Performance Measurement

Benchmark Workouts and Measuring Performance.

As CrossFit 360Vida finishes up test month, the question arises, what is the purpose of benchmarking?


Benchmark workouts reveal an athlete’s strengths and weaknesses, giving them a plan to work towards in order to achieve their goals. The overarching aim, when doing these workouts and pushing for one rep max (1RM) lifts as measurements, is to establish what an athlete’s strengths and weaknesses are in the different aspects of their training (whether it be Olympic Lifting, Powerlifting or Gymnastics).

If we consider the micro-details of our training, benchmarking also gives insight as to whether athletes are lacking in any of the domains of fitness, such as, agility, accuracy, balance, coordination, endurance (cardio-respiratory), flexibility, power, strength, speed and/or stamina.


In CrossFit, there are  three ways to measure progress in physical fitness:

  1. Benchmark workouts, which focus on work capacity and test some of the ancillary aspects of fitness.
    The lovely ladies Fran/Grace/Isabel, for example,  test strength and speed (power output), while a workout like Helen tests Cardiorespiratory fitness.
  2. 1RM power lifts examine an athlete’s strength.
  3. 1RM Olympic lifts test strength, power, agility and flexibility.

These measurements should work together. It is important to do various benchmark workouts and lifts to get rounded information, by measuring the holistic athlete and not just aspects of his/her training.

When doing these measurements it is a good idea to video record yourself. One of the more abstract or difficult forms of performance to track is a change in the quality of the movement. By quality, we mean how efficiently an athlete moves and how efficiently the athlete executes transitions. In most cases, these observations are left up to a coach (with a good eye) to pick out, but video sessions may also provide valuable visual data for assessing quality of movement and picking out good and poor patterns of movement. Recording sessions also gives real time visual feedback to athletes who train alone.

Written by Diane Teles, Co- Founder of CrossFit 360 Vida, Coach and Physiotherapist.