Why you should know your limits!

Does your coach ask you how you went in a WOD? What time you got? How much weight you lifted? How you broke up the reps during the workout?

All of these things are important pieces of information. CrossFit is a numbers game after all. This is one of the reasons everybody who first tries CrossFit gets hooked. There is always something you can improve. If you know your maxes, weaknesses and limitations everything becomes much easier and the journey becomes more fun.

You will move through workouts faster and more efficiently, you will push your current boundaries and break through them more often and you will become not only a better CrossFitter but become fitter, faster and stronger.

So what are the limits and maxes you should know you ask?

This depends on whether you’re looking to compete or whether you’re just using CrossFit as a fitness program. If you’re using CrossFit as your means of staying fit and healthy your priorities will obviously differ. For an average CrossFitter it is important to know at least a few of the following:

3RM and 10RM for your Front Squat, Deadlift, Push Press, Clean and Snatch. Also how many pull ups, push ups, handstand push ups or holds, toes to bar you can do in one set. This will arm you and your coach with plenty of information to help you scale workouts based on your current ability so you get the most out of your training. There are plenty more but as a starting point these will be more than enough to gauge someone's ability.

If you are a competitive CrossFitter you will also want to at least know your 1RM in all of these lifts plus many other times for runs and rows and max effort attempts. This is a completely different discussion and has many other factors to be taken into consideration.  

How do you use these figures you ask?

Firstly it is good to track these numbers so you can monitor your own progress over time and remind yourself of how far you have come. Secondly it is good to know these numbers so that you and your coach can scale workouts for your ability so you get the most out of your training.

Let me give you an example of this from the mind of a coach…

Today’s workout is:

6 rounds of

10 Pull ups

10 Front squats 135/95lbs

As the coach I have programmed this workout to be finished in 7 to 9 minutes.

In this example I am coaching an athlete who can do a max effort of 10 unbroken pull ups and has a 10RM front squat of 225lbs. My goal as the coach would be for this person to get better at their pull up. It stands out that the Front squat is not a problem for this person so to get them better at Pull ups my advice for this person would be to complete this workout and to get the most out of it would be to scale the number of pull ups to something they can do all sets unbroken so perhaps 8 reps every round. As for the Front squats they will probably be able to hang onto this weight for all of the rounds so they can complete this movement RX.

By scaling the number of pull ups to an unbroken set of 8 reps I am getting the athlete to hold onto the bar which is building valuable grip strength and pull up strength under fatigue. If I was to say to the athlete do the WOD RX and they broke the pull ups up from the start their grip strength is likely to not be pushed as hard and they will be resting more in between sets of pull ups, which will decrease the overall intensity of the workout and potentially blow the time out to above 7-9 minutes.

At the end of the workout I would have a quick discussion with the athlete and get feedback so I can learn more about them and have a better understanding of how we scale or attack the next workout I coach them for. At times we as coaches can get this wrong but at least if the communication is open and honest then we will get it right more often than not. This is all part of learning and growing. 

My hope is that the one thing you take away from this is that if you’re currently not tracking your maxes and WOD’s you start doing so. Your coach does not ask you this daily to piss you off they are doing it because they truly care about your progress and performance and want to be armed with as much information as possible so they can help you as best they can. Care about your own progress in the same way and you never know it might just help. All it takes is a minute or 2 minute a day to plug the numbers into your phone after each workout and you will have all the info you need handy without having to remember it all. 

Seriously it is not that hard! It is for your own benefit! 


Name *