How to Choose the Right Weights for Your Qualification

Most of us CrossFit lovers use the ‘trial and error’ method for these workouts, repeating it two, three, or even more times, only to sometimes find out that the weight we chose in the first round was the perfect one. As we said, it takes a great deal of time. And repetitions.

In the following, we want to give you some guidance on how to save yourself time, trouble and pain for these WODs. We have some great tricks up our sleeves to make sure you’ll get the best results with your very first try (or, at least get very close).


Workout 16.1

As an example to introduce you to our bag of tricks, we want to use the qualification workout 16.1 of ‘The Athlete Games.’

  • You will perform 5 burpees over bar every minute as a buy-in.
  • You will then continue with front squats. One in the first minute (timer: 00:00:00-00:00:59), two in the second minute (timer: 00:01:00-00:01:59) and so on until you cannot complete the respective amount of repetitions of the minute you’re in. You’re done with the workout then (e.g. in minute 12 you only complete 11 front squat – these reps will count towards your total but you cannot continue with the workout anymore).

Score is total weight lifted (weight x repetitions) – every repetition counts!

(Taken from the official ‘The Athletes Games’ website)

The first thing you need to ask yourself is how fast you can repeat these five burpees (Remember: don’t calculate with max speed possible but with the speed that is comfortable and allows you to repeat the Burpees without becoming sloppy.)


  • Take that 1-minute time cap minus the time for your 5 burpees over the bar and you will have your timeslot for your rounds.

Let’s say you can do 5 Burpees over the bar in 10 seconds, your timeslot will then be 50 seconds.


  • Take 50 percent of your 1 max rep front squats (if you don’t know that number, you need to test it out) and do an EMOM for 5 minutes with 10 reps front squats with that 50 percent.

The goal for this EMOM is to stay in a time certain time cap. The time cap is 50 percent of your timeslot. In our example, it’s 25 seconds (50 seconds x 0.5).

If you can stay exactly on that 25-second time cap for the entire EMOM you have already found the right weight for your first try of 16.1. Most athletes will be either faster or slower rather than exactly on point. Therefore, the weight needs to be adjusted.

  • Take the time you needed for the 10 reps in your fourth and fifth round of the EMOM, then add them and afterward divide the result by 2.
  • Take the outcome of that and subtract your timeslot (in our example 25).
  • The result tells you the amount of seconds you’d need more or less than the set goal of your timeslot. For each second more or less, you need to reduce or increase the weight by 2 percent of your 1 rep max.

Sounds complicated? Yes! But it’s better than going through the whole WOD 3 times!

Let’s break it down:

Say, your 1 max rep front squat is a 100 kg. So, if you do the EMOM with 50 kg and can’t keep your pace for all 5 rounds at 25 seconds, going down to 30 seconds in your 4th round and then 32 seconds in your last round, you’ll get:

30 + 32 = 62   (4th Round + 5th round)

62 / 2 = 31

31 – 25 = 6

6 x 2 % = 12 %

12 % – 50 % = -38 %

The result of this calculation ‘-38 %’ would make the ideal weight for my workout 38 kg. So, this is the best guess for your first try but don’t go too light for the squats. In the end, time is as much of a factor as condition – always keep your eyes on it! Once you get into the 12th round, you won’t get to have a lot of rest for your legs.

  • Your goal should be to complete at least 14 rounds with the weight you have calculated beforehand in the way we’ve shown you above.
  • Everything over 17 rounds means you’ll need to add weight the same way that you add time for your squats if you can’t meet your set mark (e.g. the 25-second mark above).

Male athletes aim for:

Beginner: 2000kg-4500kg

Advanced: 4500-6500kg

Elite: >6500kg


Female athletes aim for:

Beginner: 1000kg-3000kg

Advanced: 3000-4500kg

Elite: >4500kg


As a last small tip: If you are not just going for the highest personal score but also for a good ranking, you might want to choose an “uncommon” weight. Most Athletes will just have 1.25 kg plates available as the smallest adjustment. Fractional Plates can make a difference especially for these WODs, as 500 Grams will get you above every athlete with “the same weight” (you will not feel that 0.5 kg) and complete the same reps!


One more thing to remember: Work Hard, Play Hard.

Related news