What's your test of progress?

What test do you train for to stay on course and measure progress?

  • Tactical Strength Challenge (TSC)

    Votes: 1 3.4%
  • PFT (Military, LE, employer, etc)

    Votes: 2 6.9%
  • Powerlifting/Weightlifting Max/Total

    Votes: 8 27.6%
  • 5k, Marathon, Triathlon, Other Endurance Event

    Votes: 3 10.3%
  • Simple & Sinister (S&S)

    Votes: 5 17.2%
  • Beast Tamer

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Right of Passage (RoP)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Named Crossfit WOD (i.e., Fran, Murph, etc.)

    Votes: 1 3.4%
  • Tracking a benchmark performance measure is dumb and holds me too accountable

    Votes: 2 6.9%
  • Other

    Votes: 7 24.1%

  • Total voters

Bro Mo

Level 6 Valued Member
Just curious what folks are training for and how they track their progress. What is your island in the pacific you're sailing toward. How do you know when you arrive to the correct island or the wrong island or are headed in the wrong direction? How do you measure your progress and success of it?

Hitting a new PR powerlifting total might be great but maybe your objective is actually to continue to hit new PRs until you're 60 which introduces a different trajectory and you don't want to go too fast too soon.


Level 6 Valued Member
I voted S&S because that's what I'm practicing and I'm not that experienced with the others.

I think TSC + running time (5k, 10k, whatever) would be a pretty good test.

@Harald Motz's way of tracking workload vs HRM seems very representative as well.


Level 9 Valued Member
Powerlifting total is the main goal. Powerlifting is both my sport and love but I also believe the strength gained for it is useful in general.

The total it is not the only goal. I try to improve other lifts as well, for example my press or my zercher squat. I see them valuable on their own, but I also appreciate that them going up usually means my total is also going up.

As mentioned in the other thread, I see the 1rm as the best goal. But I also like to chase other numbers, like max weight in a 20 rep squat

the hansenator

Level 6 Valued Member
I have a bit of a medical history so for me progress is measured by competency in a movement - doing it better with confidence and no discomfort and using the correct muscles. After that, adding reps or weight or distance is the next measure of progress.

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
My go-to tests/check-ins:
  • Powerlifting 1RMs or 5RMs: squat, bench press, and deadlift. Also overhead press.
  • 31 or 62 mile bike ride
  • Snatch test 16kg
  • S&S w/ 24kg swings + get-ups to the time standards
  • My favorite yoga DVD (Rodney Yee Power Yoga)
I don't work to imrove them all at the same time, but I might check in with one while working on another, to make sure it's not going too far astray.

Shahaf Levin

Level 5 Valued Member
What is your island in the pacific you're sailing toward. How do you know when you arrive to the correct island or the wrong island or are headed in the wrong direction?
I just try to make sure that I am a good sailor and my boat is well kept.
I make sure my movement is smooth, stable and loose.
When I do check benchmarks, it is with high-motor-control exercises that I do not practice. Pistols, BU cleans, bent presses when they are out-of-season (which is rare in my case)


Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I don't one test I go for. Whatever my goal is for the training block, gets tested in the beginning and tested at the end. If I'm stronger, awesome. If not, regroup.

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
My first measure of progress is not losing too much off of lifts/movements I no longer train. If they stay the same or increase I know I'm killing it.

Second is what I describe as a "RPE reduction" - known efforts that are not capable of being trained need to become easier. Along with that:

Individual lifts I'm doing need to become easier so I can either increase load, increase reps, or slow the eccentric way down and make the concentric as explosive as possible "own" the weight. Metcons need to feel easier so I'm challenged to increase load, increase cadence, or switch to a more challenging variant.

Steve Freides

Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Hitting a new PR powerlifting total might be great but maybe your objective is actually to continue to hit new PRs until you're 60 which introduces a different trajectory and you don't want to go too fast too soon.
Sorry, but I want to hit new PRs until I'm at least 90. And there's no such thing as progressing too fast once you reach a certain level.



Level 7 Valued Member
I train to be ready, and to be strong, and to be healthier. But also I train for discipline, waking up every day and working out at early hours is not easy.
Nonetheless, since I'm in active duty I have a kind of PST each year here are what is going to be tested:
  • 3k run
  • Sit-ups in 2 minutes
  • Pull-ups
  • Shuttle run.

Martin Joe

Level 7 Valued Member
My Universal Assessment this year

Max Pistol Squats with good form*
Max One Arm Push-ups with good form*
Max L Chin-Ups with good form*

Rest 15 min

S&S @ 32 kg for time


/Martin Joe

*You know when your form is everything else but GOOD (y)
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Level 7 Valued Member
I'm a big believer in competing to stay sharp
Yes I agree. Going for better times, lifts, competing in a sport has many benefits. A measure of progress and humility when there are people faster, stronger and better than you.
Feeling good, moving well and being healthy with gradual strength gains is probably more a priority and all that leads to potential improvements in athleticism.
An outlet of friendly competition is motivating, whatever the sport is and if successful is a measure of progress. It's also a measure of progress how you manage a lack of it, defeat and loss and coping with gracious acceptance. Psychological growth is important too!


Level 9 Valued Member
1. Do I progress in bouldering?
2. Does the kb feel easier to swing?
3. Can I do certain yoga poses?

I am not a competition type at all, I like to practice one thing (move) for an amount of time and if I can do it, I try to secure the ability by repeating it every now and then. Mostly these things are related to no 1 above.

Denny Phillips

Level 5 Valued Member
Like many of you my focus shifts during the course of a year. While being steadfastly against surrendering things to the aging process I also realize that pulling a 505 deadlift is not something I care to chase at 62. I use Dan John's 1-2-3-4 assessments, particularly:

1) Standing on one foot with eyes closed for 30 seconds. My college basketball days played hell on my right ankle, so this is not a given for me like it might be for you.
2) Standing long jump. Upon first testing it I jumped 6'7" at a height of 6'6". That passes, but barely. My last test was 8'10" so i am getting better at the technique or some positive physical improvement has been realized. More than likely both.
3) Holding a plank for 2 minutes. Being able to do it without shaking like a dog passing razor blades is my new normal.
4) Waist measurement less that half of height (in inches). At 62 I'm not likely to grow taller, so improvements in this area reflect good things in my training and dietary approach, or at least I think so.
5) Loaded carries. These are more difficult for me to assess since I've never really tried to max them out. I know that getting to 1/2 bodyweight in each hand was a process, so being there indicates something I suppose. Varying up the load and distance is more natural to me so I don't test my limits very often.

There are others included, just not as regularly. Swinging the 32 with form and control as opposed to it being for loaded carries. OS resets give both immediate and gradual feedback.

I still work strength and power, but am mindful that while I always have another injury left in me I don't need to find out whether I have another recovery left in me. That being said, i was able to establish new PR's in the BB military press and KB military in the last year so I got that going for me.


Level 5 Valued Member
I'm nearly 50 and am still hitting PBs in my various lifts (last week 17 chin ups, up from 16 achieved in Sep '18). I exercise mainly with barbells and cables and use 10RM to measure progress as my joints don't appreciate regular training above about 80%. While recovery has definitely become more of an issue with age I have experienced no impact on limit strength as measured above


Level 3 Valued Member
I tend to have 2 to 4 lifts that I'm obsessed with for months at a time. Currently it's 1 arm deadlifts and over head yoke carries. Progress or lack of it is pretty clear. Every now and again I like to revisit previous obsessions to make sure I can match or better my previous bests. I recently came back to swings and getups after a couple of years without touching them. With those it had been so long I started in slow but was a bell or more past my previous best in the course of a few weeks.
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