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Your Information to CrossFit Benchmark Exercises

Two people working out at a Crossfit box.

CrossFit isnt like different sports activities. As a substitute of getting just a few customary lifts to get good at or a set of particular physique targets, CrossFit is all about coaching a bit bit properly, lots of each side of health. If something, its like strongman in that respect: athletes should be robust and well-conditioned. However with out a particular set of lifts, how have you learnt if youre bettering?

Thats the place CrossFit benchmark exercises come into play. As a substitute of chasing two or three numbers say, a 500-pound deadlift CrossFit can have you trying to run quicker, raise heavier, and grasp wild gymnastic strikes just like the handstand stroll. Benchmark exercises are designed to push and check your health ranges on all fronts: power, endurance, and ability.

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Because the first set of benchmark exercises was launched by CrossFit in 2003, the game has developed an infinite number of standardized exercises to check your health and measure your progress. Heres every little thing it’s good to learn about CrossFit benchmark exercises.

What Is a CrossFit Benchmark Exercise?

CrossFit benchmark exercises additionally known as benchmark WODs are standardized CrossFit exercises meant to check your progress to different CrossFitters (and your previous self).

A few of the most well-known benchmark exercises have womens names. The concept right here, put forth by Greg Glassman, the founder and former CEO of CrossFit, is that these exercises are so robust that they hit you want hurricanes. These are additionally given womens names. 

Glassman assigned names historically related to girls to the unique benchmark exercises launched in 2003 particularly, Angie, Barbara, Chelsea, Diane, Elizabeth, and Fran. He referred to those exercises collectively as The Women, a observe largely nonetheless used.

Different benchmark exercises are named for individuals who served within the navy, like Murph. However the identify isn’t what makes a benchmark exercise.

A group doing sit-ups together.
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CrossFit is supposed to enhance and check a variety of health capabilities. The purpose is to create all-around athletes slightly than somebody who specializes solely in a single space. Benchmark exercises are subsequently meant to check quite a lot of expertise and capacities.

Nonetheless, sure constant items make up a CrossFit exercise, together with benchmarks. These are:

Monostructural Actions

Consider your typical cardio exercise rowing, operating, biking. A session on an air bike or ski erg, or perhaps a bout of leaping rope. In CrossFit, athletes and coaches consult with a majority of these workouts as monostructural.

The concept with monostructural actions is that theyre meant to enhance your cardio conditioning and health. You could be accustomed to tacking a majority of these actions onto your coaching as a low-intensity warm-up or cool-down. However in CrossFit, these workouts are usually interspersed with others to create a multi-modal jack of all trades coaching expertise.

Some examples of monostructural actions observe:

Weightlifting Actions

Herein lies the checks of power how successfully can you progress a seemingly immovable object?

Typically, weightlifting in CrossFit does consult with the precise competitors lifts utilized by Olympic weightlifters the snatch and clear & jerk. Theres a purpose why the GOAT six-time CrossFit Video games champion Tia-Clair Toomey and legendary CrossFitters like five-time Fittest Man on Earth Mat Fraser are seasoned, skilled, aggressive Olympic lifters. 

A group of athletes lifting weights.
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Different instances, nevertheless, CrossFitters use modified variations of those barbell workouts similar to energy cleans, squat cleans, and shoulder-to-overhead presses (the place you press the bar up utilizing any methodology you like). Aggressive powerlifts like deadlifts, squats, and even bench presses additionally incessantly present up in CrossFit competitions and WODs.

Weightlifting in CrossFit additionally refers to any actions that contain lifting weight. Even hefting round odd objects extra historically related to strongman competitions like sandbags is taken into account weightlifting in CrossFit.

Some examples of CrossFit weightlifting actions are beneath:

All of those actions could also be carried out with quite a lot of implements, starting from barbells and dumbbells to kettlebells and sandbags.

Gymnastics Actions

This class is the bane of many CrossFitters existence, however its the bread and butter of others. Many CrossFit greats each established and up-and-coming have a background in gymnastics.

