T Nation

Training for Crossfit Competitor


#1

I've actually got a bit of a situation that I could use some help with. I'm an ex rugby and football player turned crossfit competitor. I was wondering how you would consider a long term periodization for regionals and the games. I don't think I could realistically qualify in 2015 but I'm really hoping to make it to regionals in either 2016 or 2017.

I need to improve my technique in the olympic lifts, my strength levels, my cardio and my gymnastics, basically everything related to crossfit. I'm 20 years old, with a 225lb clean, 155lb snatch, 275lb front squat, 315 back squat, 155 strict press, I also have a decent cardio base from rugby but it could use improvement.

I just had a few questions in regards to my programming with that in mind

1) Do you think that in order to ensure long term improvement it would be best if as far as conditioning, I focused on less neurologically demanding exercise modalities (ex: 6x500 meter row, 15 min amrap KB swings and burpees, Prowler pushes, etc) or should I perform WODs more regularly in order to habituate myself to the conditions of my sport and possibly make strength/ hypertrophy gains through them.

2) As a novice in the olympic lifts should I focus on a program that involves specific percentages (ex: undulating periodization ) in order to work on technique. I know that you recommend this for more advanced lifters but I run into this problem, my technique in the lifts are far below my maximal strength numbers. With small technique fixes my pb could range up to 20 lbs on a given day. So i'm not sure what sort of template to follow.

I also wanted to thank you for all of the free advice that you have given out, it's really reshaped my entire perspective on strength & conditioning.


#2

[quote]cghiassi5 wrote:
I need to improve my technique in the olympic lifts, my strength levels, my cardio and my gymnastics, basically everything related to crossfit. I’m 20 years old, with a 225lb clean, 155lb snatch, 275lb front squat, 315 back squat, 155 strict press, I also have a decent cardio base from rugby but it could use improvement. .[/quote]

That’s your main problem right here. Nowadays to qualify for regionals you need to be very efficient in the olympic lifts and gymnastic skills. While your strength levels are WAY below where it needs to be (I train several women who competed at the regionals that lift more than you in the clean and snatch). Your strength level is not high either, but it’s less problematic than your olympic lifts. My guess is that your technique on the olympic lifts is bad, so you can’t use the strength you have.

So the first order of business, before thinking about periodization, programing and what not is to get super good technically on the olympic lifts and gymnastic skills. And you can’t do that (at least the former) without a coach (an olympic lifting coach) unless you are motor genius, which you probably aren’t otherwise your numbers would be higher.

To put things in perspective, regionals are getting stronger and stronger every year. You need at least a 245lbs snatch and 325 clean and JERK to get there as far as the olympic lifts are concerned. Which will require at least a 400lbs back squat and 350 front squat done with PERFECT FORM. Heck at the crossfit gyms I coach there are several guys deadlifting in the 600s, doing 315-350 on the clean and 255-275 on the snatch, and they aren’t yet regional qualifiers.

Now, the mistake would be to try to get those numbers up without focusing on technique first. Depending on where your technique is, you might need several months of constant supervised practice to reach the technical level necessary to be competitive.

Same thing with gymnastic skills.

My best recommendations is to forget about crossfit-specific training for now. Spend most of your time practicing the olympic lifts (with a coach, otherwise you’ll just reinforce bad habits which will be hard to break) and body weight skills. Once you master them you can start thinking about competitive crossfit training.

Conditioning-wise… tons of prowler pushing, 400m sprints, hill sprints, KB wings, farmer’s walk, sandbag carries, rows, etc.

Basically:

  1. Master the olympic lift technique and gymnastic skills
  2. Become very strong in the back squat, front squat, deadlift, military press, push press, strict pull-ups with PERFECT body positions
  3. Develop a solid conditioning base

#3

[quote]cghiassi5 wrote:
2) As a novice in the olympic lifts should I focus on a program that involves specific percentages (ex: undulating periodization ) in order to work on technique. I know that you recommend this for more advanced lifters but I run into this problem, my technique in the lifts are far below my maximal strength numbers. With small technique fixes my pb could range up to 20 lbs on a given day. So i’m not sure what sort of template to follow.
[/quote]

No need for a template right now. LEARN TO LIFT. Get coached twice a week (at least) and do two more practices… don’t focus on doing X amounts of sets and reps with Z weight… PRACTICE the lifts.


#4

this is awesome advice. thank you CT!

really appreciate your thoughts and advice