Your Guide to CrossFit Benchmark Workouts

CrossFit isn’t like different sports activities. As an alternative of getting just a few commonplace lifts to get good at or a set of particular physique objectives, CrossFit is all about coaching a bit of bit — properly, loads — of each side of health. If something, it’s like strongman in that respect: athletes have to be robust and well-conditioned. However with no particular set of lifts, how are you aware when you’re bettering?

That’s the place CrossFit benchmark exercises come into play. As an alternative of chasing two or three numbers — say, a 500-pound deadlift — CrossFit could have you trying to run sooner, elevate heavier, and grasp wild gymnastic strikes just like the handstand stroll. Benchmark exercises are designed to push and take a look at your health ranges on all fronts: energy, endurance, and ability.

Two people working out at a Crossfit box.
Credit score: Arsenii Palivoda / Shutterstock

For the reason that first set of benchmark exercises was launched by CrossFit in 2003, the game has developed an infinite number of standardized workouts to check your health and measure your progress. Right here’s every little thing it is advisable learn about CrossFit benchmark exercises.

What Is a CrossFit Benchmark Exercise?

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

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

Glassman assigned names historically related to ladies to the unique benchmark exercises launched in 2003 — specifically, Angie, Barbara, Chelsea, Diane, Elizabeth, and Fran. He referred to those exercises collectively as “The Girls,” a observe largely nonetheless used.

Different benchmark exercises are named for individuals who served within the navy, like Murph. However the identify is just not what makes a benchmark exercise.

A group doing sit-ups together.
Credit score: UfaBizPhoto / Shutterstock

CrossFit is supposed to enhance and take a look at a variety of health capabilities. The objective is to create all-around athletes slightly than somebody who specializes solely in a single space. Benchmark workouts are due to this fact meant to check a wide range of abilities and capacities.

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

Monostructural Actions

Consider your “typical” cardio exercise — rowing, working, biking. A session on an air bike or ski erg, or perhaps a bout of leaping rope. In CrossFit, athletes and coaches seek advice from some of these workouts as monostructural.

The concept with monostructural actions is that they’re meant to enhance your aerobic conditioning and fitness. You could be accustomed to tacking some of these actions onto your coaching as a low-intensity warm-up or cool-down. However in CrossFit, these workouts are sometimes interspersed with others to create a multi-modal “jack of all trades” coaching expertise.

Some examples of monostructural actions comply with:

Weightlifting Actions

Herein lies the assessments of energy — how successfully can you progress a seemingly immovable object?

Generally, weightlifting in CrossFit does seek advice from the precise competitors lifts utilized by Olympic weightlifters — the snatch and clear & jerk. There’s 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.
Credit score: lunamarina / Shutterstock

Different instances, nonetheless, CrossFitters use modified variations of those barbell workouts akin to energy cleans, squat cleans, and shoulder-to-overhead presses (the place you press the bar up utilizing any technique 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 around odd objects — extra historically related to strongman competitions — like sandbags is taken into account weightlifting in CrossFit.

Some examples of CrossFit weightlifting actions are under:

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

Gymnastics Actions

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

The youngest ladies ever to podium on the Video games, Mal O’Brien; 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 frequent centerpieces of CrossFit WODs and benchmark exercises. Something you would possibly affiliate with swinging from a bar or in any other case manipulating your own body 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 aren’t constant, established requirements for measuring progress in CrossFit. Sure, you possibly can hold observe of your PRs (private data). You possibly can measure how briskly you are able to do completely different WODs over time. If you happen to couldn’t use the Rx (prescribed, or as written) weight while you first began doing a exercise and now you possibly can, that’s progress. One-rep max occasions converse for themselves.

A group of people doing pull ups.
Credit score: Roman Chazov / Shutterstock

However generally, there isn’t only one commonplace of success like there may be in powerlifting and weightlifting. Due to this, what constitutes the greatest benchmark workout is subjective. What would you like out of a benchmark exercise? Contemplating these elements are maybe a greater measure of its effectiveness.

If you happen to work out in a CrossFit box, you’ll do benchmark exercises together with everybody else as a a part of your common programming and WODs (exercises of the day). 

However when you are inclined to work out alone — or need to put in additional coaching exterior of sophistication — select which benchmark to check based mostly on your current goals.

If you happen to’re trying to take a look at your progress getting stronger with a barbell, a bodyweight-only benchmark exercise may not be the one you’re on the lookout for. 

However, a bodyweight-only benchmark exercise could be precisely what you’re on the lookout for in case your main focus is energy however you continue to need to be difficult your self and improving 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 energy, endurance, and completely different mods of train. A energy motion — the thruster — clashes with a gymnastics motion — the pull-up — to check how properly you possibly can maintain up below a number of sorts of strain.

