CrossFit: The Secret to Progress

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Measurement of Progress in CrossFit

How do you know if you’re progressing in the sport of CrossFit?  Are you getting faster? Can you lift heavier? Are you starting to beat others that you couldn’t before?

All of these are excellent indicators that you’re progressing and improving. But is one thing the gold standard above all else?

Example: You’re in the middle of a workout/WOD. You are doing heavy clean and jerks. But they don’t seem all that heavy compared to a year ago. Your chest-to-bar pull ups come easier. You can do more toes to bar in a row. Even the dreaded assault bike seems effortless (ok, that’s a pipe-dream but you never know!).

CrossFit Benchmark Workouts: The Hallmark of Progress?

In the sport of CrossFit, there are workouts that are repeated (the antithesis of the sport, which thrives on constantly-varied, multi-dimensional movements) so the athlete can gauge their progress.

A lot of these have been around since the beginning of the sport: Fran, Diane, Nancy, Karen, and classic Hero Wods. It’s not uncommon to be asked what your Fran time is or your Grace time.  It’s also a way for athletes to measure themselves against all other CrossFitters.

When performed, the goal is to beat your previous time to see how much you’ve improved in 6 months or a year.

CrossFit Benchmark workouts are a great way to measure your progress. If you’ve shaved off a minute or 30 sec, you’ve gotten faster. If you can now lift more weight and can PR the weight, you’ve gotten stronger.

What CrossFit Means to Me

For me, however, CrossFit and my progress in the sport of CrossFit is not about speed anymore. It’s not even about PR’s.

It’s about what moves are easier now than before. What weights seem lighter. What moves I can do now that I couldn’t do before.

What about you? What’s your indicator of progress not only in CrossFit but also in life?


My Faith Has Been Renewed…

For the last few days, I’ve been terribly bummed about CrossFit.  I got beat up last week with all the WODS (lots of heavy weight), and I’m stuck on my jerk weight which is incredibly frustrating.  Once it gets heavy I lose it–quick.

However, today was a different day.  I dominated.  I was able to do many more HSPU’s in a row than I usually am able to do.  I was able to power clean 105 lbs repeatedly in a WOD; whereas, before in my mind it would have been way too heavy.  I’ve been steadily increasing my weights in all the Olympic lifts since the Open and it’s beginning to show in the WOD’s.

My Toes-to-Bar is coming along as well.  I’ve always stricted them but finally right before the Open I learned to string them together by kipping.  However, this still needs work.

But it’s progress.  And that’s what I live for.

My butterfly pull-ups are coming along.  Still practicing bar muscle up moves.  Soon it will all come together.  One step at a time.

And that’s what we all need to keep in mind:  the end game.  Every day we work.  Every day we toil.  And as long as we’re moving towards our goals, it’s all worth it.

The discouragement days have their place as well.  It reminds us we are all human.  We have our good days and our bad.  And that’s life.  It’s what makes the highs worth living for.

So don’t despair.  It’s all working.  As long as you keep working…