I hope you are all having a wonderful summer, enjoying the sunshine and weather, and getting some great training in. I wanted to make a little post about where the “Competition” programming is going at Champlain Valley CrossFit.
Over the last 8 years I’ve been programming and running a gym our methodology has evolved and changed from year to year. Different ideas, different tests, different learning experiences. We’ve obviously had a number of successful athletes come out of our gym, but I’d be the first one to tell you it’s not the programming. I’ve always felt programming is just that, programming, and as long as you’re doing varied stuff, focusing on your weaknesses, training hard, and taking care of yourself on the back end you should be making progress. This is why great athletes are great, they do all of this stuff to the nth degree, and also might have a bit of genetic potential/gifts that have been handed down to them. However ultimately they work hard, focus on the things they’re bad at, take care of themselves outside of the gym, and maybe most importantly they believe that what they’re doing is going to make them better
Up to this point the CVCF Competitor Programming has for the most part been setup as a year round CrossFit Program. What I mean by this, is that it isn’t really seasonal. We do CrossFit year round, hitting most stimuluses with some regularity all the time. We’ve put some small emphases’ on specific movements patterns, modalities, etc. here and there, but for the most part the CVCF Competitor program has been a year round CrossFit program. I’ve programmed it this way because frankly, 99% of the people that follow have real lives, they don’t do all the programming every day of the year, and hence they kind of build in their own little off-seasons.
Looking to the future that is going to change. While we don’t have a lot of them, we do have some athletes that religiously follow our programming, and do everything, rarely taking a break. While I love to hear that people are that into what we program, honestly if you do that year round, for multiple years on end, it’s probably not the best option and a good way to beat your body up.
Starting this coming week, and going into the future we will begin programming in a more seasonal way. Our season will be built around the CF HQ schedule, however it won’t be geared directly to that season once the Open is done. It will have two main phases that will look something like this.
– Blocked Prep From End of Summer to the Open (i.e. specific focused blocks of programming)
– General Varied CrossFit From End of Open to End of Summer (i.e. what our programming looks like now)
As we change to this we’re looking for one main thing. To help turn you guys into better athletes, and if you’re someone who religiously follows our programming I think this is going to help. For many of you CrossFit is fun, and down right addictive. And while CrossFit in the traditional since is a great workout, for a relatively high level athlete, hammering it year round at high intensity, year after year will take it’s toll on the body, and even stop your progress, especially if you’re not taking pristine care of your body outside of the gym.
As the CrossFit competition space continues to grow, more competitions, more online qualifiers, etc. etc. this will obviously not fit perfectly with everyone of those in terms of where you want to be with your fitness. For instance we have some athletes competing at Granite Games in two weeks, probably won’t be an ideal time to be following our programming for these next 10 days, as they’re going to go the opposite direction of competing/intensity. With the Open being the largest CF competition in the world that the most people take part in, and that many use to get to the next step, Regionals, this is what we will be building around in terms of the schedule.
So going forward you can expect 3 Main Phases from now until the Open…
Phase 1 – Aerobic Capacity and “Bodybuilding” – 8 Weeks
Phase 2 – Skill Intensive – Olympic Lifting and Gymnastics – 12 Weeks
Phase 3 – Open Prep – Approximately 6 weeks give or take
This is what now until the start of the CrossFit Open will look like. Within these blocks there will be varying amounts of what we all think of as traditional CrossFit, i.e. Singlets, Couplets, Triplets, and Chippers for time. How varied? Anywhere from none at all to 5 days/week. So, for those of you who are Met-con addicts, you’ll have to deal with a period of time of none at all, and trust that it’s good to work on other things, and okay to give things a break once in a while.
Will this be the ideal program for everyone, probably not, however I feel having been involved in the sport for the last 8 years that it will provide first and foremost a good variety, and consistent changes which help keep one interested, will help people stay healthier in the long run, and my hope is to make you all better athletes at the sport of CrossFit. Do know, the idea behind this program though is that it is also designed for the well rounded CF athlete. If you’re a female who can C+J 200lbs+, can Snatch 150lbs+, but you still struggle to string together more than a couple of muscle-ups, and can’t Run a sub 8 minute mile, than you need to have some very specific priorities to shore up those large imbalances…this is of course if you truly want to be a CF athlete. CF is the sport of Fitness, which is a lot of stuff. If you just want to be barbell/gymnastics guru, awesome, but know this is not what this program is built for. This is meant to be a broad program, addressing all number of areas of CF as a sport, sometimes all at once, and other times in specific blocks of work.
