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Got Questions

GENERAL

What's the WOD?

The "WOD" is the "workout of the day." Each day a new WOD is posted to CrossFit.com, and it's part of a complete program designed to improve strength and conditioning. The CrossFit.com program is characterized by three days of work before one day of rest, though athletes may alter this pattern. The WOD can be scaled (adjusted) to provide a suitable challenge for athletes at any level.

Where is the WOD?

The WOD is always posted to the landing page on www.crossfit.com.

What if I can't use the recommended weight or perform the programmed movements?

Use a weight that's manageable for you or use a percentage of the weight prescribed, and substitute movements you can do. For recommended scaling, follow @CrossFit Training on Instagram. The CrossFit Journal also contains resources to help you scale the workout to your level.

Is the WOD enough? Should I do more?

The WOD is a starting point, and each athlete will need to experiment to determine what "enough" means. Top athletes training for the CrossFit Games might need additional work to improve their fitness, while new athletes might need to reduce the volume of the WOD to optimize results. The exact amount of work can be determined with the assistance of an expert coach at a CrossFit affiliate, or it can be determined by carefully logging your workouts and evaluating the results. Part of the CrossFit philosophy includes pursuing or learning another sport or activity, and the demands of those sports will affect what you can do in each WOD. If you pursue another activity, you will need to balance your work/rest cycles and be sure to allow for recovery. Sometimes, you will need to take extra days off, or to consider a WOD as "active rest" done at a lower intensity.

In general, if you work the WODs hard, you will find yourself at an improved level of fitness.

Will I/can I get big doing CrossFit?

If you train the WODs hard, eat right and get lots of sleep, you will definitely gain lean mass and lose fat. And yes, you can build muscle mass with the CrossFit protocol. The CrossFit protocol is designed to elicit a substantial neuroendocrine wallop and hence packs an anabolic punch that puts on impressive amounts of muscle, though that is not our concern. Strength is.

Those athletes who train for function end up with better form than those who value form over function. This is one of the beautiful ironies of training.

Where is that article in the CrossFit Journal?

The CrossFit Journal has a category index, a chronological index, and search features. External search engines can also be employed.

What's the "official" CrossFit warm-up?

The "official" CrossFit warm-up is in the April 2003 CrossFit Journal.
3 rounds of 10-15 reps of:
Samson stretches (do the Samson stretch once each round for 15-30 seconds)
Overhead squats with broomstick or PVC
Sit-ups
Back extensions
Pull-ups
Dips
This warm-up is only a general idea, and coaches and athletes can easily adjust it or create their own versions in order to prepare them for a specific workout.

What's the Burgener Warm-Up?

The Burgener Warm-Up is an Olympic-lifting warm-up sequence designed by Mike Burgener, head coach of the CrossFit Weightlifting Trainer Course. The Burgener Warm-Up is detailed in the CrossFit Journal.

What's a "pood"?

A pood is a Russian unit of measurement used for kettlebells. Common conversions: 1 pood = 36 lb.; 1.5 pood = 54 lb.; 2 pood = 72 lb. Approximate dumbbell equivalents are 35, 55 and 70.

What do the acronyms and abbreviations in the WOD mean?

Common CrossFit acronyms and abbreviations:

