As featured in The WOD Life blog - April 2015

One of the most common things Ive found in a CrossFit box is people don’t know if they are improving. For the most part, many athletes put an emphasis on their WOD times, rather than on gradual improvements in their movements.

It is my belief that an improvement in your movements will result in an improvement in your WOD times, not always vice versa. Therefore, it’s my goal today to debunk a CrossFit WOD and give you ideas on how to improve your movements and know whether you are getting better.

For example, lets say the WOD is:

5 Rounds

7x Push Press

7x Toes To Bar

21x Calorie Row

Let’s break this WOD down into smaller parts and introduce The 3 Simple Steps to make sure you KNOW you’ve improved.

The 3 Simple Steps


I will use myself as an example to illustrate how to break this WOD down.

Firstly the three movements in the WOD are:

1. Push Press

2. Toes To Bar

3. Calorie Row

My current numbers on each of these movements are:

1. Push Press: 1RM Push Press 100kg, 5RM 80kg, 10RM 70kg.

2. TTB: Max Reps = 18 (However, I can only consistently hold 5 reps with perfect technique in a WOD).

3. Calorie Row: I can complete 1x Calorie for every one stroke for a max of 7 strokes during a WOD.


Now the magic happens.

So to know I’m getting better on the day, I will use 65kg for the push press, as I have not done that many reps at that weight ever before, especially within a WOD.

With the TTB I am going to aim to do all 7 reps in one go, as typically I can only do 5 reps at a time unbroken (as outlined earlier).

And finally, I will aim to get 1x calorie per stroke for a minimum of 10 calories every round, regardless of how much it hurts me!

3. 3, 2, 1…Go! Execute the plan!

When planning my WOD in this way, even if I don’t get a really fast time, I will know without a shadow of a doubt that I have gotten better at all of my movements that day.

Then you have a basis for bettering this result next time you are in, even if the WOD has only one of these movements within it.

This is key to long-term success within CrossFit, gradual and everyday improvements in all of your movements.

Test days are then allocated to measure your improvement in terms of time.


In summary

1) KNOW YOUR NUMBERS: know your numbers for each of the movements within the WOD you are about to do. If you don’t know, then you have no basis for knowing whether or not you improved. 

2) MAKE A PLAN: Spend 5-10mins breaking down each of the movements in the WOD, outlining what you can currently do and what you are going to do that’s BETTER than ever before. 

3) 3, 2, 1…Go! Execute the plan!


There is a fine art to getting better at CrossFit given the number of movements and range of skills you need to be good at in order to succeed.

From beginner to elite level CrossFit, using the 3 simple steps is one surefire way to truly get better every day. This is the basis that we use with our athletes every single day.


Owner & Head Coach
CrossFit Moreland

BHs. Clin. Myo., IRMA, AWF (L-2), ASCA (L-1), CF (L-1), CF KIDS, Ex. Prof. (3-4), F. Aus (Spec.) Rehab Spec. Member of the Australian Weightlifting Federation. Member of the Victorian Weightlifting Association. Member of Fitness Australia.