A Comprehensive Glossary of CrossFit Terms

A Comprehensive Glossary of CrossFit Terms 1
The Co-Founder of Yanre Fitness, Sales Director, Amateur Writer About Fitness Business

Ever found yourself in the midst of a conversation about fitness and felt lost amidst the jargon? You’re not alone.

CrossFit is filled with its unique set of terminologies that can leave newbies feeling a little confused.

Fear not! With years of experience in the CrossFit community and countless workouts under my belt, I am here to bridge that knowledge gap for you.

In this glossary, we promise to decode the essential CrossFit jargon, turning those abbreviations and terms into clear, actionable knowledge for your workouts.

So buckle up and get ready to enhance your CrossFit vocabulary, read on!

Table of Contents

1. The Basics of CrossFit Terminology

CrossFit terminology fosters a sense of community and belonging among gym-goers, creating an inclusive environment. For instance, it allows for quick and efficient communication within the gym, facilitating smoother transitions between exercises and fostering a focused workout atmosphere. These terms matter as they define the structure and intensity of workouts, guiding participants towards achieving their fitness goals.

For newcomers, grasping this terminology is integral to integration and participation, ensuring they can follow workouts effectively and safely. The common language also cultivates friendship, as shared experiences and goals are communicated through these terms. The language also plays a role in measuring progress, with terms representing different workout structures and achievements.

2. Common CrossFit Acronyms

As we dig deeper, let’s explore the acronyms that form the shorthand of CrossFit communications. The following are some of the most common acronyms you’ll encounter.

A Comprehensive Glossary of CrossFit Terms 2
  • WOD: Workout of the Day The WOD is the set of exercises prescribed for a particular day at a CrossFit box. It’s what everyone participating will perform and usually varies day to day.
  • METCON: Metabolic Conditioning METCON workouts are designed to elevate your heart rate and improve endurance and stamina. These are usually a part of the day’s WOD.
  • AMRAP: As Many Reps/Rounds As Possible In an AMRAP workout, the goal is to complete as many repetitions of a sequence or rounds of a circuit as you can within a set timeframe. For example, if the workout involves doing squats, push-ups, and sit-ups for 10 minutes, you’ll aim to complete as many rounds of this circuit as possible within the allocated time.
  • EMOM: Every Minute On the Minute Here, a specific task or set of movements must be completed at the start of every minute, typically allowing for rest during the remaining seconds.
  • RFT: Rounds For Time In an RFT workout, you have a set number of rounds to complete as quickly as possible while maintaining proper form.
  • PR: Personal Record This is your best-ever performance on a particular exercise or WOD, something every CrossFitter aims to continuously improve.
  • RX: As Prescribed Completing a WOD “as prescribed” means you’ve done all the recommended weights and reps without any modifications.
  • T2B: Toes to Bar This is a core and lat exercise where you hang from a bar and bring your toes up to touch it. Trust me, mastering this one can really level up your core strength and make you feel invincible during your workouts.
  • C&J: Clean and Jerk This is a two-stage Olympic lift that involves first “cleaning” the weight to a front-rack position, then “jerking” it overhead.
  • HSPU: Handstand Push-Up A challenging movement that involves doing a push-up in a handstand position, targeting the shoulders and upper body.

3. Lifting Lingo

In CrossFit, understanding the specific language of lifting isn’t just a matter of semantics—it’s critical for effective communication and successful performance. The lingo acts as shorthand during intense WODs, provides clarity in coaching cues, and generally enriches your CrossFit journey.

