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CrossFit Explained – AMRAP, EMOM, WOD? What Does it all Mean?

Welcome to “CrossFit Explained”, your complete guide to understanding everything about the Sport of Fitness.

For those who are new to CrossFit, it can be hard to read the board. Often there are words or abbreviations that people outside the box have no idea what they mean.

Read on the list some of the most used concepts and you will find CrossFit explained fairly simple.

WOD – CrossFit Explained

First of all the abbreviation WOD is on the table every day and means Workout Of the Day.

Usually the whole workout consists of a warm-up, skill session and then finally an actual WOD. The WOD can be so various, often though based on the skill the coach has been teaching in the first half. It can be short or it can be long, it can be all sorts, but that is that day’s task.

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Types Of WODs


Amrap is an abbreviation too, it means as many rounds/reps as possible.

It is always followed by a number, that number means how many minutes you must work. For example amrap7, then you do the circuit for the whole 7 minutes before having a break.  If it is a competition you have to count the rounds or reps you do in these minutes to get the final score.

If it is an amrap you can decide your pace. For example, if the movements are complex you don’t have to go too fast, but if the movements are mostly bodyweight you can go faster.

It all depends on how competitive you are. If you want to squeeze in more reps then your gym buddy you must go faster, if you want to go for quality you go slower.

Often it is good to get a goal before starting an amrap. If you think one round will take about 90 seconds, then you are able to finish at least 4 rounds in the 7 minutes and of course, you keep counting even though you don’t finish the last round.


Emom is the abbreviation of every minute on the minute. My favourite kind of workout. It means that every minute you must start the movement. Sometimes there are alternating minutes, even and odd-numbered minutes, on even-numbered minutes you do one exercise and the odd-numbered another, it is also possible to have 4 or 5 minutes rolling.

I like emoms because it is easier to go heavier because you get (often) more rest in between. Depending on the set up of course. A good way to build up strength with cleans or squats is to do emom with just a few reps so you have time to add the weight you want and get rest before the next set.

Every minute on the minute can also interfere with other movements. For example if the task at hand it to finish 50 cleans, but every minute on the minute you have to do 3-5 burpees. That will slow you down and fatigue the body too.

My favorite set up for my open gym sessions is a emom with 4 stations. Each station takes one minute and then you go to the next. Do that round of 4 minutes 5 times for a 20 minute workout.

Chipper – CrossFit Explained

Chipper workouts are always fun. Chipper means that there is a list of exercises that you must finish in that order the coach has listed. It is only one round but the rep scheme is usually higher than in a regular set-up in a circuit. It is because you only do that particular exercise once before moving on to the next.

It is so fun to go down the list and check off the ones you have already done and see the task list get smaller. Chippers usually take a longer time than a normal WOD but are more fun cause there are so many varied movements in it.


Tabata is a style of workout that works with intensity. You go for as many reps as possible in 20 seconds, then rest for 10. Go again for 20 seconds and 10-second break in between for 4 minutes.

Usually, you pick one exercise for the whole 4 minutes, for example push ups or air squats. It is a typical form for a HIIT which is an abbreviation for high-intensity interval training. That is the best way to burn fat.

My favourite Tabata workout is on a treadmill. Incline the treadmill ad set the pace at the highest you feel comfortable at. Run for 20 seconds, jump your feet to the side for the 10 seconds and then jump back on. If you dare pick up the pace of the treadmill each time you jump off. Be careful when jumping in and out not to fall off the treadmill.

Singlet, Couplet, Triplet And So On

Singlet means one element workout, couplet has two, triplet three and so on. Element in this case means exercise.

Couplets and triplets are really popular in CrossFit WODs. On the board, it says some number, often 21-15-9. Underneath there are two or three exercises and you have to do 3 rounds. In the first, you do each exercise 21 times, next round 15 and in the last round, you only do 9 reps of these exercises.

Of course, the workout can have up to 5 or 6 elements, but two or three is the prime number of exercises.

CrossFit explained

Other Concepts – CrossFit Explained

Time Cap

When you start CrossFit you often hear the other ask the coach what the time cap is. The time cap is how long the clock will keep ticking until every one must stop. You get a task and the time cap will press you to finish. If you finish before the time cap you can rest but it can get frustrating when the time cap closes before you finish.

Many workouts are listed as rounds for time, there is often a time cap that the coach decides to press you to work faster.

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Heroes, Girls And CrossFit Total

The benchmarks workouts are named after fallen war heroes and tough girls. Benchmark meaning that every one are doing the same set up and it is fun to do them regularly to see and mark your progress.  It is clever to write down your time and what weight you used to see it clearer how the progress is coming along.

You know the heroes and girls if you see just a name on the board.

Death By – CrossFit Explained

By the name you know it is not good. Death by will not kill you but you will be defeated. Often is just one exercise, but sometimes it is a couplet or even a triplet.

The first minute you only perform one rep, the next minute 2 rep. Then the game begins, how long will you hold out when the reps have gotten up to 10 or even 20, are you still managing to keep up and finish within the minute?


Rx – CrossFit Explained

If you write down your workout score you must add the details, did you do Rx, meaning the level of work that says on the board. If you have the correct weights and full movements in all the workout you do the workout Rx. But if you have lighter weight or scale in any way, then you are not Rx-ing.

Many athletes have the ultimate goal to be able to Rx every workout. But beginners should not worry about Rx-ing until their technique is perfect.

Back to Beginner’s Guide Overview

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