The Mysterious Biomechanics Of Riding And Balancing A Bicycle

Humans have been riding bicycle-like machines for close to 200 years, beginning with the Draisine or velocipede in 1817.

While riding and balancing a bicycle can seem simple and effortless, the actual control process used by a human rider is still somewhat of a mystery. Using mathematical equations, researchers have explained how a bicycle without a rider can balance itself and have identified the bicycle design features critical for that to happen.

However, the stability that is, the ability to remain balanced of a bicycle with a rider is more difficult to quantify and describe mathematically, especially since rider ability can vary widely. My colleagues and I brought expert and novice riders into the lab to investigate whether they use different balancing techniques.

The physics of staying upright on a bicycle

A big part of balancing a bicycle has to do with controlling the center of mass of the rider-bicycle system. The center of mass is the point at which all the mass (person plus bicycle) can be considered to be concentrated. During straight riding, the rider must always keep that center of mass over the wheels, or whats called the base of support an imaginary polygon that connects the two tire contacts with the ground.

Bicycle riders can use two main balancing strategies: steering and body movement relative to the bike. Steering is critical for maintaining balance and allows the bicycle to move to bring the base of support back under the center of mass. Imagine balancing a broomstick on one hand steering a bicycle is equivalent to the hand motions required to keep the broomstick balanced. Steering input can be provided by the rider directly via handlebars (steering torque) or through the self-stability of the bicycle, which arises because the steer and roll of a bicycle are coupled; a bicycle leaned to its side (roll) will cause a change in its steer angle.

Body movements relative to the bicycle like leaning left and right have a smaller effect than steering, but allow a rider to make balance corrections by shifting the center of mass side to side relative to the bicycle and base of support.

Steering is absolutely necessary to balance a bicycle, whereas body movements are not; there is no specific combination of the two to ensure balance. The basic strategy to balance a bicycle, as noted by Karl von Drais (inventor of the Draisine), is to steer into the undesired fall.

Newbies versus pros

While riders have been described using mathematical equations, the equations are not yet useful for understanding the differences between riders of different ability levels or for predicting the stability of a given rider on a given bicycle.

Therefore, the goal of my colleagues’ and my recent work was to explore the types of control used by both novice and expert riders and to identify the differences between the two groups. In our study, expert riders identified themselves as skilled cyclists, went on regular training rides, belonged to a cycling club or team, competed several times per year, and had used rollers for training indoors. Novice riders knew how to ride a bicycle but did so only occasionally for recreation or transportation and did not identify themselves as experts.

A subject riding the instrumented bicycle on training rollers in our experimental setup. Cain SM, Ashton-Miller JA, Perkins NC (2016) On the Skill of Balancing While Riding a Bicycle. PLoS ONE 11(2): e0149340, CC BY

We conducted our experiments in a motion capture laboratory, where the riders rode a typical mountain bike on rollers. Rollers constrain the bicycle in the fore-aft direction but allow free lateral (left-right) movement. They require a bicycle rider to maintain balance by pedaling, steering and leaning, as one would outdoors.

We mounted sensors and used a motion capture system to measure the motion of the bicycle (speed, steering angle and rate, roll angle and rate) and the steering torque used by the rider. A force platform underneath the rollers allowed us to calculate the lateral position of the center of mass relative to the base of support; that let us determine how a rider was leaning.

We found that both novice and expert riders exhibit similar balance performance at slow speeds. But at higher speeds, expert riders achieve superior balance performance by employing smaller but more effective body movements and less steering. Regardless of speed, expert riders use smaller and less varying steering inputs and less body movement variation.

We conclude that expert riders are able to use body movements more effectively than novice riders, which results in reducing the demand for both large corrective steering and body movements.

Mysteries remain

Despite our work and that of others in the field, there is still much to be learned about how humans ride and balance bicycles. Most research, including ours, has been limited to straight line riding, which only makes up a fraction of a typical bicycle ride.

Out in the world, expert riders know how to control the bike with subtle movements. Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington, CC BY

Our work reveals measurable differences between riders of different skill levels. But their meaning is unclear. Are the differences linked to a higher risk of crashing for the novice riders? Or do the differences simply reflect a different style of control that gets fine-tuned through hours and hours of training rides?

