The Hopper Model

So far we have looked at two models of how CrossFit defines Fitness: The 10 General Physical Skills and The Sickness/ Wellness/ Fitness Continuum. Hopefully by now, you have a better idea of how you can quantify and qualify your well-being. Again, it is very important for all athletes to understand their health and how it works. Now we will look into The Hopper Model to define fitness.

The last two models were more related to one’s abilities and physical attributes. The third model has to do with one’s general fitness capacity. The Hopper Model is what it sounds like. Imagine a hopper with bingo balls inside it and each ball contains one physical activity: it can be literally anything, a 5K, 1RM deadlift, cutting down a tree, a basketball game of HORSE or shoveling some snow. Understandably, the fittest person will do well in any and every activity in the hopper.

A big part of CrossFit’s mentality is to be ready for the unknown and the unknowable, constantly working on our weaknesses. That is why we use The Hopper Model to evaluate fitness. CrossFit does not aim to create an athlete that will be specialized in long distance runs or Olympic lifts only, but we strive to create athletes who on average will do best on all events, regardless what they happen to be.


Be ready for any activity you come across.


Now, let’s say we pick 4 balls out of the hopper and we have the athletes compete in these activities. The activities are a 5K, 500 meters swim, 1RM deadlift and 100 pull ups for time. The competitors will be a CrossFitter, a Powerlifter and a Marathoner. The runner would probably win the 5K, and the lifter would probably win the deadlift event. However, the CrossFit athlete would most likely get second on both those activities and arguably win the remaining 2  events because they consistently practice a multitude of movements. This is our definition of a fit athlete.

Although The Hopper Model encourages random movements for fitness assessment, we do not want our programming to be random. This is where the famous words for defining Crossfit, “constantly varied movements,” come in. We want to train every aspect of fitness as often as possible by conscientiously varying our workouts. Therefore you not only become healthier and stronger, but you also become fitter.

Using this Hopper analogy, what’s a workout that you would dread the most seeing out of the hopper? Run? Fran? Burpees? Is there any activity that you don’t think you could get through? Those are the workouts that you need THE MOST.

PS: That’s another reason why we don’t release the workouts until one night prior, so DON’T CHERRY PICK! 

by Coach Matt