Max Effort Black Box

Has anyone here had any experience with the Max Effort Black Box method of mixing ME work with Crossfit? I ran accross it the other day and it looks like an intriguing program, just wanted to get some feedback from any who may have tried this.

Join the CF forums and search–there are a large number of people doing some form of this.

I did something similar to lose some weight awhile back. I based it off the the performance menu article, but didn’t run it exactly as layed out in any of the templates.

I pretty much just mixed more metabolic lifting w/ some crossfit workouts and jump rope.

I did…

Wed-Monostructural(Usally Jump Rope sometimes rowing machine)
Sat-Squat Clean/Deadlift,BW Upper Body,Mini Metcon

My lifting sessions started w/ full snatch/power snatch/ or power clean, into back squat/front squats, then vertical/horizontal push pull combos depending on Monday or Thurs. I’m not sure of the rep ranges for the fast lifts, but I think I did doubles or triples till I slowed down, then 10 sets of 3 for the slow lifts, w/ 1 min rest intervals.

The metcons were chosen from the gymjones, crossfit jax, or the main site wods, or I would make one up.

I lost a fair amount of weight, but made the mistake of taking my carbs/kcal too low on a ckd and working through it, which effected my performance and led to a degree of overtraining. I did get stronger but I think I would have faired better w/ a smarter nutrition strategy.

I like the template and think its a pretty well balanced training strategy for people not focused on any sport/specialization and I will probably switch back over to it after I get my lifts to a semi-respectable state.

Not sure but in the combat forum I made a thread called Conjugate MMA it kinda sounds like this.

Funny it was derived just bouncing ideas around with other forum members here. we had all came to similar conclusions about lifting for MMA

this is what i was doing. the template has evolved waaaaay past this since then…

Phase I:

3 day rotation- Tu, Th, Sa
Warmup- Dynamic movements, OHS 1-3x20

-ME (4-6 singles over 90%)

Snatch Pull from floor, Powerclean From Blocks, Snatch pull from blocks (Thigh level)

  • Accessory, 1, (4rm x 2-3+ 1 widowmaker set)

RDL, GM, Back Squat, Front Squat

  • Integrated Assistance Work

Javorek Complex x5
10x1 min Rounds, Power-Endurance

-ME (4-6 singles over 90%) + 1 widowmaker set

Seated OH press, Push press, Incline barbell press
-Accessory, 1, (HEAVY 3-5rm x 3-5 + 1 widowmaker set)
Weighted Chin, Bent Row, 1 arm row

  • Integrated Assistance Work

Arm Strong + 2min rounds x 3-5


Jump Squat, Power snatch from blocks 80-85%

  • Accessory 1, (6rm x 2-3 + 1 widomaker set)

Snatch Pull, RDL, OHS

  • Accessory 2, (6rm x 2-3 + 1 Widowmaker set)

GM, Front Squat, Back squat

  • Integrated Assistance Work

Magic 50 + 2min rounds x 5

Out of season, change friday to DE: Upper day


Speed chins, ballistic bench

  • Accessory, 1, EDT


  • Accessory, 2, Timed sets/high reps

OH Presses, db bench

  • C2 Rower

2 min sprints above target HR (175), 4-5.

–Morning Conditioning–
3 day rotation- M, W, F


  • 20min shadowboxing
  • 2 Conditioning Drills


  • 20min shadowboxing
  • 2 Conditioning Drills


  • Track Work


6 rounds, 3min each (Heavy, Wrecking, Wall bag), last 30s. punch out drill, 1min rest
3 rounds, 2min each (keep away), 30 s rest

-Magic 50-
Perform 5 circuits of the following:
5 Dumbbell Snatches Per Arm
5 Dumbbell Swings Per Arm
10 Burpees
Rest 60 seconds and repeat

You should know right away who i took this one from.


  • 4 rounds, 30s each period, 3min rounds, 30s rest

left double kick (high low)
right double kick (high low)
Jab-MatatOOM-lowkick (right)
jab-right-switch lowkick (left)
body punches, knee, kick, teep
Leaning Knees (wrecking ball)

-Power Boxing-
10 x 1-minute, all out with specific combo for 1 min, with 30s-60s rest

  • Staying Power -
    4 x 1-minute power boxing 1min-30s rest
    5 x 30-second punch out drills 1min-30s rest

-Fighting Burpee-
Burpees, 30s
Shadowbox, 30s
continue for 2-3min
1 min rest
repeat for desired # of rounds

-Work Capacity-
explosive chin-ups x 5
Medicine Ball Slams x 10
Burpees x 15
Weighted High Steppers x 20 …use suitable substitute

-Sequential Fatigue-
10 burpees (sprint down and back)
10 plyopushups (sprint down and back)
15 diamond pushups (sprint down and back)
10 tuck jumps (sprint down and back)
Jog down and back to start

-100m Challenge-
6 laps. Run straights jog curves

-Hill Sprints-
10 uphill

10x 400m, 1min rest

-Arm Strong-
1 arm snatch x5
1 arm jerk x 5
1 arm row x 5
repeat with opposite arm
1min rest.

