Champlain Valley CrossFit Competitors Programming
I’m putting this up some 2 years+ after I actually started writing a “Competitors” programming for our gym. This is long overdue, but for those who follow or are looking to follow this programming I wanted to just give you some basic thoughts on how/what/why with the programming that I write.
A little history about Champlain Valley CrossFit. It was opened in September 2010. February 2011 saw the first Open come around. Since CVCF opened we have participated in every single CrossFit Open, Regional, and Games. The track record for CVCF looks something like this…
2011 – 2 Individual Regional Qualifier, Team Regional Qualifier, 1 Games Individual Qualifier
2012 – 1 Individual Regional Qualifier, Team Regional Qualifier, Games Team Qualified
2013 – 4 Individual Regional Qualifiers, Team Regional Qualifier, 1 Games Individual, 1 Games Masters Individual
2014 – 4 Individual Regional Qualifiers, 2 Games Individual Qualifiers, 1 Games Master Individual Qualifier
2015 – 2 Regional Individual Qualifiers, 2 Games Individual Qualifiers, 2 Games Masters Individual Qualifiers
2016 – 3 Regional Individual Qualifiers, 1 Games Individual Qualifier, 2 Games Masters Individual Qualifiers
For any single gym I believe that’s a pretty impressive track record, and even more impressive that all of these athletes came out of Champlain Valley CrossFit, they didn’t move here to train here like you see so commonly with many of the power house affiliates out there, they became the athletes they are in the environment at Champlain Valley CrossFit most of them never belonging to another CrossFit gym ever.
Now I’d be lying if I said everyone of those athletes follows the programming put on our website. Some follow it to a T, some have not followed it all when they’ve qualified, and others pick and choose from a variety of sources. With that being said I’ve coached, programmed, and/or even pushed each and everyone of these athletes as a training partner at some point in their competitive CrossFit career.
Ultimately that’s what makes you the athlete you are. The environment at Champlain Valley CrossFit has helped foster each and everyone of the athletes to the level they are currently at. Whether it be coaching and programming, training partners, or having an amazing community to help support these athletes, there are many parts that help competitive successful athletes become what they are, and probably most importantly they are amazing athletes with a strong desire and will to succeed. Anyone who takes credit for someone success because of programming, that’s non-sense, and completely egotistical.
What that ultimately means is that there is no right program to follow. Is there bad programming, absolutely! But there is no right or best programming to follow. The best programing to follow is one that you do just that, follow. It obviously needs to align with your needed development as an athlete and put you in an environment that you can thrive. But ultimately the “best” programming in the world isn’t a substitute for work ethic and the training environment you have to help push you.
So whether you’re already following the CVCF Competitors programming or thinking of following it, think about that first and foremost. Does it align with your ideals, beliefs, and needs as an athlete, and will it put you in a position where you have support, intensity, and some friendly competitiveness to grow as an athlete.
Now on to the programming…
To reiterate, there is no right way to program. Every athlete at the CrossFit Games is following a different program, not a single one of them follow the same exact thing, yet they all make it there. The better athletes aren’t better because of their programming, they’re better because they are just that, better athletes, mentally, physically, etc.
If you’re following the CVCF Competitors programming some things to think about. These are my beliefs, and the programming is structured accordingly
- This program isn’t designed in the mind of every athlete in the world. It is designed in mind of the athletes at Champlain Valley CrossFit. What does this mean. Well it means that we don’t run Novemeber through April because of the weather, it means we might run more in the summer months, it means the programming is written with our weather patterns in mind even from week-to-week. Programming is written in mind that we have one of the most equipped gyms in the country. If you don’t have the equipment written, tough luck, find something else to do. It is written for the athletes at Champlain Valley CrossFit first and foremost.
- This is a year round program with no singular focus for a time of year, competition, emphasis, etc. Similar to CrossFit.com there is never any bias towards one modality or another, nor is it programmed with any certain competition in mind (we know that every competitive athlete participates in the Open, so some of the Met-cons will change slightly leading to the open with more re-tests, but other than that it isn’t written with any specific event in mind).
- This programming has no bias. There is a healthy amount of strength work, conditioning, gymnastics, and accessory work, every week, 52 weeks a year. If you’re an ex-marathon runner, have a huge engine, and are weak as hell then yes you probably need a program biased towards strength, that’s not what this is. If you can’t do a Muscle-up yet but can Snatch your bodyweight with ease, then you’ve got some in-balances. This program won’t address this, it will give constant work year round on all pieces.
- There is a definite structure to the programming week in and week out. For instance you can plan on doing heavy squatting every Monday. While I absolutely believe in variance, I also believe in structure.
- Programming runs always in 4 week blocks, with new blocks schemes maybe every 8-16 weeks, but again, there is never a specific emphasis on anything, you’re constantly working on it all. That means every 4th week is a de-load. This doesn’t mean that training is any easier, in fact, one might say you push it even harder in what you’re doing, just the volume is considerably lower. You’ll often see items, especially accessory work, repeated exactly the same for 4 weeks straight. This gives you an opportunity to work and develop something…usually after about 4 weeks we start to see a plateau in movements so they rotate (very similar structure to Westside Barbell with some of their training principles).
- You’ll see almost no % work in the programming. What was once a staple, I’ve pretty much completely strayed from. Most of the programming you’ll see will basically call for you to max out everyday. That doesn’t mean it’s expected you PR or even come close to your PR, it just means that you work with what you’ve got that day. Just as you would with any Met-con, you give it what you’ve got on that day. It’s silly to think that hundreds of people are all going to be able to come into the gym on any given day and hit given percentages, you all have different stressors in your life, different nutrition, sleep, etc. Go heavy as hell when things are feeling good, and don’t when they don’t feel good.
- Programming is written with our class structure and environment in mind. At our gym our “non-competitors” make up 90% of the clientele, without them our gym wouldn’t exist. They come first and foremost and it’s important for me as a coach and business owner to have everyone involved, community keeps our affiliate thriving and helps create successful athletes.
- CrossFit is an ever evolving sport, and thus the programming is ever evolving. We are constantly learning new things, implementing new tools, and finding new ways to structure workouts.
- Make sure you have the time. The key to following any program is just that, following it. If you don’t do 30% of what’s programmed and then complain that you’re missing out on something and not making progress on something, it’s probably because you’re not consistent. Games level athletes train many hours a day, on the same schedule years on end, they don’t not train because they’re tired, because they have an ache, because they don’t feel like doing what’s programmed. They do what needs to be done because they know it’ll make them a better athlete.
- Make sure you’re doing all the other stuff right. You won’t last if you’re not eating, sleeping, mobilizing, etc. properly.
- Have fun! If you’re sitting grinding through your training by yourself and not enjoying it, do something different, find a different program, find someone to train with. If you’re not having fun you won’t be successful.
I’m sure over time I’ll have more to add to this but those are some basic thoughts and things for you to think about. I hope that can answer some questions for you all. Below is a basic template of what you can expect with programming week in and week out, year round.
Monday – Aerobic Work, Strength Heavy Day, Single Met-con
Tuesday – Multiple Conditioning Sessions, Strength, Gymnastics Work
Wednesday – Upper Body Dominant Day Strength and Accessory, Single Conditioning
Thursday – Active Recovery
Friday – Aerobic Work, Strength Heavy Day, Single Met-con
Saturday – Battery Work, Multiple Met-cons, Gymnastics
Sunday – Rest Day
*Note this structure changes on de-load weeks.