To get the most out of your training sessions and to contribute meaningfully to your CrossFit community, familiarizing yourself with these terms is essential. Let’s equip you with 15 lifting terms that you’ll often encounter in the CrossFit box:

  • Touch-and-Go: According to Powelifting Technique, the touch and go bench press involves the lifter lightly touching the chest with the weight before driving it straight up, ensuring the exercise is executed using a full range of motion. It improves the cycle rate of repetitions and is often employed in WODs to increase intensity and save time.
  • Squat Clean: A Squat Clean involves receiving the barbell in a full squat position during the clean movement. This technique relies heavily on leg strength and is a more advanced form of the Clean compared to the Power Clean.
  • Split Jerk: In a Split Jerk, you’ll move your legs into a lunge-like split position when catching the bar overhead. This position offers greater stability and allows athletes to lift heavier weights compared to other jerk techniques.
  • Fail: The term “Fail” is used when an athlete is unable to complete a prescribed lifting movement. This usually necessitates dropping the barbell safely to the ground and is an important part of understanding one’s lifting limits.
  • Front Rack: The Front Rack position is where the barbell is placed on the front of your shoulders. This position is crucial for exercises like the Front Squat and various clean movements.
  • Hook Grip: The Hook Grip involves tucking the thumb under the index and middle fingers when gripping the barbell. This grip provides better control and is especially beneficial during Olympic lifting movements.
  • Complex: A Complex consists of a series of different lifting movements executed back-to-back without setting the barbell down. It challenges both your strength and endurance, making it a popular component of advanced WODs.
  • Triple Extension: Triple Extension refers to the simultaneous extension of the hips, knees, and ankles, which is essential for generating power in many Olympic lifts like the Snatch and Clean and Jerk.
  • Deload: To Deload means reducing the weight lifted for a period, usually a week, to facilitate recovery and mitigate the risks of overtraining.
  • Sticking Point: The Sticking Point is the most challenging portion of a lift, usually occurring at the phase where biomechanical leverage is least advantageous. Recognizing and working through sticking points is key for lifting progress.
  • Sumo Deadlift High Pull: This is a variation of the traditional deadlift but is performed with a wider stance and is followed by a high pull. It engages a broader range of muscles, particularly those in the posterior chain.
  • Rip: A “Rip” refers to the tearing of the skin, usually on the hands, due to high-friction movements like pull-ups or heavy lifting. Immediate attention is often needed to prevent infection.
  • Rep Scheme: The Rep Scheme outlines the prescribed number of repetitions and sets for each exercise. Understanding the rep scheme is fundamental for correctly following the day’s WOD.
  • Full Extension: Full Extension is the complete opening of body angles, such as hips and knees, often emphasized in lifting movements to generate maximum power and speed.
  • Strip the Bar: To Strip the Bar means to remove weight plates from a barbell, typically after you’ve completed a set or lift. It’s an essential part of gym etiquette and safety.

4. Fundamental Movements in CrossFit

Fundamental movements are the building blocks that lay the foundation for mastering advanced techniques and scaling workout intensity. These movements engage various muscle groups, require a keen focus on form, and contribute to overall athleticism. Whether you’re a CrossFit veteran or just stepping into a box for the first time, honing these basic movements is crucial for achieving long-term fitness goals.

Here are the 10 fundamental movements that you’ll often encounter in CrossFit:

