Search icon

Fitness & Health

01st Apr 2019

Fit enough for CrossFit? These are the strength standards you need to surpass

If you harbour dreams of competing at the CrossFit Games, these are the sorts of strength standards you should be looking to smash

Alex Roberts

Looking to get competitive at CrossFit? These are the strength standards you need to surpass

Originally a Reebok franchise, CrossFit was kickstarted in the year 2000 in California. It’s now grown into one of the most popular workout systems on the planet, with boxes (CrossFit gyms) now open in virtually every city.

Similar to most sports, CrossFit attracts both recreational lifters and aspirational athletes. If you harbour dreams of competing with the likes of Rich Froning and Mat Fraser at the CrossFit Games, these are the sorts of strength standards you should be looking to surpass.

At the very top of the CrossFit world, max lifts and fitness levels are insanely high. But this is a general guide as to what you should aim for, if you’re looking to become a beast in the box.

We’ve also only picked a select few fitness standards to discuss. There are undoubtedly others.


25 consecutive pull-ups is a good barometer for men; 15-20 for women. CrossFit tends to include the kipping pull-up, but we’d advise sticking to strict pull-ups.


The muscle-up is a combination of a strict pull-up into a bodyweight dip, but in one smooth transition. Three solid reps are a good base from which to start.

Barbell Squat

You should be able to squat between 1.25 and 1.5 times your bodyweight. Ideally, you should be able to complete 3-5 reps with this weight too.

Clean and Jerk

As an Olympic lift, the clean and jerk is a highly technical exercise. This means you should focus more on low reps rather than high intensity to minimise the risk of injury. Being able to perform a rep with your equivalent bodyweight is good, and from there 1.25 times your bodyweight is when the serious numbers are put up.


The snatch is even trickier than the clean and jerk, so naturally a lighter weight is expected. 90-100% of your bodyweight is a good standard if you want to get serious about CrossFit competition.

Ring Dips

From a muscle gaining standpoint, CrossFit’s main limitation is a lack of direct chest work in most WODs. Ring dips can put pay to that, though. 10 reps for three sets is a good measure of pressing strength that will blast your pecs, delts and triceps.


Aim to run a mile in seven minutes or under.


Similarly to the barbell squat, work up to a deadlift of 1.5 times your bodyweight and aim to perform sets of 3-5 reps.


Usually performed on a Concept 2 machine, rowing is part of virtually every CrossFit workout. A truly top level performance is on the way if you can get to 500 metres in under one minute 30 seconds.

Handstand Push-Ups

These are a staple of CrossFit, and guys are expected to perform at least 10 reps.

To put your skill set to the test, give this workout a go from last year’s CrossFit Games.

It combines cycling, muscle-ups, a squat, shoulder press and deadlift one rep max test and a marathon row. Not for the faint-hearted, but a sure way of tracking your progress nonetheless.

Read more from JOE: