If you’re like me you want to be the biggest baddest meathead on the face of the planet. You’ll put your body through just about anything to perform at your best. Trouble is, it comes at a cost…
As athletes we constantly tread a fine line between performance and getting injured. If you push yourself harder, you’re also knocking on injury’s door. Unfortunately I was not blessed with Wolverine’s genetics or a mad scientist to replace my boney matrix with adamantium. Over time we accumulate injuries and our bodies don’t take as much crap as they once did.
That being said, I get sidelined with minor injuries more frequently then I’d like. Every time I try a very high volume performance program for cross fit I start making great progress, then things start hurting. A shoulder tweak here, a knee tweak there. Pretty soon I’m hurting and questioning why I’m spending so much time in the gym in the first place.
No offense to the brilliant folks who write these programs but my body doesn’t hold up too well to that level of volume and intensity. I don’t think I’m alone here. These programs are designed for world class athletes.
I’ve had several discussions with an old college room mate of mine about the division 1 football athletes he used to work with. He continually stated that the best athletes weren’t always the strongest, fastest or even the most skilled. The best athletes could handle the enormous training volumes and continue improving. It’s a weeding process from highschool, to college to the professional level. Who can handle the work and not get hurt?
If some of these programs were meant for the few of us who can handle the amount of work, then what business do regular joe’s have with the programs?
On top of that, the stresses of life don’t always allow for the world’s best recovery. We all don’t have the luxury of being a 19 year old division 1 college athlete who majors in dinosaurs (Those were the glory days…).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the type of person who wusses out when confronted with so much workload. I’m usually the knucklehead who blows through it all despite what my body tells me.
I really want to be competitive. I love it. I think deep down most people want to be competitive as well, be it with their friends, within their gym or at the games level.
I believe there’s still a large need for performance programming that is smarter, more efficient, specific and easier on the body. That’s why I created this program.
In the rehab world, very little attention is paid to fixing an individual’s programming before they head back to their sport or fitness program (I’m generalizing here, I know many people address this, I tend to see the opposite). In reality, fixing the programming is possibly the only way to prevent future injury or reoccurrence of the previous one. They’re called “training errors” in the strength and conditioning world and are enormous variables that can be controlled by trainers and athletes. It’s a huge missing piece of the puzzle. Not everything can be fixed by improving technique. Doing 5 days of perfect squatting in a row will still stress the knees heavily.
I still believe that these higher volume programs with a lot of volume and training sessions per week will be the best for the top level athletes but I also believe that we can attain some serious levels of fitness with a smarter, more efficient approach. That’s where this program comes into play.
So what’s different about this program?
- Specificity - Specificity is paramount in training. Training should always be as specific as possible in order to maximize improvement without getting injured. Anders Larson has done some great work determining which exercises appear most frequently in crossfit competition. You can bet your bottom dollar we’re focusing on improving in these exercises specifically, in the same ways you’ll be needing it in competition
- Science based programming - A huge critique of crossfit is the programming. Randomized programming seems to go against the entire goal of periodization. I’ve invested quite a bit of time applying concepts from the greats such as Vladimir Zatsiorsky and William Kraemer into the program.
- Less squatting – I’ve seen crossfit programs that will have you squatting every single day of the week for multiple exercises. Not that I’m not a fan of squats, I am and they are vitally important. I’ve just changed the amount of squatting some to allow progress but decrease stress on your knees. Your knees will thank you.
- Less shoulder intensive work - Your shoulder is not a weight bearing joint. It is not meant to bear the entire weight of your body every day like your ankles, knees and hips. When one of the most popular conditioning exercises in your sport involves a plyometric pushup for high repetitions (AKA burpees) you can be certain that the shoulders are going to take a beating. I really believe this is why shoulder problems are rampant in crossfit.
