From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

CrossFit Inc.
IndustryFitness, sports
FoundedSanta Cruz, California (2000 (2000))
Founder(s)Greg Glassman
Lauren Jenai
Area servedWorldwide
Key peopleDave Castro, Ben Elizer, Dale Saran
Jump to: navigation, search
CrossFit Inc.
IndustryFitness, sports
FoundedSanta Cruz, California (2000 (2000))
Founder(s)Greg Glassman
Lauren Jenai
Area servedWorldwide
Key peopleDave Castro, Ben Elizer, Dale Saran
Woman in orange doing CrossFit pull-up (February 26 2010).jpg

CrossFit, Inc. is a fitness company founded by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai[1] in 2000[2][3] and functioned earlier as Cross-Fit by 1996.[4] Promoted as both a physical exercise philosophy and also as a competitive fitness sport, CrossFit workouts incorporate elements from high-intensity interval training, olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, girevoy sport, calisthenics, strongman and other exercises. It is practiced by members of over 10,000[5] affiliated gyms,[6] most of which are located in the United States, and by individuals who complete daily workouts posted on the company's (or an affiliated gym's) website.[7][8]

Programming and usage[edit]

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program with the aim of improving, among other things, cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. It advocates a perpetually varied mix of aerobic exercise, gymnastics (body weight exercises), and Olympic weight lifting.[9] CrossFit Inc. describes its strength and conditioning program as “constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad modal and time domains,"[10] with the stated goal of improving fitness, which it defines as "work capacity across broad time and modal domains."[11] Hour-long classes at affiliated gyms, or "boxes", typically include a warm-up, a skill development segment, the high-intensity "workout of the day" (or WOD), and a period of individual or group stretching. Some boxes also often have a strength focused movement prior to the WOD. Performance on each WOD is often scored and/or ranked to encourage competition and to track individual progress. Some affiliates offer additional classes, such as Olympic weightlifting, which are not centered around a WOD.[12]

CrossFit programming is decentralized but its general methodology is used by thousands of private affiliated gyms, fire departments, law enforcement agencies, and military organizations including the Royal Danish Life Guards,[13][14][15][16] as well as by some U.S. and Canadian high school physical education teachers, high school and college sports teams, and the Miami Marlins.[17][18][19]

Business model and CrossFit culture[edit]

CrossFit, Inc. licenses the CrossFit name to gyms for an annual fee and certifies trainers. Besides the standard two-day[20] "Level 1 Trainer Course",[21] specialty seminars include gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman, running and endurance, rowing, kettlebells, mobility and recovery, CrossFit Kids, CrossFit Football, self-defense and striking. Other specialized adaptations include programs for pregnant women, seniors, and military special operations candidates.[22] Affiliates develop their own programming, pricing, and instructional methods. Many athletes and trainers see themselves as part of a contrarian, insurgent movement that questions conventional fitness wisdom;[23] besides performing prescribed workouts, they follow CrossFit's nutrition recommendations (adopting a paleo and/or zone diet[24]), and favor minimalist footwear.

CrossFit makes use of a virtual community Internet model.[25][26] The company says this de-centralized approach shares some common features with open source software projects and allows best practices to emerge from a variety of approaches,[27] a contention that is disputed by some competitors and former affiliates.[28]

History and contributors[edit]

Greg Glassman founded CrossFit, Inc. in 2000.[19][29] The first affiliated gym was CrossFit North in Seattle, Washington; there were 13 by 2005 and are more than 10,000 today.[6] Coaches associated with CrossFit include Louie Simmons, John Welbourn, Bob Harper and Mike Burgener.[30]

Glassman retains complete control over the company after a divorce resulted in his estranged wife, Lauren, attempting to sell her share in the company. Glassman was able to obtain a $16 million loan from Summit Partners to buy out her share.[31]

Common CrossFit equipment[edit]

CrossFit gyms utilize equipment from multiple disciplines.

