Unlocking the Language of CrossFit®: Your Top 100 Must-Know Terms

Written By Charleh Knighton  |  CrossFit 

Embarking on a new journey, especially as a beginner, can be both exciting and intimidating. It's common to feel like you're venturing into uncharted territory, unsure of the customs, traditions, and, most significantly, the language.

The world of CrossFitr is no exception; it can be a little overwhelming for newcomers. With workouts that differ from conventional exercise routines and a unique vocabulary, it's easy to feel like you're in a foreign land where you don't speak the language.

But fear not, CrossFit® beginner! We've got your back.

We've curated an extensive list of 100 commonly used CrossFit® terms and acronyms to help you navigate this world with confidence.

Alongside this glossary, you'll also find insights into some of the best CrossFit® workouts that you'll come across on your journey. Armed with this knowledge, you'll walk into your CrossFit® gym with your head held high, and you'll be well on your way to becoming an expert.

crossfit terminology

Here's the ultimate list to CrossFit®'s lingo

Abmat

First on our list is the Abmat, a foam wedge that provides crucial support during sit-ups. Placing it behind your back cushions the impact on the ground while also enhancing your range of motion.

Affiliate

An "affiliate" in CrossFit® is simply a gym that has official ties to the CrossFit® organization. To be considered an affiliate, these gyms must employ certified CrossFit® trainers, ensuring the highest level of expertise in their coaches.

Air Squat

This term refers to squats without added weights. Don't be fooled; performing 150 of these in one go can be a grueling challenge.

AMRAP (As Many Rounds/Reps As Possible)

AMRAP is a straightforward concept—complete as many rounds or repetitions of a specific workout in a given time frame. It's a high-intensity approach to training that pushes your limits.

ATG (Ass To Ground)

This abbreviation signifies the full-depth squat, the way it's supposed to be done. In CrossFit®, quality and precision matter.

Band-Assisted Pull-Up

For those struggling with pull-ups, you can employ resistance bands looped over the bar to assist your pull-ups. This method eliminates the need for costly and space-consuming equipment.

Box

In the CrossFit® lexicon, a "box" is simply a CrossFit® gym. It's as straightforward as that. CrossFit® boxes are known for their simplicity, efficiency, and awesomeness. Many of the first CrossFit® "boxes" started in a warehouse unit - so, literally a BOX.

Box Jump

Box jumps are an integral part of CrossFit® workouts. Athletes leap onto boxes of a specific height from a stationary two-footed stance. It's challenging but incredibly rewarding.

BS (Back Squat)

This abbreviation doesn't mean what you might think. It refers to the back squat, a fundamental CrossFit® exercise that strengthens your lower body.

Bumper Plates

Bumper plates are rubberized barbell plates that allow CrossFitters to drop weights without causing damage to the equipment or potential harm to fellow athletes. It's all about safety and practicality.

Burpees

Burpees are another exercise you might not love initially but will eventually come to appreciate. You'll encounter them frequently in CrossFit® workouts.

Burpees involves a sequence of movements: start standing, bend down and plant your hands, kick back into a plank position, perform a push-up, then bring your legs back up and jump.

CFT (CrossFit® Total)

The CrossFit® Total is a signature strength workout in the CrossFit® realm. Athletes have three opportunities to establish their one-rep max (1RM) for the press, deadlift, and back squat. This forms the foundation for an athlete's progression.

CF (CrossFit®)

Here's the simplest one you'll come across all day. CF stands for CrossFit®, the heart and soul of this fitness movement.

CFHQ (CrossFit® Headquarters)

CrossFit® Headquarters is the central command. The original CrossFit® gym is located in Santa Cruz, CA, and serves as the birthplace of many of the daily workouts and methodologies.

CFWU (CrossFit® Warm-up)

The CrossFit® Warm-Up (CFWU) is a crucial component of your preparation - almost like it's a WOD - PREP. 

It includes various exercises performed in 2-3 rounds, like Samson stretches, overhead squats, GHD sit-ups, hip extensions, pull-ups, and dips.

Chipper

A "chipper" in CrossFit® is a sequence of movements completed one after the other. For instance, you might perform 10 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 10 air squats, 10 sit-ups, 10 kettlebell swings, and 10 muscle-ups.

The reps don't have to be equal for each movement, but you generally work through the sequence, chipping away at each one. The "filthy fifty" is a classic example of a chipper workout.

CLN (Clean)

The clean is an Olympic lift where athletes lift the barbell from the ground to a racked position across their shoulders.

C&J (Clean and Jerk)

A clean and jerk is another well-known Olympic lift. It combines the clean (mentioned earlier) with an additional lift called the jerk. After completing the clean, athletes lift the bar overhead.