  • AMRAP: as many reps (sometimes rounds) as possible.
  • ATG: ass to grass.
  • BP: bench press.
  • BS: back squat.
  • BW (or BWT): bodyweight.
  • CFT: CrossFit Total, consisting of max squat, press and deadlift.
  • CLN: clean.
  • C&J: clean and jerk.
  • C2: Concept II rowing machine.
  • DL: deadlift.
  • FS: front squat.
  • GHD: the device that allows for the proper performance of a glute-ham raise, or a GHD sit-up.
  • GHR: glute-ham raise.
  • GHR or GHD sit-up: A sit-up done on the GHR or GHD machine.
  • GPP: general physical preparedness, aka "fitness."
  • GTG: grease the groove, a protocol of doing many submaximal sets of an exercise throughout the day.
  • H2H: hand to hand; refers to Jeff Martone's kettlebell "juggling" techniques (or to combat).
  • HSPU: handstand push-up.
  • HSQ: hang squat (clean or snatch).
  • IF: intermittent fasting.
  • KB: kettlebell.
  • KTE: knees-to-elbows.
  • Met-con: metabolic-conditioning workout.
  • MP: military press.
  • MU: muscle-up.
  • OHS: overhead squat.
  • Pd: pood.
  • PR: personal record.
  • PP: push press.
  • PSN: power snatch.
  • PU: pull-ups, possibly push-ups depending on the context.
  • Rep: repetition.
  • Rx'd, as Rx'd: as prescribed or as written. A WOD done without any adjustments.
  • RM: repetition maximum. Your 1RM is your max lift for 1 rep. Your 10 RM is the most you can lift 10 times.
  • SDHP: sumo deadlift high pull.
  • Set: a number of repetitions.
  • SPP: specific physical preparednesss, aka "skill training."
  • SN: snatch.
  • SQ: squat.
  • TGU: Turkish get-up.
  • TTB: toes-to-bar.
  • WO, sometimes W/O: workout.
  • WOD: workout of the day.
  • YBF: you'll be fine.

What about abs? We never do crunches.

Abs ("the core") work to stabilize and support the body with most CrossFit movements: squats, deadlifts, the Olympic lifts, burpees, push-ups, pull-ups, etc. These movement patterns place greater emphasis on the abs working in concert with the rest of the body and will result in stronger muscles than the isolation of crunches.

What's a hook grip?

Wrap your hand around the bar and grab as much of your thumb as you can with the first two fingers.

When loads are listed, do they include the weight of the bar?

The bar is included. The prescribed weight always means total weight lifted.

EXERCISES

Where can I find descriptions of the exercises prescribed in the WOD?

Visit the Exercises & Demos page for videos of common CrossFit exercises.

What's a Tabata?

For 20 seconds, do as many reps of the assigned exercise as you can, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this pattern seven more times for a total of 8 intervals, or 4 minutes of total exercise. The score is the least number of reps scored in any of the intervals.

How much weight for squats?

If a squat load is not specified, squats should be done unloaded. This is sometimes referred to as a "bodyweight" or "air" squat. For back, front and overhead squats, use the weight indicated or scale as necessary.

Farmers carry/farmers walk?

Pick up two heavy dumbbells and walk for distance.

Waiters walk?

Hold a weight (dumbbell, kettlebell, etc.) overhead and walk for distance.

Pull-ups vs. chin-ups?

Use whatever grip is strongest for you—palms facing, palms away, palms parallel, mixed grip, etc.

How do I do a burpee?

From standing, lower the chest and thighs to the floor, then come back to standing before finishing with a jump and clap overhead. To view a demonstration of the burpee, click here. Workouts sometimes contain burpee variations, such as jumping over a bar or jumping and touching a target.

What's a Samson stretch?

The Samson stretch is described in detail in the CrossFit Journal.

What kind of sit-up should I do?

You can do any style of sit-up you like, though it's recommended you note the style in your records so you can compare performances over time. To view a demonstration of the AbMat sit-up, click here.

What's a pistol?

The pistol is often called a one-legged or single-leg squat. To view a demonstration of a pistol, click here.

Where can I find some guidance on parallette training?

"American Gymnast's Parallette Training Guide": http://www.american-gymnast.com/tt/index_163.cfm

Are kipping pull-ups cheating?

Courtesy of Jesse Woody: "Kipping allows more work to be done in less time, thus increasing power output. It is also a full-body coordination movement when performed correctly, which applies more functionally to real-life application of pulling skills. Last, but not least, the hip motion of an effective kip mirrors the motion of the olympic lifts/kettlebell swings, adding to its function as a posterior-chain developer."

To view a demonstration of the kipping pull-up, click here.

What are the differences among the clean (and snatch) variations?

  • Squat clean, aka full clean, aka clean: Start with the bar on the floor and receive it in a full squat.
  • Hang clean: Start with the bar in a "hang position" (held off the floor) and receive it in a full squat. The exact hang position might vary according to the specific instructions for the workout or movement. For example, some workouts will require a hang clean from a position just below the knees, while others will require a hang clean from a position anywhere above the knees, and so on.
  • Power clean: Start with the bar on the floor and receive it in a position that places the thighs higher than parallel to the floor; i.e., not a full squat.
  • Hang power clean: Start from a hang position (described above) and receive the bar in a position that places the thighs higher than parallel to the floor; i.e., not a full squat.