Common CrossFit movements[edit]

Crossfit is focused on “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement.”[43] Examples with brief descriptions can be found below.


Air squat
Athlete moves from the standing position to a squatting position with the hips below the knees, and back to standing. One-legged air squats are referred to as pistols.[44]
Starting in a plank position with the arms straight, the athlete lowers until the chest makes contact with the ground, keeping the body straight throughout, and making sure the elbows track straight back instead of out, then pushes back up into the plank position. Variations include weighted push-ups and ring push-ups, in which the hands are supported just above the ground by gymnastics rings.[44]
Starting from a hanging position with straight arms, the athlete pulls up until the chin is over the bar. Variations include: strict, in which no swinging is allowed; kipping, in which momentum is used to help complete the movement; weighted, in which extra weight is hung from the athlete; chest-to-bar, in which the ending point of the movement is higher, and the chest makes contact with the bar; jumping, in which the legs are used to help propel the athlete upwards; assisted, in which an elastic band allows the movement to be completed with less than full body weight.[44]
Athlete takes a large step forward, bends the forward knee until the back knee makes contact with the ground, and rises.[44]
Athlete moves from a supine position, with the shoulders on the ground, to a sitting position with the shoulders over the hips. The feet are sometimes anchored. An "ab-mat" is sometimes placed under the lower back.[44]
Ring dip
Starting with the body supported on the rings with straight vertical arms, the athlete bends the arms, lowering the body until the shoulder drops below the elbow, and then straightens the arms. To scale this movement, an athlete may do assisted dips using an elastic band or holding positions of the dip to increase stability and strength.[45]

Olympic weightlifting[edit]

Clean and jerk
In the clean, a barbell is (or dumbbells are) explosively lifted from the ground to a "rack position" in front of the athlete's neck. In another dynamic motion—the jerk—the athlete drives the bar from shoulder to overhead, ending in a standing position, bar directly overhead. In a squat clean the athlete receives the bar in a squatting position and stands to finish the lift. In a power clean, the athlete receives the bar in any position that is above a parallel squat.[44]
Barbell is raised from the floor to the overhead position in one motion. In a squat snatch the athlete receives the bar in a squatting position and stands to finish the lift. In a power snatch, the athlete receives the bar in a partial squat.[44]


Bench press
The person performing the exercise lies on his or her back, lowers a weight to chest level, and then pushes it back up until the arms are straight.
Barbell is lifted from the ground, making sure to drive with the legs and glutes with a straight back, until the athlete reaches an upright standing position.[44]
Barbell is supported on upper back (back squat), in the rack position (front squat), or in the overhead position (overhead squat). From a standing position with a wider-than-shoulder-width stance, the athlete bends the knees until the hips are below the knees, and then stands, keeping the heels on the floor.[46][47]


Yoke carry[48]
Farmers carry
A large weight is grasped in each hand and walked for a distance.


Box jump
From a standing position on the floor, the athlete jumps and lands with both feet on top of a box, standing fully erect before returning to the floor. Typical box heights in inches are 15", 20", 24", and 30".[49]
Squat Jump
An air squat combined with a jump.[50]

Body weight exercises[edit]