Couplet

A couplet in CrossFit® involves two exercises that complement each other. These exercises are combined in a specific set formation to create a workout of the day (WOD).

CrossFit® Games

CrossFit® is not just a fitness program; it's also a sport. The CrossFit® Games are where the world's top CrossFitters compete to earn the titles of the World's Fittest Man and Woman. This event showcases the pinnacle of CrossFit® athleticism.

CrossFit® Open

The CrossFit® Open is akin to a virtual version of the CrossFit® Games. It allows participants to register online and compete in events held at local CrossFit® boxes.

It's a fantastic way to test your skills and measure your progress against CrossFitters from around the world.

CrossFit® Journal

The CrossFit® Journal is a treasure trove of information for CrossFitters. It offers workouts, stories, and news relevant to the CrossFit® community. As CrossFit®'s internal publication, it's a highly reliable source of information in the world of fitness.

C2 (Concept 2)

The C2, or Concept II, is the most commonly used rowing machine in CrossFit® gyms. Rowing is a crucial component of CrossFit®'s endurance and stamina training.

DFL (Dead F'ing Last)

DFL is an abbreviation that stands for "Dead F'ing Last." It signifies being the last athlete to complete a workout. There's no shame in it; it simply means you put in more effort and dedication than everyone else.

DL (Deadlift)

DL is another strength lift in CrossFit® and one of its fundamental movements. The deadlift focuses on lifting a weighted barbell from the ground to a standing position.

DNF (Did Not Finish)

If you encounter DNF in CrossFit®, it means precisely what you think. It indicates that you didn't complete a workout or exercise as intended.

Double-Unders (Dubs)

Double-unders are a jump rope technique where the rope passes under your feet twice with a single jump. It's a challenging skill to master, especially when you need to perform many of them in succession.

EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute)

EMOM is a popular CrossFit® workout style. It requires you to perform a specific exercise at the start of every new minute. If you finish before the next minute begins, you get to rest until the next minute's commencement. However, don't get too comfortable, as time is limited.

Filthy Fifty

The Filthy Fifty is an intense CrossFit® workout that involves performing 50 repetitions of ten different exercises: box jumps, jumping pull-ups, kettlebell swings, walking lunges, knees to elbows, push press, back extensions, wall balls, burpees, and double unders. It's a test of your stamina and determination.

Fire Breather

In the world of CrossFit®, a fire breather is an optimistic and hardworking individual who works hard, finishes workouts quickly, and stays behind to cheer on fellow athletes. They're the embodiment of the CrossFit® spirit.

For Time

When a CrossFit® workout is "for time," it means you need to complete a set amount of work as quickly as possible, with or without a time cap. This is different from AMRAP, where you work for a specific duration and then stop.

Fran

Fran is perhaps one of the most famous CrossFit® workouts. It consists of a 21-15-9 rep scheme of thrusters, with 95 pounds for men and 65 pounds for women, and pull-ups.

It takes time to master and even more time to improve your performance, but you'll encounter it frequently as a CrossFitter.

FS (Front Squat)

The front squat is a common CrossFit® movement and the foundation for many other exercises, such as cleans, thrusters, and wall balls. It's an Olympic lift that you'll want to master to excel in CrossFit®.

Games Competitor

A Games Competitor in CrossFit® is an athlete who competes at the CrossFit® Games. These individuals are professional competitive athletes and the best in the sport, showcasing extraordinary skills, strength, and stamina.

GHD (Glute Hamstring Developer)

GHD stands for Glute Hamstring Developer, a device that facilitates posterior chain exercises like hip extensions, sit-ups, and back extensions. It's an essential tool in the CrossFit® arsenal.

The Girls

The CrossFit® Girls are a series of foundational workouts in CrossFit®. They include workouts like Fran (previously mentioned), Chelsea, and Annie. These workouts are known for their high difficulty level, but you'll encounter them often as you progress in CrossFit®.

GPP (General Physical Preparedness)

GPP stands for General Physical Preparedness, which essentially means your level of fitness. CrossFit® workouts aim to improve and maximize ten general physical skills: cardiovascular endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, accuracy, agility, and balance.

Grace

In this CrossFit® workout, your task is to complete 30 clean and jerks at 135 pounds for men and 95 pounds for women as quickly as possible. Don't let its apparent simplicity fool you; Grace is a demanding challenge.

Handstand Push-Up (HSPU)

The handstand push-up, or HSPU, is a demanding movement where athletes perform push-ups while in a handstand position. It's a common exercise in CrossFit® that requires significant upper body strength and balance.

