Crossfit Terms

December 28, 2014
Coach Jessica explains the "12 Days of Christmas" WOD.

Coach Jessica explains the “12 Days of Christmas” WOD.

Crossfitters love their acronyms and CF-specific terms. They make for fantastic shorthand ways for experienced crossfitters to talk, but can leave new people confused. Let’s demystify some of the most frequently-used terms below.

Common terms:

  • AMRAP – As Many Reps as Possible. AMRAP is often followed by a number, which indicates the minutes that one has to complete as many repetitions (reps) as possible. So an AMRAP 10 would mean 10 minutes of doing a certain movement (or more likely, movements). Athletes usually count the reps for their final score.
  • Box – What we call the gym. Any box will have all the equipment you need to complete that day’s workout. It’s called a box as an effort to show the more utilitarian nature of crossfit. We don’t have a bunch of machines arrayed in rows to help you isolate your quads or biceps or whatever … we have a big, open, multi-functional space that we adapt every day to that day’s WOD (see below).
  • EMOTM – Every Minute On The Minute. An EMOTM workout has the athlete doing a certain number of reps of a movement or series of movements every minute for a certain number of minutes (like AMRAP). So if the WOD was something like EMOTM 10 – 1 deadlift and 3 burpees, then every minute, the athlete would do one deadlift and then three burpees. When they finished, they’d wait the rest of that minute, and start again at the 1-minute mark, the 2-minute mark, and so on until the final number is reached.
  • For Time – A workout that’s “for time” is a straight-forward workout where the athlete does the prescribed reps/rounds/movements until they have finished. There is sometimes a cap on this time, so if the athlete doesn’t finish in, say, 25 minutes, they stop the workout at that point.
  • The Girls – A series of workouts named after female heroes. These are “benchmark” workouts that are repeated enough that athletes can compare themselves against their past performance. All crossfitters look forward to, and dread, “Fran”. You can see the list here.
  • Movement – Whatever activity/activities you’ll be doing that day. Movements can be anything from pull-ups and burpees to clean-and-jerks and push presses to rope climbs and toe-to-bars.
  • PR – Personal record. This can be a new record weight, it can be a faster time, or some combination of the two. We’re all on our own personal fitness journeys, and should compare our workouts to our own prior workouts, not anybody else’s. If someone in the box achieves a PR, even if it’s way below what more experienced athletes are doing, everyone will congratulate them on their achievement.
  • Round – No, not the shape of the weights. A round is a set number of reps of different movements. For example, a workout might be “3 rounds for time” of, say, 10 box jumps, 15 kettlebell swings and 10 toe-to-bars. The athlete will do their 10 box jumps, 15 kettlebell swings, 10 toe-to-bars, and will then do it again, three times.
  • Rep – Short for repetition. Most movements have a certain prescribed number of reps.
  • RX – Shorthand for the “prescribed” workout. Doing the workout “RX” means that the athlete didn’t scale the workout at all and did the prescribed number of reps at the prescribed weights.
  • Scaling – Most new athletes can’t RX most of the workouts, so they “scale” the workout to their abilities. Athletes most-often scale the RX weight or number of reps, but scaling can also happen when the athlete modifies the movements. Examples of non-weight scaling include using bands to help with pull-ups, using a smaller box on box jumps, doing knee-raises instead of toe-to-bars, doing regular jump ropes instead of double-unders, etc.It’s important for new (or established) athletes to recognize that most everyone scales workouts and that nobody in the box will think less of you if you scale a workout. Even the “big dogs” sometimes scale a workout that features a movement that doesn’t suit their strengths.
  • Set – A set is when an athlete performs a certain number of reps of a certain movement, such as a set of 12 cleans. To get all mathy on you reps < sets < rounds < WOD. The athlete’s reps make up a set of a movement, which are broken up into rounds, which are often put together for a WOD.
  • WOD – Workout Of the Day. Every crossfitter looks forward to to the WOD and wants to know what we’re going to do today! Check out the most recent WOD here. WODs are constantly varied, but we do repeat workouts occasionally, which is a great chance to gauge your improvement as an athlete.


Coming soon.



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