The Certified CrossFit Trainer Examination conforms to a content outline based on a formal practice analysis of CrossFit Trainers. The exam is broken down into six domains. Each domain has tasks within it that are required of an effective trainer. Each task has abilities needed to accomplish that task, and knowledge required to demonstrate that ability.
Study material is provided to help prepare candidates for the Certified CrossFit Trainer examination. While this study material is extensive, it is not exhaustive. Candidates should not attempt to memorize the content in the study material. The exam questions are not necessarily taken directly from these sources. Instead, candidates should attempt to understand the concepts presented and be able to apply them to training scenarios.
Below you can search the Study Material by domain or keywords to create a more refined path of study.
D1 , D2 , D3, D4, D5, D6
D1 , D2 , D3, D4, D5, D6
More isn’t always better: James Hobart explains how certain experienced athletes can add training volume to increase work capacity.
D1 , D2 , D3 , D4
Join Kelly Starrett, owner of San Francisco CrossFit and creator of MobilityWOD, as he teaches coaches and their athletes how to diagnose dysfunction.
D1 , D3
While in Malibu, Calif., team members were subject to metabolic analysis by Pepperdine University. Athletes wore masks covering their noses and mouths, as well as gadgets to track various markers.
D1 , D2 , D3
It is our aim in this issue to offer a model or template for our workout programming in the hope of elaborating on the CrossFit concept and potentially stimulating productive thought on the subject of exercise prescription generally and workout construction specifically.
Scoliosis involves the presence of abnormal curvatures along the vertebral column. The degree of scoliosis may vary dramatically from mild imperceptible curves to severe and physically perceptible deformations that limit movement capacity. Physicians diagnose any lateral deviation greater than 10 degrees from vertical as scoliosis. In the gym, it manifests as a hip or shoulder tilt when athletes should be maintaining a neutral position, level and parallel to the floor.
By making certain parts of the rep more challenging, you’re teaching your body to exert maximal force throughout the rep.
"We present the case of a previously healthy, high-level athlete who presented with the acute onset of unilateral anterior leg pain and foot drop the day after a strenuous workout. He was diagnosed with compartment syndrome and rhabdomyolysis."
D1 , D6
The discipline of exercise physiology should provide us with an understanding of how the body adapts to exercise to make us more fit. We can begin that quest with a look at the work of one individual, Hans Selye, M.D.
D2 , D3
When we age, we lose fitness capacity. That loss is compounded if we do not train. But if we do train hard and intelligently, we can abate that loss even if we can’t eliminate it completely.
D1 , D2 , D4
CrossFitters has posed a new puzzle. Why do they get aerobically fit when they do not train in a manner that would be considered “aerobic”? Their amazing success doesn’t fit into the convenient box of aerobic training dogma
Understanding how something is built will help you understand how it works. The biological and engineering adage “form equals function” is quite important in exercise and fitness. When we want to get better at an exercise we need to understand how the structure of the body contributes to its performance.
D1 , D3 , D4 , D5
Effective coaching requires efficient communication. This communication is greatly aided by coach and athlete sharing a terminology for both human movement and body parts.
D1 , D3 , D4
"One of the amazing things about gymnastics is that so much develops on just a small handful of foundational movements. From something as simple as a support, you can find dozens more exercises branching out from it"
D3 , D4
Though the process by which we engineer our workouts is largely rational, the finished product is often seemingly infused with qualities more commonly associated with art than exercise like symmetry, theme, or character
"It is widely accepted and proven that obese people take in more calories than they expend. It’s not that calories in/calories out needs to be completely discounted, but the energy-balance equation, as it is called, is an oversimplified approach that does not explain the chronic-disease epidemic."
Spills should be cleaned up immediately, and by planning ahead, educating trainers, and having the right equipment and supplies ready, clean-up will be swift and thorough.
CrossFit workouts are known for their high intensity, which means an athlete training according to the methodology will get ample opportunity for exposure to negative thoughts and emotions.
D1 , D4
Thomas Seyfried, Dr. Eugene Fine explain how cancer is affected by sugar, insulin and inflammation.
