CrossFit Training Terms You Need to Know Before You Go

CrossFit Workout Box / Getty Images

If you've ever overheard the conversation of a group of CrossFitters, you probably thought you were listening to a strange new English dialect. (No, "pood" doesn't refer to what happens in the bathroom and "AMRAP" isn't the new menu item at your local sandwich shop.)

CrossFit really does have a culture of its own and that includes its own special language. But if you want to have any clue what people are talking about the first time you head to "a box," which is a gym in CrossFit terms, this CrossFit dictionary can help.

The good news is that most CrossFit lingo is pretty easy to understand once you realize it's mostly filled with acronyms and abbreviations, along with a bunch of odd-sounding workout names.

The Most Common CrossFit Terms and Abbreviations

Aside from exercise abbreviations and the specifics of particular workouts (those are for different articles entirely), the phrases and terms you'll hear thrown around in most CrossFit boxes to describe workouts, programs, and overall culture include the following 60-plus phrases, listed in alphabetical order.


This stands for "as many rounds as possible." It is a type of workout where you try to complete as many rounds of the designated exercises and reps as you can before time runs out.


An athlete is any CrossFit participant, no matter how new or inexperienced.

Bacon Sizzle

This term references the uncomfortable full-body wiggle you perform to get comfortable in the days following a tough workout. It is a nod to the inevitable delayed onset muscle soreness (see DOMS below).


A beast is a Crossfitter with a strong work ethic.

Beast Mode

The mental and physical effect that takes place when a CrossFitter (athlete) digs deep and pushes hard through a tough workout is commonly referred to as beast mode.


A CrossFit gym is called a box. These gyms tend to be rugged, much like garage gyms.


This acronym is short for "beyond the white board." BTWD is a website and app where you can log your CrossFit workouts and results. It plays off the fact that boxes use whiteboards to record results during workouts.


Both of these acronyms are used to reference bodyweight exercises, or an exercise that only uses your bodyweight for resistance.


If you hear someone use this terminology, they are referring to the Concept2 indoor rowing machine that is popular in many CrossFit boxes.


A routine featuring a large number of exercises and repetitions is called a chipper. The term came about because you have to "chip away" at the workout.


This word used to denote a certified CrossFit trainer or instructor.

CrossFit Games or CF Games

This is the annual CrossFit competition, culminating in a nationally-televised event where participants perform exercises from traditional CrossFit workouts in an effort to be dubbed the fittest man or woman on earth. Any CrossFit athlete can take part in the early stages of competition but only the best progress toward the Games.

CrossFit HQ or CFHQ

The original CrossFit box located in Santa Cruz, California, is called CrossFit HQ or CFHQ for those who want to really shorten its title. It is still operated by CrossFit founder, Greg Glassman. Daily workouts published on originate from CrossFit headquarters.

CrossFit Journal

The Journal is the CrossFit program's official, subscription-based online publication. It offers information on how to perform certain CrossFit moves, nutrition tips, and what it means to live the CrossFit lifestyle.

CrossFit Lung

The unbearable coughing and fire-like burning through the chest that takes place after a particularly tough workout is called CrossFit Lung. It is almost always worse during cold, dry weather.

CrossFit Open

This is the first phase of the CrossFit Games, where any CrossFit athlete can compete online or through their local box for a shot to progress to CrossFit Regionals.

CrossFit Regionals

Make it through the Open and you progress to the regional qualifying round of the CrossFit Games.

CTB or C2B

Short for "chest to bar," this is a pullup where athletes are to pull their chest all the way to the bar.


DFL, or "dead f'ing last", is a slang phrase and abbreviation used when an athlete's workout score puts them in last place.


DNF is a score given when an athlete fails to complete the prescribed work during a workout with a time limit and stands for "did not finish."


DNS, or "did not start," is the score given if, for any reason, an athlete can't start a workout.


While not associated only with CrossFit, DOMS is short for delayed onset muscle soreness and refers to the soreness that often sets in one to two days after a tough workout.


Some workouts call for an exercise to be done at the start of every minute for a certain number of minutes. This is referred to as EMOM and is short for "every minute on the minute."

For instance, a workout might call for 10 kipping pullups EMOM for five minutes. At the start of every minute, athletes must perform 10 kipping pullups. By the end of the five minutes, the goal is to have completed a total of 50 kipping pullups.


The top-level CrossFit athletes who always seem to complete their workouts and still have energy to cheer on their fellow CrossFitters are known as firebreathers.

For Time

A "for time" workout is a style of workout that emphasizes speed. Essentially it pushes CrossFit athletes to perform the workout as fast as possible since scores are based on time to completion.


A special piece of equipment designed specifically to target the glutes and hamstrings, the glute hamstring developer (GHD) helps strengthen and tone your backside.


A goat is an exercise you aren't very good at...yet.


Like the "beasts" and "firebreathers," a gorilla has no problem pushing hard through even the toughest workouts.


General physical preparedness, or GPP, is the phrase used in CrossFit in reference to overall physical fitness.

Greg Glassman

If you hear CrossFitters talking about Greg Glassman, he is the founder of CrossFit.


In text terminology, GTG often means "good to go." In Crossfit, it means "grease the groove."

This phrase references the performance of many submaximal sets of an exercise spaced throughout a day. For instance, you might perform six sets of 25 air squats, for a total of 150 air squats completed by the end of the day.

H2H or HTH

Short for "hand to hand," H2H or HTH refers to a fighting technique known as hand to hand combat. It can also refer to a specific kettlebell juggling technique which requires passing the kettlebell from one hand to the other.