So, going forward for the next 8 weeks this is what you can expect. We will be doing a more traditional “Bodybuilding” style weight training, focus on specific areas each day. On top of that you’ll have daily Aerobic work. Ideally these should be split into two different sessions. Because of the basic design of the template we’ll also be dividing the aerobic work into our 5 main mono-structural gym mediums, but otherwise each week you’ll use the Ski Erg, Rower, Bike Erg, Assault Bike, Run, and we will be programming Swimming workouts for your Active Recovery day.. Now within those mediums, if you have specific areas you’re bad at, say you’re a bigger athlete and you’re great on the machines, but struggle with running because of you size, than you should be switching some of the workouts to running workouts. Most the of the workouts will be reasonably simple so it should be easy to swap the actual modality you’re actually doing. For the first 4 weeks there will be NO “Met-cons” at all. In weeks 5-7 there will be some Mixed Modality High Intensity Interval work added in twice/week, but for these first 4 weeks there will be no high intensity conditioning.
For your strength work we are going to keep things simple. We’ll start with large compound movements and work our way down each day into smaller accessory movements. There will be NO Kipping Gymnastics movements for 8 weeks, the only work you will do will be Strict. There will also be almost no Olympic Lifting. One day a week we will be doing some light>moderate Power work to keep you in the groove a little, but otherwise we’re going to let this go for a bit and focus on basic raw strength. Your main Barbell work will all be based off of the Hatch Program. This is nothing special, it’s free, it’s out there, but we’ve used it over the years with a lot of success on a number of Barbell movements, not just squatting. With this your intensity will be dictated by the percentage work. Please use an actual max for all of the percentage work, not some fairy tale number you hope to hit. The rest of the work on each day will be dictated by feel. We will be rotating through tons of different accessory movements and movement variations, what this means is that you have to bring the intensity on these movements since you’ll likely only see them once, twice at the most through the 8 weeks. So make sure on each day you when it says for instance, 4 sets of 8, for a given movement those are four solid, hard, working sets, not just you building up to one peak set.
Also please note, ultimately this program is written first and foremost for the athletes at Champlain Valley CrossFit. What I mean by this, is that’s it’s written with our Vermont weather in mind, the equipment we have at our gym, etc. etc. You might find that your gym doesn’t have the same gear we do so you’re going to have to find subs, or come up with things on your own, especially when it comes to accessory work that will be programmed.
At this point I’m probably putting you all to sleep, I could keep writing, but for now this is what your next 8 weeks will look like.
Monday – 1 – Squat + Accessory – 2 – Aerobic Work
Tuesday – 1 – Horizontal Upper Body Push + Pull + Accessory – 2 – Aerobic Work
Wednesday – 1 – Hinge + Accessory – Aerobic Work
Thursday – Swimming
Friday – 1 – Squat + Accessory – 2 – Aerobic Work
Saturday 1 – Vertical Upper Body Push + Pull + Accessory – 2 – Aerobic Work
*Weeks 1-4 will look like the above. Weeks 5-7 will add some Mixed Modality Interval work on Tuesday and Friday
**1 and 2 above note session 1 and session 2. Ideally this work should be broken into two sessions. Likely emphasizing the area you need more work on as your first session. With that being said, regardless of what you need work on the most, we’ve found doing Aerobic Work in the AM to be a great way to get the body going for the day and doesn’t really affect strength work assuming you have solid rest between the sessions and are fueling properly.
So, that’s what you can expect for the next 8 weeks. This should be a time, if you’re beat up, to slow things down a little and get your body health. Hopefully an opportunity to pack on a little strength/muscle, or maybe get your strength back to where it was if it’s down. And lastly just an opportunity to change things up, train a little differently, and have some fun.
I look forward to all of your continued success. If any of you have questions please let me know.