Box 101

Some Functional Movements Belong Outside the Daily WOD

It’s important to decide the proper time and place to program certain movements.


While CrossFit’s efficacy speaks for itself, there’s both good and bad news when it comes to what can and can’t fit inside the Workout of the Day.

The quantifiable intensity of CrossFit is a big chunk of why it’s effective. Programming movements that become less effective with intensity starts to get our wires crossed. It’s the reason you’ll never see a bent row in a WOD, and every one of the nine foundational movements in CrossFit not only have definable, measurable standards, but they also scale with intensity. As an athlete, dangling the carrot of intensity doesn’t work against you in terms of fitness adaptation.

Imagine a workout for time built around three rounds of a 400-meter run, 10 dumbbell shoulder to overhead, and eight skin-the-cats. Surely, you could program this, but the mere fact that there is a time crunch incentivizes a skin-the-cat effort that, well, doesn’t prove to be beneficial.

Numerous movements that have plenty of relevance and importance in a general physical preparedness program (Romanian deadlifts, pirouettes, back/front levers, bent rows/inverted rows, the pressing snatch balance, etc.) don’t mesh well in the context of a WOD.

Considering this, do we determine these movements aren’t suited for CrossFit and therefore invalid in an affiliate’s programming? Not if you ask me. Rather, this is a matter of deciding the proper time and place to program certain movements.

Arguably, most are perfectly programmed as variance inside a task- or time-oriented WOD. Others, like the few mentioned above, can be implemented at varying intensities in skill work, accessory time or other understandable contexts.

You program and athletes will benefit from this approach. The key to dosing movements is to attach them to a context that allows them to do their job. Bent-over row “Helen” just might not be the best move for you and your athletes.