CrossFit Merge Instructor Training Program

CrossFit Merge Instructor Training Program



As CROSSFIT MERGE has grown, so has the knowledge and experience of our athletes.  While our elite fitness training program provides tremendous opportunity for the growth and development of an athlete, it does not address the next step in the process – teaching.  With the help of the entire staff at CROSSFIT MERGE and a few people from the student body, we have created the framework for people interested in taking this next step.


Goals of the CROSSFIT MERGE Instructor Training Program:

  1. To provide our student body with the opportunity to further their growth as an athlete and leader by becoming a CROSSFIT MERGE Certified CrossFit Instructor (Note:  This in no way takes the place of a CrossFit Level 1 certification – which is a requirement of this program)


  1. To create a core group of student instructors that is both knowledgeable and proficient in the instruction of CrossFit movements and capable of teaching a fun and valuable CrossFit class.



Program Description

The CROSSFIT MERGE Instructor Training Program (CROSSFIT MERGE ITP) was designed with two basic elements in mind:  1) Teach participants how to become good, solid CrossFit instructors; 2) Keep the rules and requirements to a minimum so that the program maintains an air of fun, lightness, growth, camaraderie, and learning.


While there are definite requirements to get into the program, the only real “structure” you will find in the program is the progress timeline.  This is in place to keep you moving forward so that we know that as a member of the ITP you are committed to becoming an instructor.  Other than that, there are very few “handles” to keep you on track.  We are only looking for those people that are responsible, self-starters, motivated, and who don’t need hand-holding to keep them on the path.


To become an instructor via our program, the only requirements are to pass the written and practical tests for each level.  We have also included our Level Recommendations to assist you in your preparation for the tests.  Remember that these are only recommendations.  We have designed the program to be completed in as little as 4 months and as long as 24 months .  The speed at which you move through the program will be determined by your background, experience and diligence in practice and execution.


**Note:  Completing the CROSSFIT MERGE ITP in no way obligates you to being a full or part time instructor at CROSSFIT MERGE.  It also does not guarantee you a position as a regular instructor in the CROSSFIT MERGE schedule.


Program Prerequisites

  • CROSSFIT MERGE Member for 4 months
  • Subscriber to the CrossFit Journal


Entry Requirements

  1. Write a “Letter of Intent”  – This letter/essay does not need to be long, but it should be from the heart.  (This IS a requirement, and may be used to determine your eligibility for participation in the program.)
  • What does CF mean to you?
  • Why do you want to be an instructor?
  • Why would someone want you to be their coach?
  • What is your background (include all):  education, profession, sports, and fitness?
  • What are your strengths & weaknesses?
  1. Upgrade to Silver Membership for a minimum of 14 months.


General Participation Requirements


1.  11:00am Fridays – Instructor Training Program (ITP) Master Class

Every week on Friday at 11:00am, we will hold a master class strictly for those people in the CROSSFIT MERGE Instructor Training Program.  The intention of this class is to give each trainer an opportunity to create & present a workout, organize the class elements, do the workout, and receive constructive criticism on their workout’s effectiveness and their ability to organize, motivate and lead a group.  Here are the guidelines:

  • Each week, one student will be chosen as the “Big Kahuna”.  This person is responsible for:
  1. Designing the workout, getting it approved by emailing Bryce by 5:00pm on Thursday.
  2. Arriving at the gym 15 minutes early on Friday to prep the space and gym for class.
  3. Writing the warm-up and workout on the white board.
  4. Giving any necessary organization & logistical instructions to other members of the class.
  5. Giving any necessary instruction in movements (this should be minimal)
  6. Receiving constructive criticism at the end of class
  • Workouts are NOT “coached” – every person is responsible for themselves and must be competent enough in fundamental CrossFit movements to be able to participate and interact with others in class
  • Participants should know how to scale workouts appropriately to their own ability level
  • Participation requires holding one another accountable for correct form, weight, intensity and requires being open to constructive criticism and coaching from other students.
  • Attitude is competitive, yet supportive and fun.  Game face is ON during workouts.
  • The last 10-15 minutes of each class will be spent in a constructive criticism of the Big Kahuna, in all areas related to the workout, it’s presentation, organization and execution


  1. 2.    Assistant Coach – 1 Class per week

We will let you know which classes each week are available for assisting, and the one you select will become your committed time slot. Your responsibility is to show up and assist the CROSSFIT MERGE Staff instructor, and practice teaching various elements of class.


  1. 3.    Testing

Scheduling a level test is your responsibility and may come at any time once you’ve entered into the program.  You are not required to spend a certain amount of time at a level – tests may be scheduled in rapid succession, if you are ready.  You must complete Level Tests within the timeline outlined in the following pages.  If not, we will consider your Instructor Training lapsed.



  1. 4.    Maintenance of Instructor Training Status

Once you have achieved a Level III CROSSFIT MERGE Certification, your membership level at CROSSFIT MERGE must be a least “Silver” Status and you must teach one class at least once per month.



ITP Levels & Requirements


Level I This level is designed to assess your knowledge of CrossFit fundamentals, functional movements, body mechanics, and coaching cues.



