I've been training Crossfit and heavy lifting for a year and have intensified in the past four months and am currently at ~75% of the Rx weights listed on various workouts. I'd like to prepare for entering competitions by regularly doing a series of benchmark workouts besides a regular strength programme and occasional participation in classes.

  • There are dozens and dozens of benchmark WODs, how do I pick a versatile subset?

  • Some of them involve too heavy lifting, others very many reps. The weight inevitably has to be scaled, but should I also scale e.g. 100 pull-ups by number, or simply pick the AMRAPs with fewer reps?

    (A variation I've played with is a Team WOD where the number of reps are doubled, but a partner and I take turns, so we only do a subset of the reps at a time and rest while the other person works.)

  • Should I focus on something other than benchmark WODs when preparing? Plans like The Training Plan cost almost as much as my gym membership, so I'm holding back on that.

1 Answer 1


Benchmark workouts are usually designed to hit a particular metabolic pathway by forcing a particular intensity in a particular time domain. For example, some workouts are designed to be 100m sprints, some are 800m runs, others are 10ks. Set your weights so you can perform the workout in the time domain and manner that high level competitors do.

Take Fran (pull-ups and thrusters). High level competitors finish this workout in just over two minutes without resting. So, make sure your thrusters are light enough that you can finish in 2-4 minutes with very little rest.

Murph (running, pullups, pushups, squats), on the other hand, takes 45 minutes to an hour, and even the best sometimes rest between sets if they use a weight vest. So, don't be afraid to add some weight to this workout, even if it takes you longer. You will still be within the same metabolic pathways.

Because competitions are designed by individual gyms, rather than crossfit corporate, they will have very different focuses. Some will go very heavy, some will focus on endurance. You might want to tailor your workouts to specific competitions or choose competitions based on your own focus.

If you are thinking about the Open, which is coming up next month, look back a previous years and do those workouts rather than benchmarks. Open workouts tend to be lighter to include more athletes. Since you are 75% of benchmark weight, regional competitions will be out of your league for this year. Keep working, and you will get stronger over time.

  • +1 for looking back at the open. Looking back at a competition's history will give you a guide on how to train.
    – John
    Jan 9, 2017 at 10:47

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