Skip to main content

How We Measure Progress

Recently, we did an article on why we do Benchmark workouts. One of those reasons is to test our fitness. It is only through testing that we can understand our limitations. We are then able to develop a plan to overcome those limitations. We fail at the margins of our experience. All of this testing requires an ability to measure our progress. How do we know if we are “better” today than we were at this time last year? How do we know if we are actually bigger, faster, and stronger? We do this by making sure that everything we do in CrossFit is observable, measurable, and repeatable.

Observable, Measurable, and Repeatable

The principle of observable, measurable, and repeatable is the baseline requirement for science. First, you have to be able to observe an event. Are you able to see something happening? Next, can you measure what happened? If you observed an object move, you can measure the distance it moved. If you want an object to move a certain distance, you can observe it move and then measure the distance to determine the length of movement. Finally, any test has to be repeatable more than once, ideally multiple times.

How This Relates to Fitness

When we apply the principle of observable, measurable, and repeatable to fitness, we are essentially setting a standard. In CrossFit, everything we do has a standard. Why? Because we want to be able to measure everything we do. Only then are we able to see progress.

For example, let’s look at an air squat. The standard in CrossFit is to start in a full standing position, bend the knees and drop the hips below parallel, and return to a full standing position. When we watch someone perform an air squat, we can observe the squat. Did it happen or not? Next, we can measure the squat. Did the person move from a full stand, to below parallel, and back to full stand? Finally, have the person do multiple squats and watch each one to see if each squat passes through the desired range of motion.

Measuring Our Progress

The standards we mentioned above apply to everything we do in CrossFit. This is how we measure progress. As long as you are maintaining the standard for the movement, then you are able to compare future movement to past movement. When our movement is observable, measurable, and repeatable we can record a result. It is the comparison of the result that determines our progress.

For another example, let’s go back to our air squat. Today, perform 100 air squats as fast as possible. Make sure each squat meets the movement standard described above. Now, in 6 months, do it again. Maintain the same standard. Did it take you less time to perform 100 air squats in 6 months than it did today? If so, you have accurately measured progress.