Are acronyms & jargon ever a strong tactic?

Mar 23, 2021


Welcome to the bizarre, beguiling and brilliant world of CrossFit lexicon – a lingo like no other that I felt duty-bound as a copywriter to investigate, ever since the first time I found myself kipping in my local CrossFit box (Blitz Twickenham). FYI a box is a gym. And I wasn’t napping, I was hanging from a bar attached to the ceiling. Obviously. I’m still working on my fitness ‘gainz’, but my understanding of the language has definitely strengthened. I now know a pistol from a push press, a dead bug from a dumbbell thrusters and a hook-grip from a hang power snatch. So, as it’s the global ‘CrossFit Games: The Open 2021’ right now, I thought it timely to introduce you to some Blitz banter – and a snapshot of this exercise phenomenon.

Let’s start with Cindy. Don’t be deceived. Cindy, I found out, is a type of WOD. Workout of the Day. Not to be confused with QOD: Question of the Day (much easier to achieve). And so start the acronyms. As a copywriter, it’s always my mission to get clients to ditch abbreviations for clarity’s sake; often alienating, they can leave readers guessing as to their meaning.

But acronyms and jargon are to CrossFit are like marmalade is to Paddington – inextricably linked and all the better for it. Far from alienating, they’re part of the glue that helps bring the community together. A tribe, after all, needs a common language.

“At the heart of CrossFit is community,” says Blitz Twickenham Founder, Tim Hagon. “If we didn’t have our own language, we’d spend all the time talking rather than doing what we love – working out. When I say: it’s FRAN today (pull-ups, thrusters etc) – we know what that means. It’s really easy to pick up, and it gives you that sense of belonging to a community with a joint mission: to be as fit and healthy as we can be.”

On that note, I’ve called on my fellow Blitzers for inspiration and here are their favourites – plus my interpretation of what it’s like being on the receiving end of them.

AMRAP: As many reps as possible. That means a lot. It’ll be hard. It’ll hurt.

EMOM: Every minute on the minute. Also, seemingly unending.

HAM: Go at it ‘hard as a mother***’. Something I could do with channelling more.

RX: As prescribed. If you manage an RX weight, you’ve smashed it. Think Hercules heavy.

T2B: Toes-to-bar. Yup. It literally means you have to swing by your hands from a bar and simultaneously get your toes to touch said bar that’s hanging from the ceiling. Some form of modern-day torture. Looks pretty awesome when achieved.

GOAT: Working on a weakness. “Spend 10 minutes working on a goat”. I have a lot of goats, which makes this a time-consuming strategy.

RDL: Romanian deadlift. Glutes and hamstrings at the ready. Need to channel your inner Vlad – named after Nicu Vlad, a Romanian heavyweight lifter.

DUs: Double-unders. Skipping rope needs to swing round twice per one jump. In mind-bogglingly high numbers.

DUs: Also down-ups. Like burpees to the floor, without the jump in between. Never a few; always in their hundreds.

STOH: Shoulder to overhead. That means your weight has to do just that.

HWPO: Hard work pays off. And judging my the amazing athletes at Blitz, that certainly rings true.

And then there are the femme fatale names of the workouts – akin to the naming of deadly storms. Mary is the mother of Satan – with handstand press-ups (actual press-ups while standing on your actual hands upside-down), while Kelly means kangaroo-like proportions of jumping and Karen involves 150 wallballs for time. Wall balls? Oh yes, weighted gargantuan balls that you need to throw very high up onto a line marked on a wall and then catch while in a low squat. You need to keep your wits about you, as they can land on your head. Don’t even get me started on Barbara.

So, a blowy (tough – you’ll be out of breath and then some) Cindy (push-ups, pull-ups & air squats) AMRAP (as many reps as possible) that you need to go HAM (hard as a motherBEEP) on should by now all make sense. Right? If not, come see for yourself. You have nothing to lose and everything to gainZ…

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