Barbell Upright Row x 3-8
Barbell High Pull Snatch x 3-8
Barbell Front Squat Push Press x 3-8
Barbell Behind the Head Good Morning x 3-8
Barbell Bent Over Row x 3-8

A New Way to M.E. Black Box
Michael Rutherford

May 29 2008

Comments (9)


It was 2004 when I first started integrating M.E. lifts with the CrossFit high intensity randomized protocol. I have since tried some new methods, which have proven successful. They tell me at the Performance Menu that the M.E. articles are the most popular back issues on the shelf. I still receive e-mail each week with questions on the implementation on the template.

The mother ship with a push from Starting Strength guru Mark Rippetoe now includes a heavy dose of M.E. lifting. The CrossFit method now includes a lifting total. I like to believe that the ME BLACK BOX had something to do with that birth.

Like a lot of things in coaching, these templates were born out of necessity along with trial and error. A couple of clients had stalled out with their progress. Thusly, this variant was born.


I don?t want to fill this space with a recap of the M.E. BLACK BOX writing. I hate to do it but you will need to invest in the ME Black Box article collection for the background.

THE M-W-F Black Box

This approach took hold over the last two winters. It was a way to abbreviate the BLACK BOX on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as these are the big days in my practice. The essence was a M.E. focus followed by a CrossFit type WOD.

The outline for this was:

Mon: Total Body (T)

High Hang Clean, Deck Power Clean, Cleans

Wed: Lower Body (L)

Zercher Squat, Front Squat, Back Squat

Fri: Upper Body (U)

Press, Push Press, Jerk

Rep Rotations

Wk 1 - 5 x 5
Wk 2 - 5 x 3
Wk 3 - 5 x 1

I took creative liberties with the CrossFit workouts (don?t act like it doesn?t happen). I modified certain WODs and turned it into a game. I had the athlete draw them from a hat. The workout was not replaced into the hat until all 8 workouts had been completed for one entire cycle. If on day nine a workout was drawn from the hat that was completed within the last three days then a redraw was permitted.

I found the familiarity with the WOD kept the workout moving each week, reduced the psychological demands of constant education, but did not compromise the desired stress adaptation.

Here are the top eight modified CrossFit WODs.

  1. Countdown DB Snatch: 20, 16, 12, 10, 8 reps (that?s 10 right/10 left, 8 right/8 left, etc)

  2. Modified Cindy: 5 pull-ups/10 push-ups/15 squats; How many rounds can you get in X time (I would pick the time based on the athlete?s relative fatigue for the day; generally not more than 10 minutes)

  3. Modified Diane: Deadlift & Dips 21, 15, 9 reps (loading equals 100% of bodyweight)

  4. Modified Jackie: 1000M Row / 50 DB push press / 30 Pull-ups

  5. DB Snatch 10 (5 right / 5 left) Pull-ups 10; How many rounds in X time.

  6. Isabel - 30 reps barbell snatch

  7. Sled Push or Pull: 2:00 hard / 1:00 recovery x 4-8 reps

  8. Modified Grace - 30 Reps Clean

I might occasionally throw in something simple like a bunch of thrusters or ball slams, but primarily these were the ones we ran with.

The Template

The Daily schedule included:

  1. Warm-up Moves
  2. M.E. Focus
  3. Modified WOD
  4. P-Chain Move
  5. Eight Great Post Stretch Moves
  6. Foam Roller or Stick for the problem areas.

Next month I have another spin for the committed family man.

Thanks for the info Xen Nova and theuofh. I’m going to try it out and am mixing it with Wendler’s 5/3/1 program, i.e. I am rotating Squat/Bench/Deadlift/Incline but am doing the rep ranges and intensities suggested in the article based off of Prilepin’s chart. I’m also doing a max rep-out on the last set of the day.I don’t think it’s quite worthy of a log on here but I’ll let everyone know how it turns out. Thanks again.