Why should you retest workouts?

04 Jan


Push / Pull 

    • 21 Chest to bar + 9 Thruster 
    • 15 Chest to bar + 15 Thruster 
    • 9 Chest to bar + 21 Thruster 

Open Workout 12.3

    • AMRAP 18: 
      • 15 box jump step down 
      • 12 Push press
      • 9 toe to bar

30 Muscle Ups For Time 

    • Must start with greatest unbroken set possible 

5:00 Strict HSPU 

      • Must be in a 36x24” box 

10:00 Assault Bike 

    • Max cals report bodyweight 

These are just a handful of “testers” that we have used for many years at Big Dawgs coaching, if you are currently working with us you may give an eye roll because you have probably done these several times in your fitness career. Going further beyond that each of my clients has a handful of unique fitness characteristics that we test periodically and repetitively. These are fitness markers unique to the individual client. 

Now it may seem weird that we compete in a sport that is based on unpredictable tests and new challenges each season for us to have a standardized repeating test. There are some very specific reasons why as coaches we may zero in on a few specific characteristics and continually check in on them at various times throughout the year. 

Why should you retest workouts?

1. Recovery Barometer

There are certain tests that are very nervous system dependent, meaning that if you are well recovered you should be fast, accurate and sharp! Likewise if the training block is too intense or BLG’s are not on point these test can often easily point it out. They are short in nature and relatively low cost. Some examples of these are 

  • :10 max watts on Assault bike → We are looking for the absolute max power output 
  • Standing broad jump → usually 3-5 attempts measured down to the inch so we can be very specific on your output 
  • Split jerk 1RM → This won’t drain the nervous system as much as a heavy back squat or deadlift, but you won’t be successful unless you are recovered enough to be FAST and PRECISE 

We can use these quick hitters to get a normative range for our athletes. It can give us a lot of great insight to recovery, the toll of a recent training split and how we should move forward. 

2. To help decide training volume

We know that for certain movements within the sport of functional fitness there are minimum required reps to expect if you want to be competitive in qualifiers or local competitions. We want to decide your training volume based off of your max current capability much like we would weightlifting. So lets use an example of Chest to bar pull ups

  • Test 2 x Max Unbroken sets rest 5:00
    • Pre score 18 - 14 
    • Post Score 27-14
  • We can see that this athlete has made some pretty good progress, and that will tell me as a coach to adjust a few things 
    • 1: Set sizes in Accumulation work 
      • So during the pre work based on a rep max of 18 we would choose 6-8 for EMOM or Unbroken work. We want this to be repeatable and relative to what they can do in a max setting 
    • 2: Total volume 
      • Even though we know a “winning score” may involve 150+ Repetitions in a session of Chest to bar. The total score of 32 --->41 gives us more insight of what is realistic to start off with 
      • Secondly now that we see the athlete needs to move up in total volume per week within this training block. Those accumulated reps during the first block showed us success and we can now move that needle 
    • 3: Stimulus focus
      • How the athlete succeeded or failed helps us gauge how to challenge them moving forward. 
      • This athlete showed a big improvement in maximal set but not in recovery. This suggests wins in technical mastery, efficiency, and probably absolute strength. 
      • They failed in recovery -- so perhaps we need to pair chest to bar with more aerobic means, perhaps we need Chest to bar and farmers carry for grip. There is some data to help us tease out details 

3. Understand interference

Like we’ve stated before this is a pretty demanding and ever-changing sport. We tend to have seasonal focuses of strength, conditioning, gymnastics etc. We aren’t constantly working intently on every aspect of fitness, instead we are periodizing to have an intelligently designed year and to attack specific needs. That being said we need to have an idea on how a training block effects not only our intended desire but also other aspects. 

  • 18:00 AMRAP 15 box jump 12 push press 9 toe to bar
    • Let’s say we have been doing a block that is heavily based on gymnastics accumulation and olympic technique. Very little specific mixed conditioning was done during this break. If this score gets better it Can be insight that specific strength work translates very well for this athlete adn we can keep it in the program further into the competitive season 
  • 2K row 
    • Another scenario, say we are in a well balanced pre comp season, with a slight emphasis on strength accumulation. Lets say the Athlete PR’s the Clean and jerk by 1 pound but loses 12% on the 2K row. We can see that the strength emphasis isn’t worth it in the grand scheme of scoring well. It helps us understand how hard it is for this athlete to recover from the strength work. 
    • Mixed fitness is incredibly complex in the fact that it is not pure strength, purely aerobic, or purely lactic. We are in new frontiers of trying to balance so many fitness characteristics, so its important to constantly gather data on exactly how the program is effecting your unique athlete. 

4. Conversation

We will always circle back to individuality and communication. One workout given to ten athletes will always result in 10 different stimuli. Re-testing creates awareness in the athlete which can lead to great conversations. Maybe now they felt lungs as limiting factor on the 18:00 AMRAP as opposed to their shoulders like the pre test. Perhaps they no longer get tricep fatigue on muscle ups, their lats give way first. These small details help us determine how they are growing and changing by communicating frequently over a familiar experience. It’s a beautiful mix of objective and subjective data to design the best possible program for you.  

CrossFit® is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc. Big Dawgs' uses of the CROSSFIT® mark are not endorsed by nor approved by CrossFit, Inc., and Big Dawgs is in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by CrossFit, Inc.


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