Ideally, we would like to identify the measurements that quantify the balance performance, control strategy and fall risk of a rider in the real world.

With such measurements, we could identify riders at high risk of falling, explore the extent to which bicycle design can reduce fall risk and increase balance performance, and develop the mathematical equations that describe riders of different skill levels.

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6 Must-Have Qualities You Should Look For In A Workout Buddy

Theres nothing like a good workout.

Those sweaty, satisfying, endorphins can leave you feeling good for , even if youre left struggling to make it up your five-floor walk-up after the fact.

Even though you know how good youll feel after busting your butt on the elliptical, sometimes you still need a little extra push to get motivated.

A workout buddy can immediately make going to the gym seem way less like a chore, and more like another means of hanging out with a friend. And theyll definitely come in clutch on those days when the last thing you want to do is work out.

But, much like your ominous freshman year roommate decision, you must choose wisely.

Here are six must-have qualities to look out for in a true swolemate.

1. Motivation Nation

Like I said, some days, you just dont feel like making the trip to the gym, and those are the times that youll need some serious motivation.

When you call your buddy up and tell them you just want to lay in bed with a loaf of bread, you dont want someone who says theyll come join you and skip out on leg day (OK fine, maybe you want that occasionally).

Choose a friend who will pump you up, and save the bread for after the booty work.

2. Reliability

Youve got your Lulu leggings on, youve had your pre-workout snack, and youve maybe even foam rolled a little bit to warm up.

You text your gym partner about how excited you are to try out this new HIIT routine together and then nothing.

Your supposed partner-in-crime is simply nowhere to be found, and theyre ghosting you harder than that f*ckboy you were too hung up on back in college.

Make sure you choose a buddy whos actually reliable, so youre not left psyching up for every burpee set.

3. Right Place, Right Time

You have to find a friend with a similar schedule to you.

As much as you may love working out with your friend who works the night shift at a radio station, the two of you are only able to make your schedules work together once a week, that.

No matter how much you love them, its just not meant to be.

4. #Goals

An ideal workout buddy will share similar fitness goals with you, and theyll be just as invested in the partnership as you are.

Its like marriage,minus the wedding cake, plus the protein shakes. Your gym spouseshould feel devoted toyour success and cheer you on as you get closer to your goals.

Oh, and they shouldntbe afraid to call you out when youre slacking.

5.Healthy Competition

Guys, theres actual science behind this one.

The Khler Effectis a phenomenon discoveredby German psychologistOtto Khler, who found that weaker peoplepersisted longer within a group in contrast to working out alone.

A person whos not afraid to go the extra mile (literally) will make you work harder towards your goals. Choose someone who will push you to be your best, and a little more.

6. Attitude Is Everything

At the end of the day, it all comes down to attitude.

Whos going to cheer you on when you just get through that final ab circuit, or tell you youre stronger than you think when you choose the lighter set of weights? Thats what your swolemate is there for.

Finding your perfect match can feel a bit like a a series of left swipes on Tinder, but once youve found your person, you wont be able to resist saying I do.

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Here’s How This Reddit User Went Deaf In One Ear Simply After Doing Intense Sit-Ups

So, apparently, there really is such a thing as going too hard at the gym. Reddit user Unilythe posted in TIFU about how he went permanently deaf after intense sit-ups. Seriously, take a moment to sit down before you read this, and maybe think about canceling that ab circuit you have planned later or, just, go easy with it, for the sake of your ears.

According to the user’s post, after a few rounds of sit-ups, hefelt a pop in his left ear, which was soon followed by extreme nausea and vertigo, and of course, a frantic onlinesearch of his symptoms.

After the internet basically told him he was dying and that it was definitely cancer (curse you, Google), heeventually receiveda more realistic diagnosis of a fractured round or oval window akaa perilymphatic fistula.

Apparently these fractures can be so small, it’s possible you’ll never actually locate them. But after a hospital visit and a scheduled surgery, the Reddit user was given a strong likelihood that he would regain hearing from his core-related catastrophe.

However, months later, his balance is somewhat off, and the hearing in his left ear has yet to return.

