What is the WOD?

WOD stands for Workout of the Day which is a daily posted workout that is constantly varied but not random; much thought goes into the WOD’s. A CrossFitter will try to complete the workout of the day as prescribed, or as close to the actual, posted workout as possible. For example, one day the WOD may be: Run 5 K for time. This means you would push yourself to try to achieve your best time. The next day, the WOD might be: Dead Lift 1-1-1-1-1-1-1. This means you would Dead Lift your maximum possible weight for seven sets of one rep. If the CrossFitter cannot complete the workout as prescribed (Rx’d), they should ask the coach for an appropriate scaling option. These workouts are designed to be very difficult for the fittest of the fit so scaling is very common!

Why are the workouts so short?

Intensity is the key. There are some workouts that take 5 minutes to complete, and some that take 25 minutes. It’s often a certain amount of work to be completed in the least amount of time, or a certain amount of work to be completed as many times a possible in a given amount of time. Sometimes the workouts have no time constraints like a maximum load WOD. In all of the above instances, intensity is the key- as much as you can, or as fast as you can, or as many times as you can. All favourable adaptations of exercise occur through increasing intensity. Long workouts are, by definition, less intense than shorter workouts. Your body cannot operate at a high intensity for very long.

How do you measure fitness levels?

Every workout will have a score attached to it. This will either be a time, number of reps (or rounds) or amount weight moved. Through tracking these scores, improvements in fitness will become very obvious. Most people find it fun and challenging to try to match or beat their previous times or challenge others.

How long until I see results?

Most people feel results in one session. We’ve have had clients express that it is the first time they have ever felt like they’ve had a “real” workout (even though they’ve been going to the gym for years). Most people can see changes in their body composition and body structure in two weeks, as well as added energy, a healthy glow, and an increase in overall fitness levels. Results vary from person to person, but for the most part people that begin CrossFit, have
vast, life changing results.

What is meant by functional movements?

In the biological sense of the term, function means something that is in place to perform a specific task or, something that is in existence for a specific task or reason. When we talk about the human body, functional movements are movements based on real world situations. Humans are designed to stand up from a squatted position. Therefore, we squat. We pick things up off the ground, we run, jump, move external objects and our own body weight. These are all movements found in life and therefore they are trained in CrossFit. Our bodies were not designed for isolation movements using a machine as resistance. We see it everyday in the typical gym environment, when people train with partial and non-functional movements, which exponentially limit physical capacity and actually increase the chance of injury.

What can I expect from CrossFit?

We are here to get you into the best shape of your life, and let you have a great time doing it. Our goal is to get your fitness levels to new heights, help you set personal records, and watch you surprise yourself at how much stronger & faster you can become. We provide quality training of high intensity/short duration workouts with fantastic results. If what you want is to feel better, get more fit (stronger, faster, higher), and feel good about doing it, Prairie
CrossFit is the place for you!

What can I expect from my first workout?

We are very cautious with first timers and will try to ease you into CrossFit so that your first experience will be a good one. Depending on your physical condition we will gauge a very basic workout tailored to your abilities. Bring clothes and shoes that are comfortable and you can train in. If you have physical limitations from an injury or a sickness we will make sure to make appropriate modifications. If you feel that your workout is too easy and you didn’t get the experience you were looking for, let us know and we will make sure to step up the intensity the next time you come in. This also goes for those that feel that their workout was too intense. Since intensity is relative to your emotional, mental and physical capacity it is sometimes hard to gauge a person’s fitness level. As we get to know you better we will be able to streamline your workouts to fit within your abilities while at the same time
give you goals to work towards.

What can I expect after my first workout?

You will most likely be very sore, but that should come as a ‘wow I’m using my muscles again’ rather than thinking that this training is too hard. If a person of the same age, weight and gender is able to handle CrossFit at its highest intensity, then you should be able to handle a workout at a lower intensity with lower loads and volume. Drink lots of water and KEEP MOVING! If you wait too long before coming to your next class, you will just start the process all over again. Honestly the best thing for sore muscles, is more exercise to move those muscles again.

