CrossFit Journal Article Reprint. First Published in CrossFit Journal Issue 13 - September 2003Benchmark WorkoutsGreg GlassmanWorkout DesignThe design and crafting of workouts is CrossFit’sprimary concern. Factors like impact, motivation,perception, recovery, and timing combine with decadesof experience seasoned by luck and intuition to createour daily fare, the “Workout of the Day”.Though the process by which we engineer our workoutsis largely rational, the finished product is often seeminglyinfused with qualities more commonly associated withart than exercise like symmetry, theme, or character.It is in this sense that we have in the past referred to“the choreography of exertion” in describing the bestof workout design.When everything goes right the finished product comesalive in a blend of elegance, simplicity, form, and impact.We are featuring six such workouts this month.ideal, give us opportunity to lay bare some of thepossibly unseen considerations and details we weigh inour programming design. Second, these six workoutsintroduce a series of workouts that will serve tomeasure and benchmark your performance andimprovements through repeated, irregular, appearancesin the “Workout of the Day”. The workouts intendedas benchmarks will be readily distinguished from otherWorkouts of the Day by their being given, in eachinstance, a female name. (See inset.)Our first six benchmark workouts are split evenlybetween two distinct thematic groups. The first threeworkouts are comprised entirely of push-ups, pullups, sit-ups, and squats while the second group isdistinguished by couplets of fundamental weightliftingand calisthenic or gymnastic elements. Each is scoredby time.Benchmark WorkoutsOur intent is two-fold in examining these workouts.First, these workouts, being exemplars of the CrossFit“The Girls”Angie100 pull-ups100 push-ups100 sit-ups100 squatsfor timeBarbaraChelseaDianeElizabethClean 135 lbsFran20 pull-ups30 push-ups40 sit-ups50 squats5 pull-ups10 push-ups15 squatsDeadlift 225 lbsHandstand push- Ring DipsupsPull-ups5 rounds for time- 3 minutes restbetwen roundseach minute onthe minute for 30minutes21-15-9 reps3 rounds for time21-15-9 reps3 rounds for time21-15-9 reps3 rounds for timeThruster 95 lbs of 5 CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc. 2006 All rights reserved.Subscription info at http://store.crossfit.comFeedback to [email protected]

Benchmark Workouts (continued.)The First Group: Angie, Barbara, and ChelseaThe workouts of the first group, Angie, Barbara, and Chelsea, aresuper simple (being comprised entirely of common calisthenics),very tough, dramatically reinforce the pull-up, and yet eachpresents a different metabolic challenge.Angie and Barbara, contain pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, and squats.Chelsea contains pull-ups, push-ups, and squats but no sit-ups.For each of these three workouts the pull-ups clearly presentthe greatest challenge. And, in the workouts’ aftermath, mostathletes expressed surprise at their significant lat, rear delt,and biceps soreness. At CrossFit the pull-up is sacrosanct andeveryone needs more. Angie, Barbara, and Chelsea supportthese values and aims.Varied Metabolic DemandsThe real story with these three workouts though is perhapshidden by their obvious similarities. Each offers a distinctly uniquemetabolic stimulus. (Though, each is completely exhausting.)Angie represents about 20 minutes of continuous work. Even withthe necessary breaks in the pull-ups and push-ups the exertion islargely steady from start to end. For most, the tempo picks upwith each new exercise. This workout has a strong aerobic flavorthat increases throughout the workout.Barbara demands roughly 3 minutes of all out work punctuatedby 3 minutes of rest repeated for a total of 5 intervals. At about3 minutes of work and a 1:1 work to rest ratio this is an aerobicinterval. Though three-minute efforts reach into aerobic turfthey are short enough to still have a strong anaerobic character.Chelsea timed out at 40 seconds of work for most followedby 20 seconds of rest repeated for up to 30 minutes. At 40seconds “on” and 20 “off” this is an anaerobic interval with anabbreviated rest, which imparts a strong aerobic flavor. This is ahybrid interval like our Tabata interval.Angie, Barbara, and Chelsea differ in metabolic demandsand each shifts these demands throughout the workout.With Angie the work becomes steadier as the workoutprogresses. For Barbara each round takes a littlelonger and consequently increases aerobic demandswhile the rest remains constant. And, with Chelsea therest shrinks as each round takes longer and longer tocomplete but cannot exceed 1 minute, so the aerobicquality asserts itself through diminishing rests.This analysis greatly oversimplifies the bioenergeticsof these workouts and the nature of the metabolic of 5 CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc. 2006 All rights reserved.Subscription info at http://store.crossfit.comFeedback to [email protected]

