Monostructural Movements

What are Monostructural Movements?

Monostructural Movements refer to exercises that involve only one movement like running, biking, rowing, jump rope, or swimming.

These types of exercises are also classified as cardiovascular exercises – often called “cardio” in the mainstream fitness industry.

The term monostructural came about to provide clarity since any exercise can elicit a cardiovascular response if performed at a high-enough intensity.

  • Monostructural movements refer to exercises that involve only one movement like running, biking, rowing, jump rope, or swimming.
  • The primary purpose of monostructural movements is to improve cardiorespiratory capacity and stamina.
  • Monostructural movements are included in CrossFit programming, either on their own for a longer distance, or a shorter distance combined with other exercises to make up a metabolic conditioning workout.

Understanding Monostructural Movements

Mono means one, therefore monostructural movements mean movements that have only one structure. It is simply a term to better define “cardio” exercises like running, cycling, or rowing. The primary purpose is to improve cardiorespiratory capacity and stamina.

In CrossFit, the head coach will program monostructural movements into the WODs – sometimes as part of the metabolic conditioning workout – typically shorter distances – and sometimes on their own – typically a longer distance like a 5K run or row.

The original framework for CrossFit programming written by Greg Glassman and published in the CrossFit Journal in 2003 included a single, long, slow monostructural movement effort at least one out of every 12 days.

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Amanda Chismar

Amanda Chismar is a seasoned wellness and fitness professional with over 14 years of diverse career experience in both the public and private sector. Amanda earned her degree in Kinesiology from the Pennsylvania State University and has held numerous certifications including NSCA CPT, NASM CES, CrossFit Level 2 Trainer, USAW Sports Performance Coach, YogaFit Instructor, Johnny G Spinning Cycle Instructor. Additionally, Amanda was co-owner and coach of a CrossFit facility for five years, has completed five marathons for charity and competed in Olympic Weightlifting.

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