Weight lifting totals have been around as long as weight lifting has. In the sport of Olympic Lifting and power lifting, your total amount of weight you can lift decides if you win or lose. CrossFit, much like these weightlifting sports, has a total too. For those who have never done it, you get three attempts at a max squat, standing overhead press, and dead lift. Your heaviest lift in each is added for your "CrossFit Total" score. This was added a few years ago to CrossFit programming, because many CrossFitters were simply not strong enough to complete the WODs as rx'd. Strength days began to be programmed more often on the CF main site, and the CF Total was born.
Unlike in Olympic Lifting or Power Lifting, however, the CrossFit Total did not take into account the body weight of the lifter. For most people who want to get strong at all costs, the answer is to simply eat more and lift more. The problem is you may gain 15 or 20 pounds at the expense of raising your lifting numbers a little. This goes against the "functional training" CrossFit is all about.
At The Compound, we want to be as strong as we can while also improving our athleticism and body composition. To that end we have developed what will be known as The Compound Total. The Compound Total will test your maximal strength in four lifts: the clean, the squat, standing overhead press, and the dead lift. You will take your total of these four lifts and then divide that by your body weight. That number will be your score on The Compound Total.
With this method you have three ways of increasing your total score: increase your strength while keeping your body weight the same, decrease your body weight while keeping your strength the same, or both decrease body weight AND increase strength.
CrossFit has always used competition as a means to up intensity levels and produce the type of results typical with CF. The Compound Total will allow everyone to be competitive regardless of strength, because it is now about strength relative to your body weight. A 200 lbs lifter with a 1000 lbs total will have a Compound Total Score of 5. A 100 lbs lifter with a 505 lbs total will have a Compound Total score of 5.05, and therefore have a better score than the 200 lbs lifter because his or her strength relative to body weight is better.
Don't attempt this on your own just yet, but within the first month we will teach you the lifts and work up to The Compound Total for everyone. This will give us a base line starting point for our relative strength.
Mark Rippetoe said, "Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and are more useful in general." We will not neglect our strength training, but we will get leaner, better conditioned, and more athletic at the same time!