Katie Hogan: How to PR Everyday!

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.

Katie Hogan Bench Press

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!

Katie Hogan

Katie Hogan

Currently trains all over the Northern California Bay Area. She was introduced to Crossfit in June 2008 and has competed in both the 2009 and 2011 Crossfit Games. In addition to competing in Crossfit, Katie is also an experienced coach as well as being a member of the Crossfit Level 1 Seminar staff. Her passion for fitness and her desire to help people are what fuel her to continue bettering herself as both an athlete and a coach. Being a part of the Crossfit community has been a fulfilling experience that she hopes to pass on to others.
Katie Hogan
  • afto

    so glad katie post here! always learn something new…thx

  • Philip

    Push jerk is pretty impressive.

    • http://therxreview.com/ Michael: The Rx Review.com

      No doubt about that Philip. She is a strong woman. Love it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1171232814 Ryan Lang

      she’s an animal!

  • Courtney

    Very helpful post!!! Thank you!

  • Robbie

    Thanks, I needed that article. I’ve not been tracking my progress. Working hard on workouts but not training my weaknesses and writing it all down, setting “indicator lists” or PR days. I literally go through cycles of tracking , hitting PR’s then getting lazy, busy, etc…. and stop working my weaknesses (because gymnastics are so flippin hard for me) make more excuses… Then I get motivated and start all over again. I think I’ll put a photo of you on my squat rack…I wouldn’t dare walk past you and not do the work! Thanks for your intensity and motivation!

  • ErickDiazSoto

    Great article. I’ll start using indicators from now on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mattyrog Matt Rogers

    That’s a great idea.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002990959231 JA Cabello

    What’s that around her arms and how does it work?

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