CrossFit was founded by Greg Glassman after he trained Santa Cruz Police Department officers.
The first CrossFit gym opened in Santa Cruz in the 1990s. The only machines in CrossFit gyms are for rowing. The exercises focus on functional movements, or natural motions people do in their day-to-day life. The CrossFit exercises constantly change, and the athletes may never do the same workout twice.
The CrossFit motto is to be prepared for the "unknown and unknowable," and is a popular fitness program with police, fire and military personnel, as well as those who just want to be more active.
Below is an example of a highly technical workout called "Amanda." Some of the workouts are named after women, or like those in the so-called "Hero Workouts," after those in the military or in law enforcement who are killed in the line of duty.
The Amanda consists of nine, seven and five repetitions of "muscle ups" and "squat snatches" and was first introduced at the 2010 CrossFit Games in memory of athlete Amanda Miller, who died of melanoma at the age of 24.
Muscle ups are performed on dangling gymnastic rings and begin with the athlete hanging by the hands. Muscle ups are considered the "holy grail" of CrossFit, because of their difficulty.
The athlete can start from a "dead hang," or motionless hanging position, or can begin by swinging. The athlete pulls so that the gymnastic rings are at chest level, keeping them close to the body. Then eventually the rings are pulled so that they are at hip level and the athlete presses out from a dip.
This workout is aimed mainly at building upper body strength.
To do this exercise "as prescribed," men use a 135-pound barbell while women lift a 95-pound barbell. The weight can be reduced for those who can't lift that much.
Athletes begin with their feet about shoulder distance apart, standing close to the weight. The athlete then grabs the barbell with chalky hands for a good grip, arms wide apart. The barbell is quickly lifted overhead, and the Crossfitter drops down into a squat, barbell overhead. The athlete then stands up with the barbell overhead.