- Top CrossFit coach Ben Bergeron is renowned for training elite athletes and crafting tough workouts.
- His “Bergeron Beep Test” workout challenges both mental and physical endurance at once.
- Try it by scaling to the right level for your experience to build strength, stamina, and grit.
If you want to put your fitness to the test, try the famously grueling workout known as the “Bergeron Beep Test” that will challenge (and improve) your strength, endurance, and mental game all at once.
The test comes from Ben Bergeron of CompTrain, a CrossFit coach with nearly two decades of experience who has trained top athletes in the sport like Katrin Davidsdotir, Mat Fraser, and Brooke Wells.
Bergeron announced in June that he has retired from coaching the pros. He told Insider in an interview that he now wants to focus on bringing high-level athletic development to everyday people.
While Bergeron has written plenty of workouts, he said one has become particularly notorious. In most workouts, you’re asked to complete a certain amount of work, or try to get as much down as possible in a set time period (such as an AMRAP workout). In either case, there’s a clear end in sight.
With the Bergeron Beep Test, you decide when it ends. It’s deceptively simple, but requires intense focus and discipline to perform successfully. The workout proceeds just one minute at a time, which sounds easy, but the more successful you are, the more reps you’ll be asked to do, which quickly add up to a spicy experience.
“It’s not like a normal workout,” he said. “In this one, you’re choosing the pain level. Here’s the really devious part — if you choose to get another round, you can. That’s what makes it so challenging.”
Challenging yourself with the beep test is a great way to assess your own fitness, at any skill level, and improve your mental grit so you’ll be ready to handle tough situations both in and out of the gym, Bergeron said.
How to do the Bergeron Beep Test (and why you should)
To try the Bergeron Beep Test at home, start a running clock. Every minute, perform:
- Seven thrusters (or a weighted squat directly to an overhead press — suggested weight is 75 pounds for men, 55 pounds for women)
- Seven pull-ups
- seven burpees
When you finish, rest the remainder of that minute. When the next minute starts, begin the sequence again, and repeat until you’re no longer able to finish all of the reps within a minute.
While the movements are strenuous and help develop both strength and stamina, the real test of the workout is how well you can set a pace and push yourself to maintain it, knowing that there’s always more awaiting you, according to Bergeron.
“It’s easy to tap out. You let off the throttle a little bit, and the workout will end. You have to choose to do another minute of this very uncomfortable thing,” he said. “Only you know if you’re truly giving it your all, and that’s the mental toughness piece.”
The payoff for pushing yourself in workouts like the Beep Test is that over time, you build the skill of confidence in attempting big challenges, even if they feel daunting or exhausting, Bergeron said.
“No one singular thing is going to shift someone’s mindset to be mentally tough, just like no single set is going to make you physically stronger. It’s the constant showing up,” he said.
A very fit athlete at the local level might be able to manage seven rounds, while regional competitions have clocked around 17 rounds, and world-class athletes have logged between 24 to 28.
You can do the workout at any fitness level, from beginner to elite athlete
A major part of all CrossFit workouts is scaling, or the ability to adjust the workout for anyone from a total newbie to a world-class champion.
The Beep Test is no different, and if the movements are out of reach, you can try a version of the test that suits your skill and experience levels.
For instance, if pull-ups are too hard, you can switch to ring rows. While the thrusters are traditionally done with a barbell, dumbbells can work too. You can also adjust the reps to a level that is challenge but doable — a common recommendation is five reps of each movement per round for intermediate athletes, and three reps per movement for beginners.
This specific combination of moves tests your gymnastics/bodyweight strength and skill, weight lifting ability, and cardio.
An advantage of a benchmark workout like the Beep Test is that it makes it easy to see your progress and keep improving, since you can track your score, and aim for more reps or harder variations of the movements over time.