WOD Paths

WOD PATHS: An Explanation Of Our New Programming Structure

While we know that you all come to Champlain Valley CrossFit for the same thing, CrossFit and the best training and facility around, we understand that within our community of athletes there are different needs. Some of you know what your needs are, while others may or may not realize there needs are different from that of the other athletes in class. Our programming structure  will help guide you in a more efficient, and for some of you, a safer manner towards your best option when it comes to the WOD. The below should give you a relatively in depth structure and understanding of what we do with our daily programming, and to help clear up any confusion you might have about the daily workout option. Given we’re in Vermont we’ve used Skiing as a comparison, as most, if not all are familiar with what Skiing is, and how the difficulty of it is rated.


This programming is for a few different groups of athletes. First and foremost, if you’re just coming out of On-Ramp this is a great place to start, loading is lower, movements are more basic, and especially if strength and conditioning is foreign to you, you should spend anywhere from 1-3 months here. This is also for the older/immobile crowd. Please don’t get us wrong, as evidenced by many of the amazing athletes in our gym we have plenty of older athletes that are capable of everything we throw at them. With that being said the tendency for most, is that as we age, if we’re not proactive about it, we get tighter, and lose our flexibility which is an absolute necessity to CrossFit, especially with some of the more technical movements. You’ll also fall into this group of programming if your sole goal coming to CVCF is to just get stronger, healthier, fitter, and you’re not interested, nor willing to take the time to learn the more advanced movements, i.e. the more sporting side of CrossFit. There is no argument at this point about this, CrossFit is a sport, and like any sport, if you want to take part, and understand the full range of movements, it takes practice, and lots of it, which for some may be something they don’t really want to focus on, and this is perfectly fine.

The fitness programming  is geared towards your more basic barbell movements, Squats, Presses, Deadlifts, there will be NO Snatching, ever, no Overhead Squats, Muscle-ups, Pistols, Handstands Push-ups, etc. All of your more technically demanding movements and movements that take high levels of mobility are left behind. The loading will be lighter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t scale-up, or down for that matter as needed. All Extra work for the Fitness Program will be geared towards strengthening and developing the posterior chain. One of our most common issues we see with the everyday person is a weak backside, from the hamstrings up, muscles are weak and lacking flexibility. Extra Work programmed for the Fitness group will be focused on getting athletes out of the incredibly tight, anterior dominant position that so many people in society are in.

To use our carry over to skiing, if you’re not brand new to CrossFit and interested in the Fitness program you should think of it like this. You like to go Skiing and you’re a Green Circle or Blue Square type of Skier. You do it to get outside, get some exercise and get into nature. You don’t care for the more advanced trails and don’t feel a need to attempt them.


This programming is for the athlete that has been CrossFitting at least for 1 month+ or has come into CVCF with a relatively in-depth understanding of strength and conditioning. Loading is medium, and this programming will encompass just about everything CrossFit has to offer. The Sport programming is for the athlete that enjoys and wants to learn all the components of CrossFit, they are willing to take the time, leave there ego behind, and understand that many of the more complicated movements take time, repetition, and practice to become adept at them. This is the programming for the athlete that is interested in taking part in the Open, and possibly participating in a competition at some point. You should know following this programming that you will need full range of motion through your body to properly complete all the movements. If this is something that you don’t have, if you are truly interested in learning all of the movements that are encompassed in CrossFit, you need to be willing to spend the time outside of class to work on your mobility, both for safety and efficiency of movement.

The Sport programing again will encompass everything; there won’t be any significant emphasis on any given movements, except in your strength work. At given times of the year different strength cycles will be programmed that will often emphasize specific movements. Extra Work programmed for the Sport category will come in 2 pieces per days. 1 Piece will always be geared towards the trunk, with a bias towards the Posterior Chain. The other piece will come in either a secondary conditioning piece designed to build your cardiovascular capacity, or a skill session. A skill session is designed to work on a specific movement (typically something gymnastics based) in a slow paced, easy work environment.

Carrying over to Skiing you should think about the Sport programming being for someone who really enjoys the sport of Skiing. They always seek out to be a better skier, they push their limits constantly challenging themselves and look to Ski the entire mountain. This would be a person who would even plan a trip around Skiing, it is an important part of their life, a sport they enjoy thoroughly, and a center point of their lifestyle during the winter.


This is relatively self-explanatory, but this is the programming for the person who wants to compete at CrossFit in a competitive manner, not just a weekend warrior kind of deal. Loading is heavier than the other two paths, and there is a heavier emphasis on Olympic weightlifting and higher skilled gymnastics movements. In addition the volume is considerably more. If you’re looking to follow the Competition programming there should be a few things to think about. First, like the above, you’re willing to spend the time to learn and practice lifts/movements, and if needed spend the time on your mobility so that you can properly and safely perform certain movements.  Second, you are willing to and have the time to do the programming. Our programming runs in 4 week waves, with the 4th week always being a de-load. On the other 3 weeks you should count on spending a minimum 2 hours and up to 4 on your training. This doesn’t have to be all at once, it can be broken into multiple sessions, but the time needs to be there. Third you take the time to care for your body, this means spending extra time working mobility, foam rolling, yoga, etc, and getting basic body care done as often as weekly and at the bare minimum, monthly, this means, chiropractic, massage, whatever you feel you need. Lastly, you need to make sure you can dedicate the time, money, etc. to your nutrition and sleep, and if it really means being competitive, keeping alcohol use to a minimum. CVCF has had individuals and teams at both the Regional and Games level, we know what it takes to get there. This programming is for the serious individual who calls CrossFit their sport and maintains it as the center point of their lifestyle.

To carry over to Skiing this is the individual who competes, racing, big mountain, freestyle, it doesn’t matter. Skiing is their life. They’re up at 4 am to shred the first snow, and during the summer this is all they are thinking about. This is what they live for. Enough said.

Final Thoughts

A couple of last items to think about. All of these platforms are still infinitely scalable, and that is up to you. Most of us need to scale at some point. You could be completely enthused with CrossFit and want to compete, but your strength numbers aren’t at what is prescribed in the Competition scaling, that’s fine, scale the load as you need to. On the other end of the spectrum you might follow the fitness programming but find that you’re naturally strong and the weights are easy for you, then scale them up. Don’t ever feel like you need to stick exactly to a specific path, your workout might end up being a blend of two of the different paths, and that is perfectly fine. These are guides to help you get the most out of your training. What you need to remember, and what is most important, is that all of us are here to get a good workout in, have fun, and make our bodies look better, whatever blend of workout you use to get that done on a given day doesn’t matter, so long as you are fulfilling the reasons that you come to Champlain Valley CrossFit.


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