We CrossFitters are PR-junkies so I know I have your attention. It feels good to improve. There is satisfaction, pride even, when your hard work leads to measurable results. Progress is success and PRs (personal records) are how we track our progress.
This quest for constant improvement is built into the CrossFit program. CrossFitters are expected to track benchmarks such as their max effort lifts and results for “the Girls” workouts. These come up periodically in training and the goal is of course to better your previous effort.
We track all of the data we can: weights, reps, time, food, sleep, etc. and we keep comparing and working to make ourselves better every time we step into the gym. But to PR everyday doesn’t mean 1-rep max lifts and Fran all week long. In my training, I have an ongoing Indicator List that covers a broad range of skills and workouts.
I might have something like a max height box jump, or as many 24″ box jumps as possible in 2min. On the list I have what the indicator is, when I last completed it, and what my result was. After reattempting anywhere from 6-12 weeks later I’ll track what my new (and hopefully improved) result is.
I have seen this work well with my group classes as well as with athletes I coach online. I continually throw out little check-ins where it’s no longer a race to the finish line, but each athlete’s individual quest to better themselves.
The reason this is an Indicator List and not a PR list is because while it does give you an accurate record of your best efforts, you are using it as a check-in on your training and an assessment of where you may need to focus more attention. You can put almost anything on the list – Tabata bupees, 2 mile run, max strict pull-ups, 2010 Games wod with hspus and cleans…you get the idea.
As a CrossFit athlete I train to not specialize in any one thing. Which also means I need to be good at everything. These indicators show me where I may need to adjust my training and exactly what I need to work on. I don’t just tell my coach “oh, I’m not good at hspus” – I can tell him exactly when my technique fails.
Whether it’s in longer workouts that I loose stamina overall, or when I go for bigger sets and I loose my technique, or that I’m in the habit of resting too much and need to practice getting back on the wall when I’m tired.
The video above is of me adding a new indicator to my list. 15 push jerks at 155lb in as few sets as possible. I got it in 1 set, so next time I’m going heavier.
Creating an Indicator List is a great way to track progress and keep improving across all areas. Get a diverse and specific list of what your indicators are, check-in with at least one thing every day you train to see your progress, and keep PRing at everything!