a base strength standard

I had a simple goal - don't be this unfit. That amorphous goal worked for a while, as I was all kinds of unfit. But soon enough, I had to shift to a system where I had a reasonable target to aim for. That's when I found strength training.

If I could tell myself to be at a certain level while starting off CrossFit, here's what I would set. I think being able to do these means you are reasonably along with the fundamentals, and can do whatever you fancy on top of this.

This is not StrongEnough.

This is more "you must be at least this old/tall to be eligible for this ride". Start Here. Aim for these in the initial stages of your training. If you think of them as a pre-requisite i.e. Do Not Pass Go, I think that's not a bad idea at all.


We will use Coach Dan John's 6 movements to help set this standard. Please note this is my interpretation of Coach's work, based on the people I work with and have worked with in the last 8+ years.

Some of these we might be able to do in a day. Some might take coaching, a lot of drills, and a lot of work to get there. For example, if you don’t have a 2-minute plank, well, that might take some time.

Let's start with ladies. We might need to make adjustments for age but we have women across all age groups who can do this.

Push

For the push, we have 2 requirements to meet.

  1. A 2-minute plank.
  2. One pushup.

Going from 0 pushups to 1 is hard, especially if you don't have a 2-minute plank. If you can get to 1, you can get to 20. That’s why the base level is set this way. It does not count if you can do 5 pushups but do not have a 2-minute plank.

Pull

For the pull, we have just 1 requirement.

  1. 10 standing rows on the TRX, 45-degree angle.

If you do not have a TRX, that’s fine. You can do standing plank-rows, or let-me-ins.

Squat

For the squat, we will use the goblet squat obviously. If you can do this, it means your mobility levels are rather good. A lot of the folks I work with have forgotten their squat pattern, and this takes a bit of work to get there. But once you can do some squats, the loading of it is rather easy. And it opens up a whole world of possibilities.

  1. 16kg goblet squat for 10 reps.

The weight does not matter as much, to be honest. But from what I’ve seen, most women are strong enough to lift this, and have lifted more than this in just daily walks of life.

Hinge

The hinge is a tricky pattern because our hips are a bit tight and weak. We need to learn to push our hips back and keep our lower back out of it.

  1. 75% bodyweight KB sumo DL for 10 reps.

You can practice the hinge movement with the help of the following video.

Carry

Simple. Just carry some weight. We carry things all the time - think of it as carrying two bags of weights for some distance.

  1. Carry half-bodyweight for 100m.

A lot of things come to play here - grip, balance, gait.

The 6th movement

I have 2 requirements for you here.

  1. Crawl for 90 seconds.
  2. Lie-down and stand-up, using one hand or less for support.

I am a huge fan of the crawl, and I think all of us should be doing it. In addition, the sit-and-stand test is a huge indicator of mortality, and so learning to lie down and stand up, or sit and stand up with minimal support is vital for longevity.


Now, for the gentlemen. Not too different.

Push

  1. A 2-minute plank.
  2. 5 pushups.

Pull

  1. 10 standing rows on the TRX, 45-degree angle.

Squat

  1. 24kg goblet squat for 10 reps.

Hinge

  1. 100% bodyweight KB sumo DL for 10 reps.

Carry

  1. Carry 75% bodyweight for 100m.

6th movement

  1. Crawl for 90 seconds.
  2. Lie-down and stand-up, using one hand or less for support.

This is a good place to start. If you can hit all of these, that's a well-rounded base to build on.

If you can do this, fist bump!

If you cannot, start here. Just do a bit of work every day towards these - starting with the plank.

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