CrossFit is full of benchmark workouts, and most of them will leave athletes gasping for air at the finish line. However, not all workouts are meant to blow out the lungs. Sometimes the goal is to take your time and lift heavy shit.

The “Total” is CrossFit’s best test of functional strength. Similar to a powerlifting meet, it’s made up of three movements— the squat, the military press (standing strict), and the deadlift. The athlete has three attempts to successfully lift the heaviest load on each.The heaviest lifts, usually the third attempts, are combined to generate your Total. There is no time limit, but the athlete must complete all three attempts for one lift before they can move to the next movement.

Figuring out where to start when going after a new one-rep max (1RM) isn’t that difficult. After a few light warmup sets, just ask yourself what you can get for a set of three. That number will be your first attempt.

Assuming you add enough the next lift should be close, or equal to, your current 1RM. Assuming the lift is successful the next lift should set a new 1RM.

Most CrossFit athletes have a goal in mind when it comes to their Total. Of course, you should shoot for the moon with all your goals, especially when it comes to strength. Just be sure to give the Total its due respect. It’s the closest thing CrossFit has to a lie detector.