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How to Track Progress in your CrossFit Box

Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope you all had a great day celebrating, and hopefully had a piece or two of candy. No, candy is not paleo, and no, I really don’t care. I actually initially thought about doing a “Paleo Halloween Treat,” but I decided that no one actually enjoys eating that stuff (least of most me) so today isn’t a recipe day. Luckily, one of our clients, Lauren, was talking about how she finally Rx’d a workout with deadlifts in the MetCon at a weight of 135. It brought to mind that judging progress can be tough, and maybe we could all benefit from a few strategies to do just that.

The workout tonight was 3 Rounds For Time of:

  • 10 Deadlifts (185/135)
  • 31 Wall Balls
  • 16 Box Jumps

See what I did there with the rep scheme? Very clever, I know. Anyway, Lauren usually doesn’t Rx workouts at 135. That is a solid number when you’re going to do 30 of them, 20 under fatigue.  This is especially true for a taller athlete like Lauren, so when she rocked it out with the fastest Rx time on the board, that was a huge moment! This brings us to my first point: you don’t have to do a specific workout to judge progress.  I know that the benchmarks in CrossFit, such as the CrossFit “Girls” are a useful tool for judging progress; however, they are really tough on the nervous system, often involve skills not every athlete has mastered, and generally shouldn’t be done often. By noticing something like your deadlift weight going up during MetCons is a good way to see progress in that lift without doing “Dianne” or testing the 1 Rep Max.

Another strategy for judging progress is to actually track your workouts. I know you may have heard this before, but it bears repeating. One of the main reasons we now use Zen Planner as our software service at the gym is so that our athletes can record what they do in a workout, and what their 1 Rep Maxes are in each lift. If you don’t record what you’ve done in a workout, two things happen. One is obvious: you won’t know what weight you used when you last performed a certain movement. However, the second one is even more important: you won’t know how to push yourself to new levels. Getting stronger, fitter, faster, whatever, comes down to a few important principles, one of them is the principle of progressive overload. If you’re interested read about this here. But it basically says you have to do more over time to improve. More weight, more reps, faster times, etc. etc. Eventually doing a workout at 135 becomes easy. But you won’t know that you’ve done in prior workouts and when to advance if you have no idea what you were doing the week, month, or year before if you’ve never recorded your workouts.

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