Benchmark workouts and Testing

Recently I made a post about our programing. Like I said our program is not designed to make you a CrossFit Games athlete, but to improve your health, fitness and lifestyle in a sustainable way.

The effectiveness of any fitness program is only as good as its measurable results. We look for results in all of the ten components of fitness (cardiorespiratory endurance, strength, stamina, flexibility, coordination, agility, balance, accuracy, power and speed).  During the last two years we did testing 3x per year during a testing week. The feedback about these testing weeks was ambivalent. For this year I would like to implement the testing in a different way. Every month we will have 2-3 benchmark workouts. I will announce the dates at the beginning of each month, and these benchmark workouts will repeat themselves 3-4x a year every 3-4 months. With this set up you will have constant challenges to test your progress and set new goals.  At the same time this set up is very close to the original simplicity of the CrossFit program, “be prepared for the unknown and unknowable” any time.

Read these interesting articles from crossfit.com Journal:

A printable list with the benchmark workouts we use and a brief description you will find here.

RCFZ Benchmark workouts

In addition to the regular benchmark workouts we will introduce a skill levels chart that gives you a specific measure for how effective you are in a wide variety of disciplines. The skill chart we use has proven itself in many CrossFit boxes around the world. The Athlete Skill Levels chart will give you tools for goal setting and finding your strengths and weaknesses. These levels are intended as a guide for evaluating your fitness and setting intelligent goals but they are not the end-all of fitness. Lifting weights is not everything; especially balance and agility are very important for a complete athletic development and are often neglected. With our programing and implementation of new specific classes we will try to address this issue.

You can download the Athlete skill levels chart here.

Basic weightlifting standards (courtesy of "Starting strength" by Mark Rippetoe)

The Athletic Levels are:

Well-Rounded Beginner – This is the minimum standard for fitness. An injury-free athlete starting CrossFit can expect to reach this level of fitness with 3-12 months of consistent effort. Achieving this level will ensure you have the minimum flexibility, stamina, and strength of a well-rounded beginner, as well as having the basic concepts of proper movement.

Intermediate – As an adult, this is considered healthy and fit. You can expect somewhere between 6-24 months to achieve this once you’ve reached the level of Craftsman. This represents a healthy level of flexibility, stamina, work capacity, speed and strength/bodyweight ratio, as well as a good understanding of the basic movements.

Advanced – This represents a significant level of fitness that few people possess (though any healthy person can achieve it). You will have the capability to take on any and all physical challenges with confidence. You can demonstrate significant capacity in all 10 domains of physical fitness. This is an appropriate level for military, fire, and policemen, as well as amateur athletes. Engaging in these professions or sports without an expert level puts you at unnecessary risk for injury or failure.

Elite – Represents an highly skilled and well-rounded athlete. This requires dedication and commitment on par with a professional athlete or CrossFit Games competitor.