The Crossfit 9 foundational movements

Whilst there are a multitude of movements covering a variety of planes of motion and skill complexities, for Crossfit there are 9 core foundational movements.

The nine foundational movements of the Level 1 Course are:

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

These 9 movements are separated into 3 sections – squats, presses and pulls. You’ll notice that all are core to extremity, functional movements, and all three sections start from the lowest movement scale.

Whilst the simplest of each of these movements (air squat, shoulder press and deadlift) could be scaled further, further scaling down no longer makes them functional movements, however a coach may decide to scale down further as a way of allowing a lower work capacity athlete achieve the WOD during threshold training.

Its important to consider why these 9 movements were chosen to be the 9 foundational movements. Simply put, these 9 movements are cover the most common movement patterns seen in Crossfit, and whilst they aren’t extensive, they are common enough that achieving standard in these 9 movements has direct transference to other movements. additionally these 9 movements are relatively easy to teach and train to both coaches and athletes with very clearly observable 1) Points of Performance; and 2) Common Faults and Corrections. Finally, all 9 movements fall under a clear hierarchy of scale and can be immediately applied to a WOD.

As an example, by mastering these 9 movements the athlete then possesses the skills to easily master thrusters, clusters, bench presses, barbell cleans, kettlebell swings and a whole host of other movements. Whilst these 9 movements shouldn’t be the be all and end all, they are the foundations from which an athlete can start, and should continue to revisit through their crossfit career.

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