For some, it’s the ultimate quest for physical preparedness; for others, the very thought of CrossFit makes them want to puke. Either way, CrossFit is making an undeniable impact in the fitness world, with followers tackling muscle-ups, Fran, and the infamous Filthy Fifty. So whether you're off to the nearest “box” or tuning in to the CrossFit Games on ESPN, here’s the need-to-know lingo for any and every WOD.
One remedy for the exercise doldrums is to keep exploring new types of movement, even if you’re already committed to a particular form of exercise. Novel activities — dance, martial arts, outdoor exercise — can work wonders for your brain, your mood, and your fascia. Massage, Rolfing, Feldenkrais, foam rolling, and other bodywork modalities can keep these tissues supple, too, so you can continue to move well, and without pain, for decades to come.
"CrossFit differentiates itself by being constantly varied in both movements and time domains," Mandelbaum says. "You might have a day in the box with a four-minute sprint workout one day, and then come in the next day for a 15-minute moderate-to-fast-paced workout featuring three movements that need to be repeated in a cycle or round until the time clock runs out."
Here's a way to tone the thighs and butt without a reformer. Begin by kneeling. Lean to the left, placing your left hand on the mat under the shoulder and your right hand behind the head with the elbow pointing up. Raise your right leg until it is parallel to the floor. Holding the torso steady, kick the leg to the front and then to the back, knee straight. Do five reps on each side.
Your heart rate refers to how many beats per minute (BPM) your heart is pumping, and when it comes to working out, knowing your heart rate can help determine if you’re working at the right intensity. You have your resting heart rate, which is how fast your heart is beating when you’re doing nothing (the best way to measure this is to take your pulse first thing in the morning). Generally speaking, this gets lower as you get more fit because your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump out blood (although if you have a naturally low resting heart rate thanks to genetics, it may not get much lower, and that’s totally fine, says Lefkowith). According to the American Heart Association, the average is 60-100 BPM. You also have your maximum heart rate, which is the hardest your heart can work efficiently.
The barre method uses your own body weight for resistance and focuses on small, deliberate movements that focus on specific groups of muscles, specifically muscles that aren’t used in other workouts. Muscles are worked to the point of fatigue, and then stretched for relief. Proper form, body alignment and posture is stressed, which in turn leads to an overall strengthening of core muscles and the appearance of an aligned, lean body.
"With CrossFit growing exponentially, you do get boxes that more closely resemble boutique studios -- think Brick or Solace in New York -- with amenities like fancy shower products, towel service, and coffee and/or smoothie bars," Ages says. "But you're just as likely to encounter one that has a single Trainspotting-style bathroom and a crumbling concrete floor."
“I always tell people that you want to learn why you’re doing something—knowing a bunch of moves doesn’t matter as much when don’t you know how to implement them,” explains Cori Lefkowith, Orange County-based personal trainer and founder of Redefining Strength. So even if you’ve got planks and push-ups down, understanding what’s really going on while you’re training can help you reach your goals faster. We’ve decoded 25 common fitness terms for you so that you can work out with confidence and get the most out of your fitness routine.