The Level Method: A New Benchmark

Just about a year ago, my box decided to do something a little different from your day to day CrossFit box; we became a Level Method box.  So what is the Level Method?  Essentially, it is a step by step guide of progressions beginning with the most novice fitness level (white belt) progressing all the way to the fittest, most advanced level of strength, fitness and technique (black belt).  Based on the belt system defined by Jiu Jitsu, a total novice, new to the CrossFit methodology starts out as a white belt working toward conquering body weight movements, flexibility and basic strength lifts.  Once you check off all the “tests” within your fitness level or belt, you move to the next “level” or belt color with a whole new set of benchmarks.  The core goals of the system are to assess, address and progress meaning; don’t try an advanced skill i.e. muscle-up without having the proper strength and skill to complete strict pull-ups and dips. Overall, the Level Method is meant to ensure constant and continued progression in your fitness while keeping you safer in your training.

When this new plan was presented at the box I was initially skeptical.  I did not like that the bench marks were dictated by someone who knew nothing about my 1 rep max capacity.  Why do I need to front squat 85 lbs. x 5 reps if I can already 1 rep max 110 lbs.?  Despite my hesitancy, I threw myself into it and made the commitment.  I will admit, almost a year later; I have been completely won over by the Level Method.  Here’s why:  I want to be good at EVERYTHING and CrossFit is filled with seemingly millions of challenges!  I need to build my strength, I need to focus on gymnastics, I need to improve my metabolic conditioning, I don’t understand snatch technique, my rowing form is terrible; it was a lot and it was overwhelming!  Have you heard the saying, “How do you eat an elephant?  Well, one bite at a time.”, and this is exactly what the Level Method did for me.  It gave me a set of benchmarks that build one upon the other and allowed me to focus my time and efforts on checking off those benchmarks, ensuring I have the proper strength and technique before progressing (which also helps minimize injury)!  When I started the program it was a lot of work for me to complete a 10 second ring hold.  Actually, when I started CrossFit, I couldn’t support my body weight on the rings at all, so I was pretty pleased to check off the 10 second hold.  The next step was a single strict ring dip.  This was no easy task but I worked at it, mostly with eccentrics for a LONG time (~11 months) before finally getting that first strict ring dip!  In retrospect, going through this process is really one of the things that CrossFit is all about; getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.  Take the time to get uncomfortable and put in the work; you’re worth it and it will pay off!


For more Level Method info look here:

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