CrossFit has a lot of “Movements” and exercises that are part of almost every workout. The more you perform them, the more you will become familiar with them. Some of the movements are more complex and will take time to master. Our coaches take time before every WOD (and during every workout), to carefully explain the exercise. They ensure that you are instructed with proper technique and correct any errors which could lead to muscle strain or even injury. We always offer alternatives if you have an existing condition or aren’t ready to master the “full” version of a movement. Don’t ever be afraid to request an easier or alternative option. You can also request something harder (or spicier). We will bring the heat!
One of the most dreaded moves in fitness, burpees make up a cornerstone of CrossFit workouts. Starting from standing, athletes bend down and plant their hands, kick back into a plank position, and perform a push-up. The legs are then brought back in, and the movement culminates with a slight jump up and hands clapped overhead. (The feet have to leave the ground for it to count!) Now repeat 100 times, just for funsies.
This ain’t your mama’s double-dutch. A double under is when a jump rope passes under an athlete’s feet twice with only one jump. Don’t think it sounds much harder than normal jump rope? Try 50 (or heck, even 15) of these bad boys in a row and see if there’s any breath left to complain.
Bodyweight /Air Squat:
Standing straight up, an athlete squats down until their hips are below their knees, then stands back up until the hips are once again fully extended. Expect upwards of 150 bodyweight squats in many CrossFit workouts, and remember, keep that chest up!
Knees to Elbows:
Hang on! In this movement, athletes hang from a pull-up bar and then shoot their knees up toward the torso until the elbows and knees touch. For a harder version, try bringing the toes all the way to the bar.
Watch almost any video on CrossFit and you’ll likely see people swinging from bars like sweaty, fitness-oriented orangutans. But there’s a rhythm to that swinging, letting athletes transfer horizontal motion to vertical force and allowing for more (and quicker) pull-ups.
Also known as single leg squats, pistols require half the legs, but twice the effort.
Forget fancy machines. CrossFitters who can’t quite get all the way up loop stretch bands over the bar and use them as a low-tech (and cheaper) alternative to assisted pull-ups.
Using bodyweight, a barbell on the shoulders, or a weight plate held directly overhead, athletes step forward with one foot and bend both legs until their back knee taps the ground. Repeat for the reps prescribed or until the legs turn to jelly — whichever comes first.
Sumo Deadlift High Pull:
In this movement, athletes take a wide stance over a barbell and explosively pull from the ground upward until the bar comes up to shoulder height— no 400-pound wrestlers required.
One of CrossFit’s most deceptively tiring movements, the Thruster is “simply” a front squat straight into a push press. Try them once and prepare to cringe next time they show up on the schedule.
These are a basic movement for gymnasts — but a real challenge. In most CrossFit workouts, athletes can kick up to a wall for stability while they perform this movement. Just remember these don’t count unless the head touches the ground at the bottom and arms are fully locked at the top.
In one of the most advanced CrossFit movements, athletes hang from gymnastic rings and explosively pull their chest above the rings to the bottom of a dip position. From there they push up until the arms are fully locked (of course, the tricky part is figuring out how to get down from there).
Don’t underestimate this super sit-up, one of the main culprits behind workout-induced rhabdomyolysis. Sitting face-up on a glute-ham developer (see GHD entry below), athletes reach back until their hands graze the ground, then explosively extend their legs and sit up.
No running starts allowed. Athletes jump up onto a box of a given height from a two-footed stance. Pro tip: Pretend your legs are springs (or consider investing in some Kangoo shoes).
Get your mind out of the gutter. The snatch is one of two Olympic lifts where athletes explosively lift a weighted barbell from ground to overhead in one movement, often squatting under the bar and then standing up— or “recovering”— to allow for heavier weights.
Clean & Jerk:
The other Olympic lift, the clean & jerk actually encompasses two separate movements. Athletes start by explosively lifting a weighted barbell from the ground to the shoulders, often squatting under and then standing to recover. After a brief pause, athletes take a shallow dip and then drive upward to propel the bar overhead, often landing in a split position and then bringing their feet back in line.
It’s just like a conventional bodyweight dip, only on gymnastic rings. The rings are unstable, making it harder to keep the hands close to the body (like dips needed to be any harder).
Holding a 20-pound (for men) or 14-pound (for ladies) medicine ball, athletes squat down and explosively stand up, throwing the ball toward an 8-10 foot target above their heads.
Glossary of CrossFit Terms