Athlete’s Choice

“CrossFit Total”
Back squat, 1 rep
Shoulder Press, 1 rep
Deadlift, 1 rep
The rules for the lifts will need to be simple and well understood by everybody, both the lifters and people in the position of judging them, so we’re all on the same page. The idea is that when you post a CrossFit Total, yours will be done to the same standards as everyone else’s. The lifts must be easy to judge, easy to understand, and as difficult to corrupt as possible. By starting out with a clear picture of what we want and don’t want from a CrossFit Total, many millions of hours of bitching, hard feelings, and confusion can be averted. It must be understood that good form in the lifts is inherent in the rules for testing them.
The order for performing the three lifts will be squat, press, and then deadlift. The best single attempt for each of the three lifts are added together for the CrossFit Total. There is no time limit for each lift or for the length of the session in which they are all performed, but they must all be performed during one session—i.e., you cannot leave the area to rest or perform other activities between the three lifts. Multiple progressions to the best attempt are not allowed; do not work up to your best squat, then change an item of equipment or clothing and work up to it again to try to better your first effort.
Press Rules
The press is also done from the racks.The bar is held in both hands in front of the neck, taken out of the rack and walked back away from the rack. No contact with the rack is permitted until the bar is replaced in the racks. Once the stance is assumed it cannot change until the lift is completed. The starting position must be upright, with the knees and hips fully extended and the chest up.The bar must be in contact with the top of the shoulders or the chest, whichever individual flexibility permits. After the starting position is correctly assumed, the bar is pressed overhead until the elbows are completely extended, with the bar in a position directly above the ears. Once this position has been attained, the bar is lowered back to the front of the shoulders and walked back into the rack and replaced.
Any halt in the upward motion of the bar, identified as the part of the bar between the hands, constitutes a missed attempt, as does any change in the position of the feet against the floor during the attempt, any bending of the knees, or excessive backward lean of the torso as identified by A) the position of the most anterior aspect of the armpit, B) the most posterior aspect of the buttocks, C) the plane formed by a straight line between these two points, and D) the movement of that plane to a position behind the vertical. Any deliberate attempt to raise the bar counts as an attempt. Spotters are not permitted for this lift.

Deadlift Rules
The deadlift is performed with the bar on the platform or floor. The lifter assumes a position facing the bar, with the bar parallel to the lifter’s frontal plane.The bar is gripped with both hands, and pulled with one continuous uninterrupted movement until the lifter is standing erect with knees and hips fully extended, the chest up and shoulders back. Once this position is attained and the bar is motionless, the bar is lowered under control with both hands back to the ground.The bar may not be dropped.
Any halt in the upward motion of the bar constitutes a missed attempt, as does failure to assume a fully erect position with both knees and hips extended. Any attempt to raise the bar counts as an attempt.
The equipment that can be used is minimal. A belt of any type can be worn but is not required. Knee wraps or sleeves are permitted, but if they are used they must be left on for the entire duration of the session in which the lift is performed—e.g., they must be put on before the squat is warmed up and left in place until the last squat attempt is completed. Wrist wraps are permitted; lifting straps are not.
Any type of footwear may be worn, although a formal contest would require an actual shoe of some type. The shirt should be a close-fitting stretch material, like a t-shirt or a golf shirt, tight enough that the back position can be clearly observed during the press. Close-fitting shorts will allow the bottom position in the squat to be observed. Long pants are not permitted, and neither the shirt nor the shorts can have any supportive characteristics whatsoever. Singlets are not allowed.
Squat Rules
The squat must be done from the squat stands or power rack. The bar must be placed on the back and walked out to clear the rack completely. No contact with the rack is permitted until the bar is replaced in the rack. Once the bar is lowered, the stance cannot change until the bar is
to be racked. The starting position must be completely upright, with the knees and the hips fully extended and with the chest up. The hips are lowered until the top surfaces of both of the legs at the hip joint are lower than the knees, and then the bar is lifted back up. The bottom position is identified by A) the apex of the crease in the shorts formed as the hips are lowered, B) the surface of the top of the patella, C) the plane formed by a straight line between the
two, and D) the dipping of the hip end of that plane below horizontal. The finish position is the same as the starting position, and the athlete must return to it before the bar is racked.When the finish position is secure, the bar must be walked back into the rack and successfully replaced.
Any halt in the upward motion of the whole bar, identified at its position on the back rather than at its ends, constitutes a missed attempt, as does any change in position of the feet against the floor during the squat. Any deliberate attempt to lower the bar counts as an attempt. No more than two spotters are permitted, and they are not allowed to touch the bar during the attempt, which is finished only after the bar is successfully replaced in the racks. The spotters are permitted to steady the racks, and to take the bar if the lifter loses control of it. Any touching of either the bar or the lifter by any spotter invalidates the attempt.
The process
Now that we know exactly what we’re doing, we need to figure out the best way to do it. For people not used to doing single maximum attempts, some tips on how best to safely do them are in order. After a warm-up, the squat will be performed first. Some squatting with the empty bar should have been included in
the general warm-up so that the knees, hips, back, and shoulders are not too terribly surprised. Anyone in a position to attempt a legitimate CrossFit Total should be familiar enough with their capabilities on the lifts to have a fairly good idea of just what might be possible for a one-rep max (1RM). This number is what you warm up intending to do.

