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CrossFit Lexicon: The Most Important Terms and Abbreviations for Beginners

Imagine you have your first CrossFit class. You are full of euphoria, stand in front of the whiteboard together with the other class participants - and understand absolutely nothing.

That's not so unrealistic, because from AMRAP to RX, from C&J to DU - the terminology in CrossFit is extensive and almost a language of its own. But don't panic, you don't have to be a linguist to know it!

In this article, we've put together a CrossFit lexicon for you that we wish we'd had ourselves when we started out. It covers the most important terms and abbreviations, including explanations.

It will turn you into a CrossFit pro virtually overnight!

Why does CrossFit have its own language?

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CrossFit has developed quite rapidly since it was founded in 2000 - and with it its own terminology. This arose from the need to communicate complex training concepts and methods quickly and clearly.

The language enables trainers and athletes worldwide to exchange information about workouts, techniques and performance without misunderstandings. Today, it is an integral part of the CrossFit culture.

Understanding and speaking this language is more than just a practical necessity. If you know what certain terms and abbreviations mean, you can organize your workouts more efficiently and exchange ideas with coaches and other athletes.

CrossFit lexicon: Important terms and abbreviations

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But enough with introductions. Here are some of the most important terms and abbreviations you'll hear in the CrossFit world:

Workouts and Programming Formats

  • RFT (Rounds For Time): The goal here is for you to complete a set number of exercise rounds as quickly as possible.

  • EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute): At the beginning of each minute, you start one or more exercises for a set number of repetitions.

  • AMRAP (As Many Rounds/Reps As Possible): Complete as many rounds or reps as possible within a set time frame.

  • Tabata: A type of HIIT consisting of 8 rounds of 20 seconds of maximum effort followed by 10 seconds of rest.

  • Chipper: This is the name given to longer workouts designed to “work through” a large amount of exercises in a sequence.

  • Ladder: This is the name given to workouts where the number of repetitions is increased or decreased with each round. There are ascending or descending ladders.

Specific exercises and movements


  • C&J (Clean and Jerk): The clean and jerk is a two-part weightlifting movement. In the first part, the clean, you bring the barbell from the floor to your shoulders. The second part, the jerk, involves pushing the barbell over your head.

  • SN (Snatch): The “snatch” is also an Olympic weightlifting movement in which you lift or snatch the barbell from the ground directly over your head in one fluid motion.

  • PSN (Power Snatch): In the “power snatch”, the barbell is snatched from the floor overhead in a similar way to the snatch, but in a quarter or half squat instead of a deep squat as in the classic snatch.

  • SQSN (Squat Snatch): The “squat snatch” refers to snatching the barbell from the floor directly over your head in a deep squat position from which you eventually stand up. It is the most demanding variation of the snatch, requiring maximum mobility and technique.


  • SQ (Squat): A “squat” generally refers to a squat in which you squat down from a standing position and back up again. It primarily targets the leg and gluteal muscles.

  • BSQ (back squat): The “back squat” is a variation of the squat where the barbell rests on your shoulders behind your neck. This position allows you to move more weight.

  • FSQ (Front Squat): The “Front Squat” is where you hold the barbell on your front shoulders near your collarbone while performing a squat. This exercise requires and promotes flexibility and strength in the lower back and legs.

  • OHSQ (Overhead Squat): The overhead squat requires you to hold a barbell overhead while performing a full squat. This exercise is particularly challenging for balance, mobility and full body strength.

  • STOH (Shoulder-to-Overhead): This movement involves any technique to move the barbell from the shoulders overhead. It can be a Strict Press, Push Press, Push Jerk or Split Jerk, depending on which technique is used.

  • GTOH (Ground-to-Overhead): “Ground to Overhead” is a generic term for any movement where the barbell is moved from the ground to overhead. This can be achieved using various techniques such as snatch or clean and jerk.

  • DL (Deadlift): The deadlift is a basic strength training exercise where you lift the barbell from the floor to hip height while ending in an upright position.

  • RDL (Romanian Deadlift): The Romanian deadlift is a variation of the classic deadlift where the focus is on extending the hips while keeping the legs relatively extended. This exercise particularly targets the hamstrings and lower back.

  • SP (Strict Press): The “Strict Press” or “Military Press” is an exercise where you extend the barbell from shoulder height to above your head, without using your legs or hips.

  • PP (Push Press): In the “Push Press”, you press the barbell from your shoulders over your head, using a moderate use of your legs for the initial swing. This technique allows you to move more weight than the strict press.

  • PJ (Push Jerk): The “Push Jerk” is a more dynamic version of the Shoulder-to-Overhead, where you “push” yourself under the barbell and extend your arms through in a quick sequence of movements while bending your legs momentarily to stabilize the bar.

  • SJ (Split Jerk): In the “split jerk”, you also bring the barbell from your shoulders over your head, but you end up in a “split” position with one leg extended forward and the other extended back. This ensures stability and strength for lifting heavier weights.


  • MU (muscle-up): A “muscle-up” is an advanced combination exercise that combines a pull-up (chin-up) with a dip. This movement is performed either on gymnastics rings or on a pull-up bar.

