Understanding Cross Training Total



In 2006, Mark Rippetoe, a weightlifting coach conceived a strength test for the CrossFit community that consisted of a series of three main CrossFit exercises. These workouts were the overhead press, deadlift, and squat. The CrossFit total is designed to be more accessible compared to the Olympic lift and assess the functional strength of the whole body. Followers of CrossFit do the CrossFit total each month to measure gains in terms of their strength.

The Methodology


Before performing the CrossFit total, you are required to do a thorough warmup. You can do this best through dynamic stretching and some light cardio. After your done with the general warmup, you can then perform the squat, overhead press, and deadlift in 2 to 4 sets. This will prepare you for your test lifts.

The rule set by Rippetoe in CrossFit total is that you should do up to 3 attempts at each of the three exercises to establish your repetition minimum. In your first attempt, pick up a weight that is heavy, but which you know you will be able to lift. In the second attempt, go for a weight that is closer to your best. In the third and final attempt, go for a weight that will help you set a new personal record. For each of the lifts, record the weight of your heaviest in each exercise and then sum them up to calculate your score in CrossFit total.

Selection of Exercises

CrossFit Exercises

All the workouts in CrossFit total are done while standing. This gives them an excellent carryover to sports and real-life activities. Just like in CrossFit training, proper technique is essential. However, compared to Olympic lifts which are somewhat technical, the overhead press, squat, and deadlift are easy to learn and much more straightforward to perform. The bench press which is not included as part of the CrossFit total is done while lying down. According to Rippetoe, this reduces its functional benefits. You do not need any specialized equipment to do CrossFit total, and for this reason, it is considered very accessible irrespective of where you decide to workout.

Using the Results

After you have completed your attempts and you have your score in CrossFit total, you can compare what you have scored with other CrossFitters and the benchmark as known as the normative table. Based on your score, you will be ranked as untrained, novice, intermediate, advanced, or if you score the highest, elite. Apart from making an overall results comparison, you can single out the individual exercises and compare them to ascertain areas of weaknesses.


The goal of CrossFit total is to strive to maintain your current bodyweight and enhance your loose body or total weight. These are indicators of functional strength.

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