"There is no single correct way to initially prepare athletes for the intensity necessary to produce results, but it is imperative that a process exists to bring athletes through an appropriate series of steps that minimizes risk while trainers maximize intensity."
D2 , D3 , D6
HQ trainers Chuck Carswell and Chris Spealler demonstrate this approach as they work with athletes to correct movement. Watch their progressions and learn how you can improve your own coaching skills.
The world’s best CrossFit athletes have learned to control and optimize their self-talk. This potent mental skill resulted in their ability to formulate and achieve their goals—both inside the gym and out—with consistency and grace.
“We’re trying to ignite the flame in each one of our members,” says Ben Bergeron, co-owner and head coach at CrossFit New England, as he addresses a group of affiliate owners. “Ignite the spark. It is the job and it is the responsibility of your coaches to get your members interested in CrossFit.”
Steve is a Type 1 diabetic who has set his eyes on competing in the 2011 sectionals, and he’s taking the “evidence-based results” of CrossFit to the next level with a logbook of his nutrition and blood-sugar levels before and after CrossFit workouts.
D1 , D4 , D5
It is an immutable fact that an increase in absolute strength for any CrossFitter would make him or her a better CrossFitter assuming said strength is not accompanied by a big increase in total body weight (or a detraining effect on endurance or strength endurance).
What type of training program would best prepare a woman for the demands of pregnancy, labor and postpartum responsibilities?
Here are some of the most common questions people ask about CrossFit workouts.
D1 , D2 , D3 , D6
We know that nearly everyone should exercise, although those with specific disease states or disabilities can require considerable modifications. The real issue is identifying clients you should not train or who should not enter your facility if you have a pay-for-access gym. A pre-participation screening should be specifically designed to identify these individuals in an empirical fashion.
"To coach and teach effectively we must learn as much as we can, interpret what is learned as best we can, then present it to our trainees and students in the most approachable and practical format possible so they might use what we know to achieve their particular goals."
The squat is an essential movement pattern, but many lose the ability to perform a proper squat over time, and the movement must be retrained to allow them to perform daily activities such as standing from a seated position.
"Most importantly, warm-up is the best time to evaluate the physical and psychological states of your athletes, which is key to ensuring they have an effective session."
D1 , D2 , D3 , D4 , D6
Linear progression is a system utilized by many CrossFit practitioners for the strength-training component of their overall regimen ... is it the most effective method for CrossFitters?
An often-overlooked aspect of return-to-play is the development and maintenance of sports specific conditioning while monitoring training load to ensure that the athlete's training stimulus over the rehabilitation period is appropriate to facilitate a successful return to play.
Develop and Implement an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) - Emergency Action Plan Checklist
The Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) and the Physical Activity Readiness Medical Evaluation (PARmed-X) are internationally known preparticipation screening tools developed on the basis of expert opinion.
When it comes to rowing in CrossFit, there are three common errors: early back opening, early arm break and extreme layback. When the back opens early in the stroke, much of the hip drive is missing, says Shane Farmer of CrossFit Rowing. The legs and hips should work in harmony, he explains.
We examine “Fran,” one of our benchmark workouts. The opportunity this affords for insights into human performance, programming, and ways of measuring and motivating progress is strong
In modern physics we can precisely quantify forces in a variety of units (newtons, dynes, kiloponds, pound-force, or foot-pounds), and we can determine in which direction the force is acting.
There is a compelling tendency among novices developing any skill or art, whether learning to play the violin, write poetry, or compete in gymnastics, to quickly move past the fundamentals and on to more elaborate, more sophisticated movements, skills or techniques.
The handstand can be one of the most undervalued movements within the CrossFit community or where sport is concerned. Nevertheless, its application and regular performance for skill sets can produce better movement within any field of sport where athleticism is involved.
The human body is a complex system of levers that enables us to perform everything from very basic to extremely complex movements. Individually, levers are simple machines, and we can think of the body as a collection of machines.
