How Do You Define Progress?

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A Numbers Game

3 x Split Jerks at 165lbs

3 x Split Jerks at 165lbs

I love numbers, weights and stats, because it give me a means of tracking my progress and seeing whether or not I’ve improved.

e.g. I used to be able to squat “x” but now I squat “y”, and I can do “x” for a warm-up set.

A couple of weeks ago I discovered an App, “BarSense”, that lets me take this to whole different level and track things like

  • bar path & deviation from the “ideal”
  • max bar speed

and omfg I think its the coolest thing ever because it lets me compare “good” and “missed lifts” to see what went wrong.

I think this is part of the reason why I enjoy CrossFit and Oly lifting so much (it being measurable…not the Barsense app…though that’s cool, too): because it is so based around numbers, quantifiable results, and the ability to track progress.

The other day I was asked to fill out a bunch of my stats (height, weight, max lifts, benchmark times), and this made me realize a couple of things:

  1. I wish I’d done a better job at logging when I first started… I am seriously kicking myself for this.
  2. I think I’m shrinking… I swear I was almost 5’4″ when I started but when I was measured last I’m down to 5’3″.
  3. I still “fail” or “miss” as much as when I first started, BUT I’m attempting weights and movements that I never even considered possible.

So… how do you define progress?


[I]t’s just as important to look at the “missed lifts,” “failed attempts,” and “fuck-ups” because those can be just as telling.
It’s easy to think about progress in terms of PRs, winning competitions and other successes; however, it’s just as important to look at the “missed lifts,” “failed attempts,” and “fuck-ups” because those can be just as telling. I want you to think back to when you first started CrossFit (or lifting) and see if you can remember the type of numbers you were putting up… but I don’t want you to focus solely on your PR lifting numbers;  I want you to look at the other less exciting weights as well.

This includes warm-up weights, “light” working sets, “heavy” or “challenging” working sets, and the “target weights” you couldn’t yet lift but were aiming for.

Compare these to where you’re at now, and chances are there’s a pretty big difference.

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