exercise which sees your shoulders and triceps take a beating. You start face down on the floor with your feet resting at the bottom of the wall. You then “wall walk” up the wall, moving your hands closer to the wall until your chest touches the wall to count the rep. (Guide)
Weighted Vest – As the name suggests it’s a cruel garment of clothing used in CrossFit programming. Murph, a Hero WOD, makes the most of a weighted vest making an appearance at the CrossFit Games.
Workout of the Day / WOD – This will be up on the whiteboard, posted online or in your scruffy notebook. Regardless of what program you follow, the WOD is what’s prescribed for today.
Zone Diet – The zone diet is a portioning strategy for your daily intake of food. The recommendations laid out in the zone diet are a good starting point and can be tweaked for you to achieve your peak performances. (Article)
Wow, you made it. We’d like to give a special shout out to Toby at AthleteVibe.com for for putting together this awesome list!