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Fun Facts About the CrossFit Workout Language


Fun Facts About the CrossFit Workout Language

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Five rounds of:
5 Dumbbell deadlifts
5 Dumbbell hang cleans
5 Dumbbell push presses
5 Dumbbell squats
Increase the load each round. Rest as necessary between rounds.  Putting the dummbells down at any point during a round constitutes a failed set.

Lots of folks throwing down on the 30 burpee muscle-ups on Wednesday.  Overall shop skill level - UP!

Lots of folks throwing down on the 30 burpee muscle-ups on Wednesday. Overall shop skill level – UP!

Fun Facts About the CrossFit Workout Language

Ever think that reading a workout is somewhat like reading another language?  We understand.  From AMRAPS to for time to reps, sets, and rounds, there’s a common language in CrossFit for how to read a workout.  But, like every language, there are always exceptions to the rule!  Check out a few common language standards and exceptions below.

Reading a For Time Workout vs. an AMRAP

There are three main structures of CrossFit workouts – for time, AMRAP, and max load.  In a for time workout, the work the athlete must complete is laid out ahead of time.  For example, Monday’s workout was a for time workout.  The athlete must complete all the work listed and their score is their time.  
Five rounds of:
12 push press (95/65)
20 backsquat (95/65)

On the flip side, we also have AMRAP workouts (as many rounds as possible) where the amount of time you can put toward the workout is pre-set and your goal is to complete as much work as possible in the given time.  Your score is your total rounds.  Cindy is a great example of an AMRAP:
AMRAP 20 minutes:
5 pull-ups
10 push-ups
15 air squats

In all cases, the athlete must complete all the repetitions of each exercise before moving on to the next.  In the AMRAP workout above, you could not complete a round by doing 3 pull-ups, 5 push-ups, 10 air squats, 2 pull-ups, 5 push-ups, 5 air squats to make up the work laid out for one round.  It has to be 5, 10, 15.

Max Load Workouts

The third workout type is max load or max effort.  These workouts challenge an athlete to lift the most weight possible for a certain number of sets. The workout is written something like:
In this example, the total number of 3s written is the number of sets the athlete will do.  A set is designated by a dash.  Rest between each set can be predetermined or left to the athlete depending on the day and how the coach sets it up.

The number listed between each dash represents the number of repetitions the athlete must complete in each set.  In the above example, the athlete would complete 3 repetitions of a backsquat for each set.  In this example; 5-5-3-3-1-1, the athlete would complete 6 sets total where the first two sets the athlete would complete 5 repetitions, in sets 3 and 4 the athlete would complete 3 repetitions, and in the last two sets the athlete would complete 1 repetition.


Today’s workout is an exception to the Max Load Workouts as it combines terminology from the “for time” structure when it uses “rounds” to describe the workout.  The workout is most like a Max Load Workout because the athlete is resting as needed between each set with the goal of moving the heaviest load for the 20 continuous repetitions NOT doing the work listed as fast as possible for 5 rounds with the same weight.

You can think of the workout listed as so: 20-20-20-20-20 where each set of 20 contains four different dumbbell lifts.