For time:

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

Girls: 65-pound barbell

Males: 95-pound barbell

Athletes of any gender can scale the burden as essential to match their energy and expertise degree. Simply be sure you’re writing down which weight you use every time you do the exercise so you possibly can have a good comparability of your instances.


This WOD is a wonderful instance of not needing a barbell to set an incredible problem for your self. It’s on no account a straightforward benchmark, however that is a kind of CrossFit benchmark exercises that you are able to do with little to no gear. That makes it a perfect benchmark for CrossFitters with out access to a gym.

For time:

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

Girls: 15-pound weighted vest

Males: 20-pound weighted vest

No matter gender, athletes can select to forego the weighted vest — simply be sure you mark it down as scaled while you’re protecting or posting your rating.


This benchmark exercise is bodyweight-galore. No gear, no gym — nothing however you and the actions. This can be a basic CrossFit chipper. You’ll chip away in any respect 100 reps of every train earlier than being allowed to start out on the following one.

For Time:

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

Angie is a bodyweight-only benchmark, nevertheless it’s something however simple. Scale your actions as wanted — assume, inverted rows when you can’t but do pull-ups — however relaxation assured that it’s going to nonetheless be an enormous problem.

CrossFit Complete

If you happen to’re on the lookout for a strength-focused CrossFit benchmark exercise, that is it. The CrossFit complete is essentially 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 also you’ve bought your self a CrossFit ball sport.

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

Any modifications you want, as all the time be certain to mark them while you’re recording or posting your progress.


This benchmark is a fast and intense dash to the time cap. You’ll mix energy with gymnastics in a dramatic vogue. And don’t fear, you received’t miss out on conditioning — having the ability to breathe and keep calm is a tremendously necessary ability you’ll develop and take a look at with this WOD.

For time:

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

Girls: 155-pound barbell

Males: 225-pound barbell

Athletes of any gender can choose a weight that they’ll elevate for this many reps. You too can carry out pike push-ups, incline push-ups, or regular push-ups if want be.

As all the time, simply be sure you file the way you’re scaling it so you possibly can decide your self constantly throughout a number of exercises.

How Usually Do You Do CrossFit Benchmark Exercises?

Relying on what else is occurring in your training, you would possibly need to re-test varied benchmark exercises between each month and each three months

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

A person working out with battle ropes.
Credit score: UfaBizPhoto / Shutterstock

If a benchmark takes a very excessive toll in your physique — for instance, when you can’t stroll for days after the 150 wall ball photographs known as for in Karen — plan to go even harder with recovery surrounding a benchmark testing day.

As a CrossFitter, recovery is always 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 gym floor. Focus notably onerous on restoration while you’re testing your benchmarks.

The right way to Prepare for CrossFit Benchmark Exercises

In most energy sports activities, you’ll practice particularly for one objective. In CrossFit, you’re training to get good at multiple things directly. As a result of CrossFit competitions and common programming are supposed to be unpredictable, you’ll not often 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 need to get higher at a selected benchmark exercise. Right here’s methods to go about it.

Do Your Common WODs

Typically talking, CrossFit WOD A will assist you to get higher at CrossFit WOD B and vice versa. Since these exercises are designed to assist enhance your abilities and energy throughout a number of features of health, even strength-oriented workouts will seemingly have an endurance element. And speed-oriented exercises will seemingly assist you to get stronger.

A person in the middle of doing thrusters for a Crossfit fran.
Credit score: Improvisor / Shutterstock

Say you’re aiming to attempt your hand at Heavy DT — a nasty mixture of deadlifts, hold energy cleans, and push jerks. You received’t solely must 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 a point, you possibly can typically merely proceed coaching as regular to get enchancment in benchmarks.

Add Talent Days

At the same time as you’re getting stronger and increasing your endurance, you possibly can’t get higher at abilities you don’t observe. That is very true of barbell work and gymnastics — you will be as robust as you’d like, nevertheless it’ll be onerous to pull off high-rep muscle-ups when you’ve solely tried them as soon as earlier than.

In between your benchmark exercises, pay attention to your weak factors and observe these in particular ability periods. These periods don’t have to be notably high-intensity (though they are often). As an alternative, consider abilities periods and abilities 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.
Credit score: Dragon Photographs / Shutterstock

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 approach in quick abilities periods before or after your workouts — or on their very own abilities days

You possibly can keep the weights relatively light to reduce interference along with your essential exercises. However be sure you’re getting in sufficient quantity to essentially grasp these strategies. That additional observe could make all of the distinction subsequent time you go after a benchmark WOD.

Get better Properly

The significance of restoration in CrossFit can’t be overstated. You’ll want loads of sleep, meals, and mobility coaching to remain on the high of your sport. With out devoting ample time and power to restoration, it’s unlikely that you just’ll have the ability to hold bettering — and even maintaining your long-term health. prescribed to ladies. For girls, this would possibly imply dropping to a lighter weight than prescribed for ladies. 