  • PU (pull-up): A “pull-up” is a basic upper body exercise where you pull yourself up from hanging from a bar until your chin is over the bar.

  • T2B (Toes To Bar): In Toes To Bar, you hang from a bar and swing your legs up to touch the bar with your toes. This exercise works the abdominal muscles in particular and requires body control and momentum at the same time.

  • K2E (Knees To Elbow): “Knees To Elbow” is similar to T2B, where you pull your knees up to your elbows while hanging from a bar. This movement improves body control and stability and is a scaling of the T2B.

  • HSPU (handstand push-up): A “handstand push-up” involves performing a push-up in the handstand position, upside down. Either against a wall for stability or freestanding for an extra challenge.

  • HSW (Handstand Walk): The “handstand walk” is an advanced movement where you stand or walk a certain distance on your hands. This exercise not only requires considerable strength in the shoulders and arms, but also excellent balance and body control.


  • SU (Single Unders): “Single Unders” refers to a rope jumping technique in which you swing the rope under your feet exactly once with each jump. It is a basic rope jump exercise that is often used as a warm-up or as part of conditioning training.

  • DU (Double Unders): “Double Unders” is an advanced rope jumping technique where you swing the rope under your feet twice with each jump. This exercise requires timing, speed and coordination and is known for its effectiveness in increasing cardiovascular endurance.

  • BJ (Box Jumps): In “box jumps” you jump from a standing position onto a plyobox or wooden box and land with both feet at the same time. It is important that your hips are fully extended when you land on the box before you jump or step down again.

  • BJO (Box Jump Overs): “Box Jump Overs” involve a jump onto a plyo box or wooden box, followed by a jump to land on the other side of the box. In contrast to simple box jumps, you have to cross the box completely. The hips do not have to be extended.

  • BO (Box Overs): In box overs, you jump directly over a plyo box or wooden box without landing on it. This exercise requires good jumping power and precision to safely overcome the box.

  • BBJ (Burpee Box Jumps): “Burpee Box Jumps” combine two exercises: First you perform a burpee directly in front of the box and then jump onto the box. This combination is particularly challenging as it requires both cardiovascular endurance and explosive strength. You can also step onto the box instead of jumping.

  • BBJO (Burpee Box Jump Overs): This variation combines a burpee with a box jump over. After the burpee, you perform a jump onto and directly over the box to land on the opposite side and perform the next burpee.

Techniques and training methods

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  • SC (Scaling or Scaled): “Scaling” or “Scaled” refers to adapting exercises to your individual fitness level. This can include reducing weights, modifying movements or reducing repetitions to make a workout accessible for different fitness levels.

  • RX (As Prescribed): The term “RX” stands for performing a workout to the exact specifications or standards set by the trainer or workout program. This includes specific weights, exercises and repetitions. If you complete a workout “RX”, it means that you have mastered it without any modifications.

  • TC (Time Cap): “Time Cap” refers to a set time limit for a workout or exercise. If a time cap is set, you have until it expires to complete as much of the workout as possible. Anything that is not completed within the time cap counts as not completed.

Competitions and community events

  • CrossFit Games: The “CrossFit Games” (CFG) are the ultimate annual competition event in CrossFit, which has been taking place since 2007. They aim to determine the “Fittest on Earth”. Participants from all over the world compete in a wide range of disciplines, from weightlifting and high intensity training to endurance and skill tests. The Games are known for their unpredictability, as the specific workouts are often only announced shortly before the event begins.

  • The Open: “The Open” is a three-week global online competition that takes place every year and is open to all CrossFit athletes, regardless of their skill level. Over a period of three weeks, a new workout is announced each week. Participants must complete this workout in their own box under supervision and then submit their results online. The Open serves as the first qualification stage for the CrossFit Games, with the best athletes from the Open qualifying for the next round of competitions.

  • Quarterfinals: The Quarterfinals are a relatively new level of competition ladder in CrossFit. They were introduced as part of the qualification process for the CrossFit Games. After the conclusion of the Open, the top 25% of athletes and teams from various regions advance to the Quarterfinals. This round is typically held online. Athletes must complete specific workouts within a set time frame in their local box under supervision. The best performers in the Quarterfinals qualify for the next stage of the competition, the Semifinals.

  • Semifinals: The Semifinals are the final stage in the selection process for the CrossFit Games and follow the Quarterfinals. Unlike the previous rounds, which mainly take place online, the Semifinals are held as live events at various locations around the world. These events will bring together the elite CrossFit athletes from each region to compete against each other in a series of physical challenges. The exact number of athletes who qualify for the Games through the Semifinals varies by region and gender.

How to learn the CrossFit language quickly

Although the terminology in CrossFit may seem overwhelming at first, you will get the hang of it! The best way to do this is to actively participate in classes and interact with coaches and other athletes.

There are also numerous online resources, blogs and videos that discuss and explain CrossFit terms. If you don't know a term, just take a look at our lexicon or ask your coaches.

You'll see that you'll soon be speaking fluent CrossFit ;).




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