The youngest girls ever to podium on the Video games, Mal OBrien; 2020 CrossFit Video games bronze medalist Kari Pearce; and Pat Vellner, a constant fixture on the CrossFit Video games podium, come to thoughts right here.

Sometimes called high-skill actions, gymnastics workouts are additionally widespread centerpieces of CrossFit WODs and benchmark exercises. Something you would possibly affiliate with swinging from a bar or in any other case manipulating your personal physique weight falls into this class.

Listed below are examples of the gymnastics-focused strikes you would possibly discover in WODs and benchmark exercises alike:

What Are the Finest CrossFit Benchmark Exercises?

There arent constant, established requirements for measuring progress in CrossFit. Sure, you possibly can preserve observe of your PRs (private data). You may measure how briskly you are able to do completely different WODs over time. In the event you couldnt use the Rx (prescribed, or as written) weight while you first began doing a exercise and now you possibly can, thats progress. One-rep max occasions communicate for themselves.

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However generally, there isnt only one customary of success like there’s in powerlifting and weightlifting. Due to this, what constitutes the greatest benchmark exercise is subjective. What would you like out of a benchmark exercise? Contemplating these components are maybe a greater measure of its effectiveness.

In the event you work out in a CrossFit field, youll do benchmark exercises together with everybody else as a a part of your common programming and WODs (exercises of the day). 

However in case you are inclined to work out alone or wish to put in further coaching exterior of sophistication select which benchmark to check primarily based in your present targets.

If youre trying to check your progress getting stronger with a barbell, a bodyweight-only benchmark exercise won’t be the one youre on the lookout for. 

Then again, a bodyweight-only benchmark exercise could be precisely what youre on the lookout for in case your major focus is power however you continue to wish to be difficult your self and bettering your calisthenics.

Listed below are some examples of high-quality CrossFit benchmark exercises so that you can combine into your programming.


This benchmark exercise is a basic instance of combining power, endurance, and completely different mods of train. A power motion the thruster clashes with a gymnastics motion the pull-up to check how properly you possibly can maintain up beneath a number of sorts of stress.

For time:

  • 21 thrusters
  • 21 pull-ups
  • 15 thrusters
  • 15 pull-ups
  • 9 thrusters
  • 9 pull-ups

Ladies: 65-pound barbell

Males: 95-pound barbell

Athletes of any gender can scale the load as essential to match their power and expertise stage. Simply be sure that youre writing down which weight you employ every time you do the exercise so you possibly can have a good comparability of your instances.


This WOD is a superb instance of not needing a barbell to set an incredible problem for your self. It’s in no way a simple benchmark, however that is a kind of CrossFit benchmark exercises that you are able to do with little to no gear. That makes it an excellent benchmark for CrossFitters with out entry to a fitness center.

For time:

  • 1-mile run
  • 100 pull-ups
  • 200 push-ups
  • 300 air squats
  • 1-mile run

Ladies: 15-pound weighted vest

Males: 20-pound weighted vest

No matter gender, athletes can select to forego the weighted vest simply ensure you mark it down as scaled when youre holding or posting your rating.


This benchmark exercise is bodyweight-galore. No gear, no fitness center nothing however you and the actions. This can be a basic CrossFit chipper. Youll chip away in any respect 100 reps of every train earlier than being allowed to begin on the subsequent one.

For Time:

  • 100 Pull-Ups
  • 100 Push-Ups
  • 100 Sit-Ups
  • 100 Air Squats

Angie is a bodyweight-only benchmark, however its something however simple. Scale your actions as wanted assume, inverted rows in case you cant but do pull-ups however relaxation assured that it’ll nonetheless be a giant problem.

CrossFit Complete

If youre on the lookout for a strength-focused CrossFit benchmark exercise, that is it. The CrossFit whole is basically structured like a powerlifting competitors. You get three makes an attempt to max out three lifts. Simply change the bench press with the overhead press and youve bought your self a CrossFit ball sport.

For the sum of one of the best of three makes an attempt of every raise:

Any modifications you want, as all the time be sure that to mark them when youre recording or posting your progress.