While it’s extremely rare for this to happen,intense exercise can cause a rupture in a membrane in your inner ear.

In fact, you may have actually experienced this yourself at some point already, brushed it off, and the condition essentially healed itself. But in some cases i.e. this extremely unlucky Reddit user it requires surgery to repair, and canresult in permanent hearing loss.

Even something as chill as breathing exercisesduring yoga, if done incorrectly, can also result in vertigo and cause sudden hearing loss due to a buildup of pressure in the ear.

So, I know what you’re thinking: This is the perfect excuse to skip out on the breathing portion of your yoga class and literally never do a single core exercise again.

But even the Reddit user himself admitted he knew what he was doing was wrong before he received his diagnosis.

He wrote in his post,

I held my breath, which is dumb. I kept going when my body barely could, which is dumb. I strained all my muscles to get those last few sit-ups out, which is dumb.

Working out doesn’t cause this. Being a dumb f*ck who doesn’t know what he’s doing causes this.

A little harsh, but I definitely feel his frustration on a spiritual level.

So, yeah, this story should kind of scare the sh*t out of you, but it shouldn’t turn you off of all exercise for good (now burpees are another story JK, sort of).

In the end, if you can take any lesson from this TIFU post, it’s that pushing through a workout when your body is screaming for you to stopis never a good idea.

And while you might want that extra core strength, I’m willing to bet you probably want fully functional hearing a lot more.

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Here’s Why Yelling When You Work Out Is Actually A Great Idea, Even If It Seems Weird

There is something about grunting or moaning while exercising that brings to mind the clich of a cockyweightlifter, or maybe even that person who seems to be having multiple, heavy-breathing orgasms in your yoga class. But the truth of the matter is, yelling while working outcan feel really cathartic and energizing. Not to mention, it might just be really good for your body.

Some exercise psychologists, in fact, believe a good yell or groan is a practice in mentally preparing for a moment of forced exertion or physical release. As sports psychologist Charlie Browntold the , grunting while exercising can allow youto be more mentally present overall in your workout. It is part of total concentration, he said, referring to grunting in particular. It really is a matter of giving oneself over to the process.

Vanessa Dunleavy, a buti and vinyasa yoga teacher,says she considers it a way to remove static energy from the body, relieve stress, and help people be more present during an exercise practice, which she reiterates should be a judgment-free zone, both of yourself and of others.

She tells Elite Daily,

I encourage my students to make sounds. Make the weird noise! It makes you feel good, it allows others people to release and do the same.

While there’s some debate as to whether or not yelling during a workout really impacts performance, some evidence suggests it may affect your strength.

A 2009 study from Iowa State Universityinvolving martial artists measured their handgrip strength on a dynamometer, a device used to measure force. They first gripped without noise, then tried again while performing a breath/sound technique used in martial arts called a kiap, which is basically a quick and loud yell. When they made the noise, their strength increase by about seven percent.

Even if you’re not looking to increase strength in your workouts, the power of yelling and soundis actually considered by someto be primally healing,and there’s a whole psychology and mode of therapy behind using such soundsas a means of releasing trauma.

While having a few good yells or moans while you exercise might not necessarily solve neurosis, it can, at least, help relieve a little bottled-up stress, which I think everyone can benefit from, amirite?

So, even if it seems a little weird, give it a try. You might just be surprised by how good it makes you feel.

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8 Ways To Burn Calories Without Going To The Gym

When your day is filled with errands and what seems like a never-ending to-do list, the thought of having to get a workout in can bereally overwhelming.

But in actuality, your day is filled with endless opportunities to sculpt your bod and burn extra calories.

When you cant seem to make it to the gym, these added little bonuses will assist your workout routine and give you even better results, faster!

Try out a few or all of the below tips to add in some sneaky toning throughout your busiest of days:

1. Slim your waistline bystanding.

Whenever you have the choice, stand instead of sit.

On average, standing burns an extra 20 calories per hour (based on a 130-pound woman). Standing an extra three hours per day equates to six pounds lost in one year.

All of that just from standing!

