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Brainfarts and Bullshit: How to Get Better at Counting in CrossFit

Counting in CrossFit is essential to what we do. We're measuring fitness and comparing changes in capacity over time. This is what separates us from the people reading a magazine on the elliptical machine. Ok... it's more than just counting that separates us, but for today I'm talking about how to bring better accuracy to counting your rounds and reps so that you have useful data to gauge your progress.

People notice when your counting is consistently bad. Your coaches and fellow athletes see that you're moving on from an exercise in a time that just doesn't match up with the pace of your movement. It makes people confused, uncomfortable, and straight up annoyed - because it violates the Rules of The Tribe. We're all allowed the occasional brainfart, sure. But like anything else, where there are too many "farts", it's pretty likely that you're actually just full of shit.

Counting is a skill, and it requires practice and effort to get better. To chalk up your inaccurate scores to being "just bad at counting" is as unacceptable as saying you "just do your deadlifts with a rounded back."


Not ok.

Expect more of yourself.

So here are some strategies to implement for better counting for different kinds of workouts.

Round Markers

This is the most basic form of counting that works for "Rounds for Time" or AMRAP style workouts. You can use a pile of small plates, poker chips, pennies, rocks, etc and simply flick one from one pile to the other as you finish a round a move on to the next one.

Move Your Body

This works great for workouts with big sets, like


100 Pull Ups

100 Push Ups

100 Sit Ups

100 Squats

In long sets of repetitive movements it's easy to space out and lose track. Was the 60 or 70? Shoot! Who knows?? To keep your mind in it, move your body at regular intervals. Move forward, rotate, switch pull up bars, etc. It also gives you a sense of victory as you finish off each chunk.

The Whiteboard Wipe

This is a great strategy for workouts with lots of rounds and quick transitions like


30 RFT:

5 Wall Balls

3 Handstand Push Ups

1 Power Clean (225/155)

Write out the number of rounds to be completed and wipe off each number as your transition from the end of one round to the start of the next. This is very efficient as there's no time lost to even picking up a pen or marker to mark off a round.

Elastics on the Wrist

This works great for workouts with high speed transitions and lots of rounds like


AMRAP in 20 min

5 Pull Ups

10 Push Ups

15 Squats

Start with 10 elastics on one wrist. As you finish a round you quickly move an elastic from one wrist to the other. When the first arm is empty, you know you're at 10 and you start over moving them back for rounds 11-20. Zero seconds are lost and the accuracy of your round counts can still be bang on.

Do you have another counting strategy that works for you? Comment below! I'd love to add it to the list.



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