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CrossFit Lingo Guide

Your Best Guide to CrossFit Lingo

The following post was originally featured on Fit Bottomed Girls and written by Jenn, who is part of POPSUGAR Select Fitness.

"Hey, wanna go to the local box and do a Metcon WOD? I heard it's EMOM with double-unders! I wonder if we can RX it . . ."

Did you just understand that? 'Cause that was a whole lotta CrossFit lingo thrown your way.

And we get it. If you're not into CrossFit, it can sound like its own language. In fact, there's so much CrossFit lingo that it's kind of like a whole new vernacular. And a bit intimidating for first-timers.


So for this edition of WTF Does That Mean, we're breaking down CrossFit lingo, bit by bit. Or, actually, word by word.

Your Guide to CrossFit Lingo:

1 rep max: This is short for one-repetition maximum, which means the heaviest amount of weight you can lift one time and one time only. Usually done with moves like deadlift, cleans, and front and back squats.

AMRAP: This stands for "as many rounds as possible." A form of circuit training, an AMRAP workout gives you a set of moves with reps and then you do that circuit as many times as you can in the time allotted. Here's an AMRAP workout for example.

Box: A box is simply a CrossFit gym. As one might guess, CrossFit gyms are pretty much just big open boxes — very warehouse-y. (Yes, that's a word.)

Chipper: This one isn't about a state of mind. Rather, a chipper is basically the workout from hell (but fun hell!). It usually combines a lot of moves a lot of times — and you "chip" away at them. (If you've ever watched the CrossFit games, this is usually a format they use for at least one workout — and it's crazy intense.) That said, a lot of people who do CrossFit are chipper. Especially the early morning CrossFitters. So there's that.

Couplet: Oh, look at the cute CrossFit couplet! But it's not exactly what you think. Couplets are two complimentary exercises (not people) put together in a specific set formation to make a WOD (more on that in a bit). Like this one. Adorbs, right?

Double-unders: What would it be like to jump once and have a jump rope go around you twice? That, my friends, is a double-under. Here's a good video on how to do 'em.

EMOM: Every minute on the minute! For this type of workout, every time a minute starts, you do a specific exercise or set of moves. Once you've done the move(s), you rest until the next minute starts. Then you do it all over again for the prescribed amount of time. A good example of this one is Chelsea.

For time: Simply put, this means that the workout you're doing will be timed. And posted on a board at the gym. In other words, go for speed!

The Girls: The CrossFit Girls may sound lovely — Fran, Chelsea, Annie — but they're known as benchmark workouts that are TOUGH that are done time and time again. If you see any female's name as a WOD, know you're in for a tough one and do your best. As you get fitter, it is fun to see your times improve.

Hero WOD: These are really challenging workouts that are named after military servicemen, police or firefighters who have died in the line of duty. They are extra hard and help to remember the sacrifice these people made.

Kip: Kip or kipping is basically using full-body momentum to do a move. You'll see it used mostly with pull-ups, but also with moves like handstand push-ups and toes-to-bar (there's some bonus CrossFit lingo/moves for you there!).

Ladder: A ladder is a workout where you increase the reps by one for each round. So if you're doing a ladder workout of kettlebell swings and burpees, you'd do 1 rep of each for round 1, 2 reps of each for round 2, 3 reps of each for round 3 and so on and so forth.

Metcon: This simply stands for metabolic conditioning. Which also means, this workout is most likely short but going to take you to the highest level of cardio you can go.

Rhabdo: No matter what you call it — rhabdomyolysis, rhabdo, "Uncle Rhabdo" — it's serious. This syndrome is due to muscle injury or high-intensity workouts and is rare but can be life-threatening. Read more on it here and here. It's basically like soreness taken to the next insane and crazy level with a total inability to move and dark urine (no joke). Just another good reason to always listen to your body, modify as needed (no ego) and get your rest days in (and make sure you're at a quality box with good coaches!).

Rx: This means "as prescribed," meaning that you did the workout as originally planned — with no modifications to movements or weight.

Strict: Now that you know what kip means, strict is basically the opposite of it. So when you do, say, a strict pull-up, you don't use any momentum to get your chin above the bar at all.

Tabata: Hey, we have a whole post on this special type of interval workout!

WOD: This CrossFit lingo term is an easy one and probably the most used of all: Workout of the Day (WOD)!

Image Source: Shutterstock
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