How do you keep track of your AMRAP rounds or reps when doing those spicy CrossFit WOD’s?

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Since I started doing CrossFit I have always been challenged by keeping track of those AMRAPS or worse yet, a WOD like the dreaded Barbara; killing myself for 5 minutes, then a 3 minute rest.  When did I start?  Wait, when did I finish?  Oh man, I don’t want to cheat myself here!

At least with something like Fight Gone Bad the whole group is on the clock so the coaches are clear about when it’s time to change and when your rest is over. 

Here are a few methods I have discussed or observed in our box over the years:

  • Steal Trap – Some CrossFitters can just remember their rounds (or at least they say they can).  I can’t comprehend this method as when I am gasping for air my brain shuts down.  Well, actually it starts the good cop, bad cop routine.  You know what I am saying . . . “stop, you can’t breathe and this sucks” followed by “come on, just keep moving, they always say you will pass out before you would die.”  The last thing I can think about is what round I am on or how many reps I am on after the 3rd round.
  • Buddy System – With this approach, you need to find someone that is slightly higher in fitness level to you AND is employing some system other than the buddy system (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!).   Now this isn't a fair proof system but for an AMRAP with rounds, this can be very effective and quite mindless.  Just keep yourself aware of how far behind you are of your “pace car” and when you complete the WOD, just walk over and ask them how many rounds they did.  You then add or subtract where you thought you were against them.  Not the most scientific but it can work.
  • Chalk – This is my preferred method but the down side is obvious, you need to stop and keep track of your reps or rounds.  A trick to cut down some time out of the WOD would be to keep track of every two rounds at a time.  I sometimes find myself prolonging the time it takes to mark two hashes on the floor. 
  • “Guestimate” – Believe it or not, I have seen this done.  It’s the least effective method but for those who are there purely for the workout and not the competitive nature of CrossFit, it can work.  I don’t recommend it but needed to include it.  It’s actually anti CrossFit if you ask me.

Outside of competitions where the judge counts your reps (and will NO REP you from time to time) I don’t know that any of these are fool proof.  Oh, and one last tip, never be fooled by the whiteboard.  If the workout looks short, NEVER assume those are easier as the WOD always wins!

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  • Mark Chandley
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