Using Testers & Benchmark Testing in your Facility Programming

facility Mar 10, 2020

This week as we progress through the Winter 2020 Training Cycle, and finish up our latest mini-cycle [3 week blocks] -  we get to revisit a few classic benchmark workouts… Jackie, Diane, & Elizabeth/Amanda!

Benchmarks or testers are workouts that can give us a lot of information and allow us to check in and see how skills are progressing, what we have improved upon, what needs work, and where we might need to spend a little more time focusing on.

There are many things we can test including: strength, skill, aerobic capacity, CP battery, cyclical conditioning, just to name a few. Depending on the focus of a cycle, these will be included in our benchmarks and testers for testing week. But that’s not where we start. We start at the basics! 


So, when building a skill like handstand push ups in Diane, we started with a landmine press and dumbbell floor press. From there we built into barbell strict press and controlled negatives in the handstand. After this we worked unfatigued skill work in the handstand. Only then did we start building up the handstand push ups in workouts and with more volume.

This all helps when going into a benchmark like Diane (21-15-9 deadlifts + handstand push ups). Having the skill of handstand pushups built up along with the proper absolute strength, motor control, and muscle endurance going into this workout will allow you to feel confident going into a benchmark like Diane. 


When approaching these workouts think back to all the work that was done in preparation. Taking Jackie for example, all the work on the rower and developing that aerobic system leading up will help you maintain a solid pace on the 1000m row, along with all the squats, wall balls, and dumbbell thrusters allowing you to gain muscle endurance and knock out big chunks (unbroken??) on those 50 thrusters. Finally all the work on higher time under tension & muscle endurance dumbbell rows, ring rows, and pull ups will help you start to make these more difficult contractions sustainable going into those last pull ups to finish. 


Testers and benchmarks are always done with a purpose and built towards with intention. These act as a check-point on the fitness journey making sure that we are on the correct path and always giving us information on what to focus on moving forward. So during a training cycle, when looking toward any other benchmark workout know that all the work done in the beginning of the cycle has a purpose and the more attention and effort you give the ‘small stuff’ the better the ‘big stuff’ like benchmarks will feel! 


[This is a slightly adjusted blog from our 'Monthly Playbook' - where we design content to help educate & continually enroll your members in your training program & methodology].

Check out for everything included for your coaching staff each month. 


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