Back extension
Using a GHD machine, the athlete moves from an L-shaped position with the head directly below the pelvis to an extended horizontal position by rolling the back and bringing the head up last.[44]
Burpee and burpee variants
Beginning in a standing position, the athlete drops to the floor with the feet extending backward, contacts the floor with the chest, and then pulls the legs forward, landing in a squatting position before standing up, ending the movement with a small jump.
Handstand push-up
Beginning in a handstand, with the arms straight and (usually) the heels gently resting against a wall, the athlete bends the arms until the head touches the ground, and then pushes back up into a handstand position.[44]
Hip extension
Using a GHD machine, the athlete moves from an L-shaped position with the head directly below the pelvis to an extended horizontal position by keeping the spine straight and rotating at the hip.
Jump rope
The most common variation in CrossFit is the "double under" in which the jump rope makes two revolutions for each jump.[44]
Hanging from a bar, starting in an extended position, the athlete raises the knees until they make contact with the elbows.
With the body supported on gymnastics rings or parallettes, the athlete holds the feet at or above the level of the hips with the legs straight. This is typically held for a set amount of time.
Hanging from gymnastics rings or a bar, the athlete pulls up and over the rings or bar, ending with the arms straight and the hands below the hips. Variations include strict muscle-ups and kipping muscle-ups, in which momentum is created to complete the movement.[49]
Rope climb
Starting from the ground, the athlete climbs a rope and touches a point at a designated height, often 15 feet. Variations include no feet, and L-sit, in which the feet are held above the level of the hips during the climb.[44]
Hanging from a bar in an extended position, the athlete brings the feet upward until they make contact with the bar.

Distance movements[edit]

Many workouts include rowing on rowing machines for distances of 500 meters to 2000 meters, or rowing "for calories".[44]
Typical distances range from 100 meters to 1 mile. Shuttle runs back and forth between marks 10 meters apart are also common.[44]
Some affiliate gyms include aquatic distance exercises within workouts.[44]


Kettlebell swing
A kettlebell is swung from between the legs to eye level (Russian) or overhead (American). The kettlebell swing can be used both as an aerobic and anaerobic exercise.[44]
Barbell is moved from the "rack position" to the overhead position. In a strict press (also called a shoulder press), or military press (in which the feet are together), the lower body remains stationary. In a push press, the bar is "jumped" off the body using a "dip and drive" motion. A push jerk is like a push press, but with a re-bend of the knees to allow the athlete to drop under the bar and receive it with straight arms. A split jerk is like a push jerk, but one leg goes forward and the other backward when the athlete drops under the bar.[44]
Sumo deadlift high pull
With a wide stance, a barbell or kettlebell is lifted from the ground to a position just under the chin.[44]
A combination of a front squat and a push press: starting with the barbell in the rack position, the athlete squats (hips below knees) and then stands, driving the barbell overhead.[51]
Holding a medicine ball below the chin while facing a wall at arm's length, the athlete squats (hips below knees) and stands, throwing the medicine ball in order to make contact with an overhead target on the wall.[51]

CrossFit Games[edit]

The "CrossFit Games" have been held every summer since 2007. Participation and sponsorship have grown rapidly; the prize money awarded to each first-place male and female increased from $500 at the inaugural Games[52] to $250,000 in 2011-2013.[53] Winning the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games now nets $275,000.[54] Athletes at the Games compete in workouts they learn about only hours beforehand, sometimes including surprise elements that are not part of the typical CrossFit regimen; past examples include a rough-water swim and a softball throw. The Games are styled as a venue for determining the "Fittest on Earth," where competitors should be "ready for anything."[citation needed]

In 2011, the Games adopted an online format for the sectional event, facilitating participation by athletes worldwide. During the "CrossFit Open", a new workout is released each week. Athletes have several days to complete the workout and submit their scores online, with either a video or validation by a CrossFit affiliate. The top CrossFit Open performers in each region advance to the regional events, held over the following two months. As of 2013 there are 17 regional divisions, including 12 in North America (North West, Canada West, Canada East, North Central, Central East, North East, Mid Atlantic, South East, South Central, South West, Southern California, and Northern California), and five in the rest of the world (Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Australia). The top athletes (up to 3 of each gender) from each region are eligible to compete in the CrossFit Games.

The Games include divisions for individuals of each gender, and for a number of Masters age groups: 40–44 (new in 2013), 45–49, 50–54, 55–59, and 60+, as well as for co-ed teams comprising 3 men and 3 women. Masters competitors qualify for the Games based on performance in the CrossFit Open—there are no Masters regional events.