It may not sound like much, but consider how easy it could be to burn some extra calories by standing during class, work meetings, Netflix binging, reading a book, scrolling through your Instagram feed, eating lunchthe list goes on and on.

2. Sculpt your upper body by lending a hand.

See someone struggling with a heavy box or a pile of textbooks? Offer to help them out.

Not only are you getting some good karma for the future, but youll also tone your body in the process.

Flex your real-life muscles byassisting someone who could use the help.

3. Sneak in a workout at your desk.

Keep a set of resistance bands at your desk or in your purse and whip them out once an hour for a quick, five-minute sweat sesh.

How To Workout On Your Way To Work [LABS]

Each hour, work a different part of your body: triceps, biceps, quads, hamstrings, booty, shoulders, back or core. You can also try out theDaily Moves on

By the end of the day, youll have completed an entire 40-minute, total body workout without even entering a gym.

4. Planwalking dates.

Meeting up with a friend or a date? Grab a coffee (better make it a healthyone) and take a stroll outside.

Walking briskly for 10 minutes burns an average of 50 calories. Being active with a pal or a new flame can cause you to lose track of time while chatting and ultimately walk longer than you planned.

5. Playtime toning.

Get competitive with yourself!

For every email you receive, do one burpee. Every time you look at the clock, do five squats. When you yawn, do three pushups.If you check your phone, do five tricep dips.

Make it fun! You can even get your friends or co-workers to join in, too.

6. Be the coffee person.

Volunteer yourself to pick up everyones coffeeorders. Get a few extra steps in, soak up some Vitamin D outside and strengthen your biceps from holding all of those almond milk lattes.

Plus, your co-workers and friends will be pretty happy with you, and youll be racking up even more of those good karma points.

7. Tighten your core.

Whenever it crosses your mind, engage your core by pulling your belly button in toward your spine.

This helps with balance, posture, and yeah, toning your tummy.

The more often you do this, the more itll become second nature.

Youll even start noticing better form in your gym workouts as a result of this really simple technique.

8. Hang out with the dogs.

Dogs are a great example of endless, pure happy energy.

If you have a dog, take it on a walk and do a few sprints with your little guy.

In between each sprint interval, give your pooch a pet and a breather, then head straight back into the next sprint.

Your pup will be beyond stoked to be running around, and youll blast calories, raise your metabolism and tone your entire lower body by doing so.

An active lifestyle is just one half of the equation. Make sure to give your body the nutrients it needs to reveal the muscles youve been working so hard to achieve.

Check out the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan for tasty recipes to help you reach all of your fitness goals.

Subscribe to Elite Daily’s official newsletter, The Edge, for more stories you don’t want to miss.

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If You Feel Like Giving Up On Your Work-Out Plan, Listen To This Playlist

Once your New Year’s Day hangover wore off, the first few days of 2016 were probably pretty awesome for you.

You were eating all the kale in sight, working out twice a day and feeling really productive and awesome.

Well, now you’re more than halfway through the month, your plan to work out six days a week has turned into one day a week and, now that you think about it, you’ve had pizza for dinner three times in the past five days.

Don’t you want to be part of the 8percent of Americans (pathetic, I know) who actually keep their resolutions?

I have good news for you: I chatted with New York City-based fitness instructor Jason Tran, and he put together a Spotify playlist that will most definitely help you get through even the toughest of workouts.

Ready to press play yet?

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Obese Man Who Lost Weight Talks About Loose Skin Issues

Obese Man Who Lost Weight Talks About Loose Skin Issues

At his largest, John hit 360 pounds. He was a big guy. He admits he was obese. But after years of hard work, he’s lost the weight. He has truly gone from obese to beast, and that’s what he calls his YouTube channel. But even though he’s lost so much weight, he still has some big insecurities. The worst is his loose skin which literally hangs off his now skinny body. He talks about losing the weight and the struggles of skin issues in this instant viral video.  


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Can Music Improve Athletic Performance?

Can Music Improve Athletic Performance?

Athletes will try anything to increase their edge over the competition. Could it be possible that music can improve athletic performance?  

Asap SCIENCE explains that in some ways, yes! 

So crank up the music next time you are at the gym, especially fast paced music that is faster than 120 beats per minute, and enjoy an extra boost of energy.


