What Makes a Great Benchmark Workout

What makes a GREAT benchmark?

You could say it comes down to personal preference, and maybe to a degree it does.  But at the end of the day, a benchmark should be a well-rounded test of all things CrossFit.

In CrossFit we often talk about training to be a 3 headed monster.  Those three heads being strength, aerobic capacity, and skills.  Now, you can break these categories down even further, but this would be the broadest interpretation of what we strive for!  Of course, while we aim to improve these areas of fitness, we start to see the auxiliary benefits of that training, that’s what leads most Cross Fitters to reach their goals.  These things include – being leaner, having more energy, preventing injury and good overall health and biomarkers.

So, with that in mind, lets create, and repeat benchmarks that target these elements and help you reach your goals!

In my mind, here are 2 not so great benchmarks


  • 50-40-30-20-10 Reps For Time
  • Double-Unders
  • Sit-Ups

We really just test skills and aerobic capacity here – strength is a non-factor.



Handstand Push-ups

Ring Dips


While this workout is awesome for many reasons, including the fact that it’s done for a great cause, it doesn’t really check all the boxes in terms of training.  All three moves are pushes, if you’re strong, skill is a non-factor etc.… Again, I love hitting JT for a pump, or for its commemorative purposes, but from a training standpoint, it falls short for me.

On the other hand, when you look at some of the old school ladies like Nasty Girls

Nasty Girls

3 Rounds for Time

50 Air Squats

7 Muscle-Ups

10 Hang Power Cleans (135/95 lb)

Or even the house benchmark,

“Cold Shoulder”

For Time:

15 Strict Press (95/65)

500/450m Row

15 Push Press (115/75)

500/450m Row

15 Push Jerks (135/95)

500/450m Row

15 Push Press (115/75)

500/450m Row

15 Strict Press (95/65)

We can see how much wider a scope of overall fitness is tested.  Again, some of this is a matter of opinion and some benchmark workouts can offer more of a stimulus to different individuals.  This quick write up is just a way to give you some perspective on why we see certain benchmarks more than others.  Have a benchmark you’d like to test?  Or one you’d like to see on the “Leaderboard”, let us know… and we can fight about it!!! 

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