Ties are broken by the best individual event by the competitor, followed by second best, etc. until the tie is broken. This was needed to declare Craig Howard the winner in the Men's 50–54 division in 2013.

CrossFit communities organize local, regional and even international events, workouts and competitions.[55]

Champions and Categories from 2007–2010
YearMale championFemale championAffiliate CupMasters MenMasters Women
2007James FitzgeraldJolie GentryCrossFit Santa Cruz
2008Jason Khalipa[56]Caity Matter[57]CrossFit Oakland
2009Mikko SaloTanya WagnerNorthwest CrossFit
2010Graham HolmbergKristan CleverCrossFit Fort VancouverBrian CurleyLaurie Carver
Champions and Categories from 2011–present
YearMale championFemale championAffiliate CupMasters Men (40–44)Masters Women (40–44)Masters Men (45–49)Masters Women (45–49)Masters Men (50–54)Masters Women (50–54)Masters Men (55–59)Masters Women (55–59)Masters Men (60+)Masters Women (60+)
2011Rich Froning Jr.Annie ThorisdottirCrossFit New EnglandScot DeToreSusan HabbeGord MackinnonMary Beth LitsheimSteve AndersonShelley NoyceGreg WalkerBetsy Finley
2012Rich Froning Jr.Annie ThorisdottirHacks Pack UTEGene LaMonicaLisa MikkelsenGord MackinnonSusan HabbeTim AndersonMarnel KingScott OlsonMary Schwing
2013Rich Froning Jr.Samantha BriggsHacks Pack UTEMichael MoseleyAmanda AllenRon OrtizLisa MikkelsenCraig HowardColleen FaheyHilmar HardarsonGabriele SchlichtScott OlsonSharon Lapkoff
2014Rich Froning Jr.Camille Leblanc-BazinetCrossFit InvictusShawn RamirezAmanda AllenJerry HillKim HolwayWill PowellMary Beth LitsheimSteve HammingSusan ClarkeScott OlsonKaren Wattier


A 2010 U.S. Army study conducted during a 6-week period produced an average power output increase of 20% among participants, measured by benchmark WODs. The average one repetition maximum weight deadlift increased by 21.11%.[58]


According to Stuart McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, the risk of injury from some CrossFit exercises outweighs their benefits when they are performed with poor form in timed workouts. He added that there are similar risks in other high-intensity exercise programs but noted that CrossFit's online community enables athletes to follow the program without proper guidance, increasing the risk of improper form or technique.[59]

Makimba Mimms, who suffered injuries while performing a CrossFit workout on December 11, 2005, at Manassas World Gym in Manassas, Virginia, under the supervision of an uncertified trainer,[60] claimed that CrossFit poses an elevated risk of rhabdomyolysis. He successfully sued his trainers and was awarded $300,000 in damages.[61]

Bloggers on many websites allege that CrossFit exercise sequences are illogical and random and lack periodization. Furthermore, they claim that accreditation standards for trainers and affiliates provide little quality control.[28][62][63]

One publication has raised the concern that CrossFit promotes a potentially dangerous atmosphere that encourages people, particularly newcomers to CrossFit, to train past their limits, resulting in injury.[64]

Rhabdomyolysis prevalence[edit]

As early as 2005, the New York Times documented rhabdomyolysis associated with the culture of CrossFit in an article entitled "Getting Fit, Even If It Kills You". "There's no way inexperienced people doing this are not going to hurt themselves", a sports medicine specialist is quoted in the piece.[65]

Since May 2005,[61] CrossFit has published several articles about rhabdomyolysis[66][67][68][69] in their online CrossFit Journal (which is not peer-reviewed). Three of the articles are included in the CrossFit Manual provided to all prospective trainers.[70] In a further attempt to raise awareness of the problem, CrossFit, Inc. also used to sell "Uncle Rhabdo" T-shirts (featuring a cartoon clown dying in a dramatic fashion—hooked up to a dialysis machine, with his kidneys and intestines falling on the floor).[71][72]

