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Base Week – The Workouts

Earlier this week, I told you about our new initiative Base Week, a week’s worth of benchmark workouts intended to test your fitness and, even more importantly, collect the data we need individually and collectively in order to train better.

Today, I want to tell you about the workouts!

First, keep in mind that the workout selection had to achieve 3 goals:
1. Be possible to perform in a world of social distancing
2. Be organized in a way that even if you couldn’t make all the days, you could still choose 3 or 4 days from the week and still get a great assessment of fitness
3. Cover all aspects of fitness

That third point above is important. There are many dimensions in which to measure “fitness”:
– Strength vs power vs speed vs muscular endurance vs cardiovascular conditioning
– The three energy pathways
– Duration vs load vs intensity
– Flexibility/mobility requirements
– Neuromuscular activation (high skill/control vs low skill control)
– Bilateral vs unilateral capacity
– Pulling vs pressing vs squatting vs lunging vs carries
… the list goes on.

We wanted to cover as many of these as possible to ensure a complete snapshot of your fitness inside and outside the gym. Which means that, in addition to the usual suspects like the barbell-based 1- & 5-rep maxes and the metcons, we’ve included unilateral assessments (e.g. max reps single-arm DB shoulder presses) and movement screens. We don’t consider it “healthy” if you can easily deadlift twice your bodyweight but your right hamstring does all the work and pain shoots up your lower back after a few reps. This is about TOTAL health & fitness.

Ok, on to the benchmarks.


[Block A] 
Deadlift 1-rep Max 

Goal: peak strength testing. That’s right, starting Base Week with the daddy of all strength movements. Bring your best shirt for the photo op afterwards.

[Block B] 
3 rounds for total calories:
– Max bike/row cals in 2 mins / rest 2 mins.

Goal: work capacity. A simple, accessible, brutally effective test of your engine. You choose your weapon, bike or rower, and go for 80-90% sprints for each 2 min interval.


[Block A] 
Single-leg Squat off Box 1-rep Max

Goal: unilateral strength and balance. This is a pistol staring from the top of the box. It starts with partial range of motion (ROM) and moves up in difficulty to full ROM plus a load (e.g. KB in front rack).

[Block B] 
– Row 500/400m
– 25 Kettlebell Swings 53/36lbs
– 20 Box Jump Overs 24/20″
– 15 Pull Ups

Goal: stamina and cardiovascular endurance. The CrossFit kitchen sink of things that will make you breath hard. Pacing & strategy are your friends.

[Block A] 
Max rep single-arm DB/KB shoulder press
Max duration single-arm DB/KB hold

Goal: unilateral pressing strength endurance and carry capacity. We’re looking for imbalances in pressing capacity between left & right shoulders. As for the holds, this is not just a grip strength test. As a unilateral exercise, it forces your trunk muscles to counter side flexion, thereby making this a much more functional carry test.

[Block B] 
21-15-9 rep rounds of:
– DB Thrusters 45/25lbs
– Lateral Burpees over DB

Goal: high intensity, pain tolerance. It will be over in a few minutes so there’s nothing really to worry about. This will be fun.

[Block A] 
Movement screens

Goal: identifying dysfunction. In a series of quick assessments, we will cover ankle flexion, hip rotation/flexion/extension, and shoulder flexion/rotation/abduction. You’ll find out where the chink in your armor is.

[Block B] 
– 10 Banded Face Pulls
– 20 Alt. Shoulder Taps
– 10 Alt. Goblet Kossack Squats
– 10 Alt. Ipsolateral Deadbugs

Goal: use big words in a workout description. Also, recover for tomorrow. You didn’t think we would go full speed for 6 days, did you?

Friday a.k.a “Beast Mode Day”
[Block A] 
Back Squat 5-rep Max

Goal: c’mon .. do we need to explain the wonders of a 5-rep max back squat set? After this, you should go to social media and tell every single person you know how much you back squatted today so they can feel jealous and weak and you will win at life.

[Block B] 
Run 1 mile for time.

Goal: this tests your A/C joint flexibility and hip internal rotation … no, we’re just kidding. This is cardiovascular endurance by excellence. If you don’t know your 1-mile run time, do you even know who you are?

Note — this entire day is inspired by Adam Klink’s incredible feat of back squatting 500 lbs for 1-rep and running a sub-5 min mile in the same day. Obviously, this is not the same test. But there’s something about being uber capable at both ends of the physical spectrum that captures our imagination. Hence the name of this day “Beast Mode Day”.

[Block A] 
Power Clean 1RM

Goal: peak power testing.

[Block B] 
– 10 Power Cleans 135/95
– 12 Front Rack Lunges 135/95 (6 per side)
– 20 Push-Ups
– 200m Run

Goal: stamina. There’s nothing fancy about this workout. It’s just a lot of “grunt” mentality for 15 minutes and finding out how strong your mental game is.

And there you have it, the workouts.

One last thing: Base Week is made up of 6 days, including a movement screen + recovery day on Thursday. It is designed to be doable as a full week of training. We will back off in volume in the week leading up to it in order to set everyone up for success. With that said, the movement screen + recovery day will NOT count towards your class usage. If you simply cannot make it for the entirety of Base Week, then don’t sweat it, pick any 3-4 days and make sure to do the same tests next time we have Base Week.

Base Week. It’s happening. Clear you schedule.


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