First and foremost, what is a benchmark workout? Simply put, it is a workout that you will see again…and again…and again. They are repeatable workouts that KFIT incorporates into our weekly programs. You will not see a repeated benchmark workout for at least 3 months, sometimes even longer, but not to worry, you will see it again eventually! Whether you’re brand new to KFIT or a vet, you may have noticed that we love benchmark workouts because they are really beneficial to all clients (although it only benefits you if you write it down!)
So why do we do bench mark workouts? Why do you we have to see the dreaded “Bubble”, “Pushing Daisies”, or FRAN more than once in our lives?!? The answer is simple… to see how we’ve improved since the last time we did the workout. Did we get faster or stronger? Or maybe both? Day to-day, these improvements can go unnoticed. So it is very rewarding to see that progress on paper. From our stand point, benchmarks provide us with programming feedback. Are our clients progressing in all areas of fitness? This is directly related to the programming we develop. Benchmarks give us objective measurements that help us see if there is an appropriate response to our approach and where we may need to improve. It also gives us coaches a little boost of excitement when we see how you’ve improved. In case you haven’t caught on yet, we LOOOOOVE all achievements, big or small.
So now you know why we do benchmark workouts, but lets talk a little more about them. They’re usually physically and mentally challenging. The coaches will ALWAYS provide levels for benchmark workouts, so just like any other workout at KFIT, these workouts are scaled to your individual capabilities. For our KFIT newbies, we want you to focus 100% on form. Our goals for you is to take your time, rest when needed, and work proper technique with all workouts, including benchmark workouts, so for the first few weeks or so, your level and score is always going to be a ‘For Quality (FQ).’ The intermediate levels (usually L1– L3) are provided as guidelines. You can always mix and match the weights from different levels depending on your skills. RX, or the prescribed weights and movements for the workout, is the advanced level. An individual must have good form, strength and mobility to get to this level. RX is meant to be really challenging and provides us all with something to strive for. Whether performing L3 or RX, you are performing what is appropriate for YOUR fitness level. It is not a judgement of who you are as a person. We never want to hear ” I only did…..” You are working just as hard as anyone else no matter what level. Scaling will still result in progress and keep you injury free.
It is so important to write down your benchmark workouts for a number of reasons. First of all, you will not remember what you did the last time. You might recognize the workout, but you won’t remember what your time was, how many reps you got, or what weight you did. Most of us can barely remember what we ate for breakfast yesterday, so there is NO way we’re remembering a workout we did 3+ months ago! Secondly, you will want to know if you’ve improved since you last did the workout. I mean, that is the goal, right? How will you know if you’ve improved if you didn’t write it down?
Here’s our suggestion for writing benchmark workouts down. And to be clear, we will let you know if it is a benchmark workout and whether you should write it down.
- Include the date and the name of the workout
- Write down what weight/box height/pull-up band, etc. you used. As previously mentioned, the levels are not set in stone, so you’ll want to know if you mix and match levels. If a workout has pull-ups, the levels will be ‘No Band’, ‘Banded’ or ‘TRX rows’ but we never specify which level band to use so definitely write it down!
- Write down your score (time finished, total number of reps, etc.)
All of this information is important to keep in your notebooks. A workout name and your ‘end time’ does not tell the whole story without the level (weight, box height, pull-up band, meter runs, etc.) The next time you do the benchmark workout, maybe it will be 3 minutes slower. Sounds like a bummer, right? But what if you went from a 14” box jump to an 18” box and TRX rows to a number 3 band on your pull-ups? That information makes a huge difference, right? You may not have gotten faster (yet), but you got stronger and this is an improvement we want to track!
Progress is so important and we want it to extend past the scale. If you haven’t already, definitely start tracking benchmark workouts! It is really exciting to see how much you’ve improved over the course of the year, but you’ll only know if you start writing them down!