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5 Things You Should Know Before You Take NSAIDs To Relieve Workout Pain

I used to train for marathons, and any seasoned runner knows that a 13-mile training run is a recipe for sorenessin every. Damn. Muscle.

Ice baths, occasional massages, and ibuprofen became my BFFs after long run days.

Seriously, carrying a bottle of Advil in my bag felt as normal as throwing in a pack of spearmint gum because that’s just what you’re supposed to do for aches and pains, right?

Actually, recent research says that I may have been mistaken.

According to the , taking ibuprofen and other similar, over-the-counter painkillers could have some pretty bad consequences for people who regularly exercise.

Apparently, 75 percent of long-distance runners take ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) before, during, or after training and races.

Butthese painkillersmight ironically be causing more pain than relief.

Elite Daily spoke withShoshana Gelb, clinical director at Professional Physical Therapy,to learn more about what NSAIDs really do to your body.

Here are five things you should know the next time you’re tempted togo ahead and pop an ibuprofen after the gym.

1. Ibuprofen Isn’t Always The Best OptionFor Inflammation

Gelb dishes out a healthy serving of #science and tells Elite Daily straight up why you should ditch over-the-counter meds:

After performing an aerobic activity that already increases blood pressure and heart rate, such as running, NSAIDs may not be the best option to eliminate inflammation.

They can be linked to further raising blood pressure, and may increase the risk for heart failure and atrial fibrillation [an irregular and usually rapid heart beat that can lead to poor blood flow].

She goes on to say that the disturbance in heart rhythm can lead to blood clots, creating a whole slew of other health complications.

Yikes. Advil, why must you do me like this?

2. You Might Just Be Dehydrated

When you find yourselftempted to take a Tylenol for your hurting hammies, think about how much H2O you actually had that day, because it may play a bigger role than you’d think.

Gelb tells Elite Daily,

About 10 to 15 minutes after a run, it’s important to drink water or an electrolyte beverage.

As the body tends to sweat a good amount with running, [it] will need to rehydrate to replenish fluid loss.

Dehydration can lead to muscle cramping and stiffness, so listen to your bod, and drink up.

3. NSAIDS Can Cause Kidney And Muscle Tissue Problems

When it comes to the kidneys, there’s no kidding around.

Gelb explains why you can definitely have too much of a good thing when it comes to seemingly harmless painkillers like ibuprofen:

According to recent studies, the most common renal complication is fluid retention. Extra fluid being trapped in the body’s tissues can further increase [swelling] in the body.

With fluid retention, the body retains more sodium, which can further be related to reducing kidney function.

So, while yo may not necessarily have to lay off these over-the-counter meds entirely, be sure not to make a habit of taking them after every single workout.

4. There Are Alternative Ways To Ease Post-Running Muscle Tension

Luckily, NSAIDS aren’t the only option for your aching achilles.

Massages, ice baths, stretching, and warm epsom salt baths are all suitable ways to relieve muscle tension and soreness after running.

Gelb says,

Massage helps to bring blood flow to the area.

This can help to promote healing and decrease inflammation, as well as alleviate muscle tension/tightness by loosening up muscles after activity.

If you’re crunched for cash and can’t afford a masseuse, foam rolling is basically a way to give yourself a personal deep-tissue massage.

Oh, and as tempting as it may seem, you’re not going to want toskip out on stretching after you pound the pavement.

Gelb tells Elite Daily that the prolonged hold of your muscles that occurs during stretchinghelps createnew muscle length tension relationships.

5. Or Physical Therapy Might Be The Answer To Your Post-Run Prayers

The next time you’re thinking of buying that family-sized box of Advil at Costco, you might want to consider looking into physical therapy instead.

Gelb describes some ofthe pros of physical therapy,

Physical therapy combines a treatment of manual techniques, modalities, and exercise to treat acute symptoms, decrease pain and inflammation, and prevent re-injury.

She addsthat most running injuries come from overuse and repetitive activity, as well as faulty mechanics.

Physical therapy can address these deficits in flexibility and strength to decrease repetitive strain on an area of the body during running.