KB is the shortened way to say kettlebell, which is a bell-shaped piece of strength training equipment commonly used in CrossFit workouts.


Knees to elbows (KTE) is an ab exercise where athletes hang from a bar, as if about to perform a pullup, then draw their knees up as high as possible, aiming to touch their knees to their elbows.


An abbreviation for metabolic conditioning, met-con is a style of workout designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, often through the use of high intensity interval training.


Whether you hear "pood" or "pd", the person is talking about a measurement for the weight of kettlebells. One pood is roughly 36-pounds.


Your PR (personal record) is your best-ever performance of a given workout or exercise.

Pukie the Clown

A CrossFit "mascot," Pukie the Clown highlights the negative outcomes that can occur when athletes overdo it during their workouts. In other words, you might vomit.

Rack Position

The placement of a weighted bar when it's supported by the hands, just in front of the chest and resting across the collar bone and anterior deltoids, is referred to as the rack position.


An abbreviation for "repetition," rep is a word that signifies a single full completion of a given exercise.


Short for "range of motion," this term describes how much flexibility an athlete has at a given joint. ROM can vary from individual to individual and joint to joint. One goal of CrossFit is to maintain and increase ROM to enhance overall fitness.

Rx'd as Rx'd

Rx is the abbreviation for "prescribed," so when a workout uses the phrase "Rx'd as Rx'd," it's supposed to be performed exactly as written, without any adjustments or modifications.


Repetition maximum, or RM, is the maximal amount of weight you can lift for a given number of repetitions. For instance, your RM for one repetition will be greater than your RM for 10 repetitions.


Every CrossFit workout is a competition and athletes are scored based on their total number of reps performed during a workout. Athletes can track their scores and compare their results to the greater CrossFit community on


A full series of repetitions is known as a set. For instance, if a workout calls for 10 air squats to be performed in a row, a full set is completed when all 10 air squats are done. Most workouts are phrased something like, "Perform three sets of 15 reps air squats."


Specific physical preparedness, or SPP, is how CrossFit refers to skills training, or how good an athlete is at a particular component of skill-based fitness. For instance, SPP might assess how fast an athlete can complete an exercise in comparison to other athletes.

Stabilize the Midline

Another way of saying "tighten your core," telling an athlete to stabilize the midline is a way to remind them to pay attention to the muscles that support and stabilize the spine. It is used to encourage good form during challenging movements.

The Board

If someone talks about "the board," they are talking about a whiteboard or chalkboard where daily workout scores are tracked at each CrossFit box.


TnG is short for "touch and go," a style of training that discourages pausing or resting between repetitions during a set.

TTB or T2B

Both acronyms are a way of saying, "toes to bar," which is a particularly challenging core exercise where the athlete starts by hanging from a pullup bar, then uses their core and hips to draw their feet all the way up to touch the bar.


Tabata training is a specific type of high-intensity interval training where athletes perform a series of eight rounds of 20 seconds work followed by 10 seconds rest. A full Tabata takes just four minutes to complete. Work periods are performed at the highest intensity possible.

Tabata This

"Tabata This" is a specific 24-minute workout protocol where five total Tabatas are performed — one each for air squats, rowing, pullups, situps, and pushups. A one-minute running rest period is allowed between each Tabata.

The Hero WODs

Hero WODs are tough workouts named after fallen servicemen and women as a testament to their heroism and strength. Hero WODs are released periodically by CrossFit Headquarters, and as of October 2016, there were more than 160 different Hero WODs.

"The Girls"

"The Girls" workouts are well-known, standardized workouts created by CrossFit Headquarters as a way for athletes to track their progress over time. These types of benchmark workouts aren't performed very often.

The original six "girls" released in 2003 included Angie, Barbara, Chelsea, Diane, Elizabeth, and Fran. The remaining nine—Cindy, Grace, Karen, Jackie, Nancy, Isabel, Mary, Helen, and Linda—were released over time. 

The New Girls

Additional benchmark workouts released by CrossFit Headquarters, the New Girls only differentiated from the original 15 by their later introduction. New Girl workout names include Annie Eva, Kelly, Lynne, Nicole, Amanda, Gwen, Marguerita, Candy, and Maggie.

The Total WOD

The "total" is the sum of three main lifts: the squat, the press, and the deadlift.


A UB, or "unbroken" workout is a type of workout where sets, reps, or exercises are intended to be performed all in a row without any rest. If you fail to continue "unbroken," you must start over from the beginning.

Uncle Rhabdo

Another unofficial "mascot," Uncle Rhabdo depicts the horrible side effects that occur when an excessively-difficult workout goes horribly wrong, resulting in the very serious condition called rhabdomyolysis.

WO or W/O

This is a simple abbreviation for a workout, or the total day's work.


A WOD is a workout of the day. It is the official workout performed at a CrossFit box on a given day.


If someone tells you "YBF," it means that "you'll be fine." It is a supposedly encouraging phrase that should make athletes just a little bit worried. Will you be fine, really? The answer is probably yes, but not without expending a whole lot of work and effort first.

4 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The Box. Origins of CrossFit.

  2. Kettlebells USA. What the heck is a pood?

  3. Achauer H. Deconstructing Pukie. The CrossFit Journal. Published Mar 2013.

  4. CrossFit. General physical preparedness.

By Laura Williams, MSEd, ASCM-CEP
Laura Williams is a fitness expert and advocate with certifications from the American Council on Exercise and the American College of Sports Medicine.