HC (Hang Clean)

The hang clean is a variation of the clean exercise. It begins with the barbell above the knee and ends with the bar in the front rack position, as opposed to the clean, which starts with the bar on the ground.

Hero WOD

Hero workouts in CrossFit® are a way of paying tribute to military servicemen, policemen, or firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty. These workouts are exceptionally challenging and serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made by these heroes.

HSC (Hang Squat Clean)

The hang squat clean is a clean exercise where the bar starts at knee height. The athlete initiates the lift by pulling the bar upward, and as it ascends, the athlete drops into a full squat position, catching the bar in a racked position and then standing up.

IF (Intermittent Fasting)

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting. It's a dietary strategy that some CrossFitters employ to complement their training regimen.

Isabel

Isabel is another benchmark CrossFit® WOD, part of the "girl" series. It's a timed workout in which athletes perform 30 snatches at 135 pounds for men and 95 pounds for women. It's harder than it sounds, and you'll likely encounter it on your CrossFit® journey.

KB (Kettlebell)

KB stands for kettlebell, a cast-iron or steel weight that resembles a cannonball with a looped handle. Kettlebells are used in a wide range of exercises, from cardio to strength training, and are a versatile tool in the CrossFit® toolkit.

Unlocking the Language of CrossFit Your Top 100 Must-Know Terms
Kip

Have you ever wondered why CrossFitters swing their bodies during pull-ups? That's known as kipping. Kipping involves using your body's momentum to complete a movement. In CrossFit®, kipping is common in pull-ups and handstand push-ups, and it allows athletes to perform these exercises more efficiently.

Knees to Elbows (KTE)

Knees to elbows, or KTE, is an exercise where athletes hang from a pull-up bar and bring their knees up until they touch their elbows. It's a challenging movement that demands core strength and coordination.

Ladder

In CrossFit®, a ladder workout entails increasing the number of repetitions for each exercise with each round. It's a progressive challenge that keeps you pushing your limits.

MetCon (Metabolic Conditioning)

MetCon, short for Metabolic Conditioning, consists of shorter workouts designed to elevate your heart rate rapidly. These workouts focus on stamina and conditioning and are an essential part of CrossFit® training.

Monostructural Movements

Monostructural movements in CrossFit® refer to exercises like running, rowing, biking, swimming, and other endurance activities. These exercises are crucial for building cardiovascular endurance and stamina.

MU (Muscle Ups)

MU stands for muscle-ups. A muscle-up is a challenging movement that combines a pull-up directly followed by a dip. It requires upper body strength and skill and takes time to master.

Murph

The Murph is one of the most demanding WODs in CrossFit®. It consists of a one-mile run followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 bodyweight squats, followed by another one-mile run. It's a grueling test of endurance and determination, but it's also one of the best CrossFit® workouts.

OHS (Overhead Squat)

OHS stands for overhead squat, a movement where you squat with the barbell locked out overhead. It's a challenging exercise that requires a wide grip, and those with highly mobile shoulders may opt for a narrower grip.

Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet is a popular dietary approach often associated with CrossFit®. It emphasizes whole, unprocessed foods and aligns with the CrossFit® philosophy of promoting a healthy, natural diet. It's an option many CrossFitters explore to support their training.

Paralettes

Paralettes are portable parallel bars that stand at a height of about eight inches. They are used to add complexity to challenging movements like handstand push-ups, making them even more effective and rewarding.

PC (Power Clean)

A power clean is a variation of the clean exercise that does not include a squat. The bar starts on the ground, but the movement involves a powerful lift to the racked position in a partial squat.

Pd (Pood)

Pd stands for "Pood," which is a weight measurement for kettlebells. Kettlebells, of Russian origin, were traditionally measured in Poods, not pounds. One Pood is equivalent to 36.1 pounds, 16.4 kilograms, or 2.6 stone, depending on your preferred unit of weight.

Pistol

A pistol squat is a challenging single-leg squat that requires considerable balance and strength. You'll quickly discover how demanding this movement can be.

PR (Personal Record)

PR, or personal record, is the hallmark of progress in CrossFit®. When you beat your previous time or achieve a higher weight in an exercise, you've set a new PR. If you ever hear a member ring the bell, that means they've just crushed a new PR. Go on, you'll be next.

PP (Push Press)

PP stands for push press, a standing shoulder press variation frequently used in CrossFit® workouts. It involves using leg drive to lift the barbell overhead.

PJ (Push Jerk)

PJ, or push jerk, is a lift similar to the push press, but it includes a dip and a jerk motion. Athletes dip down into a slight squat as they lift the barbell overhead.