Bottom line: You should let your body do its own, natural thing and trust it to care for muscle soreness, using supplements like NSAIDs only in moderation.

But Advil is not the equivalent of your arctic mint gum treat it as a last resort, not a casual commonplace.

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23 Words That Have A Totally Different Meaning When You Do CrossFit

Where Fran is not the name of your weird aunt.

1. “Box”


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Flickr: bas68 / Creative Commons

What it usually means: A container, case, or receptacle used to put things in.

What it means when you do CrossFit: A place where you drip sweat, spill blood, shed tears, and kick ass.

2. “Paleo”

What it usually means: An era in history when humans first learned how to use tools.

What it means when you do CrossFit: The best and worst diet ever.

3. “Counting”

23 Words That Have A Totally Different Meaning When You Do CrossFit

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Warner Bros. / Via

What it usually means: Reciting numbers.

What it means when you do CrossFit: An activity you can do forward, backwards, and sideways when keeping tracking of reps.

4. “Open”

What it usually means: Allowing access, passage, or a view through an empty space.

What it means when you do CrossFit: The most wonderful time of the year.

5. “Shoes”

What is usually means: Something you wear on your feet.

What it means when you do CrossFit: The single most expensive and important part of your wardrobe.

6. “Palms”

What it usually means: The inner part of your hand.

What it means when when you do CrossFit: The roughest part of your entire body.

7. “Rx”

What it usually means: An abbreviation for prescription.

What it means when you do CrossFit: A lofty, but attainable goal.

8. “Chalk”

What it usually means: A instrument used to write on chalkboards.

What it means when you do CrossFit: The only thing saving your hands from total destruction.

9. “Ring”

What it usually means: A common jewelry piece worn on the fingers.

What it means when you do CrossFit: An object that totally lacks stability.

10. “Clock”

23 Words That Have A Totally Different Meaning When You Do CrossFit

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What it usually means: A device used to tell time.

What it means when you do CrossFit: A nemesis you are constantly racing against.

11. “Games”

23 Words That Have A Totally Different Meaning When You Do CrossFit

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Cartoon Network / Via

What it usually means: Structured activities for enjoyment.

What it means when you do CrossFit: An event you set your DVR for.

12. “Thruster”


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Flickr: ambernussbaum / Creative Commons

What it usually means: A propulsion device used for spacecrafts.

What it means when you do CrossFit: Pain, pure pain.

13. “Cheat”

23 Words That Have A Totally Different Meaning When You Do CrossFit

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FOX / Via

What it means: Breaking a rule to gain advantage or favor.

What it means when you do CrossFit: Eating a whole pizza, two burgers, and three cupcakes in one sitting.

14. “Carbs”

What it usually means: Molecules that provide your body with heat and energy.

What it means when you do CrossFit: The enemy.

15. “Tire”

What it usually means: A rubber cushion that forms a wheel.

What it means when you do CrossFit: The heaviest object you’ve ever lifted.

16. “Snatch”

What it usually means: One of the worst words ever.

What it means when you do CrossFit: A movement that elicits pride.

17. “Fran”


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Flickr: alpstedt / Creative Commons

What it usually means: A women’s name no one younger than your grandma has heard.

What it means when you do CrossFit: The most intense workout you’ve ever experienced.

18. “White board”

"White board"

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Facebook: crossfitoldtownhelotes

What it usually means: A wipeable surface for teaching or presentations.

What it means when you do CrossFit: A daily reminder of where you stand.

19. “Wallball”

What it usually means: A fun schoolyard game.

What it means when you do CrossFit: Trying not to get hit in the face with a 20 pound medicine ball.

20. “Gear”

What it usually means: A rotating part of a machine.

What it means when you do CrossFit: The stuff you spend your entire paycheck on.

21. “Shirt”

What it usually means: A garment for the upper body.

What it means when you do CrossFit: Something you’ll hopefully never have to wear again.

22. “B.S.”

What it usually means: An abbreviation for bullshit.

What it means when you do CrossFit: A metric of raw strength.

23. “CrossFit”

What it usually means: A popular and sometimes controversial exercise program.

What it means when you do CrossFit: An awesome way of life that you absolutely love.

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