What is CrossFit? Taking a deep dive into the methodology.

October 10, 2023
What is CrossFit? Taking a deep dive into the methodology.

Understanding the Methodology

"We’ve taken high intensity, constantly varied functional workouts andd istilled load, range of motion, exercise, power, work, line of action, flexibility, speed, and all pertinent metabolics to a single value—usually time. This is the Sport of Fitness.We’re best at it.” Greg Glassman

We’re going to walk through a series of educational components that may answer the question that some of you may have asked yourselves, what really is CrossFit?  I’ve been having a heck of a time.  I’ve seen improvements.  I’m having fun and making friends.  But what is really going on?  Why is what I’m doing working?

So…. Let’s dig into the aims, prescription, methodology, implementation, and adaptations of CrossFit.


From it’s inception, CrossFit’s aim is to deliver broad, general and inclusive fitness.  The program in it’s purest form was developed and created to prepare everyone for any physical contingency.  That we could train for the unknown and the unknowable.  

This comes in it’s purest form when we consider the workout of the day.  Whether you are the athlete that looks beforehand, or the athlete that shows up, we want you to train for the unknowable, meaning, there is a surprise element to what’s happening.  Beyond that, we want you to train for the unknown.  We see this in the Open.  The Open is our annual test of fitness.  We train all year long, not specifically for the Open, but we go into our annual test knowing that we are prepared for the unknown and the unknowable.

We don’t train for a specific sport or activity, we train for everything.  Our specialty is not specializing.


CrossFit is: “Constantly varied, functional movement, executed at high intensity.”  

Functional movements: are universal motor recruitment patterns that are performed from the core to extremity, i.e. inside out and are compound movements, i.e. multi joint.  They are natural, effective and efficient locomotors of the body and external objects. We want to move large loads, over long distances, and do so quickly.  

Considering these three things; load, distance and speed, qualify functional movements as high power.  

Intensity: is defined as power.

Constantly varied:  We believe that preparation for random physical challenges—i.e., unknown and unknowable events—are at odds with fixed, predictable, and routine regimens.


We believe that Safety, efficacy and efficiency are at the heart of any fitness program and can only be supported by measurable, repeatable, observable data.  We call this “evidence based fitness.”  We called these tests, benchmarks, or Hero workouts.  We log our results and track our progress, so that we can see progress.


CrossFit is the sport of fitness.  By integrating the community, the competition and the fun of sport, we’ve developed a program that is unmatched.  We use whiteboards as scoreboards, keeping accurate records and scores by utilize tracking software or journals, i.e. SugarWOD, and uniquely defines the rules and standards of each workout, and every movement, every day.  We are not only competitive with each other, but we compete against the clock, and ourselves.  


We’ve discovered that CrossFit increases “work capacity, across broad time, and modal domains.”  In other words, the amount we can do over varying amounts of time, in varying amounts of ways.  


Reference: Glassman, G. (2002). Understanding CrossFit: CrossFit Level 1 Training Guide. 3. 4-6. http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/CFJ_English_Level1_TrainingGuide.pdf

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