With the popularity of CrossFit workouts seeping into traditional gyms and multiple CrossFit- Boxes popping up in every city, there is a reason why individuals seek the next Workout of the Day (WOD).  CrossFit is a discipline that incorporates multiple aspects of human kinetic movements in its’ strength & conditioning program.  CrossFit is focused on “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement” derived and combined from different fitness programs; body weight exercises by performing handstand push-up, plyometrics with box jumps, powerlifting with deadlifts, Olympic weightlifting with clean & jerk, calisthenics with pull- ups, and lastly performing distance exercises with rowing.   By design, the WOD typical includes a mixture of these exercises conducted at high intensity up to 25 minutes.   

With the combination of functional strength training, circuit training and endurance exercises there are unlimited WOD programs that can be created. There are official WOD programs that every CrossFitter is familiar with, such as, the Fran, Filthy 50, Donkey Kong and the Ryan to name a few.  The efficacy of these programs has shown to increase physical fitness and endurance.  In 2010, a study conducted by the U.S. Army during a 6-week CrossFit specific training program it produced “an increase in their work capacity, measured in terms of power output, with an average increase of 20%”. Among participates, performance for the one repetition maximum deadlift capacity was increased by 21.11%.

Since WOD programs have shown effective results, compared to each other, which of the WOD programs are better.  In study, comparing the Fran verses the Donkey Kong, researchers recorded data on heart rate (HR), V02 Max and their rating of the perceived exertion (RPE).  The Fran is a sequence of thrusters and pull-ups done as rapidly as possible verses the Donkey Kong that is performed with burpees, kettlebell swings and box jumps.  The study showed that the HR were elevated to an average of 90% of the HR max, averaged 80% of the VO2 Max and rating of PRE was “hard” with the Donkey Kong WOD edging out the Fran WOD. Researchers “conclude that CrossFit does a really good job of helping exercisers improve their aerobic fitness, while burning a fair number of calories”.

Over the past several years CrossFit has gained popularity around the world and now with more research data showing the benefits of CrossFit’s WOD, it is proven its strength in the exercise community and its’ programs will continue to evolve.

Richard A. Martinez M.A., ATC