A Complete Guide To Crossfit Terminology

crossfit kettlebell workout terminology guide

If you have ever tried to learn a new skill or trade, you know all too well how lost you feel when that new terminology hits your ears. CrossFit is no different; it has its own lingo and abbreviations that you’ll need to learn in order to be a part of the pack. Luckily, the terminology is straight forward and easy to learn.

Let’s explain the most commonly used CrossFit terminology as well as provide a breakdown of simple abbreviations.


Let’s kick off our CrossFit vocabulary list with the words and phrases that you’ll hear the most, starting on your first day:


This is what the CrossFit gym is called. You might hear one CrossFitter say to another: “Which box do you go to?” Keep in mind that you’ll also be using a literal box for some of your workouts, but you’ll quickly learn to discern between the two.


Short for Workout of the Day, this is what you’ll see written on the chalk board or posted on the wall when you walk into your CrossFit gym. It’s a breakdown of the exercises, sets, and repetitions you’ll be performing that day.

For example, a sample WOD might look like this:

6 rounds of

  • Front Squat
  • Push Jerk

Men: Use 75 lbs.

Women: use 45 lbs.

The great thing about the WOD is that it will change from day to day. If you go five days per week to your gym, expect a different and equally challenging workout each day. Also, don’t expect to be using weights during every workout; your bodyweight will be equally as challenging.


This stands for “As Many Rounds and Reps as Possible.” When you see your WOD, you may notice a few exercises with repetitions, a number of minutes, and the abbreviation AMRAP. This means you’ll perform as many sets as needed to complete all of the repetitions for a given exercise.

Once you complete all of the repetitions for that exercise, you’ll move on to the next one. When you finish the repetitions for all exercises, this counts as one round. Finish one round, take a quick breather, and begin again from the top. Your goal is to complete as many rounds as possible within the given time frame.

For example, here is a great WOD for beginners based on the AMRAP format:

Eight-minute AMRAP:

  • Push-ups: 15
  • Jump Squats: 20
  • Pull-ups: 5
  • Box Jumps: 15

With the sample workout above, you would complete 15 push-ups then move on to 20 jump squats. You complete one round when you finish 15 box jumps.


Short for “Every Minute on the Minute,” this refers to a training style where you complete a preset exercise or group of exercises at the beginning of each minute. Once you finish the prescribed repetitions, you can rest for the remainder of the minute. When the new minute begins, you start the exercise or exercises again. There are two very common types of EMOM that you’ll see in your WOD:

You might be asked to perform one type of exercise on the odd-numbered minutes and a different exercise on the even-numbered minutes. You would alternate back and forth until the time runs out. For example, here is a nine-minute, alternating exercises EMOM workout:

  • 9-minute EMOM
  • Odd: 10 jump squats
  • Even: 10 push-ups

The other type of EMOM workout is when you are given one to three exercises with low repetitions and you complete all within a minute. Again, once you finish those exercises, you can rest until the next minute begins. Here’s an example:

  • 5-minute EMOM
  • 7 box jumps
  • 5 pull-ups
  • 5 wall ball throws

The idea behind EMOM is to go at full intensity to quickly complete the exercises and enjoy the reward of resting for the remainder of that minute before starting again.


Metabolic Conditioning is the foundation of CrossFit, and it describes the type of high-intensity workout involving a series of exercises and short rest breaks. If you think this sounds like high-intensity interval training or HIIT, you’d be right. HIIT is a form of metabolic conditioning or MetCon.

MetCon workouts such as HIIT are an excellent way to burn body fat. Check out our article on the best ways to spot reduce fat using HIIT.

There is no one size fits all MetCon workout; however, all MetCon workouts have a few things in common including using maximum effort over a short period of time. With that said, there are two specific MetCon workouts that are performed in every CrossFit gym around the world; the first workout is called Cindy.


Cindy may sound cute, but this is a CrossFit workout staple that is sure to skyrocket heart rate, fat burning, and cardiovascular health. When a CrossFitter uses the term “Cindy,” he is describing one round of the following exercises and repetitions:

  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 squats

This is an AMRAP workout that lasts for 20 minutes. Sounds easy, right? Think again. This CrossFit foundation is one hell of a workout.


Another CrossFit workout, Fran is the next level up from Cindy. It’s a two-exercise workout, but it’s far more challenging. When someone talks about Fran or you see Fran written on your WOD board, it’s referring to the following workout:

Barbell Thruster: 21 / 15 / 9 repetition scheme

  • Men: Use 95 pounds
  • Women: Use 65 pounds

Pull-ups: 21 / 15 / 9

There is no time limit with a Fran workout, but you will be timed on how long it takes you to complete 21 repetitions of thrusters followed by 21 pull-ups, then 15 repetitions of thrusters, 15 pull-ups, and so on. One of the most insane personal best times we’ve seen is Mitch Wagner from Oregon City CrossFit who completed Fran in less than two minutes.


It’s worth mentioning the annual competition that serious CrossFitters dream of competing in: the CrossFit Games.

Going strong since 2007, the CrossFit Games is a serious test of your fitness skill and physical ability. This is the best of the best from around the world competing in a series of advanced CrossFit obstacles that take your typical WOD to the next level.

If you want more information on the CrossFit games, check out the official CrossFit website.


The following CrossFit abbreviations are pretty straightforward and don’t require an in-depth explanation. You might not hear these abbreviations in conversation, but we guarantee you’ll see them written on your training schedule, personal program, or WOD.

Don’t worry about memorizing all of them because depending on your box, you might only see a handful. Instead, print out this article or bookmark this page as a reference point.


  • ATG: Ass to Grass
  • CFWU: CrossFit Warm-up
  • CFT: CrossFit Total
  • KTE: Knees to Elbows
  • ME: Maximum Effort
  • REP: Repetition
  • RM: Repetition Maximum
  • PR: Personal Record
  • Rx: As Prescribed
  • T2B (TTB): Toes to Bar


  • BW (BWT): Bodyweight
  • C2: Concept II Rowing Machine
  • KB: Kettlebell


  • BP: Bench Press
  • BS: Back Squat
  • CLN: Clean
  • C&J: Clean and jerk
  • DL: Deadlift
  • FS: Front squat
  • GHD: Gluteus-Hamstring Developer
  • HSPU: Hand stand push-up
  • HSQ: Hang Squat
  • MU: Muscle Ups
  • OHS: Overhead Squat
  • PC: Power Clean
  • PP: Push Press
  • PU: Pull-Ups
  • PSN: Power Snatch
  • SDHP: Sumo Deadlift High Pull
  • SN: Snatch
  • SQ: Squat
  • TGU: Turkish Get-up

The back squat (BS) is one of the most popular exercises in CrossFit. Check out our article on how to improve your back squat.


Do you want to get started with CrossFit, but you’re still searching for a trustworthy and professional box? Check out our article on how to find a reputable CrossFit gym.


Have you just started attending your first box? Which CrossFit terms have been giving you the greatest trouble? Confused about any of the CrossFit vocab above? Let us know if you have any questions on our Facebook!

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