Seven Weird Things CrossFitters Do, by Katie Levy
Every sport has its own distinctive lingo, idiosyncratic terminology, and unique resulting habits and behaviors that might look completely ridiculous to an outsider. CrossFit is certainly no different. Over the past three years, I’ve learned quite a bit about what makes CrossFit and CrossFit athletes different from the rest, and some of what I’ve experienced, and now practice, looks and sounds downright weird. Behaviors like carrying food with you everywhere you go, or amassing a significant collection of footwear for every possible scenario aren’t unique to our sport, but a number of other behaviors are.
We speak almost entirely in acronyms.
Let’s be honest – one of the toughest things about starting out at a CrossFit gym is trying to figure out what everyone’s talking about. Every sport has its jargon, but with acronyms like WOD, AMRAP, DU, MU, HSPU, DL, OHS, even Rx’d floating around in every conversation, it can be impossible for anyone without at least a few weeks of CrossFit to translate anything written on a whiteboard or spoken at a gym. If you’re a new athlete still learning the terminology, or if you’re a seasoned athlete trying to explain what you’re doing to a friend or family member, CrossFit Davis has a pretty good list of most of the acronyms I’ve seen. Read up and pass it on!
We buy razors for our hands.
I regard the calluses I’ve developed on my hands over the course of three years of CrossFit as badges of honor. It’s taken a ton of snatches, countless cleans, and way too many pull-ups to get them just right. And they’re there for a reason. Calluses are areas on your skin that harden over time due to friction or pressure. They’re our skin’s natural safeguard against blisters and tears. But if you don’t care for them properly, they can rip just as easily as non-callused areas of your skin. As they get harder and more prominent, they’re more likely to rip; filing them down is essential. I’ve seen pumice stones, PedEgg brand foot files and all sort of other tools used by CrossFitters to care for calluses. My favorite tool is a good old fashioned callus shaver, and it’s a purchase I’d never made prior to CrossFit. But the hand-weirdness doesn’t stop there…
Getting ready for a high-rep pullup workout with our favorite purple glue.
Sometimes, we put glue on our hands.
I learned early on in my CrossFit career that taking care of your hands is absolutely essential, but sometimes, no amount of callus-shaving or taping can help. I remember doing “Murph” for the first time and realizing a few dozen pull-ups in that my hands weren’t going to come out of the workout unscathed. If you’re unlucky enough to cause damage mid-WOD like I did, and you’re anything like me, you finish the workout anyway. And it hurts. A ripped hand in the middle of a workout isn’t just painful that when it happens; rips take days to heal. A teammate introduced me to medical glue, and now, on high-rep pull-up workouts, it’s an easy way for me to make sure my hands are protected. It’s meant for skin, so it’s non-toxic, and it’s an ideal extra layer of protection for those of us who don’t like to tape our hands every time.
We have love/hate relationships with specific women and fallen soldiers.
Fran. Grace. Helen. Cindy. Diane. If you’ve been involved with CrossFit long enough, odds are you’ve completed most of the benchmark “girl” WODs at least once. Some of these names strike fear into the hearts of CrossFitters, (Fran and Elizabeth for me), but if the movements or time domains are in your wheelhouse, they can be downright fun (I love Isabel and Grace). Regardless, the “girls” unite all of us; everyone knows what their Fran time is, or the first time they were able to do Nancy as prescribed. Learn more about the different “girls” on CrossFit.com.
Then, there’s Murph. DT. Randy. The Seven. Manion. They’re not just names; they’re names that represent something important in the world of CrossFit.
“In their actions, these men embodied the values and spirit of true heroes, and to immortalize their courage, bravery and self-sacrifice, the CrossFit Hero workouts were created.” (Russell Berger)
Hero WODs are tests of fitness and fortitude, but every Hero WOD has a story and pays tribute to a fallen soldier (or soldiers) involved with CrossFit. Though Hero WODs tend to be unusually physically challenging, it’s fulfilling to do workouts that have meaning attached to them.
“Linda” involves benching your bodyweight for 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps.
We covet body parts that aren’t normally coveted.
“Man, I wish I had her elbows!” and “Why can’t my ankles look like that when I squat?” are both phrases I’ve uttered or heard variations of more than once. It might sound strange to wish you could trade elbows or ankles with someone unless you’re a CrossFitter. Of course, for me, coveting body parts that aren’t normally coveted is more due to what those body parts can help me do in the gym. Fast elbows mean more successful cleans. Flexible ankles mean better squats, pistols and wall balls. Luckily, with the right coaching and mobility work, most of what we covet can become our own reality.
For a specific five weeks out of the year, we attempt to break our browser’s “refresh” button, and we made up a word to describe that behavior.
Leaderboarding. If you’ve taken part in the CrossFit Games Open, you’re likely guilty of leaderboarding. Essentially, it’s the act of checking, re-checking, and re-re-checking the CrossFit Games leaderboard over the course of any period of time. My leaderboarding behaviors tends to peak right around when scores are due at the end of each of the five Open workouts, but I’m certainly guilty of hitting “refresh” even when I know nothing will have changed. But sometimes, it’s about more than just seeing results. I learned that in 2012, on average, a woman in the Mid-Atlantic Region had to finish 85th or better in all five Open workouts to place 48th or better overall. In 2013, that average dropped to 75th, then it increased in 2014 to 85th. If you’re hoping to earn a bid to Regionals, this analysis can be super helpful. It can also make you crazy. Leaderboard with care.
Time to warm up our snatches!
We say a lot of things that, out of context, seem very strange, and/or very inappropriate.
Hearing a variation of, “Your snatch looks amazing today!” is pretty common at CrossFit Love, and at most affiliates I’ve been to. Also, I’ll hear phrases like “I hate Karen!” or “I can’t wait to do Cindy tonight!” To an innocent eavesdropper, CrossFitters might sound more dirty-minded than average, or it might seem they harbor ill will toward specific women. But it’s all just part of the CrossFit lingo.
Alright, I’m sure I missed at least a few things. What else would you add to this list? Send a note to @crossfitlove on Twitter or leave a comment!