Benchmark Workouts (continued.)stimulus will vary depending on each athlete’s fitnessand the strategy he employs to tackle the workout, butthe fact remains that these workouts produce distinctand varied metabolic stimuli across several metabolicpathways; this is enormously important.For simplicity and elegance these workouts are gems.Each requires only a pull-up bar and about fifteensquare feet of space. They are whole-body with a nastyupper body component, extremely tough, metabolicallychallenging and collectively complete.“Diane”Great Travel CompanionsFor travelers these three workouts are absolutely perfect. Packeither the Door Gym or the Ultimate Chinning Bar, both areexcellent portable doorway pull-up bars, and your hotel roombecomes the perfect gym.The Second Group: Diane, Elizabeth, and FranThe workouts of the second group, Diane, Elizabeth, and Franare timed three round couplets of fundamental weightlifting andcalisthenic elements.Diane consists of deadlifts and handstand push-ups. Elizabeth isconstructed of hang cleans and ring dips, while Fran is built fromour “thruster” and pull-ups.These three workouts capture much of the spirit of CrossFit. Eachworkout not only combines weightlifting and a calisthenic elementbut is a powerful whole body workout containing functional hip,pushing, and pulling movements.Exploiting WeaknessBut the crushing charm of these ladies lies in their magnificentcapacity to root out weaknesses and humiliate you with them.For many athletes the high rep deadlifts at 225 pounds, cleans at135 pounds, and thrusters at 95 pounds are easy. For these sameathletes handstand push-ups, ring dips, and pull-ups are very likelydeficiencies. Typically, these athletes are larger.Similarly, those athletes for whom handstand push-ups, pull-ups,and ring dips are a breeze are nearly certain to bristle at theseloads and high reps in the weightlifting. Typically, these athletesare smaller.Do these workouts favor middleweights? It doesn’t seem so. Themiddleweights seem to suffer at both ends. of 5 CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc. 2006 All rights reserved.Subscription info at http://store.crossfit.comFeedback to [email protected]

Benchmark Workouts (continued.)Pace, Strategy, andCapacity“Fran”Nearly everyone will have tochop up either the weightliftingexercises or calisthenic exercisesinto manageable subsets. If you canblast through without stopping,these workouts take about 4minutes apiece. If you’re less thana weightlifting gymnast with thelungs of a porpoise your times willreflect as much.With that in mind there’s no shamein taking 60 minutes to polish offone of these workouts. If the loadsare in excess of your capacity ateven a few reps, then you’ll haveno choice but to amend theworkout with lighter loads. But, ifyou can manage three’s then you can cruise through theworkouts with 7X3’s the first round, then 5X3’s on thesecond, and on the third round 3X3’s.Handstand Push-upsThe handstand push-up will present a problem for a fairnumber of people. If this is a weak point for you, practiceby kicking up into the handstand and lowering, slowly,down to where your head touches the ground (use a“Elizabeth”pillow or cushion) and immediately kick back up into thehandstand. Eventually, by learning to go slow enough andwith enough reps you’ll be able to push one up.We’ve seen several clever assistance techniques whichall work in developing the handstand push-up. Werecently heard of someone using a lat pull-down bar andstack to assist handstand push-ups by hanging from thebar by the knees. That’s a great one!The handstand push-up is a gateway movement thatopens the doors to a world of drills and skills thatare marvels of balance, agility,coordination,accuracy,andremarkable upper body strength.(See “Paralette Construction”)Give yourself every opportunityto learn this exercise. Diane willhelp.Ring DipsElizabeth requires ring dips. I’d liketo think by now that you all haverings. Anywhere you can do pullups you can sling a pair of rings.The ring dip is to the bar dip assquats are to leg press (ouch!). Ifyou don’t have rings please contactTyler Haas of Power Ring TrainingSystems today and make things of 5 CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc. 2006 All rights reserved.Subscription info at http://store.crossfit.comFeedback to [email protected]

Benchmark Workouts (continued.)right. If you picked up rings just to complete Elizabeth itwould become one of the more beneficial workouts youever attempted solely for introducing you to the rings.Rules and PreparationFor each of the six sisters, Angie, Barbara, Chelsea,Diane, Elizabeth, and Fran, the workout requires thatyou complete the requisite number of reps for eachexercise before moving to the next exercise. You canparse up any set as needed but do not roll on to thenext exercise until the specified numbers of reps arecompleted.If you are doing the Workout of the Day (WOD), youare training for these workouts. Doing the WOD andapplying yourself 100% to these workouts when theycome around is enough. If you do them you will getbetter, if you get better at these you are becomingfitter.Angie, Barbara, Chelsea,Diane, Fran and ElizabethAccording to the National Weather Service theuse of “short, distinctive given names in writtenas well as spoken communications is quicker andless subject to error” than “more cumbersome”identification methods, so since 1953 storms havebeen assigned female given names.This convenience and logic inspired our grantinga special group of workouts women’s names, butanything that leaves you flat on your back andincapacitated only to lure you back for more at alater date certainly deserves naming.In this Journal we introduce you to Angie, Barbara,Chelsea, Diane, Fran and Elizabeth. Six amazingladies whose charms we discuss in this issue will bemaking irregular but repeated appearances as the“Workout of the Day” (WOD).Only by repeating workouts can we confidentlymeasure our progress. We’ve chosen to repeatthose workouts most challenging, formative, andexpressive of the CrossFit fitness ideal, and theseladies fit the bill.Within three days of a workout bearing a woman’sname being posted on www.CrossFit.com,complete the workout and post your results tocomments. We are going to develop a databasearound your performance on these workouts andwanted to give Journal subscribers a “heads up”. of 5 CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc. 2006 All rights reserved.Subscription info at http://store.crossfit.comFeedback to [email protected]

workouts are comprised entirely of push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and squats while the second group is . Angie Barbara Chelsea Diane Elizabeth Fran 100 pull-ups 100 push-ups 100 sit-ups 100 squats 20 pull-ups 30 push-ups 40 sit-ups 50 squats 5 pull-ups 10 push-ups 15 squats Deadlift 225 lbs Handstand push-ups Clean 135 lbs Ring Dips Thruster 95 .