The CrossFit Sandyford Standards Chart sits up on the wall of our gym.
It’s a series of 7 benchmark levels of progress we designed to help answer the 2 most important questions in fitness:
1) Where am I now?
2) Where do I need to be?
Unless you are already very strong, getting stronger helps with every fitness goal.
Want to fill out your clothes in a more pleasing manner? Stronger muscles look better than weak ones.
Want to run faster, jump higher and perform better at your sport? Go improve your ability to produce force.
You probably know this already. What a lot of people don’t consider is exactly HOW strong they need to get to achieve their particular goal though. Maybe you don’t need a bodyweight overhead press…but you need some sort of goal to shoot for.
Once you’ve figured out where you are now, and figured out where you need to get to, all you do in your strength training is connect the dots. Nice and simple.
By contrast, if you don’t know where you are now, or where you want to get to, you’ve got a problem!
Our hope is that this chart should assist you with goal-setting, give you achievements to aim for and celebrate milestones that you’ve accomplished in your training. It should also help you spot imbalances and identify gaps you need to work on. It’s probably better to have a “5” in each category rather than a 7-7-2-7!
Remember, this is about balance. Don’t beat yourself up about not being “Level 7″ yet, the important thing is to gauge progress and see improvement over time.
As a fun incentive to spur you on in your training: When you can tick all the boxes for a given level on the chart, we’re going to award you a wristband of the corresponding colour! (Who doesn’t love free, wearable stuff??)
Newcomers to training should focus their attention on levels 1, 2 and 3. Your quality of llife, energy levels, confidence and appearance will all improve as you move through these.
Generally, if you’re training to lose fat and look your best, your ultimate goal should be level 3 or 4. If you’ve got a good diet to go with it, you’ll look awesome at that point!
Sports-people need to be looking at levels 4,5 and maybe 6.
If competitive exercise and lifting weights is your “thing”, and you want to step out into a bigger world, level 7+ are the sort of challenges you should be setting yourself! They’ll take years to accomplish, but you’ll have a lot of fun along the way.
Level 1 – should all be achievable for a healthy beginner withing a few weeks. If there are any things in this section you can’t do yet, you should probably stop doing everything else until you can do them!
Level 2 – requires a reasonable amount of work, but should still be quite achievable for most people within the first 6 months of consistently training 3 times per week.
Level 3 – Represents a point the casual trainee will be very happy with. You’ll feel good, you’ll probably be one of the fittest people in your social circle, and you’ll likely look pretty darn good in a t-shirt! In fact, if you can hit these standards and you’re not happy with your body composition, you have a nutrition issue, not a training issue.
Level 4 – is the entry point for anyone interested in playing sports competitively or looking more athletic. I can almost guarantee you that your performance at your sport will improve significantly when you reach these standards, irrespective of what it is. You’ll also turn heads in a swimsuit unless you eat like a complete bridge-troll.
Level 5 – is becoming braggable. You can walk into a gym anywhere in the world, do these things and people will nod and say “ah yes, that person knows what they’re up to”.
Level 6 – Is getting pretty damned strong. It’s around this point that you’ll start to see diminishing returns outside the gym. Your physique isn’t really to improve that much more by getting stronger. Unless you play a strength-sport, you’re not going to see an awful lot more carryover onto the field once you can do everything in this section. It’s time to start focusing more on other qualities.
Level 7 – If you’re interested in competitive Strength sports (like CrossFit, Weightlifting etc), this is around the point you need to be aiming for. You’re not necessarily going to win anything yet, but you’ll be able to make the other competitors sweat for their points. Getting to or beyond this level is not always achievable for people who didn’t start early in life and/or win the genetic lottery.