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An Investigation of Motivational Variables in CrossFit Facilities

Partridge, Julie A.; Knapp, Bobbi A.; Massengale, Brittany D.

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: June 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 6 - p 1714–1721
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000288
Original Research

Partridge, JA, Knapp, BA, and Massengale, BD. An investigation of motivational variables in CrossFit facilities. J Strength Cond Res 28(6): 1714–1721, 2014—CrossFit is a growing fitness trend in the United States; however, little systematic research has addressed specific motivational principles within this unique exercise environment. The purpose of the study was to explore the influence of gender and membership time on perceptions of motivational climate and goals within the CrossFit environment. Specifically, people may set goals related to self-improvement (i.e., mastery) or focus on their performance in comparison to others (i.e., performance). Motivational climate refers to an individual's perception of being encouraged to focus on either mastery or performance goals from CrossFit trainers. A total of 144 members (88 females; 56 males) completed questionnaires to assess participants' perceptions of CrossFit goal structures and perceptions of the motivational climate encouraged by the trainer within their CrossFit box. Results indicated a significant main effect for gender on preferred goals (p ≤ 0.05), with males reporting higher levels of performance approach goals and females reporting higher levels of master avoidance goals. Participants who reported shorter membership times were found to have significantly higher mastery-related goals than individuals who reported longer membership times (p ≤ 0.05). The results from the study suggest that practitioners should consider how perceptions of the motivational climate and goals in group-based exercise settings such as CrossFit may vary based on demographic variables, and that these differences may impact how to most effectively motivate, encourage, and instruct group members, particularly with regard to helping members set goals that most effectively address their approach to the CrossFit regimen.

Department of Kinesiology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois

Address correspondence to Julie A. Partridge,

Copyright © 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.