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CrossFit Inc.
IndustryFitness, sports
FoundedSanta Cruz, California (2000 (2000))
FounderGreg Glassman
Lauren Jenai
Area served
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CrossFit Inc.
IndustryFitness, sports
FoundedSanta Cruz, California (2000 (2000))
FounderGreg Glassman
Lauren Jenai
Area served
A woman doing a kipping pull-up.

CrossFit, Inc. is a fitness company founded by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai[1] in 2000.[2][3] 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[4] affiliated gyms,[5] half[6] of which are located in the United States, and by individuals who complete daily workouts (otherwise known as a "WODs" or "workouts of the day").[7][8]

History and contributors[edit]

Greg Glassman founded CrossFit, Inc. in 2000.[9][10] The company was conceived a few years earlier, in 1996, as Cross-Fit.[11] The original CrossFit gym is in Santa Cruz, CA, and the first affiliated gym was CrossFit North in Seattle, Washington; there were 13 by 2005, and today there are more than 10,000.[5] Coaches associated with CrossFit include Louie Simmons, John Welbourn, Bob Harper, Mike Burgener,[12] and Lindy Barber.[13]

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.[14]

Programming and usage[edit]

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program with the aim of improving, among other things, cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. It advocates a perpetually varied mix of aerobic exercise, gymnastics (body weight exercises), and Olympic weight lifting.[15] CrossFit Inc. describes its strength and conditioning program as "constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad modal and time domains,"[16] with the stated goal of improving fitness, which it defines as "work capacity across broad time and modal domains."[17] 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 gyms 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.[18]

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,[19][20][21][22] as well as by some U.S. and Canadian high school physical education teachers, high school and college sports teams, and the Miami Marlins.[23][24][9]

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[25] "Level 1 Trainer Course",[26] specialty seminars include gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman, running and endurance, rowing, kettlebells, mobility and recovery, CrossFit Kids, CrossFit Football, and self-defense and striking. Other specialized adaptations include programs for pregnant women, seniors, and military special operations candidates.[27] 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;[28] besides performing prescribed workouts, they follow CrossFit's nutrition recommendations (adopting a paleo and/or zone diet[29]), and favor minimalist footwear.

CrossFit makes use of a virtual community Internet model.[30][31] 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,[32] a contention that is disputed by some competitors and former affiliates.[33]

Common CrossFit equipment[edit]

CrossFit gyms utilize equipment from multiple disciplines. This equipment includes barbells, dumbbells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, jump ropes, kettlebells, medicine balls, plyo boxes,[34] resistance bands, rowers and various mats.

Common CrossFit movements[edit]

Crossfit is focused on "constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement,"[35] drawing on categories and exercises such as:

CrossFit Games[edit]

Main article: CrossFit Games

The "CrossFit Games" have been held every summer since 2007. 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.

The Games include divisions for individuals of each gender, and for a number of Masters age groups.[36]


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%.[37][dead link]

A 2013 study by exercise scientists at Ohio State University revealed that participation in a CrossFit program significantly improved VO2 max and decreased body fat percentage in both males and females across all levels of fitness.[38]


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.[39]

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,[40] claimed that CrossFit poses an elevated risk of rhabdomyolysis. He successfully sued his trainers and was awarded $300,000 in damages.[41]

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.[33][42][43]

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.[44]

In 2013 a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concluded that the incidents of injury are consistent with weight lifting, power lifting and gymnastics -- sports with many movements and exercises in common with CrossFit.[45]

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.[46]

Since May 2005,[41] CrossFit has published several articles about rhabdomyolysis[47][48][49][50] 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.[51] 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).[52][53]

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".[54] Yasmine Hafiz, in The Huffington Post wrote that some viewers were "outraged at the disrespectful use of a Christian symbol", with one user asking "on what planet is it comical or encouraged to mock someone's belief"?[54][55]

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".[56]

CrossFit has also stated that Jonsson was eliminated from the competition for her poor athletic performance.[57]

