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August 13, 2017

Why Everyone Should Know Their Benchmark Times

Written by Damect Dominguez

Every athlete has benchmarks within their given sport. Runners have their 400m, mile and 5k times. Globo gym goers have their bench press. Powerlifters have their totals in the bench, deadlift and squat. CrossFitters have “the Girls”, amongst others. In essence, a benchmark does two things: it tests your improvement over time and it allows you to compare yourself against the rest of the community.

Test your improvement

It’s been said that what gets measured, gets managed or improved. It’s difficult to gauge your improvement over time if the only data available is a fading memory of how you felt during last month’s WOD compared to your most recent workout. It’s a whole other story to have logged workout times on specific WODs that you can compare over a given time period. What if you noticed that over the last 6 months your Helen time got better while your Diane time remained the same? Data like that can help you understand what areas you’ve improved on and what areas still need work – in this example maybe your deadlift hasn’t been getting much attention.

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Often times, a good dose of competition is the best motivation available. Knowing your Fran time and being able to compare it to your workout partners can sometimes provide the extra motivation necessary to keep you coming back or pushing through a tough workout. The key is to be realistic. Challenge yourself against individuals who are near your fitness level. In the short term, if your Fran time is 8:10, aim to beat someone with an 8 min Fran.

CrossFit’s original benchmarks come in the form of ‘The Girls’: Angie, Barbara, Chelsea, Diane, Elizabeth and Fran. Why girl’s names? Greg Glassman said: “Any workout that leaves you flat on your back, staring up at the sky, wondering what the hell happened deserves a girl’s name.” The first three workouts are comprised entirely of pull-ups, push-ups and squats (calisthenics). The last 3 workouts are a couplet of weightlifting and calisthenics or gymnastics elements. What’s important to note is the fact that the six workouts offer a wide range of metabolic stimulus through different time domains, therefore offering a superior test of one’s fitness level.

Test your fitness level by doing the Girls. Do one once a week for the next six weeks, set a goal for the next 6 months and then retest. The results might surprise – and motivate you!


For time:
100 Pull-up
100 Push-ups
100 Sit-ups
100 Squats
*Complete all reps of each exercise before moving to the next.


*5 rounds for time. Three minute rest between rounds.
20 Pull-ups
30 Push-ups
40 Sit-ups
50 Squats


Each min on the min for 30 minutes of:
5 Pull-ups10 Push-ups
15 Squats
*Count total number of reps. 900 is a perfect score.


21-15-9 reps for time of:
Deadlift 225/175
Handstand Push-ups
*For time


21-15-9 reps for time of:
Clean 135/95
Ring dips


21-15-9 reps for time of:
Thruster 95/65

About Damect Dominguez

Co-founder of BoxLife Magazine. Author: Training Day: 400+ Workouts to Incorporate in Your Training.

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