T Nation

Crossfit Programming

Hi CT,

Thanks for all your effort on this site, it is much appreciated. How would you structure a crossfit program. 3-4 strength focused days with 2-3 days of a more standard WOD. I read your crossfit article but didn’t recall seeing your programming thoughts.

I was thinking of having a scheme of a strength day consisting of ramping and clusters or singles depending on the lift followed by carries. The next day I would have a metcon focused routine trying to target the same primary muscles. Or maybe two strength days followed by one metcon day. Thanks for your consdieration.

[quote]srbione wrote:
Hi CT,

Thanks for all your effort on this site, it is much appreciated. How would you structure a crossfit program. 3-4 strength focused days with 2-3 days of a more standard WOD. I read your crossfit article but didn’t recall seeing your programming thoughts.

I was thinking of having a scheme of a strength day consisting of ramping and clusters or singles depending on the lift followed by carries. The next day I would have a metcon focused routine trying to target the same primary muscles. Or maybe two strength days followed by one metcon day. Thanks for your consdieration. [/quote]

I’m not an expert at Crossfit programing. I work with Crossfit athletes but I only do the olympic lifting portion of their training. The other parts are done by their Crossfit coach with whom I work closely. Sometimes they ask for specific advice to solve an issue (for example recently the guy doing Alex Vigneault/3rd at the Canada East regionals asked me to design his overhead pressing strength work).

Crossfit programing is very complex. And even those who are “renowned experts” in that field tend to be all over the place. There are a few guys that I really like and do good work, but most just pile on the volume to do a lot of everything and their athletes eventually overtraining badly.

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]srbione wrote:
Hi CT,

Thanks for all your effort on this site, it is much appreciated. How would you structure a crossfit program. 3-4 strength focused days with 2-3 days of a more standard WOD. I read your crossfit article but didn’t recall seeing your programming thoughts.

I was thinking of having a scheme of a strength day consisting of ramping and clusters or singles depending on the lift followed by carries. The next day I would have a metcon focused routine trying to target the same primary muscles. Or maybe two strength days followed by one metcon day. Thanks for your consdieration. [/quote]

I’m not an expert at Crossfit programing. I work with Crossfit athletes but I only do the olympic lifting portion of their training. The other parts are done by their Crossfit coach with whom I work closely. Sometimes they ask for specific advice to solve an issue (for example recently the guy doing Alex Vigneault/3rd at the Canada East regionals asked me to design his overhead pressing strength work).

Crossfit programing is very complex. And even those who are “renowned experts” in that field tend to be all over the place. There are a few guys that I really like and do good work, but most just pile on the volume to do a lot of everything and their athletes eventually overtraining badly.[/quote]

This is very true. I’ve talked with several of the ‘name’ coaches and most have a very difficult time explaining what their methods are. Mostly because I don’t think they really know. They basically know what the athletes have to do and try to figure out hard ways to get them there. Most of the time I think they put a bunch of people through a grinder and most get broken and a couple end up good.

Also, I think a lot of the ‘name’ coaches got there by luck. They threw this killer stuff at people and ended up with some studs, then as people so that success other studs move to work with them.

Christian, which coaches do you like?

[quote]1000rippedbuff wrote:
Christian, which coaches do you like?
[/quote]

You probably don’t know them. They are young up-and-commers with a solid training background.

Pierre-Luc Petit who I coached on the olympic lifts and is a strength coach, B.Sc. in kinesiology and gymnastics coach… he works with Alex Vigneault who finished 3rd at the Canada East regionals (tied with the 2nd) among others. Funny story about him is that I used to train him when he was a midget (15-16 years old) hockey player and he was one of the guys who never listened!

Karim El-Hlimi, another guy who I coached in the olympic lifts, VERY smart coach… you could take his programs and it would be easy to believe that it is a football or hockey player’s program. Works with a lot of high level Canadian athletes, including Jessica Cote-Beaudoin whom I coach n the olympic lifts.

Roch Proteau who trains many regionals and games athletes and the Pro1 team that qualified for the Games. He also worked with Jessica and Stephanie Roy (member of the team) whom I coached on the olympic lifts.

What I like about these coaches is that:

  1. They train athletes from other sports too
  2. Have an athletic background from another sport
  3. Competed in Crossfit events themselves

And also Manuel Perez who owns Crossfit Levis, where I train. He is also one of my training partners for my olympic lifting. He has helped many regionals athletes including a young freak (Alexandre Caron) who qualified for regionals at 18

[quote]1000rippedbuff wrote:
Also, I think a lot of the ‘name’ coaches got there by luck. They threw this killer stuff at people and ended up with some studs, then as people so that success other studs move to work with them.

[/quote]

True… oftentimes they are people who are good at forcing others to do ungodly amount of work. When they find a genetic freak who can handle the workload, they get results. But 90% of the population will crumble following their program.

Hello Coach, thought about strating a new thread, but I think it fit right here. I dont mean to hijacked the thread. I was wondering what twere your thoughts on using Crossfit workout but with more strict reps for size, strength and athleticism. I read your Crossfit article, and is definetly food for thought. I have been playing with the idea of using One Metcon Strength Focus Workout (Say Fran), followed by maybe a sprinting focus WOD and repeating this for the whole week, using different WOD that fit the scheme.

Many are hybrid workout but they tend to steer to one specific quality. Anyway, sorry for the drag on post but I was wondering your thoughts and suggestion in the matter?

Thank you

Jean Paul

Sample Week, this are different WOD from Crossfit
Day 1
Strength Focus (perfect reps no kipping even if time suffers)
Three rounds, 21-15- and 9 reps, for time of
95 pound Thruster, Pull-ups

Day 2:
Sprint/Conditioning:
16 x 40 yard AFAP

Day 3:
Strength Focus
21-15-9 reps for time of:
225-lb. deadlifts, Handstand push-ups

Day 4: Sprint/Conditioning:
2 rounds of:
100 yards, 80 yards, 60 yards, 40 yards, 20 yards, 10 yards
*Rest 30 seconds between sprints. *Rest 2 mins between rounds.

Day 5:
Strength
135- Clean and overhead press x 50 reps. Timed

Day 6 and 7: off

In my opinion programming for crossfit is simple. You really only need three things: strength, skill, and endurance. Strength is easy. There are a million ways to get stronger. You could follow any strength program by CT, Wendler, Rippetoe, Starr, Westside, etc and get stronger. Skill is fairly simple as well. You just have to practice the events and get proper coaching where needed.

What many people have no idea how to program is the endurance aspect; met con, conditioning, whatever you want to call it. The number one mistake people training for crossfit make is going too hard on the conditioning.

The goal for these types of events should be to increase the amount of work you can do before your heart rate passes your lactate threshold. The reason why is simple; once you break through your threshold your ability to put out quality effort is going to plummet fast.

The best thing to do is get a good hear rate monitor and keep your HR between 130 and 160 BPM when doing any WOD type work and try and increase the volume of work you can do in that range. These workouts will feel easy if you are used to going all out all the time. You won’t even breathe that hard and you will never even approach being out of breathe.

About once a month you can go all out and see where you are at and how much you’ve improved but the rest of the time you should keep the conditioning work in that 130-160 range. You will improve faster and will learn how your body feels so you can pace yourself better during competitions. These sessions will also help you recover from the strength work so you will gain strength faster which in turn will help everything else improve. In crossfit lactate is your enemy and you want to avoid going into that zone for as long as possible. In competition lactate is inevitable but you want to increase the amount of work you can do before that bear jumps on your back and you have to gut it out.