Close-up of a young athletic woman using a foam roller to roll out back muscles and legs.
Credit score: aerophoto / Shutterstock

If you happen to’re nonbinary, you’ll have to pick the burden that aligns greatest along with your energy, expertise degree, and abilities. This would possibly imply utilizing one of many prescribed binary gender weights, otherwise you would possibly wind up averaging the 2 or just choosing a special weight that works greatest for you.

However how a lot do you have to scale back the burden? It depends upon the exercise.

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

The right way to Scale CrossFit Benchmark Exercises

The great thing about CrossFit is that you could scale — or modify — any exercise based on your present abilities or expertise degree. Can’t carry out kipping pull-ups? That doesn’t imply you possibly can’t do a benchmark exercise that features them. Right here’s methods 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’ll’t carry out the actions they discover in benchmark exercises. If you happen to see muscle-ups in the workout, you would possibly reject your entire exercise immediately when you can’t do them.

A person doing a handstand push up.
Credit score: oleksboiko / Shutterstock

As an alternative of avoiding a exercise that features a motion you possibly can’t do, use another. For instance, as an alternative 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. Can’t 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? Purpose to supply the same stimulus and construct your energy and abilities 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 it’s properly above your one-rep maxuse much less weight. There’s completely no disgrace in utilizing much less weight than prescribed.

Even when you begin with the RX weight, you might need no alternative however to make use of much less load to complete the exercise. Merely pay attention to while you make the change so that you’ll know for subsequent time.

If needed, use an empty barbell. Within the case that that’s too heavy for you, swap the lighter dumbbells. Construct up your energy and work your approach up as you possibly can.

Seek the advice of an Knowledgeable or the CrossFit Web site

If the exercise you’re trying to do is an official CrossFit exercise utilized in competitors, the official CrossFit web site will sometimes have particular scaled variations accessible for different Age Group and Adaptive Athletes. You possibly can sometimes find modifications there that can present the identical stimulus because the RX exercise.

You too can seek the advice of a qualified coach who’s skilled with modifying exercises for a big selection of athletes.

File Outcomes Precisely

One worth of benchmark exercises is that you should utilize them that will help you evaluate your outcomes to different individuals’s. In that context, consistency is necessary. If you happen to’re performing inverted rows as an alternative of pull-ups, be sure you mirror that while you file or submit your outcomes. That approach, different individuals who have carried out the identical modification can evaluate themself to you and vice versa.

A person writing on a clipboard.
Credit score: – Yuri A / Shutterstock

Even when you’re simply evaluating outcomes to your previous and future self, hold the identical consistency in thoughts. That approach, you’ll know while you’re capable of scale up a movement, for instance. Even when your time appears to get a bit of slower, it’ll be an enormous accomplishment to make use of the RX weight or actions. However you received’t ensure how a lot you’ve improved when you don’t jot it down.

Extra on CrossFit Coaching

You’re all set to crush your upcoming CrossFit benchmark workouts. what they’re, why they exist, and methods to profit from them. However you’re nonetheless itching to be taught extra about CrossFit coaching.

Fortunate for you, we’ve bought lots the place this got here from. Take a look at these CrossFit training articles to spherical out your know-how.

Featured Picture: lunamarina / Shutterstock

Trending Merchandise

Add to compare
IRON °FLASK Sports Water Bottle – 32 Oz, 3 Lids (Straw Lid), Leak Proof, Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel, Double Walled…
Add to compare
Add to compare
Water Bottle Insulated 32oz 40oz 64oz 128oz Straw Lid Spout Lid & 3 Lids, Leak Proof, Vacuum Insulated,Stainless Steel…
Add to compare
Add to compare
Venture Pal Large 64 oz/Half Gallon Motivational Water Bottle with 2 Lids (Chug and Straw), Leakproof BPA Free Sports…
Add to compare
Add to compare
Coldest Sports Water Bottle with Straw Lid Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Metal Thermos Bottles Reusable Leak Proof…
Add to compare
Add to compare
H2 HYDROLOGY Adventure Water Bottle with 3 LIDS | Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Wide Mouth | Sports Hot…
Add to compare
Add to compare
H2 Hydrology Water Bottle – 18 oz, 22 oz, 32 oz, 40 oz, or 64 oz with 3 LIDS Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless…
Add to compare
Add to compare
COKTIK 32 oz Sports Water Bottle With Straw,3 Lids, Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Water Bottles,Leakproof Lightweight…
Add to compare
Add to compare
HYDRARANK Half Gallon Water Bottle with Straw and Chug Lid – 2.2L Gym Water Jug with Storage Sleeve and Handle – BPA…
Add to compare
Add to compare
JoyJolt Borosilicate Glass Water Bottle with Strap, Silicone Sleeve and Lid (Grey). 20oz Water Bottles. Reusable Water…
Add to compare

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Register New Account
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart