What Are CrossFit Functional Movements and Why Should You Care?

As soon as you start learning about CrossFit exercises, you start hearing about CrossFit Functional Movements. But what are CrossFit Functional Movements, and, perhaps most importantly, why should you care?

Functional movements are the types of things you do every day. They are the types of moves you make in your everyday life, e.g., carrying children, pushing a wheelbarrow, lifting a box. 

CrossFit Functional Movements take these everyday activities and turn them into a core strength and conditioning program. CrossFit’s training manual describes itself as “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.” 

From a technical perspective, functional movements are universal motor recruitment patterns. That means, when you use them, they invoke a muscular contraction from core to extremity. Functional movements are multi-joint movements, or compound movements, expected to naturally and efficiently move the body and other objects effectively. In other words, functional movements transfer heavy things a long distance quickly and produce a lot of power doing so. 

The Functional Movements are foundational to the workout, which is designed to prepare you to be stronger for the things you do outside of the gym. They include activities like:


  • Squatting
  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Throwing
  • Pulling
  • Picking Things Up 


Also, Men’s Health describes CrossFit functional movements as “all-rounded fitness.” 

CrossFit functional movements do not focus on one part of your overall fitness, e.g., strength or stamina. Instead, the CrossFit exercises address your strength and stamina—as well as the other fitness domains, which include cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. 

Livestrong.com recommends that people who are new to CrossFit, and even those who have a lot of experience in CrossFit training, should master 16 foundational movements from a CrossFit repertoire, ranging from The Box Jump to the Push Up to the Overhead Squat with a weight bar.

CrossFit.com also has functional movement demos of the nine foundational CrossFit Exercises, which include:

The Air Squat


The Front Squat



The Overhead Squat


The Shoulder Press


The Push Press


The Push Jerk


The Deadlift


The Sumo Deadlift High Pull


The Medicine Ball Clean


If you are new to CrossFit or even if you have been doing it for a while, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is for you to have proper form when you undertake these CrossFit exercises. Start with no weights as you perfect the form and work your way up. Better yet, consider personal training for CrossFit to ensure that you have the form perfected before you graduate to higher weight or more intensity. 

CrossFit functional movements are movements that your body was designed to do, performed at high intensity, and producing a lot of power. The philosophy and definition of CrossFit Functional Movements support the idea that when you get stronger doing CrossFit exercises, you improve how you do things in the real world. And that, we think, is something you should care about.

Have more questions about CrossFit Functional Movements or your other fitness goals? Call us at 562.623.7857. Or email us at K2CrossFit@Gmail.com.

K2 CrossFit is a fully-equipped CrossFit facility in Koreatown, Los Angeles offering CrossFit classes, mobility WODs, personal training, and nutrition counseling. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.


CrossFit (2012). CrossFit Whiteboard: Functional Movement.

Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAaKk1ADccs [Accessed 13 Nov. 2019].

“CrossFit Exercises and Demos.” CrossFit. Web. 13 November 2019. <https://www.crossfit.com/exercisedemos/>. 

The Cross Fit Training Guide. Crossfit.Com, 2019, p. 1, http://www.crossfit.com/cf-seminars/CertRefs/CF_Manual_v4.pdf. Accessed 13 Nov 2019.

Stohler, Collette. “16 Essential CrossFit Moves to Master.” Livestrong.com. 26 July 2019. Web. 13 November 2019. <https://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011045-16-essential-crossfit-moves/>.

“8 Crossfit Exercises for Beginners To Get Fitter.” Menshealth.com. 23 January 2018. Web. 13 November 2019. <https://www.menshealth.com.sg/fitness/crossfit-exercises-for-beginners-friendly-workouts-get-fitter-ripped/>.