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. ^ Beers, Emily. "Virtuosity Goes Viral". The CrossFit Journal. Retrieved 2014-07-01. 
  5. ^ a b Friedman, Jon. "Success and the Bull's Eye". The CrossFit Journal. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  6. ^ CrossFit affiliate map
  7. ^ "CrossFit". CrossFit, Inc. 
  8. ^ "CrossFit Affiliate Map". CrossFit, Inc. 
  9. ^ a b Sanderlin, Rebekah. "Commando-style workout has cult following". Fayetteville Observer. 
  10. ^ Stephanie Cooperman (December 22, 2005). "Getting Fit, Even if it Kills You". New York Times. 
  11. ^ "Original 1996 CrossFit Founding". Scribd. Retrieved 2014-07-21.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  12. ^ "The WOD Club - What is Crossfit". Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  13. ^ fourbarrelcrossfit - Our coaches
  14. ^
  15. ^ Hines, E. "Crossfit in Paris". Expatriates Magazine. EP. 
  16. ^ Glassman, Greg. "Understanding CrossFit". The CrossFit Journal. Retrieved 2012-2-18.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  17. ^ CrossFit. "What is CrossFit?". CrossFit. Retrieved 2012-2-18.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  18. ^ "Prairie Crossfit". Prairie Crossfit. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ Svan, Jennifer H. (January 13, 2009). "CrossFit Workouts are Rarely Routine". Military Advantage. 
  21. ^ "Welcome to The Royal Life Guards Sports Association". Royal Danish Life Guards Sports Association. 
  22. ^ Mitchell, Bryan (June 25, 2008). "CrossFit workout craze sweeps the Corps". Marine Corps Times. 
  23. ^ Rodriguez, Juan C. (March 2, 2010). "Florida Marlins: Cameron Maybin’s improved swing/miss numbers encouraging". South Florida Sun Sentinel. 
  24. ^ 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. 
  25. ^ "Certification Courses". CrossFit. 
  26. ^ "CrossFit Courses". Retrieved 5/9/2013.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  27. ^ Scott, Paul (October 23, 2007). "A no-nonsense look at the often nonsensical world of fitness clubs". Best Life. 
  28. ^ "More financial news". The Boston Globe. August 24, 2009. 
  29. ^ CrossFit dietary prescription
  30. ^ Walsh, Bob (2007). How People Blogging Are Changing The World and How You Can Join Them. Apress. ISBN 978-1-59059-691-3. 
  31. ^ Godin, Seth (2009). Tribes. Piatkus Books. p. 160. ISBN 0-7499-3975-3. 
  32. ^ Velazquez, Eric (May 2008). "Sweatstorm". Muscle & Fitness. 
  33. ^ a b Shugart, Chris (November 4, 2008). "The Truth About CrossFit". Testosterone Muscle. 
  34. ^ Brigham, Lincoln (2006). "Crossfit journal: Plyo Boxes". Crossfit. p. 4. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  35. ^ Glassman, Greg. "Understanding Crossfit". Crossfit. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  36. ^
  37. ^ "Crossfit Study". U.S. Army. May 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2014. {{dead link}}
  38. ^ Smith, Michael; Sommer, Allan; Starkoff, Brooke; Devor, Steven. "Crossfit-based high intensity power training improves maximal aerobic fitness and body composition". Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 27 (11): 3159–3172. PMID 23439334. 
  39. ^ Dube, Rebecca (January 11, 2008). "No puke, no pain - no gain". Globe and Mail (Toronto). 
  40. ^ "Gym's High-Intensity Workout Left Me Disabled, Man Testifies". The Washington Post. October 7, 2008. 
  41. ^ a b Mitchell, Bryan (August 16, 2006). "Lawsuit alleges CrossFit workout damaging". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  42. ^ Jason Munn (19 July 2010). "Firefighter Strength and Why Crossfit Sucks!". Nunn's Performance Training blog. Retrieved 6 July 2013. 
  43. ^ Robertson, Eric (2013) Professor of Physical Therapy @Regis University
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^ Savage, Phil. "The Truth About Rhabdo by Dr. Michael Ray - CrossFit Journal". Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  48. ^ Ray, Mike. "CrossFit Induced Rhabdo by Greg Glassman - CrossFit Journal". Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  49. ^ Glassman, Greg. "Killer Workouts by Eugene Allen - CrossFit Journal". Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  50. ^ Starrett, Kelly. "Rhabdomyolysis Revisited by Dr. Will Wright - CrossFit Journal". Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  51. ^ CrossFit instructor manual
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^ a b Martin, Cath (7 June 2014). "The CrossFit by Jesus parody that takes the concept literally". Christian Today. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  55. ^ Hafiz, Yasmine (5 June 2014). "CrossFit Posts Jesus Parody On Facebook Page And The Comments Explode". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  56. ^ 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. 
  57. ^ Olson, Samantha (May 20, 2014). "CrossFit Claims Transgender Athlete’s Allegations Are False". Medical Daily. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 

External links[edit]