Not as harmful as its rep

While CrossFit is often criticized as being the source of numerous training injuries, research shows it’s no worse than other powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting activities, and has a lower risk than some competitive contact sports. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research calculated CrossFit had an injury rate of 3.1 per 1,000 hours trained.

Read through for the basics of CrossFit, from the lingo to some sample workouts.

The lingo

BOX: A gym that specializes in CrossFit.
AMRAP: As many reps as possible. In a CrossFit routine, you may be asked to do AMRAP of a series of exercises in a given amount of time.
WOD: Workout of the Day. One reason CrossFitters love it—they never get bored, because the routine is constantly changing.
KIP: A rocking motion that uses momentum to complete a pullup.
MUSCLE UP: A combination of pullup and ring dip.
GOAT: Movement or lift that you are not good at.
YBF: You’ll be fine.


This popular WOD uses just your bodyweight for resistance. If you can’t do full pullups, sub in assisted pullups, jumping pullups, or even pulldowns.

Do as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes:
5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 squats


One of the most popular CrossFit benchmark workouts is called “Murph,” named after fallen Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. He used to do the workout himself, calling it “Body Armor.”

For time:

  • 1-mile run
  • 100 pullups*
  • 200 pushups*
  • 300 squats*
  • 1-mile run

*Partition the pullups, pushups, and squats as needed.

TOP SORE SPOTS: shoulders, back, and knees

Game on

More than 500 athletes from 18 countries around the globe gather in Carson, CA, each July for the CrossFit Games. There are more than a dozen challenging events, which have ranged from ocean swims to sandbag carries. (The actual activities change yearly, and they’re not announced until right before each event.) Last year’s female winner, 23-year-old Katrin Davidsdottir from Iceland, is training to defend her title.

Fast facts

17: Number of years since we first started hearing about CrossFit (founder Greg Glassman opened the first CrossFit location in Santa Cruz, CA, in the year 2000).

13,000: estimated current number of CrossFit locations worldwide, with more than 35,000 accredited trainers and more than 10 million CrossFitters (nearly 60% of whom are women).

12.3: number of calories a woman burns, on average, per minute during a CrossFit workout.

Top 10 Crossfit benefits

1. Cardiovascular and respiratory improvements
2. Stamina
3. Strength
4. Balance
5. Accuracy
6. Flexibility
7. Power
8. Speed
9. Coordination
10. Agility