Understanding CrossFit Terminology

Trying to get into CrossFit, but confused about what everyone's talking about? This article decodes CrossFit terminology for the uninitiated.

Crossfit WOD

Love it or hate it—CrossFit is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.

With CrossFit comes terminology that to most people look like a clump of letters, or maybe the names of some of your close friends. What in the world is a WOD, where's "the Box," and who is Cindy? Learn the basics of CrossFit lingo below.

CrossFit Terminology Fundamentals

The Box

This is the name of the actual fitness facility. CrossFit gyms are bare bones, sometimes rented warehouses, and they lack a lot of the equipment athletes are accustomed to seeing. Most Boxes contain simple strength training equipment and sometimes lack standard gym amenities—such as locker rooms.


These are the gyms that are associated with CrossFit. An extensive process governs which gyms become affiliates, including a fee and proof of trainer certification. Worldwide, there are more than 6,000 CrossFit affiliates.

WOD (Workout of the Day)

Other gyms may employ a specific program title or emphasize certain lifts. CrossFit boxes title their current day's workout the WOD. Sometimes these workouts are collections of random movements, specific repeatable workouts (explained below), or just one movement working on a one-rep max.

CrossFit Workouts

CrossFit prides itself on the randomness and overall coverage of movements within their workout plans. Featured on CrossFit.com is a daily WOD, giving members a general training program to follow. WODs vary from timed workouts—which push you to see how much you can do in a specific time period—to single movement days in which strength training is the focus. (See Getting a Grip on CrossFit.)


AMRAP means that within a given time frame, you attempt As Many Rounds As Possible of an exercise or a circuit.

Timed Workouts

In a timed workout, you must do reps or rounds for a specific duration, usually in competition with others. The athletes with the most reps or rounds in the time frame reigns supreme.

MetCons (Metabolic Conditioning)

MetCons can be AMRAP workouts or timed workouts, depending on the day. CrossFit also has benchmark workouts (see below) and emphasis workouts. Things are changing fast within the fitness community. Your friends used to ask, "What is your max bench press?" Now they eagerly ask, "What is your Fran (Barbell Thrusters and Pull-Ups) time?

Benchmark Workouts (The Girls)

Benchmark workouts, or repeatable MetCon workouts, are the staple of any CrossFit Box program. They set a standard (benchmark) for your own ability. For example, you might have initially done a particular circuit in 3 minutes, but when you repeat it months later, your time drops to one minute and 30 seconds.

Benchmark workouts, like hurricanes, are given female names. The owners of CrossFit wanted workout names that would not easily be forgotten and would be instantly recognizable. The first benchmarks, and arguably the most famous, are Fran, Annie, Grace, Isabel, Cindy and Diane.

Example: "Cindy"

This workout, performed with a 20-minute time cap, comprises three movements completed in circuit fashion. One complete round consists of 5 Pull-Ups, 10 Push-Ups and 15 Squats. The objective is to complete AMRAP.

Hero Workouts (The Veterans)

Hero Workouts come after Benchmark workouts and serve a significant purpose in the CrossFit community. Since CrossFit has such a strong following among members of the military, what better way to remember the heroes who have served than by naming workouts in their honor. CrossFitters admit there is something special about completing these workouts, fueled by pride and respect for those who have fallen, and pushing through simple workouts when others have sacrificed much more.

Example: "Murph" (Lieutenant Michael Murphy)

This workout is a timed workout where you must complete a 1 mile run, 100 Pull-Ups, 200 Push-Ups, 300 Squats, and another mile run. It's a beast. The entire CrossFit community famously performs this workout on Memorial Day across the world. (See how you can perform it: Learn the Murph CrossFit Workout.)

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