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5 Ways To Measure Your Progress in Workouts (and Why It Matters)

Crossfit


Finding ways to measure your progress in training can be a challenge, whether you’re experienced or not. It’s perhaps especially true if you’re a CrossFitter, and no two days training are the same.

Sure, there are the benchmark WODs, and we’ll get to those, but what other ways are there to keep track of progress with your workouts?

Measure Your Progress in Workouts
Let’s take a look

Measure Your Workout Progress

Log Your Workouts Online

If you really want to get serious about logging your CrossFit training, then something like Beyond The Whiteboard could be ideal. It’s used by a lot of Games athletes, and it does so much more than just record your training sessions.

It’s not free, but Beyond The Whiteboard provides a place to log your workouts, compare your times and lifts, analyze performance metrics and even body composition, all through the app. It’s probably the most accurate and comprehensive product out there at the minute for CrossFitters who are serious about using metrics to inform their training routines.

In an instant, BTW will show you where you stand in terms of strength on Olympic lifts, compared to metcons and speed.

BTW is designed for CrossFitters, so it has all of the lingo built in — WODs, RX, AMRAP, plus common rep schemes including 21-15-9.

You’re given the option to share your results on social media, of course, and you can even follow along in real-time with the training routines of top athletes including Mat Fraser and Dan Bailey.

Measure Progress Workouts

Repeat The Benchmark WODs

There’s no better way of testing whether you’ve gotten better at something, than to do it again. With CrossFit, that often means re-testing yourself on the benchmark WODs. Most of the benchmark WODs are designed (or happen) to test strength, speed and stamina.

Fran is a prime example. It probably doesn’t pay to test your Fran time every month, since nobody really improves that much month to month.
Testing it every six months makes more sense, since in the meantime, you’ve gone through a strength cycle, a cardio cycle, and maybe your technique has improved some as well (remember to mobilize daily.)

Grace is another great way to test and retest your fitness. How well can you cycle 60 kg or 42.5 kg? How often are you going to break? An improvement on your Grace time is a good indicator that you’re making overall progress with your training.

Dan Bailey Does Grace — 30 Clean and Jerk (60 kg)

Our top three benchmark WODs for measuring progress are:

Fran — 21-15-9, thrusters (42.5./30 kg) and pull-ups

Grace — 30 clean and jerk (60/42.5 kg)

Cindy — 20 minute AMRAP of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 air squats

And, of course, because we love jump rope so much, and it’s a great way to test both speed, technique and stamina, you could also try recording how many double-unders you can do in a minute, and repeating once a month.

Another great jump rope workout:

Annie — 50-40-30-20-10 of double-unders and sit-ups.

velites annie benchmark wod Progress Workouts

Find a Workout Partner to Measure Your Progress in Trainning

One of the best ways to measure your progress, is to compare what you’re doing to someone who you know well.


It doesn’t have to be a competition, but then a little friendly rivalry never hurt anybody. It helps if there’s someone at your gym who roughly the same as you in terms of weight, height, strength and stamina.

Granted, it’s not the most accurate way to track your progress, but it’s something to give you a push, and to keep you focused towards constant improvement.

If you and your partner are similar, and you both know that you are, and then they start to pull away when it comes to strength, that could be an indication that something needs to change.

Are they training strength more? Are they eating more? As a purely informal way of tracking where you’re at long-term, teaming up with someone at your gym is a good way to go.

Hint: You don’t necessarily have to tell them you’re doing it.

Take Control of Your Nutrition

We’re not going to get into this food is bad, and that food is good, because food in general is good, how you use it is what matters most. There are some general guidelines we should all try and follow when it comes to eating more healthily, and those are set out below, but what we’re interested in, is tracking nutrition, in relation to health and workout performance.

Now, telling people what to eat is the job of dietitians and doctors, and neither of those am I, but we can all agree that in general, we should:

  • Consume less sugar (processed and natural, although natural is better because it’s usually attached to other things like vitamins and minerals in fruit and veg)
  • Eat more vegetables (they have more protein than you might think)
  • Get plenty of protein
  • Drink less alcohol

For keeping track of your nutrition, an app such as Fooducate is great. They market the app as a weight loss guide, but it’s really a general tool for measuring not just amount of calories in food, but also the quality.

That’s key when it comes to calories and nutrition for training, because a slice of cake and a steak with salad might have the same number of calories, but the steak’s calories are of a higher quality, because they’re attached to more protein, vitamins and minerals.

Record Your Training Progress on Paper

So simple, yet often so effective, the act of writing out your workouts, results and personal bests (PBs) in a notebook, can connect you to them in a way that — for some people, at least — an app just can’t. If writing that stuff up by hand is what you need to do, then do it.

At my gym, we have a giant whiteboard with everyone’s names on them. We list all of the major lifts — back and front squat, strict press, jerk, overhead squat, etc. — and have our PBs listed and out in the open. We’re not obliged to do it, and not everyone does, but having it written up there is not only a great reminder of where you’re at, but also a fantastic way to measure your progress in a fundamental way. Haven’t erased a PB in a while? Better get moving.

Let’s recap.

Five Ways to Measure Your Progress in Workouts

  • Log your workouts online
  • Repeat the benchmark WODs
  • Find a workout partner
  • Take control of your nutrition
  • Record your progress on paper

Visit the Velites online store to shop for jump ropes, including the new VRopes Fire 2.0, and don’t forget to check out the Jump Rope Academy for a double-unders masterclass to remember.

Graeme Keeton

Written by Graeme Keeton

Graeme is a copywriter based in the United Kingdom. He provides the copy for our social media channels and newsletter, in addition to articles covering the CrossFit scene in Europe and the U.S.

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