PSN (Power Snatch)

PSN stands for power snatch, a variation of the snatch exercise without the squat. Many CrossFit® workouts incorporate the power snatch or similar movements.

PU (Pull-Ups or Push-Ups)

PU in CrossFit® usually refers to pull-ups. However, in certain contexts, it can also refer to push-ups. The meaning depends on the workout and context.

Pukie the Clown

One of CrossFit®'s unofficial and infamous mascots, Pukie the Clown, serves as a humorous symbol of the effort and intensity that CrossFitters put into their workouts. It's a lighthearted reminder that pushing your limits can sometimes lead to an encounter with Pukie.

Rep (Repetition)

In CrossFit®, a rep stands for repetition, which signifies the performance of one complete cycle of an exercise.

Rhabdo (Rhabdomyolysis)

Rhabdo, short for rhabdomyolysis, is a rare but severe condition that can result from muscle injury or extremely high-intensity workouts.

Symptoms may include extreme soreness, difficulty in moving, and dark urine. It's a stark reminder of the importance of rest days and responsible training in CrossFit®.

Ring Dip

A ring dip is a variation of the traditional bodyweight dip exercise. It's performed using gymnastic rings, making it more challenging and rewarding for CrossFit® athletes.

Rings (Gymnastic Rings)

Gymnastic rings are versatile pieces of equipment used in various CrossFit® movements and exercises, such as dips, rows, and muscle-ups. They add an element of instability, requiring greater muscle engagement and coordination.

RX'd or as RX'd

When you see a CrossFit® workout listed as "RX'd," it means that you're performing it exactly as prescribed, without modifications or adjustments. You're doing it the way it's meant to be done.

RM (Repetition Maximum)

RM, or repetition maximum, is a measure of your maximum lift for a given number of repetitions. Your one-rep max (1RM) is the highest weight you can lift for one repetition. Achieving a new PR in this area is a common goal for CrossFit® athletes.

Rope Climb

A rope climb is precisely what it sounds like. It's a challenging but highly effective exercise for cardio, strength, and stamina. Climbing a rope tests your upper body strength and endurance.

SC (Squat Clean)

SC stands for squat clean, a movement that starts with the barbell on the floor and ends with the bar in the front rack position, but must be in a full squat. 

Set

In CrossFit®, a set refers to a specific number of repetitions. For example, "4 sets of 12 reps" (written as 4x12) means you perform 12 repetitions four times with rest in between.

Snatch

The snatch is another Olympic lift in CrossFit®. It involves lifting a barbell from the ground to an overhead position in one continuous, fluid motion. It's a complex movement that involves using a wide grip.

SPP (Specific Physical Preparedness)

SPP refers to Specific Physical Preparedness, which reflects an athlete's level of skill training in a specific area. It's the focus on developing specialized abilities for particular aspects of fitness or sport.

SN (Snatch)

SN is a shortened form of snatch, a common Olympic lifting exercise in CrossFit®.

SQ (Squat)

SQ stands for squat, one of the fundamental movements in CrossFit®. Squats are crucial for building lower body strength and are incorporated into various CrossFit® workouts.

Tabata

Tabata training is a high-intensity interval training method that lasts four minutes. It consists of 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times. It's an efficient way to increase your fitness levels and build stamina.

The Open

The Open is an annual CrossFit® competition where athletes from around the world can participate in a series of workouts to test their skills. It's the first step on the road to the CrossFit® Games and offers an opportunity for athletes to compare their performance on a global scale.

Thruster

The thruster is a compound movement that combines a front squat with a push press. It's a full-body exercise that engages multiple muscle groups and is often featured in CrossFit® workouts.

TTB (Toes to Bar)

TTB stands for toes to bar, an exercise where athletes hang from a pull-up bar and lift their legs until their toes touch the bar. It's an excellent core workout.

WOD (Workout of the Day)

The WOD, or workout of the day, is the daily CrossFit® workout posted by CrossFit® gyms. These workouts are designed to be functional and varied, challenging athletes to adapt to different exercises and intensities.

YBF (You'll Be Fine)

YBF is an acronym that provides a dose of encouragement when things get tough in CrossFit®. It's a reminder that you can push through the challenges, knowing that you'll be fine on the other side.

Congratulations on making it through this extensive list of CrossFit® terms!

Whether you're a CrossFit® newbie or a seasoned athlete, this glossary should help you better understand the jargon and concepts used within the CrossFit® community.

Now, armed with this knowledge, you can stride confidently into your CrossFit® gym, tackle those demanding WODs, and set new PRs. Embrace the CrossFit® journey with excitement and determination; remember, "You'll Be Fine"!

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