Invictus Athlete, Jenn Dancer, doing heavy cleans during a weightlifting session at the gym.

Strength is the Price of Admission for CrossFit
Written by Tino Marini

If you have not had the opportunity to attend an Invictus Athlete Camp then it’s definitely one to put on the bucket list. If you have attended then you have probably heard C.J. Martin talk about “strength being the price of admission.” 

Since the inception of the CrossFit Games, we have seen the sport develop and athletes continually push the limits of their athletic abilities. They’re doing things that, according to research, should not be physically possible and are rewriting the rulebook on strength and conditioning. Like being able to run a sub 5-minute mile and also back squat over 500 lbs. Or competing at the highest level in multiple sports like Tia Claire Toomey did in 2016 when she podiumed at the CrossFit Games then went on to compete in Weightlifting at the Olympics, representing Australia. The sport has widened the scope of what many in the industry thought was physically impossible.

Are CrossFitters strong?

We are fortunate enough to work with many extremely fit and gifted individuals who have the ambition of taking their training to the next level, pushing to be at the top of the sport. This may be qualifying for Quarterfinals or pushing for that qualifying spot for the CrossFit Games. We have all new Invictus Athletes fill out a questionnaire asking what their maxes are, where they feel they excel and what they need to work on. Many athletes who approach us are the best in their gym and, more often than not, feel that their strength numbers are good but that they need to work on their engine and gymnastics. However, when we start to assess the information they submitted, we see that what they perceive to be good numbers are off the mark of where they need to be to become competitive in the sport. What do we mean?

Why Invictus Programs Focus on Strength

Well if you follow one of the Invictus Athlete or Masters Programs, you will notice we do A LOT of weightlifting and accessory work. Athletes always ask why do we lift so much? Why are we not doing “WODs” everyday and spending time doing “CrossFit”. The answer always is that many who want to be competitive in the sport quite frankly are not strong enough to get through the door. So what do we think are the benchmark numbers for an athlete looking to compete at the highest level in the sport?

Strength Numbers for Competitive CrossFitters

Male CrossFitter Strength Benchmarks

Snatch: 275 lb.
Clean & Jerk: 345 lb.
Back Squat: 445 lb.
Front Squat: 385 lb.
Deadlift: 535 lb.

Female CrossFitter Strength Benchmarks

Snatch: 185 lb.
Clean & Jerk: 235 lb.
Back Squat: 315 lb.
Front Squat: 275 lb.
Deadlift: 365 lb.

Do these come as a surprise to you? Do you fall short of these numbers? If the answer is yes and your goal is to qualify for Semifinals or compete at the highest level in CrossFit then it may be time for you to reassess your priorities and training program. Strength in solid positions takes time and a lot of dedication. It definitely won’t happen overnight. It can take years of hard work and lots of hours in the gym. 

The sport will continue to progress and you will see more and more athletes reach these numbers. It will only allow them to continue to defy science and push the limits of what we thought was possible. It’s an exciting time to be a coach and spectator but if you want to compete it may be time to make the adjustments to do so. 

For many these numbers may be out of their reach or they may not have the commitment and time to dedicate to achieving them. This doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to have fun, train and get better. To do so, control what’s within your control, train hard and follow a solid program that will not only challenge you physically and mentally but also allow you to have fun.

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Bradley Oliver
Bradley Oliver
September 5, 2023 8:26 am

What would be the weight for a 65-year-old?

August 11, 2023 8:54 am

Are there similar benchmarks for all the age groups? I’d love to know what they are for 65 and over. When i watched the games this year, I was surprised to see nearly all the athlete’s in that group doing soley power snatches (no squat) during the olympic totals.

August 11, 2023 1:04 pm
Reply to  Jerry

Hear, hear!!

C.J. Martin
C.J. Martin
August 14, 2023 8:22 pm
Reply to  Jerry

Hang tight…it’s coming soon!

August 4, 2023 10:31 am

Good stuff! I ran the percentages/ratios on the strength targets and they are in alignment with an article I wrote about strength and olympic weightlifting ratios!

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