- More balance with upper body exercises - Shout out the first 5 upper body movements that pop into your head from crossfit. Were they Push Jerks, Push Press, Pushups, Pull-ups and Handstand Pushups? Well, that’s 4 pressing exercises and 1 pulling exercise. When a healthier ratio of pressing to pulling is closer to 1 press to 2 pulls do you think we’re creating a balanced shoulder joint?
- Rest days between training similar joints, movements and body parts – Once upon a time before cross fit, people rested their shoulders the day after doing 100 overhead presses. Not anymore. This is definitely something I worked on in this programming.
- Decreased emphasis on higher risk exercises I’m just not the biggest fan of high rep rebounding box jumps, muscle-ups or kipping yourself to shoulder fatigue and SLAP lesion land. Since these are a part of competition I’ve included them but in a smarter manner. I personally favor stepping down on box jumps and stopping your kipping pull-ups once fatigue sets in and your shoulders aren’t able to control the movement any more.
- Weekly Periodization Changes - In order to keep you making progress some weeks are going to be harder then others. This takes into consideration 2 important parts of programming, overreaching and supercompensation. Basically we want some weeks to be really tough and then follow it with an easier week so that we can recover and improve.
- Deloading - Some people tend to forget that improvement is actually made when we’re not in the gym. Some weeks are easier then others for a reason, we’re letting the body heal and improve on certain weeks.
- Days of rest - Blasphemous I know. The best athletes today are training with a very high frequency but with this frequency comes the risk of injury. Given that rest is important for recovery, performance and injury prevention I’ve included more rest then most programs. It has forced me to make the programs as efficient as possible. The idea is to provide enough volume and intensity for improvement without blowing your joints apart.
- Less met-con: In my experience, large amounts of met-con can wreak havoc on your strength. Unfortunately, being very strong is super important to performance. I’ve addressed this. I also find that too much met-con is a great way to overtrain, halt progress and basically make you hate training in general.
- More skill and accessory work - The more efficient you are with your technique the better you’ll perform. I’ve provided a lot of technique work with limited rest periods to encourage better technique while simultaneously working on your conditioning.
- Dumbbell, Kettlebell and Unilateral work - Promoting balance and symmetry in your program is important for injury prevention.
- Knowing what’s coming - I’ve decided to write out the programs 5 weeks at a time. You’re going to know exactly what you’re in for and you can schedule accordingly. Nothing is worse then not being able to plan out your training schedule because you don’t know what’s coming next. Now you won’t have to. Print it out and take it with you. Problem fixed.
Click the link below to download the program
- This is not a beginner’s program.
- If you don’t have adequate technique with the oly lifts then this program is going to hurt you. Hammer your technique before giving this program a go. You should have devoted about a year specifically to crossfit before trying this program.
- This is not a rehab program. Go see a doctor if you’re in pain.
- This is not an injury prevention program. It’s a performance program that attempts to minimize injury risk by using smarter programming. There is still definitely inherent risk of injury.
- Modify always when needed. Don’t feel the need to barrel through any particular exercise ever. If your shoulder is bugging you, substitute a row instead of a press. If kipping pull-ups don’t feel good, then do strict pull-ups.
- Scale back all exercises in order to maintain perfect technique. This goes especially for the olympic lifts. The percentages are there for a reason, you shouldn’t be missing lifts or having your technique fall apart.
- Listen to your body – Some days your body will feel good to push, others not so much. Take note. Taking an extra day of rest or just eliminating parts of the program may be necessary. Just because I’ve written this down on paper doesn’t mean it should be followed like gospel.
- Make sure you’re thoroughly warmed up for these workouts and take care of any issues that need to be taken care of outside of this program (poor hip mobility, poor shoulder stability etc.)
Can’t wait to do a thousand burpees for time,
P.S. I know this is a plan in action. If you’ve got some criticisms please let them be heard. I definitely am in this to help people with their performance in a smarter way. If you think you’ve got something to add, please let me know!
P.P.S. Sign up for the newsletter on the top right hand side of the page to keep up to date with new programming as it comes out as well as a Guide to Crossfit Performance. It goes hand in hand with the program.