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It’s time for a friendly movement standards check-in! Just like we check-in on things like shop etiquette, sign-up procedures, and more – our movement standards at Roots also need to be revisited from time to time.

It’s important to note that our movement standards at Roots are specific to our gym and may not be what you experience at other gyms, online, or during The Open.

The goal of our various movement standards is to develop a true version of the movement, breed transference to other movements through quality repetitions, and keep athletes safe (not just safe for the day, but safe over years and years). Yes, the intensity is important, but that comes after mechanics and consistency. 

Some may say that our movement standards are “really strict” – we agree, and we’re proud of that. We know that you didn’t come to CrossFit to wallow through in athletic mediocrity. We know that you want to develop as an athlete and person, move better, and achieve more. High-quality movement and standards will get you there. 

If you view the list below and think “that’s not fair” – think through what about your movement needs development, improvement, or a step back so you can achieve the standard. In that effort, you will have identified where you need to work to become a better athlete and improve your fitness across many areas in the gym. Talk to a coach if you need ideas on how to train that weakness once you’ve identified it. 


At Roots, to be an Rx pistol, the movement must be done without holding the opposite leg (i.e. no holding the opposite toe). If alternating legs for pistols is not specified in the workout, then alternating is not required.

Pistol scaling options do not have to be the same on both legs. As an example, if you can do Rx pistols on the L leg, but require a shrimp squat on the R leg – blend the two options (although it would not be considered Rx). Your heel must stay in contact with the ground for any pistol option Rx or scaled. This is not an Rx issue but a development over time and health of the movement issue.


An Rx muscle-up always starts with feet off the ground and elbows extended. The scaled options will reinforce this.

Handstand Push-ups

You know when you reach elbow lockout in the handstand push-up but somehow your feet just can’t find the wall? Then, they slowly fall away from the wall. We call that the “fade away” and it’s not something that counts. For a rep of a handstand push-up to count, the feet must be on the wall with elbows locked out.


The athlete must reach full lockout of the arms with both knees off the ground. Dropping to one knee before the lockout is reached on the last rep in a set is a no rep.


This one probably requires a backstory, and for some athletes, the following will bring tears of joy as they read this.

For a long long time, our standard on the deadlift has been that athletes must put it down. This was required for both settings – lifts and metcons (ie 5×3 deadlift and Diane 21-15-9 Deadlifts and HSPUs). Our reasoning was two-fold. We wanted athletes to put down all the reps on the lifting sets as it develops eccentric strength and it’s just the right way to do it. I mean, dropping each rep from the top on a 5×3 deadlift isn’t 5×3, it’s 15×1.

We required athletes to put down the deadlift throughout all sets in a metcon because back in 2011 we ran into a nightmare situation where the shop hit The Open and athletes were dropping the bar from the top, but juuuust before full lockout was reached. In short, we hadn’t done a great job of teaching our athletes the correct movement standard. 

See the video example below. It’s painful to watch, sorry Josh.

Going forward, you can drop the bar from the top on metcon workouts. Go for it, just make sure you stand it up all the way before doing so because we won’t hesitate to call you back to the bar. On strength days, yea, you still have to put it down for the set to count.

Erg Calories and Meters

Rollover minutes are for your 1990s cell phone, not your erg. Reset the computer between rounds.

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