  • Air Squat: The Air Squat focuses on your lower body, particularly the quads and glutes. It serves as the foundation for all squat variations in CrossFit.
  • Front Squat: Building upon the Air Squat, the Front Squat introduces a barbell held in front of the body, adding an upper-body stability challenge to the squatting motion.
  • Overhead Squat: This movement takes squatting to the next level by requiring you to hold a barbell overhead while descending, combining leg strength with core stability and shoulder mobility.
  • Shoulder Press: A strict upper-body lift, the Shoulder Press targets the deltoids and triceps. It serves as the base for other pressing movements like push press and jerks.
  • Deadlift: Focusing on lifting a loaded barbell from the ground to a standing position, the Deadlift engages multiple muscle groups, including the back, legs, and arms.
  • Sumo Deadlift High Pull: This compound movement starts with a sumo-style deadlift and ends with a high pull, engaging both the lower and upper body and improving overall power.
  • Medicine Ball Clean: Incorporating a medicine ball, this movement mimics the Olympic clean motion, teaching coordination and the engagement of both lower and upper body muscles.
  • Push-Up: A basic yet crucial bodyweight movement, the Push-Up targets the chest, triceps, and shoulders while engaging the core for stability.
  • Pull-Up: An essential upper-body exercise, the Pull-Up engages the back and biceps, and serves as a foundation for more advanced movements like the muscle-up.
  • Box Jump: The Box Jump is all about explosive leg power and coordination. It helps in training both the aerobic and anaerobic systems, offering a cardiovascular component as well.
Fundamental MovementDescriptionImportance in CrossFit
SquatA movement where the individual lowers their hips from a standing position and then stands back up.Foundation of Strength: Core movement for building lower body strength. Versatility: Basis for various exercises like front squats, overhead squats, and wall balls.
PressLifting weight vertically overhead, typically starting from the shoulders.Upper Body Development: Engages shoulders, triceps, and upper chest. Stabilization: Enhances core and back stability when lifting overhead.
DeadliftLifting a weighted barbell off the ground to the hips and then lowering it back down.Full-body Engagement: Targets multiple major muscle groups, including the back, glutes, and hamstrings. Fundamental Lifting Technique: Serves as a base for other lifts and emphasizes the importance of maintaining a neutral spine during heavy lifts.
CleanA lift where the weight is moved from the ground to a racked position on the shoulders in one motion.Explosive Power: Develops fast-twitch muscle fibers and improves power output. Complex Coordination: Enhances neuromuscular coordination and movement efficiency.
SnatchLifting the weight from the ground to overhead in a single, smooth motion.Agility and Flexibility: Requires a combination of strength, speed, and flexibility. Advanced Technique: Helps athletes gauge their progression and master the nuances of Olympic lifting.
Pull-UpAn upper body pull movement where one lifts their body up to bring the chin above a bar.Upper Body Conditioning: Strengthens back, arms, and shoulders. Bodyweight Mastery: Demonstrates an individual’s ability to control and lift their own body weight, serving as a benchmark for fitness in CrossFit.

5. Other Abbreviations in CrossFit

Beyond the standard movements and lifting terms, CrossFit has its own language of abbreviations that address various facets of the sport. Being familiar with these terms will make you more proficient in interpreting workout plans and communicating with your CrossFit community. To cap off your CrossFit vocabulary, let’s delve into 10 other abbreviations you may come across:

  • DU: Stands for “Double Unders,” a jump rope movement where the rope makes two passes per jump. Mastery of DU is critical for high-intensity cardio sessions and is often included in various WODs.
  • GHD: Refers to “Glute Ham Developer,” a piece of equipment used for various exercises like back extensions and sit-ups. It’s particularly effective for targeting posterior chain muscles, including glutes and hamstrings.
  • HSPU: An abbreviation for “Handstand Push-Up.” In this advanced move, you perform a push-up in a handstand position, which places more emphasis on the shoulders and requires strong core stability.
  • MU: Stands for “Muscle Up,” a complex movement that transitions from a pull-up into a dip. MU is often considered a milestone skill in CrossFit, requiring strength, flexibility, and technique.
  • SDLHP: Stands for “Sumo Deadlift High Pull,” a compound movement engaging both the lower and upper body. This exercise is highly functional and is frequently included in WODs for its metabolic benefits.
  • OHS: Refers to “Overhead Squat,” a squat performed with a barbell held overhead. This move demands excellent mobility and stability, targeting your legs while engaging your core and shoulders.
  • PC: Stands for “Power Clean,” a variation of the clean where the bar is received in a partial squat. It’s a foundational CrossFit lift that combines power and technique.
  • PP: An abbreviation for “Push Press,” a shoulder exercise where a barbell is pushed overhead. Unlike strict presses, PP allows for some leg drive to assist the lift.
  • S2OH: Stands for “Shoulder to Overhead,” which refers to any lift moving the barbell from shoulder level to overhead. The term is generic and includes multiple techniques like strict press, push press, and jerk.
  • TGU: Refers to “Turkish Get-Up,” a complex movement that transitions from lying to standing while holding a kettlebell overhead. As stated in Men’s Health Fitness, TGU is a total-body exercise that improves functional strength, stability, and coordination.


Understanding CrossFit words can be hard. But it’s important to enjoy the sport and feel part of its world. This guide explains all the terms you need.

With this information, you can face any workout and do your best. Mastering the language is the first step to mastering the sport, so keep this glossary handy and let it fuel your CrossFit journey.

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