What's the height of the target for wall-ball shots?

The standard height is 10 ft. Scale as needed.

What's the weight of the medicine ball for wall-ball shots?

The standard weight is 20 lb. Scale as needed.

SUBSTITUTIONS

How do you choose substitutions?

CrossFit Training posts scaling options everyday on Facebook and Instagram.

Detailed instructions on substitions and scaling can be found in the CrossFit Journal.

Can I create my own substitutions?

Yes. Remember this: In general, substitutions and scaling preserve the intended stimulus of the original workout, and creative coaches and athletes have a wealth of options. Injuries, mobility issues, training history and many other factors will influence your decisions. The CrossFit affiliate community has come up with a tremendous number of creative substitutions to accommodate just about any athlete, and online searches will reveal many options. When in doubt, consult a CrossFit trainer. Detailed instructions can be found in the CrossFit Journal.

What's the best substitute for rope climbing?

Many movements can take the place of rope climbs. Towel pull-ups are one great option. For more realism, set one hand high and one hand low on the towel. A standard rope length is 15 ft., and a standard substitution is 15 towel pulls. "See-saw" towel pull-ups are also an option. If you have a rope but can't pull your weight, tie a dumbell or kettlebell to one end and pull the rope toward you hand over hand. You can do this along the ground or you can throw the rope over the pull-up bar and hoist the weight to the top. Use the climbing arm motion as much as possible.

What if I can't run? Or row?

When substituting aerobic exercises, use comparable time intervals. For example, if you run 400 meters in 90 seconds, row, bike, jump rope, run stairs, etc. for 90 seconds. Box jumps, cross-country skiing, heavy-bag work, kettlebell or dumbbell swings, weighted stair climbing or box stepping can also be used if other options are not available. Sumo deadlift high pulls can take the place of a rowing machine. Use 45 lb. for men and 35 lb. for women, and count each rep as 10 meters.

What's a good substitute for wall-ball shots?

The "standard" substitute is either dumbbell or barbell thrusters. Because you can't throw dumbells or a bar in the air, use about twice the specified ball weight (40 lb. or so instead of 20 lb.) and do the reps as explosively as possible. Medicine balls are now widely available, and creative athletes have made their own with relative ease.

What's a good substitute for muscle-ups?

Pull-ups and dips. Common rep schemes often equate a certain number of pull-ups plus a certain number of dips with 1 muscle-up. The exact numbers will depend on the athlete. Again, the goal is to preserve the stimulus of the original movement.

What if I can't do pull-ups?

A host of options exists, including assisted pull-ups, jumping pull-ups, negatives, ring rows or even pull-downs. A word of caution: Controlling volume addresses the risk of rhabdomyolysis in less-experienced athletes or those returning after time off. Increased volume of eccentric movement (negatives, for example) correlates to risk of rhabdomyolysis.

What if I can't do handstand push-ups?

Support all or most of your body while working up to handstand push-ups. You can place your hands on the floor and your legs on a bench, ball or counter (bend at the waist). You can hook your toes over a bar in the power rack or Smith machine. You can do partial reps, building up to full range of motion; for example, stack a few books up under your head and lower to the books. Try to remove a book from the pile every workout or so until you are working from the floor. You can also substitute standing presses using absolutely no leg drive, but presses are not as good as working toward the actual motion.

What if I can't do L-sits?

Work on tuck sits (both legs tucked up to your chest), one-leg-extended L-sits (you can alternate legs) or use bands for support (set your parallettes under the pull-up bar and hang the bands from the bar, then put your legs or feet through the band).

What if I don't have rings or can't do ring dips.

Do 3 regular parallel-bars dips for every ring dip prescribed.

What if I can't do double-unders or don't have a jump rope.

Do tuck jumps. Multiple single-unders in no way compensate for the exertion required for double-unders. Explode off the ground as quickly as possible and repeat for the required number of repetitions.

What can I sub for back extensions?

Good mornings (with or without weight) or supermans. Many other movements will work, such as lying over an exercise ball with your feet hooked under a bench or bar.