This benchmark is a fast and intense dash to the time cap. Youll mix power with gymnastics in a dramatic vogue. And dont fear, you wont miss out on conditioning with the ability to breathe and keep calm is a tremendously necessary ability youll develop and check with this WOD.

For time:

  • 21 Deadlifts
  • 21 Handstand Push-Ups
  • 15 Deadlifts
  • 15 Handstand Push-Ups
  • 9 Deadlifts
  • 9 Handstand Push-Ups

Ladies: 155-pound barbell

Males: 225-pound barbell

Athletes of any gender can choose a weight that they’ll raise for this many reps. It’s also possible to carry out pike push-ups, incline push-ups, or common push-ups if want be.

As all the time, simply ensure you report how youre scaling it so you possibly can decide your self persistently throughout a number of exercises.

How Usually Do You Do CrossFit Benchmark Exercises?

Relying on what else is happening in your coaching, you would possibly wish to re-test numerous benchmark exercises between each month and each three months

Re-testing your benchmarks will tax your physique a terrific deal. Youre all the time striving to enhance in CrossFit however just like testing a brand new one-rep max, youll be placing in a real all-out effort while you re-test your benchmarks.

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If a benchmark takes a very excessive toll in your physique for instance, in case you cant stroll for days after the 150 wall ball photographs known as for in Karen plan to go even more durable with restoration surrounding a benchmark testing day.

As a CrossFitter, restoration is all the time paramount. Dialing in your sleep, diet, warm-up, and mobility routines, and managing your stress ranges are simply as essential to success as your work on the fitness center ground. Focus notably onerous on restoration when youre testing your benchmarks.

The way to Practice for CrossFit Benchmark Exercises

In most power sports activities, youll prepare particularly for one goal. In CrossFit, youre coaching to get good at a number of issues without delay. As a result of CrossFit competitions and common programming are supposed to be unpredictable, youll hardly ever if ever be coaching for one exercise.

However there could be some events Memorial Day, as an example, when many CrossFitters do Murph the place you wish to get higher at a selected benchmark exercise. Heres learn how to go about it.

Do Your Common WODs

Usually talking, CrossFit WOD A will aid you get higher at CrossFit WOD B and vice versa. Since these exercises are designed to assist enhance your expertise and power throughout a number of facets of health, even strength-oriented exercises will doubtless have an endurance part. And speed-oriented exercises will doubtless aid you get stronger.

A person in the middle of doing thrusters for a Crossfit fran.
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Say youre aiming to strive your hand at Heavy DT a nasty mixture of deadlifts, grasp energy cleans, and push jerks. You wont solely need to be robust to heft these weights. This benchmark exercise additionally requires you to carry out 5 rounds of a number of reps per train.

Due to this, getting ready for Heavy DT means getting stronger and extra expert with heavy barbell lifts. It additionally means creating an incredible quantity of psychological grit and bodily endurance throughout your whole physique. Since most CrossFit WODs develop all of those to some extent, you possibly can typically merely proceed coaching as regular to get enchancment in benchmarks.

Add Talent Days

Whilst youre getting stronger and growing your endurance, you cant get higher at expertise you dont observe. That is very true of barbell work and gymnastics you may be as robust as youd like, however itll be onerous to tug off high-rep muscle-ups if youve solely tried them as soon as earlier than.

In between your benchmark exercises, be aware of your weak factors and observe these in particular ability classes. These classes dont should be notably high-intensity (though they are often). As a substitute, consider expertise classes and expertise days as alternatives to iron out your weak hyperlinks earlier than trying a benchmark exercise once more.

A person doing thrusters for a Crossfit fran.
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For instance, your Fran time might need been slower than it may have been as a result of your wrists saved needing readjustment throughout your thrusters. Spend time cleansing up your thruster method in quick expertise classes earlier than or after your exercises or on their very own expertise days

You may preserve the weights comparatively gentle to reduce interference along with your most important exercises. However be sure that youre getting in sufficient quantity to essentially grasp these methods. That further observe could make all of the distinction subsequent time you go after a benchmark WOD.

