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FAQ

Exercises

Where can I find instructions for the exercises prescribed in the CrossFit.com workout of the day (WOD)?

Visit the Exercises & Demos page for videos of common CrossFit exercises. Most WOD posts contain links to demonstrations of the movements programmed in the workout. Detailed instructions for the most fundamental CrossFit movements can be found in the “CrossFit Level 1 Training Guide.” Click here to find a qualified CrossFit trainer who can teach you how to perform all movements.

What if I can't do something listed in the workout?

All CrossFit workouts can be modified for people of any age and ability. Adjusting a workout for a specific person is called “scaling,” and it allows very experienced athletes and beginners to train side by side. A skilled CrossFit Trainer can quickly adjust each workout to reflect your needs, goals and current abilities. If you are doing CrossFit.com WODs on your own, review the “CrossFit Level 1 Training Guide” for scaling instructions. The CrossFit Journal also contains resources to help you scale the workout to your level. In general, choose a load that’s manageable for you or use a percentage of the weight prescribed. Replace movements you can’t do with similar movements that are available to you. For example, push-ups can become knee push-ups as you build the strength required for the full movement. In every workout, strive for consistent mechanics before adding weight or increasing the load.

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

Yes. The weight of the bar is included. The prescribed weight always means total weight lifted.

How much weight for squats?

If a squat load is not specified, squats should be done unloaded. This is sometimes referred to as a body-weight or air squat. For back, front and overhead squats, use the weight indicated or scale as necessary, or work with the heaviest load you can manage for the prescribed number of reps in strength workouts.

How should I do pull-ups or chin-ups?

Use the grip that is strongest for you—palms facing toward you (supinated), palms facing away from you (pronated), palms parallel (neutral, on certain equipment), mixed grip, etc.

Do I have to touch my chest to the bar on pull-ups?

Not unless the workout calls for chest-to-bar pull-ups. If it does not, your chin must only break the horizontal plane of the bar for the rep to count.

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.

How high should I swing my kettlebell?

Unless flexibility does not allow it or the workout asks for something else, swing your kettlebell until it is directly overhead. This is sometimes referred to as an “American kettlebell swing.” For demonstration and instructions, click here.

Do kettlebell snatches start on the ground? What about dumbbell snatches?

The first rep of a set of kettlebell snatches starts on the floor. All subsequent reps are done with a swing, and the kettlebell does not have to return to the floor unless the workout specifically calls for this. Each dumbbell snatch starts with the implement on the floor unless the workout calls for a hang variation.

Can I use a rack to start movements?

In general strength workouts, squat variations and press variations are usually taken from a rack unless the workout calls for the bar to be moved from the floor. Athletes who have the skill and strength may take the bar from the ground to start strength work if they like. In conditioning workouts, the barbell is almost always taken from the floor unless use of a rack is specifically mentioned.

What does "shoulders-to-overhead" mean?

This means you may use any movement to drive the bar from the shoulders to lockout overhead. The press, push press, and push or split jerk are all acceptable. Select the variation that will allow you to complete the reps as quickly as possible.

What kind of sit-up should I do?

If the WOD post provides no additional instructions, 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. If a GHD sit-up is required, the workout will name this variation. A GHD sit-up requires a specific piece of equipment. New athletes should approach this very potent movement with caution and avoid sharp increases in range of motion and volume. The GHD sit-up can be seen here.

What kind of burpee should I do?

The standard CrossFit burpee looks like this. If a variation is required—bar-facing burpees, burpees to a target, burpees with a jump over the barbell, etc.—the workout post will call for it.

Do I have to use a squat when I do a snatch or clean?

If the workout does not specifically call for a squat variation of the movement, you may use power or muscle variations.

What kind of jerk should I use?

If the workout does not specifically call for a specific variation of the movement, you may use the split jerk or the push jerk.

How do I start a set of hang cleans or snatches?

In hang variations of snatches and cleans, the barbell is deadlifted and the athlete stands tall before bending at the hips to lower the bar and start the first rep of each set. Subsequent reps in the same set do not have to be lowered to the floor and deadlifted back up.

Ring or bar muscle-ups?

The ring muscle-up is the default movement on CrossFit.com. A workout requiring bar muscle-ups will specifically call for them. If you do not have rings, you may perform bar muscle-ups (or vice versa). However, recognize that the movements are not the same, and note the variation you used in your workout log.

Should I alternate legs with single-leg squats or split jerks? Should I alternate arms with dumbbell snatches or other movements?

CrossFit.com WODs will call for alternating legs or arms when the pattern is required. If a workout does not call for alternating legs or arms, choose a pattern that will allow you to complete the reps as quickly as possible.

When a workout calls for biking, running, rowing or skiing, do I have to use special equipment?

No. You can certainly use gym equipment to complete these workouts, but we encourage you to get outside the gym as well when possible.

Are all calories and distances the same on bikes, rowers, treadmills and ski machines?

No. Similar equipment from different manufacturers can produce slightly different results, and completely different types of equipment will affect workouts in various ways. For accuracy, note the equipment you used to complete each workout so you can compare your results over time. When substituting one type of equipment for another, remember that some movements produce calories more quickly. For example, 10 calories on the rower can usually be generated much faster than on a ski machine. Similarly, 500 m on the rower is not exactly equivalent to 500 m of running. If you do not have certain equipment and make a substitution, your time or score will reflect that change.

What does SLIPS stand for?

Scales, L-sits, inversion (handstands), planks, and stretching.

What does AFSAP/AFRAP stand for?

As few sets/reps as possible.

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