Paoli explains how active shoulders create tension and stabilize the midline. He describes how a handstand push-up is like a squat with the order of movement from core to extremity.
Tissue healing has three phases, Kelly Starrett told participants at a one day seminar at CrossFit Santa Cruz on March 14, 2009. Starrett is the owner of San Francisco CrossFit and a Doctor of Physical Therapy.
The concept of health and safety encompasses all relevant governmental and organizational regulations and procedures that are intended to prevent accident or injury in a workplace or public environment.
Cholesterol has a bad reputation, thanks to its well-known role in promoting heart disease. Excess cholesterol in the bloodstream is a key contributor to artery-clogging plaque, which can accumulate and set the stage for a heart attack. But to fully explain cholesterol, you need to realize that it's also vital to your health and well-being.
"A proper squat is all about maintaining proper spinal stability. When we combine the coordinated bracing ability of our core muscles and harness the power of our breath we allow our body to move properly and lift tremendous weights safely."
"People look at food labels for different reasons. But whatever the reason, many consumers would like to know how to use this information more effectively and easily."
While the majority of trainers and athletes easily understand many aspects of CrossFit programming, there is a certain mystique (the infamous “black box”) regarding the metcon (metabolic conditioning) workouts.
James DiNicolantonio and James O’Keefe summarize evidence that omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation, while omega-3s are anti-inflammatory. Seed oils high in linoleic acid contribute to atherosclerotic risk via impacts on inflammation, oxidative stress, and other downstream effects; conversely, omega-3s suppress some of these same pro-inflammatory mechanisms.
Video library of CrossFit movements
The purpose of this study was to systematically review the literature regarding various definitions of injuries used, injury localisation, the prevalence and incidence of injuries and the associated risk factors for injuries in weightlifting and powerlifting.
"We all know the famous quote from Benjamin Franklin: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”If we don’t create a protocol for handling injuries, we are sure to miss something in the process."
Creating functionally fit individuals is a primary goal of CrossFit, and an efficacious way of measuring or operationally defining fitness is in an athlete’s ability to do more work faster and across variable domains over time
"In my opinion (and the opinion of many others) the lipid parameters of most value in determining risk for heart disease are triglyceride levels and HDL levels. In fact an important index of risk is the triglyceride to HDL ratio (TGL/HDL): the lower the better"
Much of the science of sleep is still unknown, but there are emerging theories that connect good sleep not only to overall health but also to improved athletic performance. Here’s what you need to know about sleep.
D1 , D5
Despite milk’s clear benefits, its use is limited among athletes due to a common belief that adults are “allergic” to it or “lactose intolerant.”
"we will take a look at how we describe human movement in very specific spatial and directional terms and hopefully simplify them for easy use in teaching"
"Have you ever stopped to think about why you are getting sore? Why do some workouts cause severe muscle soreness and others not? What could one do to prevent or reduce it? If these thoughts have crossed your mind at some point, read on."
“Intermittent fasting” is the name some nutrition experts give to the practice of occasionally going for extended periods without eating. Maybe you go 12 hours. Maybe it’s 16 hours. Maybe it’s 24 hours.
"If there is one thing I can’t stand, it’s being told that I shouldn’t or can’t do something because I have diabetes. That said, controlling diabetes is extremely important, no matter what activities I choose to do."
D1 , D2 , D5
This brief describes some of the factors to consider when selecting carbohydrates, including total carbohydrate grams.
To determine the optimal amount of food for health and performance, you are going to have to start weighing and measuring somewhere. And where you start is secondary to starting.
Insulin is one of the most powerful central regulators of metabolism. Its presence is a signal of energy sufficiency that drives energy storage (e.g., as glycogen or fatty acids) or begins energy-consuming processes such as cell division.
The intent of this brief is to explain why someone might employ or avoid intermittent fasting.
On Nutrition Data, you'll find detailed nutrition information, plus unique analysis tools that tell you more about how foods affect your health and make it easier to choose healthy foods.
CrossFit is training for the unknown and unknowable, but for top athletes, knowing the date of game day changes the game, Ben Bergeron says.
