You can’t seem to go anywhere nowadays without hearing someone talking about CrossFit and how it has changed their life. They might even start talking about “The Girls” and to avoid the appearance of coming off as a rube, here’s the skinny on what they’re talking about.
A WOD in CrossFit is an acronym for “Workout of the Day,” and in September 2003, six workouts were introduced with women’s names to identify them. They are benchmark workouts and provide a way for athletes to measure their performance.
The first three exercises — or girls — are Angie, Barbara, and Chelsea, and are completely based on calisthenics. The second three combine calisthenics with weight lifting which produce a full body workout and are called Diane, Elizabeth, and Fran.
The founder of CrossFit, Greg Glassman, gave the workouts female names modeled after how the National Weather Service named tropical storms. He felt the workouts were so intense that after athletes did them, it would feel like they just got hit by a storm.
Since then, numerous additional girls have been added with “The New Girls,” and expanded to 21 benchmark workouts. Each workout is designed to test and challenge you in different ways and show your improvements over time. For instance, one workout could focus on cardiovascular while others test speed or flexibility.
Different workouts require different equipment. Some just use body weight while others require a pull up bar, gymnastic rings, medicine balls, barbells, or kettlebells. Then different variables such as the amount of weight used, reps or sets completed, and how much rest between each exercise.
If you belong to a CrossFit gym, you never know what to expect when you walk in the door with a different workout posted by the trainer. However, if you can recognize the girl’s name, you can know what’s coming. For instance, bodyweight exercises are assigned to Barbara, Chelsea, Mary, Cindy, and Annie and can include the following:
- Air Squats
- Handstand Push-ups
The next group of girls adds lifting to bodyweight exercises. Box jumps, wall balls, and kettlebells can be expected when the trainer announces Nicole, Angie, Eva, Helen, Kelly, or Karen will be done that day.
Expect bodyweight, gymnastics, and barbell exercises with this group of girl benchmarks: Amanda, Jackie, Diane, Fran, Elizabeth, Nancy, and Lynn.
Finally, there are intense barbell-only girls which just focus on weightlifting: Isabel, Linda, and Grace.
It’s Over! Now What?
These exercises are designed to be challenging and push you to your limit. It is essential that you do a cooldown exercise to return your breathing and muscles back to a relaxed state.
It is advisable to have a foam roll to rid your muscles of lactic acid that may have built up in your calves, glutes, quads, or triceps. By making 15-20 rolls in these areas, you can begin returning your body to a recovered state.
Next, stretch the muscle groups. This will get rid of tightness and let you relax after your workout. Cooling down has an effect on the central nervous system and will send signals to your muscles to release the tension and tightness in the muscles.