I’ve created this blog to help you, our athletes understand where our programming comes from – in order to help everyone understand how our goals for the box are really the same as your personal goals! Having been around CrossFit boxes, seeing AND being, everyday people working on their fitness for more than 7 years, I know that our goals and how we get there vary by degree and not by kind.
Here are some of the basics that everyone should know and understand well:
- CrossFit is an all-inclusive, general and broad strength and conditioning program that aims to improve your GPP (General Physical Preparedeness).
- CrossFit is defined as Constantly Varied, Functional Movements executed at High Intensity with the overall purpose of increasing fitness.
- Fitness is defined as an increase in work capacity over broad times and modal domains. Work capacity can be measured by how much weight you move, how far you move it and how fast you can move it.
Now – take a step back from all that information and remember that in CrossFit we look to improve your strength, power, speed, cardiovascular endurance, stamina, agility, balance, flexibility, coordination, and accuracy. All 10 of those general physical skills are equally important and weigh in on how we program for you. (You might have seen these words plastered around the rig!!)
So, how do I program for CrossFit 4504? Here it goes….
First, I believe in the CrossFit methodology whole heartedly.
I break our year up into blocks which start at the end of the Open. Everything is designed to prepare you for the following years Open. These are called Meso Cycles. Each of these blocks lasts around 3 months.
Cycle 1 Strength
Our focus is building a solid strength base to help you progress and be less prone to injury. You will notice that the loads are heavier both on lifting days and also in the daily WOD. Each of our major lifts works on their own Macro Cycle of 12 weeks. This allows us to test movements regularly throughout the year so you’re always able to see progress rather than waiting extended periods before retesting components.
We are almost done with our heavy work for this cycle.
Cycle 2 Endurance
Our focus here is building an engine – so increasing the volume of work you can do. The WOD’s will be slightly longer and still heavier loads. This builds a strong foundation for increasing your work capacity. Our heavy days here will include longer sets and accessory work like pauses and tempo work, to build muscular endurance.
Cycle 3 – Intensity
Our focus here is putting your strong body and solid engine to work FAST. We lighten the loads, and shorten the time domain so you should see an increase in your capacity to get work done faster. Our lifting days are lighter and more technique based, while still working to maintain our strength progress. Here you might see you lifting PR’s become smaller than in the first Cycle.
Cycle 4 – Skills
Our focus here is to build towards the Open. So whilst we are working on your skills throughout the year we really have a big emphasis on those most likely to appear in the Open. We repeat Open WOD’s and keep pushing that intensity piece. Our longer WOD’s will drop off during this phase and will appear fortnightly rather than weekly. Lifting is focused around barbell cycling and efficiency of movements.
Like an Onion… Layers
Within each of these Meso Cycles there are smaller Macro Cycles of 2 week blocks where the specific programming intent is mapped out, for example for a Strength Cycle
Monday Squat (This can be any variation)
Friday Long WOD
These movements can be a stand alone lifting day OR incorporated into a WOD. The options are endless.
Within these Macro cycles are a MICRO weekly cycle which is where I build the daily WOD specifics.
Below is a snapshot of what a completed week would look like:
Within the daily WOD’s I look to achieve balance so we aren’t always doing the same thing so varying up the times and loads, rep schemes and combinations. Yes there are times when we focus strongly on one area for a week like you might see a lot of legs etc
I try and vary the days we do certain things, so that, for example, we aren’t always training strength on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule. That way this allows for members to not miss out of elements despite having different training schedules across the gym. Over the Macro of the 2 week cycle if you are training consistently you should still experience most elements eg a squat, a press etc.
I program a lot of accessory type movements (eg not the primary lifts of Clean, Snatch, Deadlift etc but variations of them), to help increase our overall strength and also help prevent injury as we focus on getting better body positions and strengthen the smaller stabiliser muscles.
Cycling the assistance work is important and lets us translate the strength we´ve been building into the Olympic lifts.
Skill Work is important to help your overall progress as athletes, and we incorporate this in varying forms to help you get to those long desired skill goals like Handstands or Pull ups. On that note however for you to progress faster you need to continue working on the progressions outside class time. See a coach for some tips!!
Let’s face it we all want some results for our hard invested sweat and effort. As a community we have many different goals. Not all of you have goals relating specifically to your numbers in training. And that is awesome. You are training with a true purpose, being driven by something more than just the number on the whiteboard.
However there are many things that come into play to help you achieve your overall wellness goals
At the end of the day, our goals are all important and can be reached using CrossFit. Remember that what we do is CONSTANTLY varied. The idea is to not know what is coming at you, but to get to the point where you are prepared for everything and anything. Don’t think that you need to squat more, when in reality deadlifting and pressing are just as important. I read an article one time that said that the gym that has multiple people deadlifting over 200kg is probably one of the LEAST fit gyms. It probably means that they put a huge bias on deadlifting and would suffer in any of the other tests of physical skills that are important.
Conversely if all we did was the high intensity work you would very quickly become overstrained, move slower, be more tired, grumpy, sore and unmotivated. Over the last 2 weeks I have added in way more WOD’s than usual as a response to some comments about needing more intensity, and as a coach I did this so you could see the effect it has on you. People are coming in daily being sore and tired and flat. Definitely not what we want for you. You should feel energised from your training. Balance is key.
At the foundation of any program however should be nutrition. You can’t run a high performance machine (That’s YOU by the way!!) without the right fuel. You need to eat a good balance of protein, good quality carbs from Fruit and Veg and servings of good fats to help your body perform. Greg Glassman said it best in his World Class Fitness in 100 Words:
Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.
Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, ﬂips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast.
Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow.
Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense.
Regularly learn and play new sports.
I hope this ‘little’ overview has given you some background behind the programming and intent of our programming. It may seem random at times but as you can see there is a fair bit of science behind what I do to try bring out the best in you all, and help you be the best you can be.
If you have questions please reach out and ask away!!!