Mike Ray, MD from CrossFit Flagstaff, is a presenter at various CrossFit Level 1 seminars. He’s also an ER doc. This lecture on pre-participation screening is from the Science of Exercise seminar on April 26th, 2009 in Fort Worth, TX.
As coaches, it is our responsibility to bring the workout to life for every athlete who comes to our classes, and this is done by scaling the workout.
D2 , D4
Join Shane Sweatt and Laura Phelps-Sweatt of Westside Barbell as they demonstrate bench-press set-up and technique. Phelps-Sweatt’s best bench is an incredible 530 lb.
"I don’t care who you are or where you train or who you train: you better have everyone—and I mean everyone—sign a waiver before you start training him or her or even letting the athlete swing on the pull-up bars."
“I can tell you what it is that makes you successful in business, more specifically as a CrossFit affiliate,” CrossFit founder and CEO Greg Glassman says. “It’s the blind and relentless constant pursuit of excellence.”
The concept of race-day nutrition is a cornerstone of the endurance community. First, there are three elements to competition fueling—nutrition, hydration and electrolyte management.
"Education and training are important tools for informing workers and managers about workplace hazards and controls so they can work more safely and be more productive."
In this series on improving running performance, Brian MacKenzie and Doug Katona demonstrate drills utilizing the Pose Method of running.
MacKenzie identifies problems he commonly sees with the running stride and how to fix them. He demonstrates a hamstring-activation technique he uses to cue athletes to pull with the hamstring and not the hip flexors.
"In addition to being functionally necessary, training overhead work capacity is above all safe. In fact, failing to prepare for the rigors of ordinary overhead movement can predispose the shoulder to mechanical dysfunction."
The mass consensus is that exercise is a healthy undertaking. The general population, including lawmakers and courts (this will be important later), has a preconceived notion that all exercise and sport is healthy, and that if injury occurs, someone has done something wrong. This, as a blanket statement, is of course incorrect.
"A properly scaled workout safely maximizes relative intensity (load, speed, range of motion) to continue developing increased work capacity despite limitations. A long-term goal of scaling is creating the ability to perform workouts “as prescribed.”
D2 , D3 , D4 , D6
In CrossFit and in life, we go overhead. Kelly Starrett, of San Francisco CrossFit, explains the essential anatomy and physiology of the shoulder. This is an excerpt from his one day seminar on Training the Injured Athlete at CrossFit Santa Cruz on March 14th, 2009.
“Food is our fuel for metabolism,” she explains. “Metabolism is all the chemical processes that go on necessary to maintain life, also to produce energy, to do CrossFit.”
“Instead of making yourself mad trying to know exactly which meat has which kind of fatty-acid balance, my sort of practical recommendation is just rotate your meat sources,”
“Carbohydrates—we use these for energy,” Synkowski explains. “We don’t need to take in carbohydrates. We can do without them. But for high-intensity training, for CrossFit training, you’re going to want to have some carbohydrates in your diet to be effective.”
“Typically, wherever we see diseases of modern civilization—obesity, heart disease, cancer—we also see a consumption of sugar,” she explains. “So that’s why we want it to be generally eliminated from your diet.”
“What we like about the Zone … is the idea that we are assessing exactly what we’re taking in so that we can see how our performance tracks with that,” Synkowski says.
As athletes, many in the CrossFit community like to think of themselves as protected from disease. It’s certainly true that being fit provides us with resistance and a remarkable resilience with regard to illness, but we can still get sick.
The anatomy of the spine is quite complex. However, to understand the need to maintain normal lumbar lordosis (curvature), all we really need to discuss is the line of action of the erector muscles and some of the ligaments that connect the vertebrae to one another (interspinous ligaments).
Considering the complexity of the exercise and the many variables related to performance, understanding squat biomechanics is of great importance for both achieving optimal muscular development as well as reducing the prospect of a training-related injury.
This document will summarize the most current information on the prevalence, etiology, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of EAH for medical personnel, athletes, athletic trainers, and the greater public.