Facebook post controversy[edit]

On 4 June 2014, CrossFit uploaded a "parody video to their Facebook page" made by The Kloons, which included a portrayal of Jesus, and featured concepts such as the "Holy Trinity of exercise".[73] Yasmine Hafiz, in The Huffington Post wrote that some "viewers are outraged at the disrespectful use of a Christian symbol", with one user asking "on what planet is it comical or encouraged to mock someones belief"?[73][74]

Transgender athletes[edit]

In 2014, Chloie Jonsson, a post-transition trans woman, pursued a $2.5 million suit against CrossFit, claiming she was barred from competing in the female division of the 2013 CrossFit Games after her transgender status was anonymously revealed. CrossFit's attorneys have released a statement saying that transgender athletes are "welcomed with open arms", but that Jonsson "still has the genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological advantage over women" and CrossFit's policy is needed to "ensure the fairness of the competition".[75]

CrossFit has also stated that Jonsson was eliminated from the competition for her poor athletic performance.[76]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Soifer, Jason. "Co-founder of CrossFit workout program opens gym in Prescott". The Daily Courier. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Glassman, Greg. "Nutrition Lecture Part 2: Optimizing Performance". Crossfit Inc. Retrieved 12 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek
  4. ^ "Original 1996 CrossFit Founding". Scribd. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  5. ^ Beers, Emily. "Virtuosity Goes Viral". The CrossFit Journal. Retrieved 2014-07-01. 
  6. ^ a b Friedman, Jon. "Success and the Bull's Eye". The CrossFit Journal. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  7. ^ "CrossFit". CrossFit, Inc. 
  8. ^ "CrossFit Affiliate Map". CrossFit, Inc. 
  9. ^ Hines, E. "Crossfit in Paris". Expatriates Magazine. EP. 
  10. ^ Glassman, Greg. "Understanding CrossFit". The CrossFit Journal. Retrieved 2012-2-18. 
  11. ^ CrossFit. "What is CrossFit?". CrossFit. Retrieved 2012-2-18. 
  12. ^ "Prairie Crossfit". Prairie Crossfit. 
  13. ^ Wallack, Roy M. (2009). Run For Life: The Anti-Aging, Anti-Injury, Super Fitness Plan. Skyhorse Publishing. p. 65. ISBN 978-1-60239-344-8. 
  14. ^ Svan, Jennifer H. (January 13, 2009). "CrossFit Workouts are Rarely Routine". Military Advantage. 
  15. ^ "Welcome to The Royal Life Guards Sports Association". Royal Danish Life Guards Sports Association. 
  16. ^ Mitchell, Bryan (June 25, 2008). "CrossFit workout craze sweeps the Corps". Marine Corps Times. 
  17. ^ Rodriguez, Juan C. (March 2, 2010). "Florida Marlins: Cameron Maybin’s improved swing/miss numbers encouraging". South Florida Sun Sentinel. 
  18. ^ Stewart, I.A. (December 14, 2007). "UCSC Notebook: Men's rugby getting fit for the season". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2007-12-23. 
  19. ^ a b Sanderlin, Rebekah. "Commando-style workout has cult following". Fayetteville Observer. 
  20. ^ "Certification Courses". CrossFit. 
  21. ^ "CrossFit Courses". Retrieved 5/9/2013. 
  22. ^ Scott, Paul (October 23, 2007). "A no-nonsense look at the often nonsensical world of fitness clubs". Best Life. 
  23. ^ "More financial news". The Boston Globe. August 24, 2009. 
  24. ^ CrossFit dietary prescription
  25. ^ Walsh, Bob (2007). How People Blogging Are Changing The World and How You Can Join Them. Apress. ISBN 978-1-59059-691-3. 
  26. ^ Godin, Seth (2009). Tribes. Piatkus Books. p. 160. ISBN 0-7499-3975-3. 
  27. ^ Velazquez, Eric (May 2008). "Sweatstorm". Muscle & Fitness. [dead link]
  28. ^ a b Shugart, Chris (November 4, 2008). "The Truth About CrossFit". Testosterone Muscle. 
  29. ^ Stephanie Cooperman (December 22, 2005). "Getting Fit, Even if it Kills You". New York Times. 
