Why do we do Benchmarks?


In Crossfit, we like to measure our progress through various benchmarks, 1 rep maxes and general ability to do certain skills. But why is it important for us to do this? And how does it make us better athletes? 

Well the obvious reason as to why we do benchmark WODs such as “The Girls” and “Hero WODs” is to reveal our strengths and weakness and determine our progress as an athlete. We can then see if we need to improve our lifting, gymnastics or metabolic conditioning and even determine if we are lacking in any of the domains of fitness (strength, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, flexibility, endurance, accuracy or stamina. From there, we can then set specific and attainable goals. 

Benchmark WODs such as Fran, Nancy, Helen and Karen are used to test work capacity. 1 rep max power lifts such as backsquats test pure strength and 1 rep max Olympic lifts such as the Snatch and Clean test strength, power, flexibility and agility.

It is important to make a record of your different benchmark scores in order to keep track of your progress and achieve your goals. 

So, don’t shy away from testing your athletic potential. When you see a benchmark WOD or 1RM on the whiteboard, give it your best so that you know where your capabilities lie. 

More then just a coach 

Many people who start Crossfit fall in love with it and immediately want to do their level 1 course. They then think that this is enough to go straight into training a group of people in this amazing sport. Wrong! 

I did my personal training certificate in 2012, did my CF-level 1 course in October last year and am currently in my last year of a  human kinetics and ergonomics degree. I have worked as a personal trainer and netball coach, yet I still do not feel like I am the best Crossfit coach or know everything you need to know to be a great coach. However, I am learning and teaching myself continuously. 

The problem comes in when people think they have trained themselves for years in a regular gym… Transitioned to Crossfit, did their level 1 course and now suddenly they are qualified to coach? 

I have been shadowing the owner of the box I’m at in Durban and he is amazing! The way he explains exercises and corrects form is impeccable! Of course this is after years of experience, learning from others, continuing education and an undying passion for Crossfit. 

In my opinion, a good coach needs to have enthusiasm and a really good eye for spotting incorrect form as well as knowing how to deal with individual personalities. There is so much more to coaching Crossfit then simply saying “do a squat”. It takes confidence, patience and humility to get to a level of coaching that inspires, pushes and motivates members to be better then they were yesterday. 

Every time I walk into that box I want to impress the coaches because I know how much they are putting into teaching us and getting us to be better. This makes me push so much harder and gives me more to work for. 

So, if you’re thinking of being a Crossfit coach, really consider everything it means to be one. Members are trusting you with their bodies… Trusting that you will tell them what’s right and what’s wrong, when to push, when to scale and when to RX. You are their role model and you need to know about the human body, the way it works, which muscle does what movement, and how to execute movements safely and efficiently. You also need to know how to communicate all of this to your members in a way they can understand and translate into their own movements. 
I try to do as much as I can to be the best coach i am able to be by continuously readings,YouTubing and doing the movements myself. Watching other experienced coaches has really helped me a lot and I am very excited for what the future has in store!