The CrossFit Total
The first attempt would be a weight you know you can do for a heavy set of three. The second attempt would be a weight you know without any doubt that you could do for a single, having just done the first attempt. And the third attempt is the weight you want to do, based on your performance on the previous two attempts. If you have made a mistake setting your first attempt, the next two will need to be adjusted, but you should know what you can triple, and this will always be a safe first attempt. And since you know this weight, you know what weights to use to warm up for it: you’ll use the lightest weight that you normally start with for your first warm-up when you train, and 90% of the first attempt for the last warm-up, with either three or four relatively even increments in between these two. For instance, warm-ups for a 405-pound first attempt on the squat would be:
135 x 5 185 x 3 225 x 2 275 x 1 325 x 1 365 x 1
If you don’t have a damn good idea of what you can do for a heavy triple, you don’t need to be doing a CrossFit Total yet.
After the squat, rest a while (long enough to rest, not long enough to get cold) and follow the same procedure with the press. Since press numbers will be much lighter, the warm-ups will be closer together, and you might choose to use fewer intermediate warm-ups.This is fine, since the squat has provided quite a bit of systemic warmup, if not actual fatigue. After a rest and a drink following the press, the deadlift warm-up might be abbreviated even further, with a heavier first warmup and only two or three intermediate sets before the first attempt.
Done correctly, the CrossFit Total is perhaps our best tool for telling us the things we need to know about a very important aspect of our training. It is my sincerest hope that it also makes a contribution to the training of athletes currently outside our community and functions as a way to introduce them to our methods, and to the good people of CrossFit.
Here are some basic precautions that need to be followed for safety:
1) Don’t be stupid.
Don’t total if you’re injured to the extent that a total will aggravate the problem. This will cost you in at least training time, and possibly time off of work if you’re ultra-stupid.
2) Don’t be greedy.
Learn to recognize the difference between greed and ambition, and be merely ambitious.
3) Don’t be pig-headed.
If your first attempt tells you that you need to lower your second, do so, without a misplaced sense of diminished self-worth. It’s a test, and it’s designed to measure what’s there, not create something that’s not. That’s what training is for.

About crossfit22

Trainers: Kathy Gunther 801-652-4745 Liz McBride 801-913-4096

5 responses »

  1. Joni says:

    The last time I can find that I recorded CrossFit Total was 12/2011 I know I have done them since I just only have my 1 rep maxes recorded

    So 12/2011 BS 195 -SP-90 DL 250
    Today BS 195 failed at 205- got greedy SP 100 DL 255-

    I am a little disappointed but like I said earlier this week-nowhere to go but up from here

  2. Devin says:

    I just wanted to post some notes here on my CFT, and a few (or maybe a lot of) other thoughts. First, however, I want to say thanks to Jason for letting me do my CFT on Wednesday night as I likely won’t make it to the box today due to some other obligations.

    It has been quite a while since I’ve done the full CFT (a year or more). However, I do track interim 1RMs on my lifts to scale my training appropriately. Last “official” CFT was around 585 (several months after starting Crossfit). Based on some interim maxes on the lifts, again tracked for training purposes, I pegged my “training” CFT in the 640 range. Going into the CFT last night my goal (expectation) was 660-680. This was informed by the Kilgore Strength Standards for my age, size, gender, and experience plus a little bit based on my previous 1RMs.

    Last night’s lifts . . .

    Backsquat=245 (+30#s from previous 1RM)

    Press=125 (+10#s from previous 1RM)

    Deadlift=335 (+30#s from previous 1RM)

    New CFT=705

    Squat and Press were my weaker lifts, and I now have them in-line with the above mentioned Kilgore Standards (have a fun calculator to track this that I’m happy to share if anyone is interested). And I am super happy!

    Anyway, the bottom line is this stuff works! There is a method to the madness (i.e. our great coaches and their devious programming and training)! I love the quote at the end of the Mark Rippetoe piece posted above about the CFT, “It’s a test, and it’s designed to measure what’s there, not create something that’s not. That’s what training is for.”

    In short, track your lift maxes, train appropriately and test periodically. You will make progress doing this, even if that simply means postponing the inevitable decline due to aging. Have some patience, persistence, and perspective and don’t get discouraged. I think some of us tend to get “Crossfit goggles” from working out with all these badasses on a daily basis. Like I told Joni, Jo, and Amanda in a conversation the other day. If you really are feeling discouraged with your progress, go hang out at the funnel cake shack at Lagoon for a couple of hours, or cruise on over to Maverick for a “Bahama Mama”. I promise you will go away feeling a bit better about what your doing here with that perspective.

    A long post I know, and if you got through it I appreciate your indulgence. I just thought I needed to share. 😉

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