Why You Should Schedule Benchmarking Workouts
Do you know if you're TRULY getting better?
You may think you are, but how can you know for certain when you don't have objective measures of success?
Like total body fat lost, how fast you can run a mile, or what your One Rep Max is on a deadlift.
It's up to you to decide which metrics you care about and make the most sense for your goals and lifestyle.
For me, I believe in having a very high work capacity across a wide range of movements, skills, and abilities.
Survival mindset type stuff.
What's the point of being the biggest guy in the room, if you can't even run a mile during an emergency?
Shit happens. You don't want to be over-specialized. You want to be well-rounded in key areas & then highly proficient in the areas that come naturally to you.
I believe you should have a solid baseline of raw strength, high work capacity and endurance, an understanding of some kind of martial art, and the ability to run, jump, and perform a wide variety of natural movements with full range of motion.
You don't have to be James Bond.
But you should be able to go about your day-to-day life without experiencing random pains and ailments from living a lifestyle that goes against these objectives.
And just so I can make sure I'm always advancing in my own training, I've been scheduling my own benchmarking workouts every thirteen weeks.
My benchmarking schedule for the next year looks like this:
- December 20-26th, 2021
- March 21-27th, 2022
- June 20-26th, 2022
- September 19-25th, 2022
- December 19-25th, 2022
These are weeks where my typical bodybuilding style-training is placed on the backburner.
Instead, I have a specific set of metrics I test and aim to improve compared to the previous 13-week training block.
Since I prefer to minimalize the joint stress that comes with "maxing out," I decided to track these as my primary metrics:
- Incline Bench Press, Max Reps @135 lbs
- Back Squat, Max Reps @225 lbs
- Deadlift, Max Reps @315 lbs
- 1-Mile Run Time
For each of the lifting metrics, I perform 3 sets of maximum reps and take the average number of reps at the end.
For the mile, I'm obviously running as fast as I can.
You don't have to pick these metrics. You can pick anything that is desirable or important for you.
However, these metrics are some good ones to track if you want to consistently get better in the gym and with your training.
Yes, they require a decent amount of baseline strength, but one, two, and three plates for bench, squat, and deadlift really isn't that much if you train consistently in these lifts, and touch some reps on the upper end of your strength on a regular basis.
Benchmark weeks also break up your training schedule throughout the year, and helps provide some variety to your routine if you're used to always doing similar workouts. Instead of aimlessly trying to make progress, you have a target to hit every 13 weeks.
You should be stronger and faster.
You should be more well-rounded.
YOU SHOULD FEEL BETTER.
If these things aren't the case, try to evaluate where you are and what's happening. THAT'S how you make true, consistent progress, month over month, year over year.
Follow a plan, benchmark on a regular basis, and adjust your training based on how your body is responding over the course of the year.
It's not complicated, you just have to approach your year with an ACTUAL PLAN and EXECUTE WITH INTENTION.
Let me know if you need help coming up with one.
Spartan Training & Coaching