What Is a WOD?

The first time I heard the term “WOD” was during my first ever CrossFit class.

I had to lean over to the person next to me and as discreetly as possible ask for clarification on what a WOD was, and why it was going to be “death”, as the coach put it.

They were right, it was tough! But it was also the beginning of something awesome for me.

Today I’ll tell you what WOD is and why it might be right for you!

What Is WOD

Trainer lindsay doing a workout of the day

WOD stands for “Workout of the Day,” and is most commonly used in CrossFit lingo.

The way most gyms work is they have a primary workout of the day, coached multiple times throughout that day.

Not all gyms, or “boxes” as they are commonly referred to, are made the same.

Workouts and coaching methods can vary from gym to gym, but there are hundreds of WODs that are recognized at just about any gym.

These workouts are generally timed and recorded as a point of reference to see what level you’re at on a worldwide scale and are also a personal reference point for each individual.

Why can WOD Do For Me?

WODs are one of those things that people typically absolutely love, or loathe, or if you are like me, you loathe and then once you are done, you love.

They cover a wide range of movements and training styles, with a focus on heavy weights, high cardio, high reps, as well as quick repetitions.

Similar to HIIT workouts where the body is required to use a variety of muscle fibers and muscle groups at a high capacity, WODs push the body to do the same for more extended periods of time with fewer breaks.

While some workouts require heavy lifts such as deadlifts, or snatches, other workouts are done entirely by bodyweight.

What sets WOD apart from most other forms of training is that they were purposefully created to not specialize for any one sport or one type of training.

While I am an athlete that specializes in one sport right now, I still regularly do the Workouts of the Day in order to optimize my athleticism in all areas.  

So why should a WOD be of interest to you?

These workouts isolate major components of fitness: cardiorespiratory fitness, stamina, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy, in order to, by definition, truly cross train in such a way that fitness, in general, can be optimal.

If you are trying to target any of those major areas of fitness, a WOD can be an intense and effective way to do so.

Five Things to Know About the WOD  

1. Standard Weight

Workouts incorporating weight will include a standard weight for women, and a standard weight for men. Coaches will counsel you on the appropriate weight to be using as well.

2. Number of Reps

Other workouts, rather than having a specific amount of reps you need to reach, just require you to hit AMRAP, which stands for “As Many Reps As Possible.” Many WODs will be centered around time, and you completing the highest number of reps you can during that segment

3. Higher Risk of Injury?

A common qualm about WODs that tends to circulate is the apparent risk of injury. While just about any form of workout can result in injury if done incorrectly, these are the same. When under the supervision of a good coach, and listening to your body, the chance of injury is no greater than with any other workout.

4. What’s in a Name

A lot of the WODs are named after women! According to CrossFit founder Greg Glassman, a lot of the more physically demanding workouts feel as if one is getting hit by a storm. In the same way that storms are named after women, WODs are also given female names!

5. A typical WOD will look something like this:

Dynamic warm-up – Not just jogging on a treadmill, but explosive movements like squats, push-ups, lunges, or pull-ups. Often it will incorporate movements that will coincide with those performed during the WOD. In other words, these kinds of warm-ups can get you nice and toasty, and even a little out of breath.

Skill/Strength work – Since new skills are always being taught, these workouts are great for any experience level! Proper form is a high priority and is worked on every day.

The actual workout – the workout of the day. This is where you’ll be told to do a certain number of reps of a particular exercise (or exercises) as quickly as possible, or you’ll have a set time limit to do as many of a certain exercise as possible.

Cool down and stretching – Taking to properly recover by finishing out a workout with a cool down rather than abruptly stopping and increasing the chance for injury is super important.

Ready Set WOD! 

The truth of the matter is, if you are looking to build your overall athleticism, training in a way that is targeting the major components of fitness can get you there.

Not only can the WOD provide a way of training for overall functionality, but it is also is known for fostering a strong community while doing so.

If you are looking to get in, get out, and be done with your workout while making new friends along the way, then this is perfect for you! 

There is something here that people from all different backgrounds are attracted to, and sticking with.

But whatever you decide to do to stay active, own it and make it your own!

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Siena Becker

Siena Becker

Writer and expert

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