Written Test – must be submitted within 6 months of starting program

A.  15 fundamental movements

1.  In two sentences or less, explain the purpose of each movement.

2.  Describe at least four key coaching cues for this movement.

3.  Describe two or three common faults and how to correct them.

1.  Squat 6.  Sumo Deadlift High Pull 11.  Pull-up
2.  Overhead Squat 7.  Medicine Ball Clean 12.  GHD Sit Up
3.  Front Squat 8.  Press 13.  GHD Back Complex
4.  Back Squat 9.  Push Press 14.  Push-up / Hollow position
5.  Deadlift 10.  Push Jerk 15.  Handstand











B.  Describe and Explain the 4 metabolic pathways

C.  Discuss the 10 general physical skills, what is unique about each, and why they are important to CrossFit.

D.  What is CrossFit?  In your answer, discuss concepts relating to work, power, load, gymnastics, weightlifting, metcon, variety, health, intensity, and function.


l  Increase awareness during classes – be an observer of yourself being coached.

l  Heighten your body awareness.   Practice teaching mechanics on yourself.

l  Reading & Study

–       The Anatomy Coloring Book

–       Exercise Physiology – McArdle, Katch, Katch

–       Starting Strength

–       CrossFit Journal – all articles from 2002 – 2006 (all others at your discretion)

– videos – watch ALL of them, multiple times

–       Youtube


Level II This level is designed to determine your personal proficiency and fluency with the fundamental movements in terms of coaching, cuing, faults, corrections and CF fundamentals.



Practical Exammust be taken within 9 months of starting the program

Oral Q & A including technique & knowledge-based questions on form, cueing, faults, corrections, of our 15 fundamental movements, general physiology and knowledge of CrossFit’s training fundamentals and philosophy (all from Level I’s written test)


CrossFit Level I Certification (or registered to attend a Level 1 Cert)



Level III – This level is designed to test your effectiveness as an instructor of a CROSSFIT MERGE CrossFit Class.  As a Level II Instructor Trainee, you should already be proficient in coaching all the fundamental movements and discussing, conversing about and teaching the fundamental principles of CrossFit training.


To achieve Level III, you must demonstrate proficiency as an Instructor of an entire CROSSFIT MERGE Class. This involves two primary areas:


1. Teaching the fundamental movements to a class and demonstrating the ability to work with different levels of people, cueing, and scaling their movements and workouts appropriately with confidence.


2.  Taking charge of the room: management of people, time and physical space; effective and clear communication; thinking on the fly; having fun; getting people to do what they need to do for their own good; and ensuring people leave class feeling better than when they arrived.



Practical Exam – First EVAL must have been completed no later than 12 months after start date and last EVAL must be completed  no longer than 18 months after initial start date.

You will be evaluated on your coaching and instruction of an entire CROSSFIT MERGE CrossFit class on 5 different occasions.  For each evaluation, you will be responsible for teaching an entire class, start to finish, and will be evaluated (not assisted) by the CROSSFIT MERGE Staff, Bryce, Marianoel, or Cory.


  1. Pass 3 Class Instructor Evaluations with Bryce.  For every Instructor Eval, you will be responsible for teaching an entire class, start to finish – and will be evaluated (not assisted) by a CROSSFIT MERGE Staff Coach.
  2. Pass 1 Class Instructor Evaluation with Marianoel.
  3. Pass 1 Class Instructor Evaluation with Cory.



  • Continued study of all CrossFit online resources.
  • Continue student teaching different elements of classes while getting constructive feedback from your Coach.








Instructor Evaluation Worksheet


Student Instructor:





                             Class Level:  
Started on Time YES           NO Notes:
Warm Up Org / Skills 1       2       3       4       5      6       7       8       9       10  
WOD Dscrpt / Org / Instruction 1       2       3       4       5      6       7       8       9       10  
Org of Class & Use of Time 1       2       3       4       5      6       7       8       9       10  
People Handling (individuals, partners, groups) 1       2       3       4       5      6       7       8       9       10  
Skill Instruction 1       2       3       4       5      6       7       8       9       10  
Individual Touch 1       2       3       4       5      6       7       8       9       10  
Use of Names 1       2       3       4       5      6       7       8       9       10  
Communication 1       2       3       4       5      6       7       8       9       10  
Fun/Energy/Inspiration 1       2       3       4       5      6       7       8       9       10  
POGO 1       2       3       4       5      6       7       8       9       10  
Student Clean-up 1       2       3       4       5      6       7       8       9       10  
Ended on Time YES           NO  
Upcoming Events Reminder YES           NO  
























Other Criteria for Evaluation

  1. Visual perspicacity – keenness of mental perception and understanding; discernment; penetration
  • Has an excellent ability to discern both gross and subtle form faults.
  • Does not miss things and knows what to look for in each movement.
  • “The Hawk” – have a mental check list, move around, look at everyone, try to catch everything and pounce on it.
    • Without the ability to “see” your training will be sub standard.,
    • Speaks loudly and clearly at all times, modulates voice well, is confident, engaging, commanding.
    • Talks just enough to be effective and not at the expense of keeping people moving.
    • Demonstrates training as a performance: Be the big YOU (authentic but big), Modulate voice and presence for effect.
    • Side note:  Training as marketing.  You are “on.”
    • Is neither hypercritical nor overly lenient on standards = Balance “form nazi” with celebrating small improvements. Not saying something is good if it is not good, not ignoring small improvements in the right direction.
    • Has the ability to genuinely engage a group/individual. Tunes into the personality of the trainee… not all treated the same. At the very least treat trainees with some humanity, conversation, know names etc.
    • Is fun and interesting, enthusiastic, smiles, and elicits smiles from others.  Gets people moving well or towards well and gets them to enjoy it.  Obvious passion for training
    • Fosters and maintains group/class cohesion.
    • Keeps interest of all at all times, despite difference in experience and ability.
    • Engages students by helping them see what he/she sees. Runs the group as a classroom. Create your future trainers. Ex: Heavy Days – teach the major cues then gest people to watch each other – involve them as trainers.
    • Ensures consistency between what he/she describes and what is demonstrated.
    • Trainer knows his/her limits for demonstration but can find a suitable example to replace him/herself while maintaining credibility.
    • When using self for demo, does so briefly and then orchestrates the group verbally so he/she can walk around and see others.
  1. Presence, voice, command
  1. Attitude
  1. Managing a Group,
  1. Demonstration







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