Will I get big or gain weight doing CrossFit?

Most of our members experience weight loss even without a good diet. Weight gain is associated with diet. If you are eating lots of complex carbs and sugar and are prone to weight gain you may experience weight gain, but this has nothing to do with CrossFit. Eat clean, healthy and in moderation and you will see results not weight increases.

Can I just come in and do the workouts on my own?

No. We are more like a private studio than a typical commercial gym. Community is a big piece of our CrossFit practice. We provide an atmosphere where you will meet, encourage,and work together with fellow CrossFitters. We also want to make sure you are under the supervision of a certified coach, for better, safer, and faster results. We do however offer an ‘Open Gym’ class where more seasoned members can come in and work on weaknesses on their own.

I am not in shape, is this for me?

Yes, all skill levels and abilities are welcome. Although it is true that we train to do very difficult things in CrossFit, we can scale every workout to make sure everyone can complete it safely and confidently. Our focus is on safety first, then efficiency, and finally intensity. We are here to make you fitter than you are now. Come in with an open mind and a willingness to work hard, and we can work it out. We will start where you are today, and get you where you need to go. You will quickly notice that you are doing better each and every workout. Don’t compare yourself to the veteran CrossFitters, but instead to how far you have come since your first workout!

I’m in great shape already, will I be challenged?

We feel pretty confident in answering with a resounding yes! CrossFit counts among its adherents many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, and champion martial artists as well as professional athletes. Competitive marathoners, hockey players, soccer players, swimmers, lacrosse players, and tennis players use our program as a base for increasing their performance in their various specialty sports.

You say CrossFit isn’t for everybody, what do you mean?

CrossFit is hard work. Far too many people are looking for some “magic bullet” of fitness but it really doesn’t exist. If you want to sit down and watch TV while you exercise, CrossFit might not be for you. If you have ordered any fitness equipment from a TV commercial and truly believed it was going to melt away the pounds, CrossFit might not be for you. If you believe that eating hundreds of dollars of supplements a month will give you the body you want, CrossFit might not be for you. However, if you like sports, competition, camaraderie, sweat, high-fives for a job well done, and don’t mind the hard work, well then maybe CrossFit is for you!

What’s up with the CrossFit pictures I see with ripped and bloody hands?

One consequence of lots of pull ups is the occasional ripped hand (torn blister). Many pictures online represent this in a favourable light, as if you are not a real CrossFitter unless you push yourself till you rip your hands. This cannot be further from the truth. A torn blister is an injury. It results in lost training time, and negatively affects your life outside of CrossFit (try washing your hair with rip)! At Prairie CrossFit we strive to push people to their limits but that does not mean push them to injury. If you feel a rip is imminent, let a trainer know and we can give you a sub (often ring rows) which will be easier on the hands.

Programming Terminology


Percentages will be used for at least 2 different scenarios. One will be when describing a percentage of your 1 RM. When you see: 3×5 @ 75%, this means 3 sets of 5 reps at 75% of your 1 RM. Another use will be when describing effort. When you see, for example: 1 km row at 90% it means row at only 90% effort, don’t set out to go for a PR.


This refers to the tempo in with the lift is completed. The first number always refers to the speed (or count) in which the weight is lowered (even if it is a lift in which the weight is lifted first – Deadlift, pull up…). In both of the above tempos, the athlete would count to 3 as they lower the weight. The second number refers to how much pause there is at the bottom. The third number is the speed at which the weight is lifted. If an X appears as the third digit the athlete should attempt to explode up, or lift very quickly. The last number refers to the pause at the top (between reps).

5, 5, 5+

If the workout calls for sets of a certain number and there is a plus sign after one set, this means that, for that set, do at least 5 reps, or as many as you can. In practice this might mean you do 2 sets of 5 and one set of 9. In other words, the last set is to failure.


This stands for “as many rounds (or reps) as possible.” Usually it will be with in a given time frame. If a time frame is not given, it is in one continuous, unbroken set. For example:

20 minute AMRAP
-5 pull ups
-10 push ups
-15 squats

Each time through that sequence of exercises is one round. Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can. Or, AMRAP push ups would be the number of push ups you could complete in one set without resting.