Get well Nicely

The significance of restoration in CrossFit can’t be overstated. Youll want loads of sleep, meals, and mobility coaching to remain on the high of your sport. With out devoting sufficient time and vitality to restoration, its unlikely that youll be capable to preserve bettering and even sustaining your long-term well being. prescribed to girls. For girls, this would possibly imply dropping to a lighter weight than prescribed for ladies. 

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If youre nonbinary, youll have to pick out the load that aligns greatest along with your power, expertise stage, and expertise. This would possibly imply utilizing one of many prescribed binary gender weights, otherwise you would possibly wind up averaging the 2 or just deciding on a special weight that works greatest for you.

However how a lot must you scale back the load? It depends upon the exercise.

If its a high-rep WOD thats emphasizing pace, choose a weight the place you possibly can go unbroken carry out reps with out placing the bar down for so long as doable whereas nonetheless difficult your self. If its meant to be a heavier exercise, select a weight that feels heavy whereas nonetheless permitting you to full the prescribed variety of reps.

The way to Scale CrossFit Benchmark Exercises

The great thing about CrossFit is you can scale or modify any exercise in response to your present expertise or expertise stage. Cant carry out kipping pull-ups? That doesnt imply you cant do a benchmark exercise that features them. Heres learn how to scale CrossFit benchmark exercises to be extra accessible to you.

Modify the Actions

The primary barrier of entry for a lot of CrossFitters is that they cant carry out the actions they discover in benchmark exercises. In the event you see muscle-ups within the exercise, you would possibly reject the whole exercise immediately in case you cant do them.

A person doing a handstand push up.
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As a substitute of avoiding a exercise that features a motion you cant do, use another. For instance, as a substitute of giving up as a result of there are muscle-ups in your approach, substitute dips, band-assisted dips, and even close-grip push-ups. Cant carry out handstand push-ups? Attempt pike push-ups, decline push-ups, or wall walks.

Take into consideration the motion sample of the RX motion. Is it a pull or a push? Meant to tax your grip? Goal to supply an analogous stimulus and construct your power and expertise from there.

Decrease the Weights

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If the RX weight is simply too difficult for the variety of reps prescribed or if its properly above your one-rep max use much less weight. There may be completely no disgrace in utilizing much less weight than prescribed.

Even in case you begin with the RX weight, you might need no alternative however to make use of much less load to complete the exercise. Merely be aware of while you make the change so youll know for subsequent time.

If needed, use an empty barbell. Within the case that thats too heavy for you, change the lighter dumbbells. Construct up your power and work your approach up as you possibly can.

Seek the advice of an Skilled or the CrossFit Web site

If the exercise youre trying to do is an official CrossFit exercise utilized in competitors, the official CrossFit web site will usually have particular scaled variations out there for various Age Group and Adaptive Athletes. You may usually discover modifications there that may present the identical stimulus because the RX exercise.

It’s also possible to seek the advice of a certified coach who’s skilled with modifying exercises for a wide selection of athletes.

Report Outcomes Precisely

One worth of benchmark exercises is that you should utilize them that will help you examine your outcomes to different peoples. In that context, consistency is necessary. If youre performing inverted rows as a substitute of pull-ups, ensure you mirror that while you report or put up your outcomes. That approach, different individuals who have carried out the identical modification can examine themself to you and vice versa.

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Even when youre simply evaluating outcomes to your previous and future self, preserve the identical consistency in thoughts. That approach, youll know when youre in a position to scale up a motion, for instance. Even when your time appears to get a bit slower, itll be an enormous accomplishment to make use of the RX weight or actions. However you wont make sure how a lot youve improved in case you dont jot it down.

Extra on CrossFit Coaching

Youre all set to crush your upcoming CrossFit benchmark exercises. You understand what they’re, why they exist, and learn how to take advantage of them. However youre nonetheless itching to study extra about CrossFit coaching.

Fortunate for you, weve bought loads the place this got here from. Take a look at these CrossFit coaching articles to spherical out your know-how.

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