  30. ^ "The WOD Club - What is Crossfit". Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ a b Lugo, Eddie. "Outfit Your Box - An Equipment Procurement Guide". Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  33. ^ Hass, Tyler (April 2007). "Support Strength on the Rings". CrossFit. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  34. ^ Hass, Tyler (April 2007). "Beginning Pulls on the Rings". CrossFit. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  35. ^ "Jump Rope for Crossfit". Guardian Crossfit. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  36. ^ "Crossfit: Kettlebell Swing". Crossfit. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  37. ^ "CrossFit Library - Medicine ball cleans". Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  38. ^ Brigham, Lincoln (2006). "Crossfit journal: Plyo Boxes". Crossfit. p. 4. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  39. ^ "CrossFit Study". U.S. Army. May 2010. pp. 8, 30. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  40. ^ Larsson, Pär (October 2010). "Blood, Blisters, Sexism and Pull-ups". CrossFit. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ Glassman, Greg. "Understanding Crossfit". Crossfit. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  44. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "The Crossfit Training Guide". CrossFit. p. 86. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  45. ^ "The Position: Part 7—The Ring Dip". Crossfit Journal. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  46. ^ "Crossfit Exercises List". Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  47. ^ "Crossfit Exercises". Crossfit. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  48. ^ "IT'S NO YOKE". Crossfit. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  49. ^ a b "CrossFit Journal - The Moves". April 2004. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  50. ^ "Exercises". CrossFit Hardcore. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  51. ^ a b "The New Girls (Benchmark WODs)". CrossFit. 2006. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  52. ^,40/index.html
  53. ^ "Finding the Fittest on Earth". February 11, 2011. 
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^ "Crossfit Study". U.S. Army. May 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  59. ^ Dube, Rebecca (January 11, 2008). "No puke, no pain - no gain". Globe and Mail (Toronto). 
  60. ^ "Gym's High-Intensity Workout Left Me Disabled, Man Testifies". The Washington Post. October 7, 2008. 
  61. ^ a b Mitchell, Bryan (August 16, 2006). "Lawsuit alleges CrossFit workout damaging". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  62. ^ Jason Munn (19 July 2010). "Firefighter Strength and Why Crossfit Sucks!". Nunn's Performance Training blog. Retrieved 6 July 2013. 
  63. ^ Robertson, Eric (2013) Professor of Physical Therapy @Regis University
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^ Savage, Phil. "The Truth About Rhabdo by Dr. Michael Ray - CrossFit Journal". Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  67. ^ Ray, Mike. "CrossFit Induced Rhabdo by Greg Glassman - CrossFit Journal". Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  68. ^ Glassman, Greg. "Killer Workouts by Eugene Allen - CrossFit Journal". Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  69. ^ Starrett, Kelly. "Rhabdomyolysis Revisited by Dr. Will Wright - CrossFit Journal". Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  70. ^ CrossFit instructor manual
  71. ^
  72. ^
  73. ^ a b Martin, Cath (7 June 2014). "The CrossFit by Jesus parody that takes the concept literally". Christian Today. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  74. ^ Hafiz, Yasmine (5 June 2014). "CrossFit Posts Jesus Parody On Facebook Page And The Comments Explode". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  75. ^ Gremore, Graham (March 6, 2014). "CrossFit Won’t Let Transgender Woman Compete In Upcoming Games Because "She Was Born With A Penis"". Queerty. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  76. ^ Olson, Samantha (May 20, 2014). "CrossFit Claims Transgender Athlete’s Allegations Are False". Medical Daily. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 

External links[edit]