Cluster set, ie. Bench Press: [3.3.3] x 4. Rest: 10s, 2 min

Cluster sets can be thought of as mini sets within a set. In the above prescribed exercise, the period represents a 10 second rest. The athlete would complete 3 bench presses, rest 10 seconds, 3 BP, rest 10 seconds, 3 BP. That is one cluster set. They would then rest 2 minutes and repeat until they have completed that pattern 4 times. This is an excellent method for increasing the volume of heavy lifting possible within a workout. Generally, the weight used for this type of training will be close to the athlete’s 5-8 rep max.

GOAT training

A GOAT is something you aren’t good at. It could be body weight stuff like pistols (one legged squats), handstand push ups and muscle ups. If it says: “10 minutes of GOAT training” you have 10 minutes to work on what ever you feel needs extra attention (within the coaches discretion). If you don’t know what your GOATs are, there will always be a specific movement listed you can work on for that day.

Heavy single vs 1 RM

If the WOD calls for a heavy single, increase the weight until you fail on a rep (and it’s not a blatant technique error). After you have failed once, your last successful attempt is your heavy single for the day. If it calls for a 1 RM, if you fail on a lift, you can repeat it up to 3 times. After 3 fails at a weight, you can still move down and try for a lighter weight. For example, if it calls for a 1RM and you successfully lift 80 kg and then fail at 100 kg 3 times, you can go back and try 90 kg.

Training WOD vs Competition WOD

It is common to pace yourself or ‘game’ a workout. This is particularly prevalent when the workout involves a run or a row. Athletes will often rest on the run or row in hopes of getting a better overall time. If the workout is deemed a training workout, gaming is not allowed and you are encouraged to perform at maximum intensity the entire time, even if this results in a slightly lower score or longer time. If it is deemed a competition workout, gaming is allowed with the intention of maximizing over all intensity and achieving the best possible score.


Complete this set without stopping to rest part way through. For example, 10 unbroken pull ups would be 10 in a row without coming off the bar. It is better to rest prior to beginning the set in order to ensure the set is continuous than to stop midway through the set.

CrossFit Abbreviations

(taken from CrossFit.com)

BS: Back squat
BW (or BWT): Body weight
CFT: CrossFit Total – consisting of max squat, press, and deadlift.
CLN: Clean
C&J: Clean and jerk
C2: Concept II rowing machine
DL: Deadlift
FS: Front squat
HSPU: Hand stand push up. Kick up into a handstand (use wall for balance, if needed) bend arms until head touches floor and push back up.
HSQ: Hang squat (clean or snatch). Start with bar “at the hang,” about knee height. Initiate pull. As the bar rises drop into a full squat and catch the bar in a front racked position. From there, rise to a standing position
KB: Kettlebell
KTE: Knees to elbows. Similar to TTBs described below.
MetCon: Metabolic Conditioning workout – the many circuits we do in CrossFit.
MU: Muscle ups. Hanging from rings you do a combination pull-up and dip so you end in an upright support.
OHS: Overhead squat. Full-depth squat performed while arms are locked out in a wide grip press position above (and usually behind) the head.
PC: Power clean
PJ: Push jerk
PR: Personal record
PP: Push press
PSN: Power snatch
PU: Pull-ups, possibly push ups depending on the context
Rep: Repetition. One performance of an exercise.
Rx’d; as Rx’d: As prescribed; as written. WOD done without any adjustments.
RM: Repetition maximum. Your 1RM is your max lift for one rep. Your 10 RM is the most you can lift 10 times.
SDHP: Sumo deadlift high pull
Set: A number of repetitions. e.g., 3 sets of 10 reps, often seen as 3×10, means do 10 reps, rest, repeat, rest, repeat.
SN: Snatch
SQ: Squat
TTB: Toes to bar. Hang from bar. Bending primarily at waist raise your toes to touch the bar, slowly lower them and repeat. Much like a pull up, this movement can be kipped as well.