What can I sub for glute-ham sit-ups?

As with back extensions, there are lots of ways to do glute-ham sit-ups. Try lying over an exercise ball with feet hooked under a bench or bar. You can also use a bench in place of a ball.

WOD

Explain Fight Gone Bad

In this workout you move from each of 5 stations after a minute. This is a 5-minute round after which a 1-minute break is allowed before repeating. We've used this in 3- and 5-round versions. The stations are:

  1. Wall-ball shots, 20-lb. ball, 10-foot target. (reps)
  2. Sumo deadlift high pulls, 75 lb. (reps)
  3. Box jumps, 20-inch box (reps)
  4. Push presses, 75 lb. (reps)
  5. Row for calories (calories)

The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. On the call of "rotate," the athlete(s) must move to the next station immediately for a good score. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is 1 point.

Explain Tabata This

Tabata intervals (20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times) is applied in turn to the squat, rower, pull-ups, sit-ups and push-ups with a 1-minute rotation break between exercises. Each exercise is scored by the weakest number of reps (calories on the rower) in each of the 8 intervals. During the 1-minute rotation the clock is not stopped but kept running. The score is the total of the scores from the five stations. Some performance insights and a scoring example from Mark Twight:

  1. Lying down between exercises lowers heart rate faster than standing, sitting or walking, indicating better recovery in the short 60-second rest.
  2. Alternating upright exercise (squat, pull-up) with prone or seated exercises produces lower heart rates and allows greater overall level of work.
  3. Rowing first reduces reps on all other exercises.
  4. Rowing reps are not seriously affected if done last.
  5. Improvement happens really fast when the workout is done consistently (bi-monthly).
  6. High number of reps may be maintained for greater number of sets as fitness improves. Rep totals do not necessarily improve per set, but now I can do 6 sets of 7 pull-ups rather than doing 11, 8, 5, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, etc., which suggests that local area endurance and lactic acid tolerance improve with this protocol.

Scoring Example:

A total score of 53 (excellent score, by the way) is determined by adding up the lowest number of reps in any set of each exercise.

18 squats

4 pull-ups

6 push-ups

13 sit-ups

12-calorie row (use the calorie counter and call each calorie a rep)

This score is a 53.

I can't do the WOD as prescribed. Any help for scaling?

The CrossFit Training Department's Instagram page is a great resource for tips on how to appropriately scale workouts. (https://www.instagram.com/crossfittraining/?hl=en)

How about a worksheet to track my performance?

We encourage everyone to post their results each day to the comments section, and we always provide a link back to the previous comments when a workout is repeated. There are also several great sites online that provide a comprehensive tracking service, such as that by our friends at Beyond The Whiteboard (https://beyondthewhiteboard.com/).

OK, so I've done the CFT. How do I rank? Are there any standards?

CrossFit Total Rankings
based on tables by Kilgore, Rippetoe, et al.
(Aasgaard Co, 2006)

Men's Class Rankings
Bwt Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
114 228 395 468 646 836
123 246 427 510 695 901
132 265 461 546 745 848
148 296 516 618 833 1061
165 322 560 672 906 1149
181 348 604 722 969 1245
198 366 637 764 1017 1305
220 385 671 807 1071 1373
242 402 700 833 1102 1411
275 413 718 856 1128 1441
319 422 733 874 1150 1466
320+ 430 748 891 1169 1494
Women's Class Rankings
Bwt Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
97 134 231 270 370 480
105 143 251 291 400 507
114 155 269 314 426 537
123 164 284 333 452 566
132 173 302 351 473 594
148 190 332 389 520 648
165 206 357 417 560 709
181 220 383 451 598 737
198 237 412 474 630 788
199+ 250 434 506 662 826

So what's this CrossFit Total (a.k.a. CFT) I keep hearing about?

Head right over here and read all about it!

What's this 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 all about? Is that really the whole WOD?

Yes, that really is the WOD. It's a max effort strength WOD rather than a metabolic conditioning WOD. It won't leave you as "gassed" as Helen or Cindy will, but it will tax your muscles and nervous system heavily. See this thread on the message board for more discussion of the protocol, and this WOD demo for a visual.

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