Our purpose here is to show specifically how a simple goal, like rowing a seven-minute two thousand meters, can not only be systematically and deliberately approached from multiple protocols, but can generally encourage similar thinking in pursuing other fitness milestones.
Believing sports drinks are a necessary part of athletics, many athletes fail to notice
substantial amounts of added sugar can affect their health and performance.
When team workouts are well constructed, the physiological effect is equal to the individual workouts, but the magic created by the dynamics of teamwork and competition has no equivalent in the solo effort. The chief obstacles to team workouts are logistical — problems of structure, planning, timing, and equipment — and they can readily be overcome with the guidance of specific, simple criteria.
An easy case can be made for the hip being the most important anatomic region in all athletic endeavors. Before this argument can be made, we must have a clear picture of the anatomic structure and biomechanics of this complex region.
Fundamental movement competency is essential for participation in physical activity and for mitigating the risk of injury, which are both key elements of health throughout life. The squat movement pattern is arguably one of the most primal and critical fundamental movements necessary to improve sport performance, to reduce injury risk and to support lifelong physical activity.
The deeper side of coaching is about establishing and nurturing a strong relationship between an athlete and a coach. And I would argue this relationship is the foundation of our true goals as coaches: to improve the lives, health and happiness of our clients.
To be more than good, affiliates must come to a realization, he says. “The great ones are recognizing that we’re not in the fitness business,” Bergeron explains. “We’re in the relationship business.”
Josh Everett goes over the proper form for GHD movements including the hip extension, back extension, hip-and-back extension and GHD sit-up. Fellow HQ trainer Nadia Shatila demonstrates each movement.
D2 , D3 , D4
“Is it safe to exercise while pregnant?” is an age-old question. In earlier times, pregnant women were told to stay in bed and rest, due to their “delicate” condition.
The average trainer, coach or physical educator must have a functional understanding of how differing anatomical phenotypes (different body dimensions and body-segment lengths) affect the way proper technique looks.
CrossFit’s 10 domains of fitness cover the full range of physical and neurological components, but do they tell the full story of fitness?
Sure, excellence is a noble goal worthy of any business owner’s time and effort, but how does the pursuit of excellence drive the day-to-day operations of an affiliate?
"What it boils down to is the bench press is really no different from any other exercise in strength training. When it’s done with perfect technique and utilized in your program to meet your overall goals, it’s definitely a valuable asset."
D3 , D4 , D6
The Olympic lifts are complex compound movements, but we can drill down to one little piece of the lifts that is generating most of the speed strength – the second pull.
The Westside conjugate system is the best of two advanced training systems: the Soviet system, where several special exercises are used to advance the training of superior lifters and athletes, and the Bulgarian system, where near-max lifts are performed every workout.
"While any strenuous sport presents certain risks to the participant, many are surprised to learn that Weightlifting is among the safest of all strenuous sports ...This is especially true if it is performed correctly with proper supervision, sound technique, and athlete appropriate weights. Under such conditions, the occurrence of serious injury is rare."
D3 , D6
Results suggest that vitamin D may have an important role in many aspects of human health, from bone fractures to prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, neuromuscular problems, and diabetes.
"VO2 max is a measure of your body’s ability to take up and utilize oxygen. VO2 max is measured by determining the amount of oxygen in the inspired air and the expired air. The difference is the amount of oxygen used by the body."
Many people struggle to define CrossFit, and many others don’t know the rationale behind the program. They know there’s magic in the movements, and they know it works—but why?
"I think the whole glycemic index idea is interesting, but flawed as a tool for those seeking weight loss and/or better health. Here’s why."
Unbeknownst to most trainers, many current statutes and regulations affect gyms and fitness delivery—and ignorance is not bliss. In fact, another adage is more apropos: “Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense.”
The type of bar you buy should be determined by what you want to do with it. Many factors play into the quality of a bar, and understanding them is important to the informed consumer.
Although it might not be as fun or sexy as a 500-lb. deadlift or a two-minute Fran, taking time to log workout details can go a long way in helping you become a better CrossFitter.