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Forge an Elite Testing Program: 3 Lessons From the CrossFit Box


The mission of CrossFit is to “forge elite fitness,” and for good reason, too. By training consistently, following proper form and taking leaps of faith, athletes optimize their body a little at a time. As both a CrossFit lover and a testing geek, I know that the same can be said for honing your skills in both worlds.

Man deadlifting weights

Consistency is your key to success

You can’t expect large and lasting changes to just happen over night. Like in physical training, testing requires you to stick to an ongoing program before you see significant results. One of the first lessons I learned when my CrossFit training began was that I needed to make a commitment—not only to myself, but to my teammates—to see the changes I was after. And testing is no different. Whether it’s experimenting with small changes that most visitors won’t consciously notice, or undergoing a complete overhaul, testing isn’t a one-shot deal. It’s a commitment to the future.

With proper form, the lift will follow

It’s not likely you’ll see big lifts in your test or in the CrossFit box (lingo for “gym”) by stepping up to a challenge and just winging it. When preparing for a lift, I have to follow a very specific routine or I risk failure or worse, injury. To avoid hurting my body and ensure a successful lift, I need to run through a mental check list before I even start to lift the bar. Are my feet in in the right stance? Do I have the right muscles engaged? It’s 100% crucial that I take the time to focus on proper form before I attempt the lift.

As testing experts, we have essentially the same procedure. From strategy to development to implementation, we need to evaluate each movement we make before launching a test. It’s using proper form and learning from past mistakes that will create a successful test and the lift we want to see.

Know when to take a leap

If you always play it safe, you’re less likely to fail. But an athlete, just like a testing expert, knows that sometimes taking a leap of faith is worth the risk. I’d never climbed a rope before. Not in gym class, not ever. But at the end of a recent workout, we were given time to work on our weakest skills, so I chose the rope climb. I knew I had to try it sooner or later, and I’d been training for a few months, so why not today? Even if I fell, I would have had the keen eye of my coach watching me, so I could analyze exactly where I’d gone wrong, from my approach to my execution.

In testing, you have your whole team behind you. Know when it’s the right time to swing for the fence and take that leap, because you’re not alone. And even if you fail, you’ll walk away knowing a lot more than you would have if you’d always played it safe.

An ongoing testing program will ensure that you’re always improving, following your plan to the ‘t’ will keep you on the right track and taking risks when the time is right will help your program to grow by leaps and bounds. At a glance, weight lifting and box jumping might look like something best reserved for athletes, but learning and improving our testing expertise doesn’t end when we leave the digital domain. We can all learn from the world around us.