Sets and Reps

Monkey see... Some CFWSC sons and daughters get in on the burpee action during today's workout. The CrossFit West Kids and Teens program starts in September.

One thing that often confuses new members is all the numbers in the workouts written in arcane ways. Beginning CrossFitters can almost feel like they are trapped in the Da Vinci Code. Weightlifting often has 3RM, 5×5; 2/2/2/2/2/2; 2×20 @ 80% 1RM. WODs (Workout of the Day) might have 21-15-9; 5-4-3-2-1; 10-8-6-4-2, and others. Huh? What the hell does all this mean?


RM stands for “Rep Max,” the most weight you can do for the required number of reps, such as 3 rep max. A rep max will not always be a PR (Personal Record), and will often not be, but rather the most you can do that day, as in 3 rep max for the day.

5×5, 5×3, 7×2

A multiplication symbol, x, between 2 numbers stands for sets and repetitions. Five sets of five reps, or seven sets of 2 reps. The sets come first and the reps are second. A rep scheme written with an x usually means that all the sets are at the same weight, ie 5×5 is five sets of five reps at the same weight, say 225 pounds.

2/2/2/2/2/2 or 2,2,2,2,2,2 or 2-2-2-2-2-2

A rep scheme written like this means to ascend in weight by sets of two, basically finding a two rep max for the day in 6 sets. In other words, do two reps and then add weight, do two more reps and add more weight until you cannot go heavier. It is often interchangeable with RM or rep max–2RM.

@ 80% 1RM

This is the designated of weight of the lifts, 80 percent of your 1Rep Max. 80 percent of the most you have done in that lift, basically your PR. 2×20 @ 80% 1RM is two sets of twenty reps done at 80 percent of your best lift (back squat for example).

CrossFit workouts are often couplets or triplets–two or three movements alternated for specific number of repetitions or time duration. For example:




This would be done as thrusters for 21 reps, then 21 pullups, 15 thrusters, 15 pullups, 9 thrusters, and finally 9 pullups.


Deadlift @ 75% 1RM

Muscle Ups

Here one would do 5 deadlifts at a weight of 75 percent of their best deadlift, 5 muscle ups, then 4 deadlifts, 4 muscle ups, and so on alternating each lift until the final 1 muscle up is completed.



Power Clean 185/135#

50 Double Unders (or 200m run) after each couplet.

So, 10 repetitions of toes-2-bar and power cleans, then 50 double unders, then 8 reps of the two movements (the couplet), and 50 double unders, and so on until the final set of 50 double unders right after the 2 repetitions of the couplet have been performed.

Like any slang and lingo, CrossFitspeak can be difficult to grasp at first, but it will eventually be as easy to understand as the Queen’s English (just not from Scotland, Wales, the Orkneys, Cornwall, Ireland, or a character in a Guy Ritchie movie).


Hang Squat Snatch-find 1RM


3 Rounds

1 Clean and Jerk 185/135#

1 Muscle Up (3 dips/3 pullups)

2 Clean and Jerks

2 Muscle Ups (6 dips/6 pullups)

3 Clean and Jerks

3 Muscle Ups (9 dips/9 pullups)


AMRAP in 4 minutes

10 yard sled pushes