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Crossfit Workouts May Have Funny Names But They Are No Joke

What do the names Fran, Helen, Eva, and Murph mean to average person?  Probably not much unless you are one of growing number of people throughout the world that associate those four names with Crossfit workouts that produce nothing less than bittersweet agony.  Crossfit is a fitness sensation that is growing in popularity all over the world. Crossfitters, as they are known to each other, can go to the Crossfit Headquarters website at Crossfit.com or to the popular social network CrossFixx.com to obtain a new workout everyday.  All the workouts are free on Crossfit.com.  No membership or registration fees, simply one workout a day ready for any takers.

Fran, Helen, Eva, and Murph are just a small sampling of different Crossfit workouts.  Unlike routine gym workouts from a personal trainer or magazine, Crossfit workouts are commonly named.  There are the girls, such as the ones mentioned, plus others including Annie, Nicole, and Linda.  Along with the girls are the heroes that include the likes of Murph, Ryan, DT, and JT.  Several other workouts are named as well.  Named workouts that are not one of the girls or a hero include “Tabata Something Else” and “Twins”.  Naming the workouts is more than just designating one combination of exercises from another; the names are part of the Crossfit culture and mystique. Crossfitters from all over the world know what is meant by “What is your Fran time?” Translated, this is asking how long it takes to complete the workout Fran.

How long it takes? Timing a workout?  Yes, that is correct.  With Crossfit, the majority of workouts are for time.  The idea of timing the workouts is the genius of the concept.  With most weight training regimens, the rep schemes may be predetermined as well as the weight.  However the time to complete the three sets of ten for example has a loose standard or any at all.  Crossfit workouts are standardized for benchmarking.  Someone completing the dreaded, yet popular, Fran workout would complete reps of twenty-one, then fifteen, and then nine of thrusters and pull-ups.  That is, the person would complete twenty-one thrusters and then twenty-one pull-ups before moving on to fifteen thrusters.  The weight for the thrusters would be ninety-five for males and sixty-five for females.  The pull-ups are done with body weight.  The weight would always stay the same. The times would change as fitness changes. The result is a measurable change in fitness.

When looking at Fran on paper, most fledgling Crossfitters will comment on the brevity of the workout and then ask the obvious “What is a thruster?”  A thruster is a front squat combined with shoulder press.  Once done, no doubt exists that it is a full body exercise.  Only multi-joint exercises are used in Crossfit.  Not to be seen in a Crossfit gym are isolation exercises such as curls and leg extensions.  The reason for the multi-joint movements according to the creator of Crossfit, Greg Glassman, is that they represent how humans use their body, as a whole.  In other words, the exercises are functional.  Beside thrusters and gymnastic movements such as pull-ups and handstand push-ups, Crossfit integrates Olympic lifts to develop functional strength and power.